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The roots of the Heritage register are very much embedded in the history and birth of the Jaguar name. 

In 1922 Sir William Lyons with William Walmsley co-founded the “Swallow Sidecar Company” building Swallow Sidecars for the motor-cycle craze which had grown in England after World War One. In 1927 they expanded their operation and commenced building sporting bodies on Austin Seven chassis and changed the name of their company to “Swallow Sidecar and Coachbuilding Company”.

They built many varieties of Austin Swallows, and also bodied Wolseley, Morris, Swift, Alvis and Fiat chassis. In late 1928 the company moved to Holbrook, Coventry. By 1929, they had contracted to buy engines and chassis from the Standard Motor Company, and with Swallow's body they were sold as the Standard Swallow.

In 1932 the company offered the rakish S.S. 1 Coupe. A drophead coupe and the smaller S.S. 2 soon joined the original model. 1934 saw the introduction of a new body design, the 'Airline', which Sir William disliked but produced because it was fashionable at the time. Roadster open top tourer versions of the S.S.1 and S.S.2 were also added to the range.

1934 saw the introduction of a new body design, the ‘Airline’, which Sir William disliked but continued production because it was fashionable at the time.

In 1934 S.S. Cars Ltd was registered as a public company and concentrated on manufacturing cars now bearing the name of Jaguar. In 1935 Swallow Coachbuilding Company was put into voluntary liquidation, and was replaced by the “Swallow Coachbuilding Company (1935) Limited which continued to concentrate on sidecar manufacture.

In 1935 Lyons became the sole Managing Director after buying Walmsley out.

The first car called a 'Jaguar' was released in 1935. This S.S. Jaguar was a 2.5 ltr 4 door saloon and remained the basis of production until 1949. A redesigned OHV 'pushrod' 6-cylinder Standard motor propelled the new saloon to 90 miles per hour!  

Another exciting development from 1935 was the appearance of the S.S. 90 sports car. This was soon superseded by the fabulous S.S. 100, now a treasured and expensive classic. 

The onset of World War Two saw the S.S. marque change its production line for the war effort and automobiles were not made. However, during that period Sir William, looking to the future, envisaged an independent business that would not be reliant on outside manufacturers for engine production. The famous DOHC XK engine was the result of significant development work undertaken at this time.

the SS Cars Limited Said Chairman William Lyons "Unlike S.S. the name Jaguar is distinctive and cannot be connected or confused with any similar foreign name."

In 1945 Sir William realised that the 'S.S.' name had negative connotations due to the Nazi SSA organisation. As S.S. Cars Limited Chairman he stated that “Unlike S.S. the name Jaguar is distinctive and cannot be connected or confused with any similar foreign name”. Shareholders in general meeting agreed to change the company's name to Jaguar Cars Limited. 

After the war Sir William realised that mating the new XK engine to a new saloon design (the Mk VII), though taking some years to develop, was vital for the Jaguar company to regain its momentum and also achieve much needed export sales.

In the meantime Jaguar launched and marketed two saloons, the Mk IV, which was very similar to the pre-war SS Jaguar, and in 1948 the Mk V which, while still fairly traditional, was sleeker and more streamlined. Mechanically, it was certainly more modern than the Mark IV with a new rigid chassis, independent front suspension, softer rear springs and hydraulic brakes.  

The Mk VII was finally launched to world acclaim in 1950. The Mk VII was followed by the Mk VIII and Mk IX then in October 1961 the new Mark X, which was a completely new concept was released. While the Mark VII to IX all had a separate chassis, the Mark X was of full monocoque construction. October 1966 saw the Mark 10 rebadged as the 420G. Ultimately these cars were replaced by the new XJ saloons.

Vehicles in the Heritage Register cover a large range of time and models, including all of the pre-war motor vehicles built by Swallow, plus the post war large saloons right through to the Mark 10 and the 420G. 

Regretfully, a relatively low number of classic saloons and sports cars of this period survive in Australia owing to age and many of the rarer models leaving our shore, having been bought by overseas collectors.

Swallow Bodied Cars

In 1927 Swallow expanded their operation from just building side cars for motor cycles to coach builders, they started building sporting bodies on  Austin Seven chassis.

The Austin Seven accounted for most of Swallow’s sales, however; they also bodied Wolseley, Morris, Swift, Alvis and Fiat chassis.

