Offered by Brightwells | Leominster, U.K. | November 28, 2018
Photo – Brightwells
Time to indulge in my favorite thing: breaking down make and model histories. SS Cars Ltd. was the result of the Swallow Sidecar Company – founded by William Lyons and William Walmsley – turning to automobiles. This occurred in 1934 (even though cars had sort of been on the table since 1932). The company became Jaguar in 1945 – thanks a lot, Nazis (but seriously, even the SS Cars logo looked like it was ripped off of an SS officer’s uniform).
Prior to 1935, the company had a few products, namely the SS1 and SS2. Sports cars came next with the SS 90 and SS 100 (or SS Jaguar 90 and SS Jaguar 100). Jaguar was a model name with various trims and engines. The SS Jaguar sedans went on sale in 1935 as the SS Jaguar 1.5, Jaguar 2.5, and Jaguar 3.5. They would be produced until 1940 and would go on sale again in 1946 as the Jaguar 1.5, 2.5, and 3.5 (without the SS).
And what we have here is an SS Jaguar 1.5. It was available as a sedan or 2-door drophead coupe. This sedan is called a “Coachbuilt Saloon” but there is little evidence it was coachbuilt in anything more than name. Power is from a replacement Ford Kent 1.6-liter straight-four, which is unfortunate.
The lot description says that this car is the oldest surviving Jaguar in the U.K. and one of just five 1936 Jaguars to exist worldwide (yes, there are older non-Jaguar SS cars). One of 10,980 made, it should bring between $26,000-$33,000. Click here for more info.
Offered by Bonhams | Goodwood, U.K. | September 10, 2016
Photo – Bonhams
William Renwick and A.C. Bertelli came together in 1924 to build engines… but their sticking to engines was short-lived. In 1925, they built the car you see here. Starting with a custom designed engine, they mounted it to a chassis from Enfield-Allday (where Bertelli used to work) and then they had Bertelli’s brother – who was a coachbuilder – build the body.
The engine is a 1.5-liter straight-four. It’s an important engine because the following year Renwick & Bertelli became the controlling directors of a little, financially insolvent company called Aston Martin. This car, dubbed “Buzzbox,” was the inspiration for the company-saving International and Le Mans models from Aston Martin. And with Aston up, running, and successful, Renwick & Bertelli never built another car under their own names.
This one-of-one car is a couple of things. One, it is incredibly sporty and good-looking. Two, it is an important piece of Aston Martin history, having given the company a path to success. It has been restored twice with the most recent work being quite fresh. It is ready and eligible for all major shows. The pre-sale estimate is between $310,000-$370,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
1928 Lea-Francis 1½-Litre Type S Hyper Sports Two-Seater
Offered by Bonhams | Goodwood, U.K. | June 24, 2016
Photo – Bonhams
Trivia: what marque produced the first British production car with a supercharger? Bentley? Nope. It was Lea-Francis and their Hyper 1½-liter Type S. It was introduced in 1928 and was built through 1931. Only 185 were built.
It is powered by a 1.5-liter straight-four that has been supercharged. I can’t tell you how much power it makes but there is a quote in the lot description that says it will cruise comfortably at 70 mph. So it has plenty of power, I guess. This car was actually a factory racer, having competed in the 1928 Ards Tourist Trophy race, a race that was won by a sister machine.
The car has been completely restored and, strangely, is being offered by the family of the man who raced it in the Ards TT (even though they had to reacquire the car at auction in the early 1990s). It’s a solid competitor to a Frazer Nash, should you seek out on-track competition once purchased. If you’re interested, it should bring between $230,000-$320,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Aston Martin built their first car in 1915 but production didn’t start until the 1920s. Early Astons are very rare and you don’t see many from prior to WWII. As far as what early Astons looked like – they all sort of resembled the car you see here.
The Mk II was introduced in 1934 and built through 1936 (yeah, they’re rare: only 148 were built). The company didn’t take off until the David Brown era, but it was models like this that allowed it to survive until Brown came along. Aston’s 1.5-liter engine was first bolted to a car in 1926 and lasted through 1935, with this being among the final Astons to use the 73 horsepower straight-four.
The body is a four-seat tourer by A. C. Bertelli and it’s very sporty, even with its long-ish looking wheelbase – they handled well and could do 80 mph. While the lot description doesn’t explicitly say so, it makes it sound like this car is in original condition – which would be incredible because this car looks like it was just restored. But it does come from long-term (50+ years) ownership where it was in a private museum (read: “collection”). It should bring a strong $150,000-$195,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Coys.