Although the main focus of SS / Jaguar in the 1930s was on their saloons, it is the sports-car range that is best remembered today. The range evolved from the SS 90 of 1935, to the SS 100 2.5-litre of 1936 and finally to the SS 100 3.5-litre of 1938. The exterior remained virtually unchanged, but many changes were carried through under the simple, but effective body.
The SS 90 was directly derived from the SS I; it was created by cutting 15 inches out of the saloon's chassis. Power came from a side valve straight six engine, which delivered a mediocre 70 bhp. More power was needed and after a production run of only 23 cars, the SS 90 was replaced by the SS 100. Main difference between the two was the Harry Weslake designed overhead valve head, which yielded an extra 30 bhp.
The relatively low weight, 102 bhp and the competitive price made the SS 100 an immediate hit. Production of the SS 100 was not a priority with the company still focussing on the very successful saloon cars. When production was cut short by the Second World War in 1940 only 190 of the SS 100 2.5-litres and even less (118) of the 3.5-litre variant were constructed.
Most of the SS 100s were fitted with the standard, factory designed and built bodywork, but it comes as no surprise that in the heyday of coach-building some SS 100s received a custom coachwork. One of the finest examples of custom bodied SS 100s is the featured Saoutchik Roadster. The elegant roadster was designed by the Russian born Jacques Saoutchik and most prominent changes compared to the regular SS 100 are the swooping front and rear fenders.
Today the SS 100 Saoutchik Roadster is a welcome guest in Concours d'Elegances, like the 2003 European Concours d'Elegance in Schwetzingen where it is seen in the above images.