In 1928 Henlys Limited, were considered to be one of the largest retail motor organisations in the country. Lyons went to them and negotiated a large order to build 500 cars, including a Swallow saloon on the Austin Seven chassis as well as an open two-seater.

The design was particularly distinctive, and was available in a wide range of colour schemes, it was well-finished, almost luxurious, inside and out.

The Swallow Seven became deservedly popular, with an estimated 2,500 cars being made from 1927 to 1932.  The majority were saloons, around 1,700 of them.  Over the years of production, small changes were made to the Swallow saloon, for instance, the radiator was changed several times.

SS 1

Swallow’s location in Coventry eventually brought it into contact with the Standard Motor Company at Canley which led to Swallow contracting to buy engines and chassis. Fitted with classier bodies they were sold under the Swallow banner. The very first of these was the S.S.1, a low sporty coupe with a 6-cylinder engine.

The SS 1 was noted for its attractive appearance and its apparent value-for-money. It was released with a choice of 15 hp six-cylinder side-valve Standard engine of 2054 cc developing 48 bhp (36 kW). Shortly after its release it was also offered with a 2552 cc engine developing 62 bhp (46 kW).

In 1934, the engines were enlarged to 2143 cc and 53 bhp (40 kW) or 2663 cc and 68 bhp (51 kW). Standard also built the chassis which in 1933 was changed to underslung suspension. With a top speed of 75 mph (121 km/h), the cars were remarkable for their styling and low cost rather than their performance.

The car was initially supplied as a four-seater fixed head coupé. In 1933 a tourer was launched. For 1934 the chassis was modified to give a wider track and better front footwells. The gearbox also gained synchromesh. In 1934 a saloon version and in 1935 a drophead coupé was added to the range.

SS Airline

In 1934 the first signs of a switch in S.S. styling policy towards long flowing curves came with the announcement of the S.S. Airline, a two door four-seater Saloon, with two spare wheels, mounted on each front wing in metal covers, and by far the most graceful line seen to date from Swallow. It was built on the SS 1 Chassis and offered the the same 2043 cc and 2663 cc engines as the SS 1. For some reason it was a relatively poor seller, possibly because its styling was ahead of its time.

SS 2

Shortly after the S.S.1 came the smaller S.S.2 with a four-cylinder 9 hp engine of 1,006cc. These were available in coupe, saloon and open tourer configuration. Although still making use of chassis, engines and components supplied by the Standard Company, Swallow’s new cars were very different from the earlier Standard Swallows.

The larger car had a specially designed chassis, while the smaller S.S.2 used a Standard Little Nine chassis. The S.S.2 was manufactured for two years in this form, and total production during this period was 550 cars. Survivors of this early type are now very rare.

At the end of 1933, the car was updated with a new chassis with a longer wheelbase, new body styling with flowing wings, and a choice of bigger engines, still Standard side valve units, of either 10 hp 1,343cc or 12 hp 1,608cc This revised model was also available in saloon and tourer form. It continued in production until 1935. The S.S.2 was even more reasonably priced, at £210, but naturally had a rather modest performance, with a top speed of 60 mph (96 km/h) against the 75 mph (120 km/h) of its bigger brother.

SS 90

1935 saw the appearance of the S.S. 90 sports car. It was S.S. Cars first foray into building a true British sports car.

The car was fitted with a six-cylinder 2663 cc side-valve Standard engine, which differed from the one used in the ordinary cars by having Dural connecting rods, an aluminium cylinder head, and twin carburetors. The chassis was a shortened version of the S.S.1 chassis. It had half-elliptical springs all round, with an underslung back axle.

The cars were admired for their beautiful sporting styling, but unfortunately the performance didn’t match their appearance. 


SS 100

The S.S. 90 was superseded by the fabulous S.S. 100. It had similar styling and suspension to the S.S. 90 but the engine was a further development of the old 2½-litre Standard pushrod unit. A new cylinder head was designed converting the engine from the original side valve configuration to overhead valve increasing the power to 100 bhp.

In 1938 the engine was further enlarged to 3½ litres and the power increased to 125 bhp The four-speed gearbox had synchromesh on the top 3 ratios.

Sir William knew the value of rally and racing victories which would boost prestige and publicity for his company. Before the war the 3.5 litre engined S.S. 100 and also the saloons, would be very active in British and international sporting events.

SS Jaguar Saloon

In 1935 the “Jaguar” name sprang upon the scene. The very first car to carry the SS Jaguar name was a completely new. beautifully balanced four-door four-seater saloon.  

