Sold for £393,000
(including buyers premium)
Registration No: CVU 2
Chassis No: 18050
It is difficult to overstate the importance of the SS100 to the Jaguar legend. Forebear to the equally glamorous XK120 and E-Type, the two-seater was primarily marketed for competition usage which goes some way to explaining its tiny production numbers; 191 2½ Litre and 118 3½ Litre cars. To put those figures into context Bugatti made 710 Type 57s, while Bentley completed 2,422 3½ Litre and 4¼ Litre chassis. Accumulating silverware at both National and International level, the triumph of the SS100 programme helped convince Sir William Lyons to press ahead with the C-Type and D-Type ones during the 1950s (which netted five Le Mans 24-hours victories between them).
The example offered here – chassis 18050 – was an integral part of the Roadster’s success story as was its first owner, Jack Harrop. The son of a Manchester industrialist, he had competed in a variety of Chrysler and MG cars before ordering one of Jaguar’s almost impossibly rakish two-seaters from his local dealership, Henlys. Harrop’s decision was doubtless influenced by Tommy Wisdom’s performance on the 1936 International Alpine Trial which saw him helm an SS100 to overall victory (winning a coveted ‘Coupes des Glaciers’ in the process). Specified in Maroon with external door handles and a 3.8:1 final drive, chassis 18050 was delivered on 8th December 1936. Road registered as ‘CVU 2’, the Roadster made its competitive debut less than two months later on the Sixteenth Monte Carlo Rally (January 26th - January 30th 1937). The event attracted no fewer than 133 entries with Harrop being among fifteen crews who elected to start from John O’Groats. A steady drive saw him finish thirtieth overall. Rewarded with the Royal Scottish Automobile Club Trophy for being the highest placed finisher to have departed from the famous Highland village, his next outing aboard ‘CVU 2’ proved even more impressive.
Notable for the unseasonable amount of fog, snow, ice and heavy rain which it threw at competitors, the Sixth RAC Rally ran from March 9th – 12th 1937. Quite remarkably, the 1,000-mile course was completed by all but eight of the 192 entrants. Upsetting the apple cart somewhat, Harrop piloted chassis 18050 to overall victory beating the Works-entered SS100s of Tommy Wisdom and E.H. Jacobs into second and fourth places respectively. Performing particularly well in the driving tests, he was praised by Motor Sport magazine who reported: ‘Then Harrop came up the hill fast. Blipping his throttle, he was completely untroubled by a terrific front wheel slide while reversing and displayed wizard acceleration’. Invited to drive for the factory thereafter, Harrop won the 1938 RAC Rally and finished 10th overall on the 1939 Monte Carlo Rally aboard other SS100s.
Although ‘CVU 2’ did not enjoy another major win, it appeared in a variety of Jaguar brochures promoting the SS100 including a listing in the 1939 SS Jaguar sales brochure for competition success. It was also featured in period publications such as ‘Speed’ magazine and later in marque historian Andrew Whyte’s book ‘SS100 Super Profile’. Relocating to Switzerland, Harrop is understood to have taken the Roadster with him. Serving as a Flight Officer with the RAF’s 612 Squadron during World War Two, the two-time RAC Rally victor and his crew took off for a coastal patrol on November 3rd 1941 but never returned. Changing hands thereafter, the Jaguar is understood to have seen further competition usage being lightly modified with cycle wings, aero screens and telescopic front shock absorbers. Venturing to America during 1958, chassis 18050 still retained its original (albeit battered) front wings and windscreen when acquired by previous keeper William Martin some years later. A true SS100 aficionado who owned five of them at one time, Martin was determined to restore the ‘old warhorse’ to its former glory. To this end, he managed to track down its original engine (number 250997) which had been preserved by two registrars of the Classic Jaguar Association’s SS Register, namely Messrs Jack Hall and Holly Hollenbeck.
Martin got as far as shipping the SS100 back across The Pond and into the care of a dear friend in 1993 but the planned refurbishment never happened. Nevertheless, he insisted on flying over from California to interview the vendor about his intentions before agreeing to sell ‘CVU 2’ during 2010. True to his word, the seller spent the next ten or so years painstakingly returning the Jaguar to its rally winning specification. Major points of the restoration included the following:
Engine thoroughly overhauled by an acknowledged specialist (the block is correctly endorsed with the ‘SS 100’ factory logo)
• Gearbox professionally rejuvenated, and a new propshaft made using the original yokes
• Chassis media-blasted and then hot zinc sprayed followed by three coats of specialist chassis paint
• All joints of the ash frame were re-glued, with areas of ash replaced where required, then strengthened with ash gussets in critical locations; frame re-skinned; new plywood floors, all as original. New front wings fabricated using the originals as a pattern
• Springs overhauled and new Silentbloc bushes fitted
• Original Luvax shock absorbers overhauled and refitted; André Hartford shock absorbers replaced
• Original brake shoes relined and all rods plated and refitted
• Total electrical rewire using Autosparks (Lucas) wiring loom
• All brightwork removed and refurbished (re-chroming undertaken by Derby Plating)
• QK596 headlights restored by Vintage Headlight Restorations
• Steering rack overhauled by Holman Engineering
• Total interior re-trim with new leather throughout by restoration specialist John Foy using original trim patterns and detailing
• New door cards, hood, tonneau cover, side screens and carpets.
• All dashboard instruments overhauled and re-calibrated by a specialist
The repaint was undertaken by a specialist coachwork sprayer in the original SS colour of Maroon. The car sits on its original rims refurbished by Turrino Wheels and shod with Blockley tyres. With the car are the restored SS 100 jack, tools, and a starting handle. During the restoration the car was inspected and verified by the late David Davenport of Davenport Cars Ltd (globally respected SS Jaguar specialists). Throughout the renovation the vendor was supported and advised by some of the world's leading SS Jaguar authorities such as: David Davenport, Alan Crouch, Alan Gibbons, and from Australia John Clucas and Ed Nantes.
The end result is not only the nicest but also the most historic SS100 we have encountered. Surely worthy of a place in a major collection or museum, ‘CVU 2’ is testament to all that made Jaguar renowned in the first place. Worthy of close inspection and eligible for a host of prestigious events, chassis 18050 is offered for sale with a UK V5C Registration Document and compelling history file.
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Auction: Imperial War Museum | Duxford, Cambridgeshire, 14th Jun, 2023
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An auction of classic, collector and performance motorcars to be held at the iconic and visually stunning Imperial War Museum, Duxford. Cambridgeshire.
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Tuesday 13th June 2023 from 12pm to 6pm
Wednesday 14th June 2023 from 9am
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