History Of Suffolk SS100 Jaguar
Before there was the Suffolk SS100 Jaguar, the car was essentially created by Trac of Colchester. Business owner Terry Rowing had totally restored many of the original 1935-1939 SS100 Jaguars including a 3.5 litre car owned by Adrian Newey, the famous racing car designer. Rowing had created a number of special tools to replicate the old SS designs for components. In the beginning of 1990, Rowing wanted to produce a replica of the JaguarSS100 for himself and asked permission from Adrian to make totally accurate glass reinforced plastic moulds of his car’s bodywork. Rowing’s right hand man Terry Booty undertook the task of "getting it right" and produced the complex bodywork replica moulds in about 3 months. Meanwhile an all new chassis was designed and a full working prototype made to accept a set of Jaguar XJ6 mechanical parts. The new chassis was made in 150mm x 50mm x 3 mm box sections. The substantial MIG welded construction enabled the sophisticated Jaguar all independent suspension and Jaguar XJ engine power to be readily and safely accomodated. The first Trac SS100 prototype was created in late 1990. The silver car was tested by many motoring journalists and received considerable praise. An average of 4 cars a year were sold for the next 5 years. Most customers built their own cars but a few were works built by Trac. The demands of self build customers, in addition to the other Trac engineering workload, caused Terry Rowing some concerns and despite the success of the car with its new owners, production difficulties led to frustrations on both sides.
At about this time Roger Williams approached Rowing with proposals that resulted in Roger taking over the SS100 replica project completely in early 1996. Roger Williams is a very keen and lifelong Jaguar fanatic. His first memory of Jaguars was as a passenger coming back from Bedford to his home town of Wisbech after playing for his town in a rugby match. The memory of the twin dials of the JaguarMk I 3.4 saloon , illuminated in blue light, and the needles rising and falling to the tune of the engine speed made a lasting impression on a 17 year old. He was in his final year at senior school, and had decided that, like his father, cars would be his life.
Chris Williams,(1903-1989) Roger’s father, joined W.H.Johnson and Sons Ltd of Kings Lynn in 1917, an early multi franchise car dealership. Chris became a Director and shareholder of the group and stayed with the company until he retired in 1970.
Roger Williams was apprenticed to Botwoods of Ipswich in 1960 for a 3 year management training course. Botwoods were the Jaguar franchisees for the whole of Suffolk and the 3 year training had him serving time in every department of Botwoods two dealerships. He continued with Botwoods as a salesman between 1963 and 1965 where his sales included new E Types, Mk X and S Type models. Visits to Browns Lane to collect new Jaguars from the works were a regular occurrence. In 1965 when he left Botwoods to start his own car rental company , Willhire Limited.
Over the next 30 years he owned and restored a 1935 SS II, four E Types, and two Lister –Jaguars. The two Listers were campaigned in seven seasons of Historic Car Racing in England and Europe. He also briefly owned in 1966, a 1936 Jaguar SS100 which had been fitted with a Jaguar Mk VII engine………
In 1971 he bought his first daily-driver Jaguar XJ6 2.8. This was followed by a number of XJ6 4.2 cars and a 5.2 litre V12 Daimler. Roger met an owner of a Trac 100 in 1995 and decided it was time to go and meet the man who made them.
Suffolk SS100 Jaguar
After buying the tooling, jigs, moulds and 'know how' of the Trac SS100 replica, Roger Williams took some time to reconcile and modify the actual processes of building the car. Rather than continue production exactly as Terry Rowing had conceived it, Roger decided to subcontract out some of the manufacturing processes to specialists. This allowed him to concentrate his efforts on marketing the car with the aim of doubling car production. Using his extensive past experience of selling, restoring and racing a wide variety of classic cars, Roger also made a number of changes to the construction of the car and many of its components. None of the changes have in any way compromised the looks of the car . The changes were aimed at improving the safety, driver comfort and the performance of the now to be renamed car ….The Suffolk SS100 Jaguar.
New workshops were established by Suffolk Jaguar in Bury St. Edmunds early in 1997 . This coincided with the first 3 orders for the renamed and improved car. Early in 1998, the workshops adjacent to the initial 2000 sq ft occupied by Suffolk unexpectedly became available - this was fortunate because ‘the word was out ‘and Suffolk had received another batch of orders. Gradually, but certainly, the reputation of the Suffolk SS100 established itself as a car of unusual attributes and driving qualities. Faithful is the millimetre in dimension to the original, the Suffolk SS100 became a classic beauty in its own right. On the road the car displayed immaculate dynamics to all who drove it.
Whilst production increased, the engineering team at Suffolk further improved the car with a number of alterations and amendments. . Slight changes to the front suspension mountings produced a noticeable gain in road feel and a specially designed full flow twin pipe stainless steel exhaust system gave improvements to both performance and fuel economy. A heater. sidescreens, and luggage rack were also made available.
With many owners opting to build their own cars at home as a project , Suffolk established a dedicated Owners Build Manual. This manual takes the self builder logically through every stage of building a car in about 90 pages of text. The Build Manual is revised each year and , with technical improvements from the workshops , has considerably reduced the original assembly build time from 500+ to about 400 hours.
The first ever Left Hand drive car was ordered from America in 1999.
The company is constantly making detail improvements to the car as time progresses and a wide variety of customer requirements can now be requested.
In June 2004 the Suffolk SS100 was tested with the all new Blockley tyre. This excellent product has a speed rating of 135 mph and has greatly improved the steering and roadholding. Produced principally for historic car racing , the Blockley product has been welcomed enthuasistically by Suffolk owners. The tyres are now fitted de rigeur to all works built cars.