Joyce and I have been enjoying another English TV Detective series we found on Netflix, The Inspector Alleyn Mysteries. Though the setting is England in the postwar years, 1945-49, the series was produced and originally aired between 1990-1994 and consists of number one (the pilot episode) and 8 other episodes, all approximately 90 minutes in length. Netflix only has 6 (2-7) of the episodes.
The three episodes we've viewed so far have all been good fun because of (1) the excellent writing, (2) the superb acting of Patrick Malhide (Alleyn), William Simons ( Inspector Fox, Alleyn's loyal and effective assitant), and Belinda Lang (Agatha Troy, Alleyn's girlfriend) and, of course in my case at least, (3) Alleyn's personal car.
I've spent a couple of days googling around on the internet, comparing the details I noted while viewing the series with images of various British automobiles manufactured during the time frame of the series. I concluded that the Chief Inspector's personal car is a saloon (sedan) model offered by the SS company between 1935 and 1940, and again between 1945 and 1949. The SS company stopped production during WWII.
No. It wasn't the first Super Sport Chevy.
Nor was it a car manufactured by the German Schutzstaffel (SS).
It was built by the Swallow Sidecar company who had originally manufactured motorcycle sidecars. Also, the saloon model that year was called the SS Jaguar Saloon and featured a 2.5 liter engine. Wiki says,
The Swallow Sidecar Company was founded in 1922 by two motorcycle enthusiasts, William Lyons andWilliam Walmsley leading to SS Cars Ltd. In 1935 the SS Jaguar name first appeared on a 2.5-litre saloon, sports models of which were the SS 90 and SS 100.
So, what we're talking about here is the first Jaguar.
And I do love Jaguars, remember? I owned a 2000 XK8 which I sold last year (sigh).
The body style was virtually unchanged during it's run, so the 1935 Saloon looks pretty much like the 1949 model. The SS company changed over from coachbuilt (wood based) construction to all steel in 1938. There were three engines, the 1.5 litre (a four cylinder), the 2.5 litre (a six), and the 3.5 litre (also a six). I'm not sure, but my guess is that the one used in the Alleyn TV series is a six; I'm basing that on the sound. Of course, the Foley artists who work on film and video can do wonders with motor sounds, so the sound on screen could be misleading.
The cars are very low slung and have rakish suicide doors. This is picture of a 1937 Saloon which looks very much like the one in the TV series, including the fender mounted spare. Believe me, the picture doesn't do it justice.
The SS Jaguar 100, a four place, drop head coupe powered by the 2.5 or 3.5 litre engine was introduced in 1936. Wiki says this coupe is considered by many to be the finest looking automobile ever made. It's the ancestor of my old 2000 XK8 and the new 2013 XK.
Here's a 1948 Saloon model with the uncovered fender spare. This angle shows the car's sexy looking, curvaceous rear end.
The old Jag Saloon is a classic beauty with graceful lines and a purposeful stance. The silver one below shows that and sports the famous "leaper" hood ornament as well.
What is it about an old car like this that is so heartbreaking?
I don't know the answer. I just know that there's more than beauty--and there's a lot of that in this case--working on my emotions when I look at a car like this.
The Victor Sylvester orchestra has probably finished with its smooth rendition of "You're Breaking My Heart" by now.
Suppose we conclude our look at Chief Inspector Alleyn's beautiful SS Jaguar Saloon with a nice, walk around video. This was prepared by a proud present day owner of one of these splendid automobiles. Pay special attention to the clever and complete tool kit in the trunk. It's a fine luxurious touch that shows the careful attention the car's designers paid to each detail. It also reminds one that this is, indeed, a Jaguar, and even though its beauty is beyond question, a tool kit might come in handy.