Jowett Jupiter 1953.

The Jowett Jupiter car, and exports after the second world war.

Jowett really wanted the Jupiter sports car to sell abroad. It was important to sell cars overseas, because after the war the government had new rules. They said if you sold more cars to other countries, you could get more materials to make new cars. That’s why people started saying “Export or Die” especially in the car-making business.

 This meant exporting Jowett Jupiter cars would help Jowett get its hands on more of the raw materials it needed to build new cars.

Jowett Javelin Car

Jowett Jupiter Car

The Jowett’s previous car, the Javelin, had won several races like the Monte Carlo Rally. So, Jowett decided to use the engine and other important parts from the Javelin in their new car called the Jupiter. They believed that giving the Jupiter a sporty appearance would make it popular abroad.

The Jowett Jupiter was a good looking car made by two companies working together: ERA (English Racing Automobiles) and Jowett. It could go at a steady speed of 75 miles per hour and had a top speed of 90 miles per hour! From 1950 to 1954, about 900 Jupiters were built by Jowett.

The engine was a flat four overhead valve of 1486 cc with a compression ratio raised to 8.0:1, developing 60 bhp at 4500 rpm. It had two Zenith carburettors and a four-speed gearbox with column change.

Column change and three seats.

By placing the gear lever on the steering column and having a long bench seat instead of two single seats you could fit three people in the Jowet Jupiter. 

Jowett wanted a modern open top sports car like the Jaguar XK120, so they assigned their chief bodywork designer Reg Korner to design it. The Jowett team got two prototypes ready in just four months, one for road tests and one to show in America.

In 1950, Jowett entered the brand new Jupiter car in the Le Mans 24 hour race and it won the 1.5 class at a record speed of 75.8 MPH, over 1.819 miles. This victory spawned yet another Jowett slogan, “The car that leaped to fame”. Jowett had many excellent marketing phrases and slogans. 

Jowett entered the Javelin in several more races. With some success. They even built a racing car built on the Javelin rolling chassis, they called the racing car the R1.

Hinged Boot.

The first Javelins didn’t have opening boots. To access the boot space, you tipped the bench seat forward. This way of accessing the boot was common before, and immediately after, the second world war. In October 1952, Jowett upgraded the Javelin from model SA, or Mark 1, to model SE or Mark1a. This upgrade included a hinged, opening boot.

Rolling chassis for coach builders.

As well as complete cars, Jowett sold about 75  rolling chassis that coach builders used to build bespoke sports cars on. Some of these cars look even better than the official Jowett Javelin.

Jowett R4, what might have been.

When Jowett ceased production they were developing, and had a prototype of, a new lightweight sports car with fibreglass body, the R4. The Javelin looks like a 1950s car; the Jowett R4 looks like a 1960s car, even though Jowett built the R4 in the early 1950s! 

50 Years of progress.

The following quote is from a booklet given to all Jowett employees in 1951. It talks about how Javelin parts have been upgraded for the Jupiter.

“The Javelin’s horizontally apposed four-cylinder engine was increased from 50 to 60 b.h.p. and fitted with two special carburettors; a special type rack and pinion steering gives precision steering at high speeds; an absolutely rigid tubular steel chassis gives lightness and tremendous strength; the shock absorbers have been strengthened; bigger breaks fitted and a special oil cooling system installed.” 

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