A smart coupe with good performance
On visiting the Motor Show at Olympia each year one usually goes fully prepared for one or two “eye openers” about which there has been much talk in the advertisement columns of the motoring press for several weeks before the opening date, and at the 1931 show, the SS models were undoubtedly one of the sensations.
Recently we had an opportunity of trying for ourselves one of the smaller editions of this Swallow range, namely, the SS 11. As our readers are no doubt aware, the power unit of this model is the Standard “Little Nine” mounted in a specially lowered chassis.
The engine is a four-cylinder of 60.25 mm bore and 88 mm stroke, giving a cubic capacity of 1,005 cc., the tax on which is £9. The crankshaft is exceptionally stiff, and is supported by two main bearings, which are lubricated under pressure by a gear type pump. The valves are side by side, and this fact no no doubt accounts for the extraordinary lack of mechanical noise from the engine throughout its entire range. Ignition is by coil and battery with an automatic control of advance and retard of the spark.
The power is transmitted by means of a single dry plate clutch to a three speed gear box, fitted with a “silent second”. The gear ratios are 5.22, 9.61, 19.05 on top, second and low respectively. The propellor shaft is tubular, with two all-metal universal joins. The front axle is considerably dropped to allow for the low build of the car, and is of H-section beam. The steering is by worm and nut, and provides a turning circle of 34 feet. This, combined with the fact that it is high geared, would make the SS 11 ideal for negotiating acute hairpin bends in trials. The springs are half elliptic all round and they are fitted with Hartford shock-absorbers.
A comendable feature is the 5-gallon rear petrol tank from which the petrol is supplied to the single Solex carburettor by means of an Autuvac. Dunlop Magna wheels complete the specification. An interesting point for sporting owners is that the engine is specially tuned by the Standard Motor Company before being supplied to the Swallow people.
The body, as will be seen from the accompanying illustrations, is an exceedingly well proportioned close-coupled coupe. Naturally, on such a small chassis, the rear seats are somewhat small, and are really only intended for juvenile passengers, or for the occasional use of an adult. This fact, however, is more than fully compensated by the exceptional comfort of the front seats, which provide ample room for three passengers. There is plenty of leg-room for the tallest driver.
The tools are conveniently housed under the bonnet, while there is a spacious luggage locker fitted with chromium plated hinged security catches and key-lock, at the rear of the car. Thanks to the generous width of the doors, ingress to the front seats is a simple matter, a process which is further assisted by the centrally placed controls. Added refinements include a very neat and easily operated sliding roof of new design, which is flush fitting when closed, Lucas tandem screen wipers, spring-spoke steering wheel, and dipping ray head lights.
On taking the car over at Henly House, the head office of Messrs. Henlys Ltd., who are the London agents for all Swallow products, we were first impressed by the extraordinary compactness of the car as a whole. Threading our way through the heavy Saturday morning traffic of the West End, we quickly discovered the first of the many roles this car can fill, that is to say, the SS 11 is an ideal car for anyone who drives to town every day from the outskirts of London and has to travel about in thick traffic during the course of his job of work. Quick acceleration, light but high geared steering, exceptional brakes combined with good visibility and a thoroughly comfortable body in any weather, give the SS 11 full marks for traffic work.
Our destination was Whitstable, and after clearing the suburbs, the second aspect of this remarkable little car was revealed. On an arterial road the cruising speed is a comfortable 50 m.p.h., a tribute to the design of the Standard engine which was perfectly smooth throughout its range. Incidentally the maximum speed reached was 60 m.p.h. The road-holding and steering were all that could be desired and corners could be negotiated at respectably high speed with a real feeling of security. Indeed one soon forgets that the wheel-base is only 7 feet 6 inches, such is the general comfort and “big” feeling of the car. Main-road hills were taken in our stride, and on the second day of our test, we found the SS 11 to be a wonderful performer on rough hills in Surrey such as White Hill (Caterham), Bagden, and White Downs.
Summing up, the SS 11 is excellent value at £210, giving its owner a brisk performance in addition to the satisfaction of possessing a car which attracts attention wherever he goes. Both the Standard Motor Company and the Swallow Coachbuilding Company are to be congratulated upon such a happy combination.