Short Facts








Inline 6





86'600 (Read)


Rare Beauty

118 units, just as many examples of the 3.5 litre were produced before production was not only discontinued due to the emerging turmoil of war, but also before the name "SS" was finally transferred to the Jaguar brand we know today. By then, however, the engineers had set themselves the goal of building the fastest road-going sports car in the world. And that's exactly what they did: in keeping with its name, the SS 100 was exactly 100 miles per hour, i.e. 164 km/h. And that may not sound like a lot in today's world, but you have to bear in mind that there were no motorways back then, the roads were more or less ambitiously asphalted country lanes and it was not unusual for a few horse-drawn carriages to be among the road users.

The fascination of the machine

125 hp was a lot back then. An Austin Seven had to get round corners with +/- twelve hp. That was practically the popular standard for those who could afford a car and the fact that the SS 100 had ten times as much engine power certainly seemed as crazy back then as a Bugatti Chiron with 1500 hp is today. Nobody really needs it, but nevertheless, the fascination for super sports cars was already very high in 1938 and not least because of this, all SS 100s found their way to kings, the stars and people who not only appreciated the exclusivity of these vehicles, but loved them dearly.

The estate

Officially, 37 examples of the SS 100 with the 3.5 litre engine still exist. And here we have one of them, chassis number 39022, which was not only a welcome guest at the Mille 1000, but was also considered lost for many years. And this despite the fact that this Jag has repeatedly taken part in numerous classic car events and rallies with its current owner over the last 36 years. However, anyone wishing to take possession of this car need not fear that it is a garage queen with damage. Rather, this is one of those cars that has been driven often and with love and, above all, very meticulously maintained. People were well aware of the 38's origins and accordingly took responsible care of this almost sacred piece of automotive history.


Owner stories

The SS100 was delivered by Henly's in London and handed over to the first owner in North Yorkshire. Unfortunately, its name was lost in the chaos of the war, but it is known that the car was parked during the war years. The second owner was a certain Mr Henderson, a solicitor from Middlesbrough. The third owner was John (Jack) Snowdon, from whose family archive the pictures below originate. Snowdon drove the roadster at various motorsport events around North Yorkshire (see second picture). Alan Ensoll, Jaguar enthusiast, racing driver and garage owner, was the next man to put the SS100 through its paces at racing events. Ensoll's fleet also included other Jags, for example an aluminium XK120 (which he gallantly put to one side), C-Type and D-Type models. In 1957, the SS100 changed hands again and went into the hands of John Coverdale before he sold it again in 1958. Until then, the car always bore the licence plate of the first registration in England, GPF 170. After that, the story gets lost and one can only speculate that the SS100 found its way to the USA, where its original production plate finally turned up on an auction platform a few years ago. The car then returned to the scene in 1987 as a participant in the Mille Miglia with Terry Cohn at the wheel and with the UK registration USV969. In the mid-1990s, the SS100 was meticulously restored under the hand and direction of Peter Orlainsky, also a Jaguar enthusiast and owner of a large Jaguar dealership in Vorarlberg, Austria, in a beautiful signature style and kept in good condition for the current Swiss owner and Jaguar collector over the years until his death in 2021. The original colour combination was reversed in the course of the restoration, and the car is still red on the outside and black on the inside to this day.


We are still in contact with a member of the Snowdon family. If we find any more pictures, data or stories about the SS100 with chassis 39022, we will of course continue to add to the story. In any case, many thanks to the Snowdon family, sharing such information keeps this type of car alive and its fascination alive.

John Coverdale's wife, dated 1957 (name known)

Jack Snowdon at a rally in Richmond, North Hampshire, around 1957.

Participation in a rally, dated 1955.

The Interior

What marvellously baroque fittings. It's a mixture of grandmother's grandfather clock and the curves of a sculpture. When this car was restored in the mid-1990s, no compromises were made in terms of originality. Seats, steering wheel, displays, indicator lights, trim parts, carpets, the soft top - everything is just as it was then and should still be today. And by the way, you sit in this car pleasantly well for a vehicle concept that was developed at the beginning of the last century far removed from computers and ergonomic studies. Damage or defects are nowhere to be found.


125 horses from 3.5 litres and six cylinders. So much for the bare figures. More important, however, is the absolutely unique driving experience of this car. The displacement is not only perceptible, but also audible. The sound of this six-cylinder engine is simply breathtakingly beautiful, inimitably sporty and absolutely honest. The propulsion is more than adequate, even by today's standards, and you quickly get an impression of what it must have been like back then to drive this car swiftly over an Alpine pass. On gravel and washed-out paths, mind you. Today, in view of its rarity, you wouldn't necessarily want to drive this car over the Gotthard at the limit, but you could if you wanted to. One must not forget that these cars are more than just solid, despite their delicate shapes, and this SS 100 also looks like a castle when you take a second look at the technology. Solid steel wherever you look and no plastics anyway.


The steering can be described as tight and the steering behaviour, if you want to call it that, is very direct and without any time delay. One is tempted to heave the car into a bend a little faster due to the virtually non-existent tendency to lean sideways, were it not for the very manageable tyre dimensions. Of course, there are limits here and it is a good idea to approach the handling of the SS 100 slowly at first and, above all, to familiarise yourself with the operation of the gearbox.

According to its original purpose, the SS 100 can definitely also be driven in a very sporty manner, but its real speciality is a leisurely pace. Because even there, the Jag not only gives its occupants a good feeling, but also those who notice these absolutely unusual shapes for today's world and can hardly take their eyes off this fiery red roadster, at least until it has disappeared from view. The visual dynamism of this car is absolutely legendary, and rightly so.


This rare 3.5 was completely rebuilt to factory specification in Austria in the mid-1990s in an absolutely first-class classic SS and Jaguar workshop in Austria (Orlainsky, Bludenz). The colour combination was reversed in favour of the sporty look, the car was black on the outside and red on the inside from the factory. Apart from that, the car corresponds to the configuration that was delivered by Henlys in London to Spark Motors on Saturday 12 February. This also applies to the combination of chassis, body and engine, the car is comprehensibly matching #s (Jaguar Heritage Trust Certificate).


The chrome parts are free from oxidation and damage. The paintwork has its healthy depth all round and will be brought back into absolutely perfect condition before handover. The interior is immaculate, no scratches, burst seams or torn carpets. The electrics work perfectly. Even when cold, the engine starts within a few revolutions and quickly falls into a stable idle. Power is definitely there. The gearbox shifts with absolute precision and normal effort. The steering has no noticeable play around the centre position.


A few small signs of wear have accumulated on the car over the last few years, which will of course be completely removed by a specialised and highly renowned specialist company before handover to a new owner.

Original and original items

As already mentioned, apart from the reversed colour combination, the car corresponds to the configuration and condition when it left the factory, as far as can be ascertained. Naturally, the small, oval discs are also included with the car. Apart from a retrofitted heat protection plate above the exhaust manifold and an oil drip tray on the underbody, the engine is in its original condition (overhauled). The veteran registration was extended until 2026 in June 2020 without any objections.


According to our research, this SS 100 took part in the 1987 Mille Miglia with the starting number 89. And his driver was none other than Terry Cohn, a famous collector and owner of the Fine Motor Company. Cohn was a regular participant in the famous rally in Italy and a highly esteemed expert when it came to the very fine vehicles of the pre-war period, and cars from his hand are still regarded as highlights at various auctions and events many years after his death.

You can find even more pictures of this English work of art in our gallery. If you are interested in or have any questions about this vehicle, please use the form below or call us on the number below. We will of course get back to you as soon as possible.


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