Jowett Jupiter

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Jowett Jupiter
JowettJupiter2.JPG
Overview
Manufacturer Jowett Cars Ltd
Production 1950–1954.
about 900 made[1]
Body and chassis
Class Sports car
Body style 2-seater drophead coupé
wind-up windows
Powertrain
Engine Jowett flat four, 1486 cc
Transmission 4-speed manual
Dimensions
Wheelbase 93 in (2,400 mm)[2]
Length Series 1 163 in (4,100 mm)
Series 1a 168 in (4,300 mm)[2]
Width 62 in (1,600 mm)[2]
Height 56 in (1,400 mm)[3]
Curb weight 2,100 lb (953 kg)[2]

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[4] and had its first continental launch at the Geneva Motor Show in early 1950: it continued in production until 1954.

Following the launch of the all new Jowett Javelin and its successes in competition, Jowett decided to use its power train in a sports car for export in the hope of increasing their inadequate steel allocation.

Design features[edit]

Jowett Jupiter with open bonnet
Jupiter by Stabilimenti Farina

Jowett through Lawrence Pomeroy of The Motor joined forces with ERA and they persuaded Professor Dr Ing Eberan-Eberhorst, formerly with Auto Union, to come to England. He joined ERA in Dunstable and, amongst other projected development and chassis work, designed and developed what became the Jupiter's tubular steel chassis.[1] The suspension used soft torsion bars and anti-roll bars front and rear with independent suspension at the front. The engine was mounted very far forward ahead of the front axle line with the radiator low behind it over the gearbox. Adjustment of the anti-roll bars easily influenced oversteer and understeer to provide fine suspension tuning. On this torsionally stiff frame Reg Korner of Jowett put a steel framed aluminium drophead coupé body with a bench seat for three people. Eberan's chassis had been designed for a closed coupé and it proved to require strengthening. The anti-roll bars were abandoned. There was no external access to the boot (trunk) and the bonnet (hood) was rear hinged and opened complete with the wings. These cars were only for export, it was hoped coachbuilders would supply the local market.

An initial 75 chassis were supplied to external coachbuilders such as Stabilimenti Farina, Ghia Suisse, Abbott of Farnham and others in Britain. The high cost of these, mostly handsome, bodies for what was only a 1500 c.c. car obliged Jowett to build their own complete cars.[5] The Jowett factory made 731 Mk1 and 94 Mk1a cars. The Mk 1a came out in late 1952 with a little more power (63 bhp) and an opening lid to a boot of larger capacity.

Powertrain[edit]

Under the bonnet of a Jupiter

The flat four overhead valve engine of 1486 cc was more highly tuned than in the Javelin and had its compression ratio raised from 7.2:1 to 8.0:1 developing 60 bhp (45 kW) at 4500 rpm giving the car a maximum speed of 85 mph (137 km/h) and a 0-50 mph time of 11.7 seconds.[2] Two Zenith carburettors were fitted. A four speed gearbox with column change was used.

Motor sport success[edit]

The Jupiter achieved competition success with a record-breaking class win at the 1950 Le Mans 24 Hour race, a class 1-2 in the 1951 Monte Carlo International Rally, an outright win in the 1951 Lisbon International Rally, and a class 1-2 in a gruelling 4-hr sports car race on the public road circuit at Dundrod in Northern Ireland in September 1951. This was a resurrection of the famous Ulster Tourist Trophy Race of 1928-1936 previously run on the 13.7-mile (22.0 km) Ards circuit. Le Mans was again class-won in 1951 and 1952, and lesser events were taken in 1952 but by 1953 newer faster cars were proving a match for the Jupiter which was after all a well-appointed touring car first and foremost.

Performance and contemporary driving impressions[edit]

A car tested by the British magazine The Motor in 1950 had a top speed of 86.1 mph (138.6 km/h) and could accelerate from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 18.0 seconds. A fuel consumption of 25.1 miles per imperial gallon (11.3 L/100 km; 20.9 mpg-US) was recorded. The test car cost £1086 including taxes.[3] At this time a Jaguar XK120 cost £1263 including taxes when tested by the same magazine.

A road test by the competitor magazine, The Autocar recorded a top speed of 90 mph (145 km/h) but acceleration to 60 mph (97 km/h) for these testers took them to 20.4 seconds.[4] The final drive ratio on the first publicly presented prototype of 4.1 to 1 was reduced to 4.56 to 1 and it is possible that the final drive on the tested cars was not the same.[4] The Autocar testers were enthused by the car's performance, especially in view of the "well-known ... verve of the Javelin engine" and its "susceptiblity to power output increase".[4] The Jupiter's compression ratio of 8:1 was nevertheless higher than on most UK market cars in 1950, and some mild "pinging" was recorded using 72 octane fuel,[4] which was the highest grade normally available in Britain at the time. Other features drawing particular praise included quick, light though highly geared steering and gear change linkage which was "unusually positive for a steering column layout".[4]

Jupiter R1[edit]

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. Three examples of the R1 were made - one survives.

Jupiter R4[edit]

The original Jupiter was a somewhat heavy car and this handicapped its performance. An intended successor, 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 of which two survive.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Robson, G (2006). A-Z of British Cars 1945-1980. Devon, UK: Herridge. ISBN 0-9541063-9-3. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Culshaw; Horrobin (1974). Complete Catalogue of British Cars. London: Macmillan. ISBN 0-333-16689-2. 
  3. ^ a b "The Javelin Jupiter". The Motor. November 22, 1950. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Javelin Jupiter Convertible". Autocar. March 10, 1950. 
  5. ^ Paul Clark & Edmund Nankivell, The Complete Jowett History, 1991, Foulis Haynes

Books[edit]

  • Nankivell, Edmund (1981). The Jowett Jupiter, the Car that Leaped to Fame. Batsford. ISBN 0-7134-3835-5. 
  • Nankivell, Edmund (2001). Jowett Jupiter, a Car for Road, Rally and Race. Penmellyn Publications. ISBN 0-9541144-0-X. 
  • Nankivell, Edmund (2011). Jowett Jupiter, Special Body, from Abbott & Beutler to Rochdale & Worblaufen. Penmellyn Publications. ISBN 978-0-9541144-1-1. 
  • Nankivell, Edmund; McAuley, Geoff (2003). Jowett Javelin and Jupiter, the Complete Story. Crowood. ISBN 1-86126-562-X. 

External links[edit]

Special Jupiters