1938 SS Jaguar 2-1/2 Litre Saloon

Today I took delivery of the subject car. Why, I don’t know. I guess I heard it whimpering to me and I felt sorry for it.

Sorry I can’t identify that pickup on the back; not enough left to recognize, but I guess somebody wanted it.

My car made the trip from Los Angeles to Chicago with the front windows down. Seems dry inside, maybe they didn’t run into any snow.

First order of business is to determine its identity. Unfortunately the SS Cars data plate is missing.
Where is the chassis number?
Allan Crouch’s book says the 1938 cars didn’t have a number stamped on the chassis. Can anybody corroborate or refute that statement?
I don’t want to send for a heritage certificate until I know the chassis number.

My first pleasant surprise was finding the rear bumper inside, along with a box of parts that included the swing down bumper mounting parts, also most of the missing door handles, fog light lenses, horn bell and the air cleaners. Thought I would be hunting for all those parts, don’t know why the seller didn’t mention them, I might have paid more.

More tomorrow.


The pickup was a Chevy or GMC, not a ‘55.

FUN!! Looking forward to following along. Congratulations on your purchase.

Lucky you.
It looks very good [ for age] Most parts are available, and any and all quirks have already been addressed by some already.
I wouldn’t worry about the horn bell, the horns are foreigners from postwar.
The correct horns are new Alto , the same as an SS 100

The foglamps are Lucas FT 58, [ pointed back]

Well done Rob!

I look forward to many reports of progress.

The chassis number is in two places. It’s on the offside rear front spring trunion side plate and it’s also above the trunion on the chassis.

You will also find little body number plates on the doors and on the offside of the scuttle although they are normally embossed outward facing numbers rather than like the one on the car below.

I think your car has a very interesting early mascot rather like the Kasimir Brau Panther in the photo below.



Always loved them, you’ve got a lot of work on your hands, if your in the New York area and need help, just PM . I like helping now adays .
Nice project.

Well, I found something where Peter said, soon as I figured out which side was offside. :wink:

This is the rear mounting of the right front leaf spring.
If I give it a lot of imagination, I can persuade myself that it says 40051.
I didn’t notice until I put the picture on the big screen computer, but it looks like the same number is above it on the chassis rail.
This is the same number that is given as the VIN on the Iowa certificate of title that came with the car. Whoever posted the info on ssjaguardata probably got it from the dealer.

The mascot may be an interesting study in itself. Anybody recognize it?

I had asked the dealer to remove it and put it inside before shipping, thinking it might get stolen, but apparently they couldn’t get the radiator cap loose and tried to just unscrew the mascot, so it was loose and swinging around. I had to use a strap wrench on the cap. The mascot is not marked but the stem is 1/4-26 BSF thread with a hex nut.

I also find the radiator badge, hub spinners and oil fill cap are post-war Jaguar, not SS. The medallion on the rear bumper has no SS or J at all. But the engine block has the SS logo. I suspect some previous owner wanted to get rid of the SS markings and bought new parts for it after the war, understandable of course.

More fun stuff.
There is a 3 ring binder with a photocopy of the 1946-48 Service Manual and photocopy of an undated Owners Handbook.

Tucked in the back were 3 photocopies of a Vehicle (Excise) Act, 1949 Registration Book.

Page 4 has stamps for:
Berks County Council, Abbey Street, Reading (crossed out)
Soke of Peterborough County Council Taxation Department
Huntingdon & ???borough County Council (crossed out)
??? Council, Eagle Star House, 74 Lemon Street, Truro 78635

Page 6 has an owner’s name, though I don’t know whether or not this is the first owner. John Raymond Gibson, 22 Mayors Walk, Peterborough.
There is a Peterborough stamp by his name but the date is illegible.

1st Change: Harry John Sibley, Lake House, 3 Flexbury Park, Bude, Cornwall.
There is a Cornwall stamp by his name and the date might be 72 or 77.

Page 8 has the Registration Mark KMG273, the color listed as Black, the chassis number 40051, engine number L205, rating 19.84, Date of Original Registration 31-1-38 (Nineteen Hundred and Thirty Eight)

pages 9 and 10 have a lot of round tax stamps beginning with Berkshire CC 25/10/56, then 16 stamps for Peterborough CC ending 31 Aug 66,

HJ Sibley was a dealer, and there are 3 copies of what looks like sales information about the car, confirming the registration, chassis, engine and body numbers, color stated as Shell Grey over Tudor Grey, price $3150, includes spot light and chrome horns, plus a sheet about shipping to the US, all unfortunately undated.

Also an undated receipt for steam cleaning by Andrews Ltd. of The Docks Southampton.

Pity there are no dates, might have shown us when it came to America.

In one of the door pockets was a Lucas Battery Agents booklet dated 1958 covering England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Eire.