Weslake, a distinguished engineering consultant had been turning his talents to the Standard engine and by adopting overhead valves he succeeded in increasing output from 75 bhp of the previous 2½ litre side valve engine to no less than 105 bhp.  For the new chassis and engine unit, Lyons designed a fresh body style, less flamboyant than previous models, yet still stylish.

Sophistication was increasing, and now customers were offered four doors for the first time on an S.S.  Indeed; so different were the new models that it was felt that a new model name was needed. Thus, the new cars would be known as SS Jaguars. 

Lyons arranged to launch the new model to the press a few days before the 1935 Motor Show with a lunch at the Mayfair Hotel in London 

The SS Jaguar 2½ litre saloon was unveiled and it received very favourable comment.

A 1½ litre four cylinder engine and with similar Coachwork was added to the range.

A new  enlarged 3½ litre engine was also developed.  In September 1937, this engine, together with the new 1½ litre unit, joined the 2½ litre version in a completely revised model range.

The new models were not very different in appearance; the basic proportions of the first Jaguar saloon were retained, but a wider and much roomier body was designed, space being provided for the spare wheel in a compartment recessed below the luggage boot, instead of in a metal case over the left front wing, and it marked the company's abandonment of the traditional composite wood and metal body construction in favour of all-steel construction.

With a choice of 2½ or 3½ litre engines, it remained basically unchanged from 1937 to 1949.

Mark IV

After the war in March 1945 the company name SS Cars Ltd was changed to Jaguar Cars Ltd.

It was vital for the company to regain its momentum and much needed export sales. The initial solution was the continued production of the pre war 1½ litre, 2½ litre and 3½ litre models that had been produced from 1935 to 1940.

These post war vehicles would later be known as the 'Mk IV' saloons. They were slightly modified versions of the immediate pre-war saloons and were offered in 1.75, 2.5 and 3.5 ltr versions. A drophead coupe was also available.

All the Mark IVs were built from 1945 to 1949 and were on a separate chassis frame with suspension by semi-elliptic leaf springs on rigid axles front and rear.

The Mark IV name was applied in retrospect to separate this model from the succeeding Mark V range

Mark V

However; by the late '40s the Mk IV looked a little out of date and a newer style of saloon was needed to maintain sales, especially for the all-important U.S. market. The resulting 1948 Mk V still looked fairly traditional but was sleeker and more streamlined.

The car was only available as a fHowever; by the late '40s the Mk IV looked a little out of date and a newer style of saloon was needed to maintain sales, especially for the all-important U.S. market. The resulting 1948 Mk V still looked fairly traditional but was sleeker and more streamlined.

The car was only available as a four-door Saloon (sedan) and a two-door convertible known as the Drop Head Coupé, both versions seating five adults. and was offered with 2.5 and 3.5 litre engines.

Mechanically it was certainly more modern with a new rigid chassis. It was It was the first Jaguar with independent front suspension, first with hydraulic brakes, first with spats (fender skirts), first specifically designed to be produced in both Right- and Left-Hand Drive configurations, first with disc centre wheels, first with smaller wider 16" balloon tyres, first to be offered with sealed headlamps and flashing turn signals for the important American market, and the last model to use the pushrod engines.

The Mark V was available in 12 single paint colours, in various combinations with 7 upholstery colours, but the factory did not offer two-tone treatment, nor did they offer white wall tyres. Two cars were done by the factory in two-tone schemes, and 32 others in various special colours, for unknown reasons. Others may have been repainted as two-tone by American dealers before or after the sale, as well as fitting white wall tyres

The last Mk V came off the production line in 1951. The Mk V Jaguar is still a very useable classic car today!

Mark VII

The Mk VII was finally launched to world acclaim in 1950. The chassis came from the Jaguar Mark V and the wheelbase remained the same at 10 feet (3,048.0 mm). The new model's body looked more streamlined, with integrated headlights and mudguards, a two-piece windscreen, and longer rear overhang. As on the Mark V, the rear wheels were partially covered by removable spats.

The Mark VII was powered by the newly developed XK engine. First seen in production form in the 1948 XK120, the 3442 cc DOHC straight-six provided 160 bhp (119.3 kW), the same as in the XK120, and the saloon's claimed top speed was over 100 mph (160 km/h).

