1935 SS 1 Airline Saloon AWR 564

This SS1 Airline is one of the best-known and most well preserved remaining examples. It was delivered new in March 1935 to a Captain S Clough by Yorkshire SS dealer Glovers of Harrogate. By 1948 the car had passed to L A Reid of Kirby near Liverpool who owned it until 1984 when it was bought by the History of Jaguar Museum in Maldon which had the car restored by local specialists Fullbridge.

In 1994 the museum closed and the collection including this car was put up for auction by Brooks where it was purchased by the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust with the aid of a grant from the Prism Trust.

Some additional restoration work was undertaken by JDHT during 1996 and 1997, following which it was exhibited at the Luis Vuitton Classic at the Hurlingham Club on 5 June 1999. Following this event the engine was then overhauled with the cylinder head being skimmed and new valves fitted.

After being on display in the Jaguar Gallery in Coventry Transport Museum for almost ten years JDHT carried out an extensive re-commissioning programme in their workshops at Gaydon, during 2021-22, in preparation for the Centenary celebrations of the setting up of the Swallow Sidecar Company in 1922. This included: more work on the engine, including removing a restriction from the cooling galleries; re-furbishing the steering column; adding an electronically controlled radiator fan, and adding additional lighting to include flashing indicators in period style lamps on the rear bumper and flashing LEDs in the front sidelights.

In 1999, after painting a picture of a concours winning SS 1 which for a while was exhibited in the Jaguar Museum at the Browns Lane factory in Coventry, local artist Graham Bosworth was commissioned to paint AWR 564 for the JDHT. As the car’s first owner, Captain Clough, had used it for touring, Graham opted for a highland backdrop and called his picture ‘Highland Fling’. This painting is now on display on the Art Wall in the Collection Centre at the British Motor Museum at Gaydon.

The SS1 Airline was only in production for a period of two years from 1934 to 1936 during which time 624 were produced, out of the total of 4,254 SS1 cars of all types. The price was initially £360 for the 16 hp model and £5 extra bought you the bigger 20 hp engine, although these prices were reduced by £20 for the 1936 season.

Like many other cars of the period, the Airline paid lip service to the then current fashion of streamlining and reflected the Art Deco style.

It has been said that William Lyons – stylist as well as company director – did not personally like the model, and the Airline has been attributed to the influence of William Walmsley, Lyons’s original partner, who would soon leave the Company.

In a 1982 interview with Andrew Whyte in The Jaguar Marque, to mark the 60th anniversary of the company he told Whyte “Our only real mistake was the Airline.  The proportions we had established simply did not lend themselves to the ‘fastback’ trend of the ‘thirties’; by the time we’d got enough headroom in the back, it looked most ungainly.” 

Whatever, it is without doubt the most striking of all the different SS1 body styles, with many unique features, such as the twin wing mounted spare wheels.

From the start with a single, rather ungainly looking coupé body in 1931, over the next few years the SS1 underwent considerable development and became available with several different body styles. William Lyons was not particularly happy with the style of the original car, and after production of only one year, the 1933 models acquired a new chassis, underslung at the rear, long flowing wings, and a lower roof line. An alternative body in the shape of an open four-seater tourer was also offered.

The 1934 SS1 models had larger engines, although still rated at 16 hp or 20 hp for taxation, and a saloon body became available, with rear side windows instead of the blind rear quarters.

Further models were added to the 1935 range – a drophead coupé, the now legendary SS90 open two-seater sports car, and the Airline saloon.

Autocar 25 January 1935
Motor 23 July 1935

Registration Mark: AWR 564

Chassis Number: 248916

Owner: The Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust

Inventory Number: 026/S.13

Price when new: £365

Price: 127 Weeks Average Wage