1953 Jowett Jupiter
Extensively restored to a high standard; needs minor jobs to finish; known history from new; one of only 899 made
Following the launch of the all-new Javelin saloon, in 1950 Jowett decided to use its power train in a sports car, the only one the company ever made. For the chassis design they approached ERA who came up with a tubular steel fabrication based on a design by Austrian engineer Eberan-Eberhorst, formerly of Auto Union. The suspension used torsion bars front and rear and was independent at the front. Steering was by rack-and-pinion and brakes were Girling hydraulic all round with twin leading shoes at the front.
The steel and aluminium open bodywork was styled by Jowett's own Reg Korner, with a bench seat for three people. There was no external access to the boot and the bonnet was rear-hinged and opened complete with the wings. Power came from a tuned version of the 1,486cc flat-four overhead valve unit in the Javelin and had twin carbs and a higher compression ratio to develop 60bhp – good for a top speed of 85mph and a 0-50 time of 11.7 seconds. It drove through a four-speed column change gearbox with synchro on the top three gears.
The Jupiter was an instant success with a record-breaking class win at Le Mans in 1950, a class 1-2 in the 1951 Monte Carlo International Rally, an outright win on the 1951 Lisbon International Rally, and a class 1-2 at Dundrod in a gruelling 4-hour sports car race on public roads in 1951. 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 a well-appointed touring car first and a racer second.
Just 899 Jupiters were built in all, including 75 special bodied cars, of which just 561 were right hand-drive. Around half of all cars produced are thought to survive today and there is an active owner’s club to provide the parts and the technical know-how to keep them on the road.
As correspondence from the Jupiter Owners’ Auto Club confirms, this particular Jupiter left the factory on 7th August 1953 and was sold new via T Mellor Ltd of Salford. The original buff logbook shows that the first owner was a John Martin of Sale, Cheshire, who kept it until 1962. It then had three further local owners, the last of whom took it to Northern Ireland when he moved there in 1970.
In November 1972 it was advertised in Motor Sport by Rolls-Royce and Bentley specialist, Mike Berry of London, from whom a Californian gentleman, Jack Gipe, acquired it in March 1973 for £400 (invoice on file), at which point the mileage was 57,698 as shown on an old MOT. A JOAC member, Gipe used the car when he came to England to buy Bentleys to ship back to America. In around 1976 it developed a gearbox fault and was sent to Dennis Sparrow of London W5 to be restored, documents on file stating that it was still with Sparrow as late as 2016!
Our vendor, a long-standing member of the owners’ club and a serial Jowett owner and restorer, acquired the car in December 2016 by which time it was in a dismantled and dilapidated state, as shown in photos on file. Over the last four years he has treated the car to an extensive restoration with the results you see today.
Although there are no bills to document the restoration, just a few photos, the car speaks for itself and it looks stunning with a particularly good paint finish. As the restoration was nearing completion, family illness intervened and the car has not yet been driven on the road and will need to go through the usual 'shake down' process to sort any niggles. The aluminium inner wings will also need to be fitted but they are included, as shown in the photos.
Starting promptly and running nicely as we have moved it around on site, all the hard work has been done and it shouldn’t take long to get it back on the road. As good an example as you could ever hope to find, with a known history from new, this gorgeous Jupiter could no doubt scoop prizes on the show circuit should the fortunate new owner feel so inclined.
For more information contact James on 07970 309907 or email [email protected]
Reg No: GBA895
Chassis Number: E3 SA 872R
Engine Number: RO25567
Engine Size: 1486
Docs: V5C; buff logbook; green logbook; 1974 MOT; correspondence; photos; historic invoices
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