The saloons cemented William Lyons sales slogan of “Grace Pace and Space” and went on to become the genesis for all Jaguar saloons from then on, with quality build, luxury, high performance, and good value for the money.

The early Mk VII and VIIM cars had considerable success in motor sport, on race tracks and road rallies, in the hands of some of the best drivers of the time.

In 1952 the Mark VII became the first Jaguar to be offered with automatic transmission.

In 1954 the model was upgraded to M specification, by which time 20,908 had been built.

In 1952 the Mark VII became the first Jaguar to be offered with automatic transmission.

In 1954the model was upgraded to M specification, by which time 20,908 had been built.


October 1954 saw the release of the Mk VIIM, it was an upgraded Mk VII but with changes such as head lamps single piece glass with a “J” logo in the centre together with slightly larger red lens tail lights the same as on the XK 140. The semaphore arm turn indicators were replaced by flashing turn indicators, separate round amber at front, and utilizing the stop lamp at rear. Round horn grills replaced the driving lamps which were moved from  below the headlamps to the valance panel directly behind and overlooking the front bumper bar.

The engine capacity remained the same, however, the introduction of new high-lift cams increased the amount of power to 190 bhp (141.7 kW), giving the car a claimed top speed of 104 mph (167 km/h).  The four-speed manual gearbox remained the standard fitting but was now constant mesh and fitted with closer ratios. Larger torsion bars were fitted to the front suspension.

Ronnie Adams had a number of successes in the big Mark VII including victory in the 1956 Monte Carlo Rally. Thus, Jaguar became the first manufacturer ever to win both Le Mans and the Monte Carlo Rally in the same year.


October 1956 saw further evolution with the release of the Mk VIII.

The car outwardly resembled its predecessor, changes included a single piece windscreen cut-away spats with a scalloped bottom edge chrome trim on both sides starting low on the front guard and looping up then back and running down the waist line contour on both doors and looping down to then form a straight line across the spats to point in line with the rear bumper which allowed the factory to offer a variety of two-tone paint schemes (on demand).

There was a wider and bolder radiator frame with smaller winged Jaguar badge introduction of the leaper and the new car had rear spats that were cut back to display more of the rear wheels. The interior fittings were more luxurious than those of the Mark VIII M.

Mark IX

The Mk IX was announced 8 October 1958 and was produced between 1958 and 1961. On the outside it was indistinguishable from the previous Mk VIII except for a rear boot badge. Early Mk IXs had the same tail lamps carried over from Mk VIII, however later models had larger tail lights incorporating an amber turn lens on top of the red stop and tail lights mounted on a chrome plinth similar to the compact Mk II saloon and late XK 150. Engine capacity was increased to 3.8 litre and disc brakes were introduced.

Mark X

In October 1961 the new Mark X a replacement for the Mark IX however this was no evolutionary update but a completely new concept. While the Mark VII to IX had a separate chassis, the Mark X was of full monocoque construction. It employed a widened version of the new independent rear suspension as fitted to the E-type and was fitted with the same engine. The car was very large by European standards, but was designed with the US market in mind. It seated five people and capable of transporting four or five people quickly and in great comfort.

Jaguar hoped that the car would appeal to heads of state, diplomats and film stars and was primarily aimed at the United States market.

The interior featured abundant woodwork, including the dashboard, escutcheons, window trim, a pair of large matched fold out rear picnic tables, and a front seat pull-out picnic table stowed beneath the instrument cluster.

Later, air conditioning and a sound-proof glass division between the front and rear seats were added as options

In October 1964 the Mk X was fitted with 4.2 litre engine of which is only 5137 were built and few are known to survive.


At Earls Court, in 1966,  Jaguar’s large saloon, the Mark X, morphed into the 420G. Developments from the Mark X included chrome strips down either side with a small flasher unit at the forward end of it, a bolder central slat to the grille and the substitution of small grilles for previously fitted spotlights.

Crash padding was added to the top of the dash which incorporated a clock and more comfortable seating provided.


Daimler DS420

The Daimler DS420 was based on the Jaguar Mk X and produced by Jaguar, it was introduced by British Leyland to provide a replacement limousine after the demise of the Daimler Majestic Major DR450 and Austin Princess.

Of the 4981 cars produced, 835 were body less, for custom coach building. As most were bespoke, performance figures are meaningless. It is assumed performance was similar but slightly down on the Mk X or 420G Jaguar due to a slightly additional weight disadvantage.

Register Secretary
Bill Daws


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