Std 1939 jaguar ss 3 5 litre saloon fv
SS Jaguar and Mark IV 1.5 Litre, 2.5 Litre and 3.5 Litre
aka SS Mark IV
Class luxury
Body Style 4-door Saloon
2-door drophead coupe
Length 186 in. (4,720 mm)
Width 66 in. (1,680 mm)
Wheelbase 120 in. (3,050 mm)
Engine 3,485 cc I6
Power 125 hp @ N/A rpm
N/A lb-ft of torque @ N/A rpm

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The new saloon from SS Cars, Ltd. for 1936 was the first model to be called the SS Jaguar. It was introduced on 24 September 1935 at a trade luncheon in the Mayfair Hotel in London. Company head William Lyons asked his secretary for a list of animal and bird names out of the dictionary, and he chose Jaguar as the name for his new model. At this time it was only the name of the model, not the company.

The new SS Jaguar was offered at first only with the 2.5 litre overhead valve engine on a 119" wheelbase chassis, along with a smaller 108" wheelbase version having a 1.5 litre side valve engine, for the 1936 and 1937 model years. In 1938 a 3.5 litre OHV engine was added to the model line, the car being otherwise identical to the 2.5 litre version. The 1.5 litre also became an OHV with increased displacement.

Body styled offered were a four door five passenger Saloon and a two door five passenger convertible Drop Head Coupe.

All three models continued in production until war production work intervened. The company made sidecars, utility trailers and airplane parts for the military.

The company name was changed in March 1945 to Jaguar Cars, Ltd.

Production resumed on all three Saloon models with the end of war production work, with no major changes to the cars, the SS hexagon logos on the grille, bumpers, wheel hubs and engine blocks being changed to read Jaguar within an elongated hexagon.

The model names were simply the engine sizes, 1-1/2 Litre, 2-1/2 Litre and 3-1/2 Litre.

The Drop Head Coupe production was resumed near the end of 1947.

Post-war cars came to be known by enthusiasts as the Mark IV after the next model, the Mark V, was introduced in September 1948.

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Development Changes[]

Wheelbases were increased to 120" and 112.5" for the 1938 model year, and the 1.5 litre was given a larger more advanced OHV engine.

Initially a single side mounted spare tyre was provided, but this was later moved to below the luggage compartment.

Bodies were initially made by coachbuilding methods, aluminum panels over an ash wood frame. For 1938 the bodies were all steel construction.

Styles and Major Options[]

All three models were offered in the 4 door saloon and 2 door Drop Head Coupe body styles. A number of chassis were sent to various coachbuilders in the UK and Switzerland for special custom (bespoke) bodies.

A heater for the passenger compartment became available for the 1940 model year.


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1.5 Litre '36-37 saloon, '38-40 saloon, '38-39 DHC

2.5 litre '36-37 saloon, '38-40 saloon, '38-39 DHC 3.5 Litre saloon, DHC '38-40 1.5, 2.5, 3.5 Litre saloons '45-48
L285, L298, L318 L385, L395, L415 L445, L465 L684, L889, L991

Gas Mileage[]

1936-37 1.5 Litre - 26 miles per Imperial gallon

1938-48 1.5 Litre - 25 miles per Imperial gallon

1936-48 2.5 Litre - 19 miles per Imperial gallon

1938-48 3.5 Litre - 16 miles per Imperial gallon

Trim1 Trim2 Trim3 Trim4
c/h c/h c/h c/h

Engine and Transmission[]

The 1.5 Litre was initially a 4 cylinder 1608cc side valve, but from 1938 was a 1776cc overhead valve. The 2.5 Litre was a 6 cylinder 2663cc overhead valve. The 3.5 Litre was a 6 cylinder 3485cc overhead valve.


The 1936-37 1.5 Litre maximum speed was 70 mph, and for '38-40 it was 71.7 mph.

The 1936-37 2.5 Litre maximum speed was 85.7 to 87.2 mph, and for '38-48 it was 87 mph.

The 1938-48 3.5 Litre maximum speed was 91.8 mph.

Brakes on all models were made by Girling and operated by rods.

Source of information - "Jaguar Saloon Cars" by Paul Skilleter

Reliability - Road testers of the period reported the cars to be reliable and good value for the money. Warranty was for six months.


The cars were provided with safety features of the period such as dipping headlamps, semifore trafficators and brake lights. Seat belts were unknown at this time.


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Main Competitors[]

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Hybrid Models[]

During the war one car was tested with a coal gas propulsion system, anticipating a severe shortage of gasoline (petrol) in the UK.

Unique Attributes[]

Auto magazine writers of the period considered the SS Jaguars equal to Bentley in quality and a good value for the money.


The cars featured leather upholstery and burled walnut instrument panel and door trimmings. Road testers of the period reported them to be very comfortable.

Resale Values[]

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Resale Value
$ $ $ $


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Current Generation: (YYYY–present)[]

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The cars were offered in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and most other former British possessions. Other markets included many European and African countries. SS Cars Ltd. was unable to make much headway in the USA in the 1930s due to the fact of someone else having trademarked the initials SS and thus able to lay claim to all US sales of SS cars. After the war William Lyons himself took a leading hand in organizing the US dealership network.

Design quirks and oddities[]

Only right hand drive was offered before the war. After the war, success in the USA induced the company to produce left hand drive cars, which involved relocating the oil filter and air filter to provide clearance for a LHD steering column. Some cars had 7 inch sealed beam headlamps installed inside the 12 inch Lucas headlamp shells to comply with American preference.


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See Also[]


Tata Group

Tata Motors | Jaguar | Land Rover | Hispano Carrocera SA | Tata Daewoo Commercial Vehicle | Daewoo Bus

Current Models: XF (R) · F-Pace · F-Type · E-Pace · XE · I-Pace

Historic Models: X-Type · E-Type · XJS · XKSS · XK120 · XK140 · XK150 · XJ220 · 240 · 340 · Mk. VII · Mk. VIII · Mk. IX · Mk. X · Mk. V · Mk. IV · Mark 2 · Mark 1 · 3.5 Litre · 2.5 Litre · 1.5 Litre · S-Type (1963-1968) · 420 · S-Type · SS100 · XJR-15 · XJ

Concept Cars: C-XF · R-Coupe · RD-6 · Fuore XF 10 · Pirana Concept · XK180 Concept · F-Type Concept · XK-RR Concept · XK-RS Concept · Concept Eight · XJ Limo Green Hybrid Study Concept · XJ75 Platinum Concept · C-X75 Concept · C-X16 Concept

One-Offs: XJ13

Racing Vehicles: C-Type · D-Type · XJR-5 · XJR-6 · XJR-7 · XJR-8 · XJR-9 · XJR-10 · XJR-11 · XJR-12 · XJR-14 · XJR-16 · XJR-17 · XJ-S · R1 · R2 · R3 · R4 · R5 · XKR GT3 · XKR GT2 · RSR XKR GT

Daimler Corsica Concept

Sir William Lyons Corporate website A brand of the Tata Group

External Links[]

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