|Manufacturer||Jowett Cars Ltd|
|Production||1950–1954. about 850 made|
|Body style||2-seater drophead coupé wind-up windows|
|Engine||Jowett flat four, 1486 cc|
|Wheelbase||93 in (2,400 mm)|
|Length||Series 1 163 in (4,100 mm) Series 1a 168 in (4,300 mm)|
|Width||62 in (1,600 mm)|
|Height||56 in (1,400 mm)|
|Curb weight||2,100 lb (953 kg)|
The Jowett Jupiter is a British car which was produced by Jowett Cars Ltd of Idle, near Bradford The car was launched at the London Motor Show in October 1949 and had its first continental launch at the Geneva Motor Show in early 1950: it continued in production until 1954.
Jowett's only production sports car was the Jupiter, which leaned heavily on the Javelin saloon for its mechanical components, but was originally not designed by Jowett. It was only in production for four years, during which a mere 850 examples were built and sold, Its fortunes were inextricably tied up in those of the Javelin and the Jowett concern itself, so when they ran into difficulties in 1952/1953 the Jupiter also died. Gerald Palmer had designed the Javelin saloon, complete with its flat-four engine, in 1942/1944, and the car eventually went on sale in 1947. During 1949 (and after Palmer had departed to Nuffield, and was replaced at Jowett by Roy Lunn) Jowett dabbled with the idea of building a Javelin-based sports car, but eventually awarded a prototype contract to ERA at Dunstable, where a new chassis layout was conceived by Professor Eberan von Eberhorst of Auto-Union and Cisitalia fame. This prototype, shown at Earls Court in 1949 as an ERA-Javelin, was distinguished by the use of a short-chassis tubular frame along with Javelin engine, transmission and suspensions. This prototype, although it looked good, was not a success, as the frame was by no means stiff enough, but an intensive development programme and the building of six 'ERA' prototypes allowed true production of Jupiter sports cars to begin at the Idle (Bradford) factory during 1950.
Up to this time Jowett had almost no sporting reputation, so the very brave decision was taken to enter special Jupiters in motor sport, for such notables as Tommy Wisdom and Gordon Wilkins to drive. This move paid off, as the cars not only won their class but established new lap records, not once but three years in succession though one has to say that this was before Porsche had a 1.5-litre car with which to compete against Jowett in the category. The later race cars were called Rls, and had lighter and considerably different-looking bodies, but the chassis and mechanical
components were all virtually those of standard Jupiters. During the three-year run of the Jupiter, there were small, frequent and persistent changes to the flat-four engines, which had given a great deal of trouble when super-tuned; the Mark Ill engine, which ought to have been the definitive layout, did not become available until the beginning of 1953.
There were two varieties of extremely similar Jupiters, the original or Mk I, and the Mk IA (announced in 1952) which merely had minor bodywork changes, including the provision of an exterior lid to the boot compartment. Before they struck financial trouble in 1952/1953, Jowett were planning to replace
the Jupiter with the new R4 sports car, but this never progressed beyond the prototype stage the R4, was made with fibreglass body and a new lighter chassis and showed the potential of being a genuine 100 mph (161 km/h) car but Jowett closed before the car could reach production. Three prototypes were made. A racing derivative of the Jupiter, the R1, was entered in the 1951 1500 cc sports car race at Watkins Glen, driven to first place by George Weaver. In the 1952 24 Hours of Le Mans another example won its class at 13th overall, driven by Marcel Becquart and Gordon Wilkins.
Engine and transmission: Four-cylinders, in horizontally opposed layout, with pushrod operated overhead valve cylinder heads. Bore, stroke and capacity 72.5 x 90mm., 1486cc. Maximum power 60bhp (net) at 4750rpm.; maximum torque 821b.ft. at 3100rpm. Four-speed manual gearbox, in unit with engine. Hypoid bevel final drive.
Chassis: Front engine, rear drive. Separate steel chassis frame, with tubular side and bracing members. Independent front suspension by longitudinal torsion bars and wishbones. Rack and pinion steering. Suspension of rear live axle by transverse torsion bars, radius arms and Panhard rod. Four-wheel drum brakes.
Bodywork: Coachbuilt, based on steel framing, with steel skin panels, in two-door two-seater open sports car style, by Jowett. Length 13ft. 7in.; width 5ft. 2in.; height 4ft. 8in. Unladen weight 21101b.
Performance: Maximum speed 90mph. 0-60mph 20.4sec. Standing IA-mile (approx) 21.5sec. Typical fuel consumption 28mpg.
In Film and Television
Jowett Jupiter in The Fast and the Furious, Movie from 1954