Swallow Sidecar and Coachbuilding Company, and Swallow Coachbuilding Company were trading names used by Walmsley & Lyons, partners and joint owners of a British manufacturer of motorcycle sidecars and automobile bodies in Blackpool, Lancashire — later Coventry, Warwickshire — before incorporating a company to own their business which they named Swallow Coachbuilding Company Limited.

Under co-founder William Lyons its business continued to prosper as SS Cars Limited and grew into Jaguar Cars Limited. The sidecar manufacturing business, by then owned by a different company, Swallow Coachbuilding Company (1935) Limited, was sold by Jaguar to an aircraft maintenance firm, Helliwell Group, in January 1946.

Swallow was founded by two friends, William Walmsley and William Lyons. Their partnership became official in September 1922. Their business partnership was known by three successive trading names: Swallow Sidecar Company, Swallow Sidecar and Coachbuilding Company, and Swallow Coachbuilding Company. In 1930 a limited liability company was incorporated to own their business.

William Lyons, having recognised the commercial potential for sidecars, joined Walmsley and together they found premises in Bloomfield Road, Blackpool. With a small team of employees they were able to begin production of the motorcycle sidecars. Walmsley’s father bought a big building in Cocker Street Blackpool which they moved into and began to offer to repair and paint cars and fit new hoods and upholstery. They added coach building to their business name.

The first car that Lyons and Walmsley worked on intending to build and sell was the Austin 7. Lyons commissioned a coachbuilder to create a distinctive, open two seater body with a detachable hardtop. The result was announced in May 1927, the Austin Seven Swallow. Austin gave their approval to the Swallow coachwork though adjustments were needed. Soon after, a saloon version was produced: the Austin Seven Swallow Saloon. In the same year, “Sidecar” was dropped from the name, and it became the Swallow Coachbuilding Company.

Three new Swallow models appeared in 1929 on Standard, Swift, and Fiat chassis. Also in 1929 John Black, director of Standard Motor Company and William Lyons realised a long-standing dream and produced a one of a kind sports car, This “First” SS (Standard Swallow) was a sleek Boat Tail Roadster with a flowing, streamlined design and pointed to an obvious attempt at making a fast car, possibly with the intention of venturing into racing.

Bodies on the Wolseley Hornet chassis fitted in well with Swallow’s planned new product range. They were the first 6-cylinder Swallows. Production began in January 1931 with an open 2-seater. A 4-seater car followed. In April 1932 the new Special chassis arrived and these cars were quite popular. They were the last of the special-bodied Swallows, whose production was replaced in the summer of 1933 by their SS 1 tourer first announced in March 1933

A prototype S S One was displayed at 1931 London Motor Show and in 1932 Swallow were able to supply three models, Swallow’s business was moved to S S Cars Limited and began to use a model name of Jaguar for part of their range then extended it to include their saloons.

Engines and chassis supplied by the Standard Motor Company were fitted with Swallow bodies styled under Lyons supervision. The first of the SS range of cars available to the public was the 1932 SS 1 with 2-litre or 2½-litre side-valve, six-cylinder engine and the SS 2 with a four-cylinder 1-litre side-valve engine. Initially available as coupé or tourer a saloon was added in 1934, when the chassis was modified to be 2 inches (50 mm) wider.

The success of the new range brought about a number of changes. William Walmsley wished to leave this business and it was decided to replace Walmsley’s capital by bringing new outside shareholders into a brand-new incorporation, S. S. Cars Limited. The new company technically commenced business on 1 February 1934 following its incorporation 26 October 1933. Subsequently, S. S. Cars Limited bought the shares of Swallow Coachbuilding Limited as of 31 July 1934 and Swallow was liquidated before S. S. issued shares to the public in January 1935.

The continued success and expansion of their SS Jaguar range, in particular the sports and saloon cars announced in late 1935 would lead to its new name. On 23 March 1945 the SS Cars Limited shareholders in general meeting agreed to change the company’s name to Jaguar Cars Limited. Said Chairman William Lyons “Unlike S.S. the name Jaguar is distinctive and cannot be connected or confused with any similar foreign name.” Standard still manufactured Jaguar’s engines.

In January 1946 the Helliwell Group, an aircraft maintenance firm, bought Swallow Coachbuilding Company (1935) Limited from Jaguar Cars Limited. Sidecars produced at Helliwells’ Walsall Airport works were built in the same way as the originals and used the same patented trademark. They closed shop in the late 1950s