Both cubby boxes are lined with pink stuff crumbling into dust.

The tool tray is lined with brown stuff that looks like carpet padding.

If it’s a 1949 registration book it should be a stamped CONTINUATION BOOK and the first owner recorded on it will only be the owner at the time the new book was issued.
It’s good that it records the date of original registration as 31-1-38. It definitely suggests that someone wrongly interpreted H as K.


Yes, it does say Continuation Book.

The license plates seem to be genuine.

The licence plates do look correct. The translucent characters in the rear can be swapped singly. I think you can be fairly certain that it wasn’t issued with a KMG registration in January 1938 although the writing may have been misinterpreted by the first owner or the person who actually had the original plates made.


I have a 1948 UK Industry Publication that gives dates-of-issue of all UK Registration Numbers from 1903 to 1948 current, and it shows KMG as being Mar to May 1939.

So if 31 Jan 1938 is shown as date of first registration, it originally was registered with another number, that may not have been renewed Jan 1939 when due, and when re-registered in Mar to May 1939 issued with new plates?

Easy enough to find appropriate Jan 1938 Registration Plate prefix, but it very much depends and will differ depending on who exactly who was the original Licensing Authority.
The Mar to May 1939 KMG273, the xMG prefix denotes ‘Middlesex’ Licensing authority, with Kxx273 being the serial number as issued in Mar to May 1939.

So you could only guess without the original issue Log Book.
There is a good chance a JDHT Certificate will advise original Dealership, and with luck original owner/address if the Guarantee paperwork had been properly filled in and submitted.

Otherwise there is a 12 month gap in known first year of history.


If first owner lived in Peterborough, chances are it was first Licensed there by the Peterborough Licensing Authority, albeit that is not guaranteed as selling dealership may have been located elsewhere and could have licensed it elsewhere, so again see what JDHT Certificate reveals, if anything.
But if a 1938 Peterborough first registration, then allocated Peterborough ‘prefix’ then was from 1931 to 1965 xEGxxx, but nothing I can find for Jan 1938 against xEG, which suggests it may not have been Peterborough after all, or there are omissions in my various UK Licensing references.

Hi Rob,

Looking at your tool tray I suspect that a previous owner has made a bespoke version for your car. There are lots of different tool tray layouts but the actual tool types don’t change radically from 1936 onwards but your tray omits many of the standard tools and creates locations for unknowns.
For examples you don’t have a jack or the brace for it nor the King Dick adjustable or oil can or tyre levers and your pump has no handle or feet.

The basic structure of surround and lid is correct, as is the lamp. A typical tray in this period looks like this restored one although there are several different layouts in the '38/39 period. The padding on your lid is correct but missing the baize


Personally I think SS look best with no Mascot,then if one MUST have one,the factory oneis best ,then various aftermarket efforts do nothing to help visually
I do have correct radiator badge { although you may need to check that it actually has an SS grille not a MK IV] One would neeed to see a pic of the bottom of the grille.
I also have dies to make the correct pressed body ID tags
And castings of the bumper SS Badge

Hi Ed,

The grill is correct and I suspect Rob’s body tags are original and correct too although he’d need to check what the ones on the doors look like.


Now who’s car is this?
and which model was the mascot specifically designed for?

Peter :upside_down_face:

Ha, ha, ha! Not to worry, my friends. That funny mascot was the first thing that I removed.

I noticed that he was leaping straight ahead, not upwards like the Gordon-Crosby. A bit too bony and emaciated, too.

Peter, your picture of my tool tray is somehow reversed; the little white thing is on the left. It is also loose and has slipped down a bit, maybe that’s why it doesn’t look right. But it looks like it was painted black at the same time as the surrounding plywood.
According to the parts book my car had tool tray 2429/TL where later cars had BD.65/TL.1 or .2 so there are 3 variations.
Mine had jack 1390 and handle 1394 rather than C.204/A and C.205 so another variation from later cars.
Anybody know what they looked like?
My rear jack sockets are missing but the fronts measure 1-9/32" square inside.

The second thing I fixed was the fog lights. The one on the right is Lucas but the one on the left is Bosch.

Only one type of horn is listed in the parts catalogue, WT29 Hi and Lo.

Hi Rob,

I reversed the image of your tool tray to make easier comparisons with the restored one.

Here’s what the Lucas FT58s and the HF728 horns should look like.


Greetings All,

A few years ago I was at the AACA’s Gilmore Museum. Tucked inside one of its many building on their grounds was an enormous collection of automotive hood ornaments. This collection spanned continents and over close to a hundred years. There was a hood ornament that predates Gordon Crosby’s “creation” by over 30 years, originating with a sculptor in France.

I say “creation” because it does appear to copied almost in whole from the French design.