Profits from the Jowett Bradford enabled Jowett to research and develop the Javelin and Jupiter cars.

The Bradford van made money!

Commercial Vehicles

The Jowett Bradford:
all new and suitable for the world market.

Jowett produced almost 40,000 Bradford models between 1946 and 1954, making it the biggest selling Jowett model ever.

It was also Jowett’s biggest earner, keeping the business afloat while they developed the Javelin and Jupiter post war cars.

Van Truck Utility Chassis

World War Two saw a decline in car production as the focus shifted to war-related work. However, by 1946 the prewar commercial van was back in production renamed as the Jowett Bradford van.

Jowett produced almost 40,000 Bradford models between 1946 and 1954, making it the biggest selling Jowett model ever. It was also Jowett’s biggest earner, keeping the business afloat while they developed the Javelin and Jupiter post war cars.

The Jowett Bradford was simple, reliable, economical, easy to maintain, and durable. These vans were just what small business owners needed to get Britain back on its feet after the Second World War. The vans were popular and sold well, both at home and when exported abroad. 

Versions and iterations.

The Bradford went through three main iterations, named CA, CB, and CC.  

In 1946, Jowett replaced their prewar commercial vehicles with the Jowett Bradford. This 10 cwt van still had a flat twin engine, but they increased the engine size to 1005cc. The chassis were sturdier than Jowett’s prewar commercial vehicles, and Jowett updated the equipment and fittings for the post-war era.

What is cwt? CWT is the shortened term for hundred weight. A hundredweight is a British unit of weight equal to 112 pounds. In the USA, the term “short hundredweight” is equal to 100 pounds.

The first version, named the CA, was much the same as Jowett’s prewar commercial vehicles. The post-war commercial vehicle, now renamed Jowett Bradford, had a 1005cc flat twin side-valve engine. Jowett first produced the van, then in June 1946, introduced a light lorry or pickup.

The Jowett Bradford van

The van, lorry, and utility all shared the same front end and rolling chassis.

Jowett Bradford van.

In November 1947, Jowett released the second version of the Jowett Bradford, the CB. This version had the same 1005cc engine but now it had a down draft carburettor, belt driven dynamo, and optionally, a cooling fan. The cooling fan was much appreciated in export markets, such as Australia. 

1949 sees the introduction of the final versions of the Jowett Bradford commercial vehicles, with the CC suffix. They redesigned the engine going from 19 to 25 BHP (break horse power) and upgraded the electrics from 6 to 12 volts.

Jowett Bradford CD, what the future might have held.

In 1950 Jowett produced a prototype of a car, and a fully redesigned commercial vehicle, based on the Jowett Bradford, it was code named CD. They planned to show it at the 1951 and 1952 motor shows. Unfortunately, the factory closed before the CD went into production, although there were a few prototypes made. 

“Built for small business owners and savvy Yorkshire folks.”

Being economical, reliable and easy to maintain made the Jowett Bradford popular with small business owners of all types.

Jowett Bradford Lorry or Pickup Truck

This beautiful commercial vehicle must have been the pride and joy of it’s owner.

Jowett Bradford flat back lorry.

Jowett Bradford came in three distinct types.

  • Van.
  • Utility or estate car.
  • Lorry or pickup truck.

Also, coach builders could buy rolling chassis to use as a basis for whatever they needed to build, such as the Jowett ice-cream van on display in the Bradford Industrial Museum’s transport gallery.

Differences between the Jowett Bradford van, utility, and lorry were skin deep. The engine, rolling chassis, and cab were the same on all models. The utility vehicle, or estate car, was essentially a van with windows, and optionally, passenger and rear seats. Whereas the light lorry or pickup was a van with a pickup backend fitted. The reason passenger seats were optional in the Utility, is that passenger seats were taxed.

Knock down kits for export.

CKD vehicles were complete knock downs. These vehicles were sold as kits that were easier to transport abroad than fully assembled cars and vans. Dealers in places such as New Zealand and Australia imported complete knock down kits. UK government applied tariffs and restrictions to non-exporting businesses post-WWII, while granting special treatment to exporters. So, the more Jowett exported, the easier it was to get the raw materials they needed to build more cars.

Jowett Bradford Utility van from 1951.

The Bradford Utility or Estate Car.

Although the utility is essentially an estate car, seats were optional due to them being taxed.

The 1951 Jowett Bradford Utility model, which is on display at the Bradford Industrial Museum, has a 1005cc side valve twin cylinder engine with 3 forward speeds and a reverse gear. Enthusiasts refer to this vehicle as a six-lite, which confused me. Six-lite refers to six windows, three on each side of the passenger area. Jowett referred to their early cars as light-cars, as in small engined light weight cars. Light and lite, as I discovered, are two different things. 

During its seven-year production run, Jowett upgraded the Bradford’s engine twice, taking it from 19 to 25 BHP (break horse power). As far as I know, all Jowett Bradfords had a 1005cc flat twin side-valve engine. I’ve heard people talk of Jowett commercial vehicles from 1938 and 1939 with 10HP engines, I assume these were four-cylinder models. I believe 10HP commercials existed, but just like the Loch Ness Monster, I’ve never seen one.

The Jowett Bradford made money.

Commercial vehicles were important for Jowett before the Second World War, but after the war they became its lifeblood. Unlike the Javelin and Jupiter, the Jowett Bradford made a profit. In fact, the profits from the Jowett Bradford sustained the firm while they experimented and built the two postwar cars, the Javelin and Jupiter

Rolling chassis.

Coach builders bought rolling chassis to build their own creations, such as the ice-cream van in the transport section of Bradford Industrial Museum.

Jowett Rolling Chassis.

The rolling chassis on display is that of a Jowett Bradford. Here you can see the running gear including leaf springs, axels, and braking system. Look closely, and you’ll see the engine lacks a fan or water pump. The engine relies on thermo-syphon cooling, in which hot water rises and cooler water sinks. 

The green Bradford van, painted with the Bradford Industrial Museum’s “house colours” has a 1005cc side-valve engine and was registered in 1953. The van is thought to have covered just 11,000 miles in its working life.

Seats are optional!

The Jowett Bradford van had one seat, the driver’s seat. The utility version had rear windows but rear seats were optional. That’s because buyers had to pay extra tax if they wanted rear seats. The Jowett Bradford Utility vehicle on display in the Bradford Industrial Museum appears to have a lightweight settee as rear seats.

The Jowett factory closed in 1954. The site was later occupied by a tractor manufacturer called International Harvesters. Now the site that was once the Jowett factory is occupied by Morrisons flagship supermarket, and the area is called the Enterprise Five retail park. Morrisons restored a Jowett Bradford van and display it at Jowett rallies to commemorate their famous predecessor.

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