Before the Second World War the name Jaguar was the model name given to the complete range of cars built by SS Cars Ltd. The saloons were titled SS Jaguar 1½ litre, 2½ litre or 3½ litre. The two-seater sports car was titled the SS Jaguar 100 2½ litre or 3½ litre.
After the war the company name was changed to Jaguar Cars Ltd. Although the post-war saloons were officially the Jaguar 1½ litre, 2½ litre etc., the term "Mark IV" was sometimes applied retrospectively by the trade to differentiate them from the officially named Mark V.
All the cars were built on a separate chassis frame with suspension by semi-elliptic leaf springs front and rear.
SS Jaguar and Jaguar Mk IV 1½ Litre
The smallest model of the range originally featured a 1608 cc side valve Standard engine but from 1938 this was replaced by a 1776 cc overhead-valve unit still from Standard who also supplied the four-speed manual transmission.
Pre-war the car was available as a saloon or drophead coupé but post war only the closed model was made. Up to 1938 body construction on all the models was by the traditional steel on wood method but in that year it changed to all steel. Performance was not a strong point but 70 mph (110 km/h) was possible: the car featured the same cabin dimensions and well-appointed interior as its longer-engined brothers.
Despite its lack of out-and-out performance, a report of the time, comparing the 4-cylinder 1½-litre with its 6-cylinder siblings, opined that the smallest-engined version of the car was "as is often the case ... the sweetest running car" with a "big car cruising gait in the sixties".
Mechanically operated brakes using a Girling system were fitted.
SS Jaguar and Jaguar Mk IV 2½ Litre
Again the engine was sourced from Standard but had the cylinder head reworked by SS to give 105 bhp. Unlike the 1½ Litre there were some drophead models made post-war.
The chassis was originally of 119 in (3,020 mm) but grew by an inch (25 mm) in 1938 to 120 in (3,050 mm). The extra length over the 1½ Litre was used for the six-cylinder engine and the passenger accommodation was the same size.
SS Jaguar and Jaguar Mk IV 3½ LitreThe 3½ Litre, introduced in 1938, was essentially the same body and chassis as the 2½ Litre but the larger 125 bhp engine gave better performance but at the expense of economy. The rear axle ratio was 4.25:1 as opposed to the 4.5:1 on the 2½ Litre.
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