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The Odd Couple: Cadillac Sports Phaeton and Jaguar SS 100 Roadster

Today’s feature image contains an odd pairing of pre-war automobiles in 1939. The car on the left is a 1931 Cadillac sports phaeton fitted with spun bright metal wheel discs. On the right is an SS 100 Jaguar sports car.

The Cadillac’s curved bar and badge between the center of the headlights that is missing, identifies if the car is powered by a V-8, V-12, or V-16 engine. This example appears to be the twelve-cylinder version powered by the new V-12, 368  c.i. engine introduced in 1931 which produces 135 h.p. The sport phaeton coachwork is by Fleetwood.

The SS 100 sports car (possibly new at the time) is constructed on a chassis produced by the Standard Motor Company with coachwork by SS Cars Ltd of Coventry, England. This is the third model to be produced by SS Cars and was built between the years of 1936 to 1941, it is the first model to be named “Jaguar.”

The 104″ w.b. Standard chassis based on solid axles with semi-elliptic springs was first fitted with an o.h.v. Standard 2.5 liter inline six producing 100 h.p. and backed up with a four-speed transmission. Later in 1938, it was updated to 3.5 liters with an output of 125 hp.

The Trico vacumn fan advertisement on the left-hand top of the photo and research confirms that the automobiles were owned at the time by early collector John R. Oishei. He was founder of the Tri-Continental Corporation in 1917 which produced Trico vacumn windshield wiper systems, blades and windshield fans.

Share with us what you find of interest or can add to the photograph courtesy of the Free Library of Philadelphia.

26 responses to “The Odd Couple: Cadillac Sports Phaeton and Jaguar SS 100 Roadster

  1. Unusually, the Jaguar also has spun wheel disks and a similar (aftermarket) front bumper, probably needed if they lived in New York City. The windshield of the SS100 lacks the usual top crossbar.

  2. Jaguar 100 was named that because it could go 100 mph. I believe that SS Cars changed their name after, or maybe during, WW II because of the bad association with the Nazis. I love these cars and which I could afford one. In my opinion they are one of the most beautiful cars made in that style. As a kid I used to see a lot of them in San Diego.

  3. Every time I see a SS, I think of Dave Garroway and his SS called ” Mother “. living close to NYC, we would hang out at the Today show Windows and watch the show for a bit. Later actually meeting him in Bridgehampton at the second running of the street classic. I thought a lot of him as a class guy” and by the way the plates are from ’64 – ’65 as they are from NY Worlds fair time period.

  4. Well, I guess this is a readily apparent reference to the different approaches to “sporty”. Of course, roads in both countries helped to breed those differences, yet they were both great in their own way. The Jag is such a ‘modern’ car for that era! A real sports car ahead of its time. The Caddie with those big engines was really aimed at the long distances found in the US, these differences still being apparent in approaches to motorcycling, i.e. big iron like HD aimed a long cruising in Interstates, etc., Euro and Japanese bikes more adapted to long stretches of narrower, curve rich, byways…IMHO. Both marks here are impressive!

    • It has been in the Denver area for a number of years and is sometimes entered in the Conclave British car show and tour in Arvada, CO. Garroway had a XK-120 engine installed in it in the 1950s.

  5. The wheel disks on the Cadillac were not spun. They are a very rare dealer accessory that were made of pressed steel and then Chrome plated. I have only seen one set of factory wheel covers that fit the 18 inch 8 & 12 wheels in more than forty years of working with 1931 Cadillacs. The disks were held on only by the hubcap, they would flex and press up against the outer snap ring when the hubcap was tightened, thus they came on and off in seconds. Somewhere I have photos of my 1931 eight Sport Coupe with and without the disks on it, but it’s been twenty five years since I have come across the photos in my files. If I can find them I will post them here. I sold the set of covers to a collector in Europe about fifteen years ago. Ed Minnie

  6. Personalised licence plates J(ohn) O(ishei), followed by a number indicating chronological acquisition of cars in his collection? In that case, the Cad is the 9th and Jag is the 19th car. Makes me wonder what else he had in his garage. I don’t know the guy. Did he collect many cars?

  7. Yes 3.5 litre SS100 Chassis number 39017
    Shipped new to Mr R.J.Oshei
    Battleship,Gray with Red interior, Polished Ace wheel discs and Factory installed bumpers from a 1.5 litre saloon /Drophead.
    The top chrome on the windscreen was removed because Mr Oshei was very tall and the chrome was in his direct view.

    The car survives in fantastic original condition still with original paint,

    Mr Oshei did a great published road test with the car at Watkins Glen
    Mr Oshei sold the car to a well known American racer Mr Robert Grier from NYC.
    Later sold to Mr John Cowperwaite in 1958 who partially disassembled the car the day he bought it and sat unused till 2006 when purchased by me.

    Thankfully Mr Oshei photographed the car extensively and his photo archive is in my collection with the car.

    I see above a writer worked on an SS1 sidevalve?? by any chance was it the alpine trials car AYY987?
    That historic car is parked next to the Oshei SS 100

      • David
        I remember hearing your name back in the 1990s while researching the cars US history.

        Yes AYY987 won the Glascier cup in the 1934 Alpine Trials driven by F.W. Morgan. The team car lineup photo at the factory before departure shows AYY second car in with #54 lavender gray with Blue interior
        Quite a huge success for such a young company only in its second year producing motorcars.

        AYY 987 was displayed in Henlys dealer showroom window in a rocky hill climb setting after the event and featured in the SS car Club magazine .
        Quite a historic car you had your hands on!
        Would love to know if you have any 80s photographs of the car

        • I do although they are packed away somewhere at the present time.

          The car was sold to a gentleman in MD if I remember correctly who was a bit of a wheeler dealer at the time. Did you purchase it from him or did it travel thru other hands before you bought it?

  8. David
    The Alpine Trials car was in New Hampshire or Vermont
    The Shop that started restoration I believe was in Vermont on the border

    Could this be your shop?

    If you have information please contact me


    • Yes, it was in my shop for a restoration. I stripped it and the paint, did some wood work on it, made a new trunk, and metal finished the coachwork and fenders. The owner decide to take a break for a while and could never decide if he would continue on it. I moved my shop out into the country (7 miles) in 1986, stored the car and I sold it for him in the early 1990s.

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