Kevin passed away a few years ago, but the family’s longterm ownership must be something of a record.
To put the car in perspective, the company was originally named the Swallow Sidecar Company and built sidecars for motorcycles.
It was founded in 1922 by William Lyons and William Walmsley, before becoming S.S. Cars Ltd in 1934 and eventually Jaguar Cars in 1945.
Originally sold under the Swallow brand, the SSI Airline was produced for a period of just two years, from 1934 to 1936.
The cars were noted for their styling and low cost rather than outright performance.
The coupe was a real traffic stopper.
Like many cars of the period, the styling was heavily influenced by the then current fashion of streamlining and this is reflected in the Art Deco finish.
It is reported that stylist and company director William Lyons was not a huge fan of the SS1.
The Airline design has instead been attributed to the influence of Lyons’s partner William Walmsley.
It is without doubt the most striking of all the SS1 body styles, with many unique features such as the twin, wing-mounted spare wheels.
From the beginning, in 1931, with a single, rather ungainly looking coupe-shaped body, the SS1 became available with several different body styles over the next few years.
The 1933 models acquired a new chassis, under-slung at the rear, with long flowing fenders and a lower roof line.
An alternative body in the shape of an open, four-seat tourer was also offered.
The 1934 SS1 models had larger engines, while further models were added in 1935, including a drophead coupe, the now legendary SS90 open two-seater sports car — and the Airline coupe.
The 2.5-litre Saloon was unveiled on the Swallow Sidecar stand at London Motor Show in October 1935, with a revised version of the overhead-valve engine that was mated to an uprated Standard synchromesh gearbox.
Engineer William Heynes developed the new model, revamping the existing SS1 chassis frame with perimeter members, boxed-in for added rigidity, improved damping and the latest Girling hydraulic brakes.
Badged as a Jaguar for the first time, the beautifully proportioned SS1’s elegant coachwork featured an integrated boot complete with a tray of tools — the start of a long-standing Jaguar tradition.
Only 614 SS1 Airlines were produced, out of a total 4254 SSI cars of all types.
With its sweeping wingline and high-class cabin, the Airline by this stage had established itself as a vehicle to rival the best that Alvis and Bentley could offer.
According to the documentation, this particular car was sold new in Derby, UK in May, 1935.
Its first Australian owner was Mr J.S. McCarthy of Redfern in Sydney.
Kevin Taylor purchased the car in July, 1946 from a used car yard in Elizabeth St, Melbourne, at the age of 24.
It passed through a number of hands during the Second World World before Kevin bought it.
Being a machinist he was able to keep the car going and drove it for many years which included a number of interstate trips.
After almost 20 years of continuous service the gorgeous Airline was benched as family and life intervened, before work began on a full restoration after an 11-year hiatus around 1980.
The SS1 Airline Coupe was completely rebuilt and restored to factory specifications.