Introduction of the S.S. Cars

1933 SS1 Tourer

Not content with pursuing a secondary, coachbuilding role, Lyons wanted to become a car manufacturer in his own right. Taking a cautious approach he arranged for the Standard Motor Company to build a chassis to Swallow’s design, but fitted with Standard engines. And so it was at the 1931 London Motor Show, Lyons revealed the S.S.1 coupe (exactly what the initials SS stood for is still open to conjecture, but it is often assumed they stood for Standard Special). With its low, very French lines and long bonnet the S.S.1 looked like a £1,000 car but only cost a very modest £310. Underpinning the coupe was a special Standard Ensign-derived chassis, and a choice of 2 or 2.5 litre engines.

The popular S.S.II, which appeared alongside the S.S.1 was simply a smaller version based on the Standard Nine chassis and fitted with a 1006cc engine.

A much improved S.S.1 followed in 1933, with a number of revisions introduced to make the larger car a little more practical including lengthening the wheelbase by seven inches and widening the track by two, allowing two passengers to be carried in the rear.

In July 1933 the S.S.1 Tourer was introduced. This was the first open S.S. model and also the first to be entered in a serious competitive event – the 1933 Alpine Trial in Europe – and in 1934 they took the team prize on this event.

By the end of 1934 the company was producing about 1800 cars a year and S.S. Cars Ltd had been established as a public company. Lyons could now regard himself as a fully-fledged car manufacturer. It was also in late 1934 that William Walmsley, who did not share Lyons’ driving ambitions, severed his connection with the company at the first Annual General Meeting of S.S. Cars Ltd. He went on to pursue a low-key career in caravans and garage management.

S.S.Cars SS1
1933 SS1 Tourer
1933 SS1 Tourer Interior
S.S.Cars SS1