The Forerunners of Jaguar
in Australia, New Zealand
and South East Asia
As the title
implies, this new large-format, high-quality book tells the story of
Swallow, SS and SS Jaguar products in Australia, New Zealand and South
East Asia (Hong Kong, India and Singapore). Compiled by Terry McGrath and
John Clucas over a 25-year period, and published by the authors, it is a
monumental work that is entirely unique in its size, scope and depth.
Long-awaited by Swallow and SS
enthusiasts in all countries, the book is the second in the series (and is
in the same size and format) which began with the acclaimed Jaguar XK in
Australia by John Elmgreen and Terry McGrath – long out of print and
which now fetches many hundreds of pounds secondhand.
Chapters on importation and sales, over 900 vehicle histories by model and country, cars in competition, production figures by model, international registers of S.S.1s, S.S.90s, SS 100 and SS Jaguar tourers, identification plates, grilles and badges, register of owners cross-referenced with registration numbers
Only 500 copies of this edition will ever be printed, so early applications are advised, especially as the current price is under half that of similar quality specialist motoring books published elsewhere.
The Standard Edition with embossed titling on the dust-jacket cover and spine, bound in black Wibalin (cloth-type finish) with silver-gilt, includes black Wibalin silver embossed slip case. A limited number of signed Standard Edition books are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Note: The Leather bound Deluxe Editions sold out very fast. There are only 10 copies of the Standard Edition left in the US, additional copies are available from the UK.
Copies shipped within the US are $350 each. That may sound like a lot, but the leather editions sold out in a month and they were $500 each.
--To order your copy of Forerunners of Jaguar , order from our secure web site
US Orders, Standard Edition $350,
Non-US Orders, Standard Edition $390,
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Rest of the World
Book Review by David C. Hobson
John Clucas & Terry McGrath: THE FORERUNNERS OF JAGUAR IN AUSTRALASIA & S.E. ASIA. PJ Publishing Company. Available stateside from Golden Cat Publishing, Golden Colorado (303) 489-3955 www.jaguarbooksite.com
Jaguar expert Paul Skilleter, who owns PJ Publishing, introduces the book on the flyleaf by stating "If you thought you knew all about the forerunners of Jaguar, think again... Extraordinarily comprehensive and full of fascinating new details."
For readers not familiar with Jaguar History, the company started as a builder of motorcycle sidecars (termed "chairs" by the English) and was named Swallow Sidecar Company at its founding in 1922. It evolved to Swallow Sidecar & Coachbuilding Company in 1926, and as might be guessed from the name change, began putting very stylish custom bodies on chassis from Austin, Morris, Standard, Wolseley and other contemporary British cars. A few Fiats even ended up with Swallow coachwork. It was incorporated as SS Cars in 1933, and by the early 1930s, began building its own line of cars. In 1936, William Lyons, the styling genius whose beautiful designs were already making an highly favorable impression on the motoring public, began calling his sedans (saloons) SS Jaguars in 1936. When production resumed after World War II, the initials "SS" had acquired a very unsavory reputation, so the initials were dropped, and the entire line began to be marketed as Jaguars.
If you're a fancier of the early SS cars from the 1930s, this is a must-have book. Even though importation of European cars didn't really get under way here in the US until after WWII, the Australians and other members of the commonwealth looked to England for their upscale cars, and Jaguar was happy to ship a sizeable amount of its production "down under."
In what must have been a true labor of love, the authors appear to have tracked down nearly every scrap of SS (Jaguar) related paper in Australia, New Zealand, and Southeast Asia, including old photographs, sales and service invoices, advertisements, contemporary newspaper articles, shipping documents and registration information. The book concludes with elaborate documentation on each of the vehicles from SS (Jaguar) during that era. Cars are indexed by current owner, original owner and registration number (which stays with the car throughout its life in the Commonwealth,) and a register which lists by model all of the cars known to currently exist anywhere in the world. .
The photographs, all in black and white, are valuable for a number of reasons. They detail running production changes, and allow the reader to see what the cars looked like in "as delivered" condition, as well as how they looked as time and use began to take a toll. They include several photographs of various early Swallow bodies on other maker's chassis. Given the rarity of those cars here in the states (I've never actually seen one,) they allow the reader to appreciate how a stylish body could enhance an otherwise dull car. They even feature approximately 300 historic pictures of the cars in competition, along with a few of what they looked like after mishaps with cars and other obstacles. (Tort liability lawyers today would probably salivate over the near total lack of any sort of barriers or other safety devices such as protective helmets.)
For the restorer, it provides a wonderful inspiration to compare what look like hopeless hulks shown as found and in their current restored condition. Things like registration and other data plates are shown in close-up detail. They also show several custom bodies, at least some of which were made to replace severely damaged sheet metal. Some were truly beautiful.
Sadly, the early cars, especially open versions, have become rather pricey. The days when one could buy a decent SS100 roadster for $5,000 are long gone, and provide yet another reason for those of us who lived through the '60s to reminisce. The book likewise is expensive, at $300 for the cloth bound version. (The leather bound versions have already sold out at $500 each, and there are only 11 copies of the standard edition left here in the states as this is written.) The good news is that there are only 500 copies in the entire run, and I believe all are personally autographed by both authors. Just like the cars they describe, you're looking at a rather exclusive collectors item which will hopefully grow in value with the passage of time. I can't imagine anyone ever again putting together a competing volume with this kind of effort or dedication.
If you're into the early cars, this is a must-have book in my opinion! David C. Hobson