1944 SS Military Trailer Lightweight (½ Ton)

This is one of 30,052 lightweight military trailers produced by SS Cars Ltd during WWII.  It was built to be towed by a standard Jeep, has a load carrying capacity of 10 cwt (½ ton) and is amphibious as it floats when fully loaded.  Of all steel construction, it weighs 5 cwt (¼ ton), has overrun operated brakes with a separate hand parking lever, a towing eye at the front and a tow hook at the rear to allow tandem towing.

SS Cars (like most manufacturing companies) were called upon to help with the war effort either using their own, or ‘shadow’ factories setup by the War Department in the pre-war years.  A shoe factory near Leicester was commandeered for the Company working alongside the Foleshill factory in Coventry, which was extended to double production space.

The Company also produced nearly 16,000 lightweight airborne trailers which could be dropped by parachute. War contracts weren’t restricted to the production of trailers with over 10,000 sidecars of various types being built, but the majority of production was related to aircraft.

Aircraft work started with a contract to repair damaged Whitley bombers, which after a slow start was extended to include flight testing them at the nearby Tachbrook aerodrome.  This lead to more aircraft contracts and by the end of the war they had included making: wings, tail planes and fuel tanks for Whitley bombers; sections for Wellington and Stirling aircraft; bomb doors for Lancaster bombers, and wing tips, oil and fuel tanks for Spitfires as well as parts for Mosquitos and Meteors.

The importance of ‘shadow’ factories continued after the war.  They had all been built by 1937 and run by motor companies under the control of the Air Ministry.  After the war, car production was resumed at, the now named, Jaguar Cars Ltd who rapidly outgrew the space in Swallow Road, Foleshill. After being turned down for planning permission to extend the site, William Lyons looked for suitable premises in or around Coventry.  He settled on the Daimler No 2 Shadow factory at Browns Lane in Allesley as Daimler had moved most of their production to their No 1 factory in Radford Road and was vacating the site.

In 1950 William Lyons struck a deal with the Ministry of Supply for a 5 year lease on Browns Lane.  The move from Foleshill to Browns Lane started in 1951 and was completed on 28 November 1952 with a convention to show off the new site to dealers and the press. William Lyons (now Sir) bought Browns Lane in 1959 for £1.25m – which he would later count among his most satisfying achievements.

Chassis Number: X 6157236

Owner: The Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust