1931 Swallow bodied Swift and 1933 SS1 Coupe

1931 Swallow bodied Swift and 1933 SS1 Coupe


Born in Coventry and with a passion for cars, I had a desire to acquire and drive a vintage car manufactured in Coventry, and so in 2003 I bought a 1928 Swift 10HP Tourer which I still have and enjoy very much.

By chance in 2009, I came across a 1931 Swift 10HP Saloon with coachwork by Swallow, the coachbuilding firm founded of course by Sir William Lyons which was also based in Coventry and although the car had not been on the road for nearly 50 years the body was in good shape and it looked a very attractive car.

The car was duly purchased and work began restoring it to a roadworthy condition and after one year and approx 1000 hours of work, it is now back on the road and has just attended its first rally which took place in Derbyshire.

During the restoration I attended the Beaulieu autojumble and again by chance came across a 1933 SS1 Coupe which was on show and due for inclusion in a forthcoming auction. The car looked absolutely fantastic, reflecting the look and heritage of Sir Williams coach building days and was a car that moved his position from Coach bulider to Car manufacturer.

I managed to track down the owner, who confirmed that the car was dispatched from the factory in July 1933 to Henly’s London and was sold to a guest of the Park Lane Hotel London. Shortly afterwards the car was exported to Australia and was registered 157473 in Victoria with the owner named as William Cameron. Registration records note that the car was new, with Yellow and Chocolate coloured body and Yellow wheels.

The car was subsequently re registered in 1951 and again in 1957 at which point the now third owner of the car sold it for £250 in July 1958 to buy a television set that cost £200.

By 1968 the car had changed hands for 200 Australian dollars and although it was still in good original condition it had some restoration work carried out between 1991 and 1997.

In 2001 the car returned to the UK and was bought by Tony Hansford who has quite a collection of Jaguars and it was from Tony that I purchased it.

Since taking delivery, I have been working on the clutch and gearbox which was getting rather tired as you might expect after approx 77 years of use, but we now look forward to enjoying the car as much as we do the Swift and Swift/Swallow that eventually led us to this point.

The only other 1933 SS! Coupe that we know of is the one on show at the Coventry Transport Museum and although it is only currently a static exhibit it is of great help to compare details etc. and I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Museum for their help and co-operation.

If there are any other survivors of this rare car we would be really pleased to hear from the owners.

At the time of writing I have just been for a test drive to the Coventry Transport Museum and I am pleased to report that the gear change is now as it should be and the constant mesh gears on third and fourth are particularly good.

The original RAG Carburettor is fitted to the Standard 16HP side valve engine which seemed to be running very rich but after a a main jet change the performance has been restored to a very acceptable level, given that the car never achieved a performance in line with its sporty appearance. We now look forward to using the car whenever possible and can only imagine what it must have been like to take delivery of one of these fantastic cars in 1933.

by Ron Walker and Linda Lowe

Rons SS1 Coupe was featured in the book by Allan Crouch, entitled “SS1 & SS2 Cars – The Birth of the Jaguar Legend” and his Swallow bodied Swift won a Concours trophy at a rally in Derbyshire, first time out after 50 years!



All information correct at time of publishing

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