1947 Jowett Javelin

The brothers Benjamin and William Jowett, from Yorkshire, were originally engine builders, but in 1913 decided to introduce complete cars to the market. Powered by two-cylinder engines, they were known for being particularly rugged and tough. The 1947 Jowett Javelin was one of the first entirely new car of the post-war era and helped set a new standard for British automotive design. Sleek, modern, fast and well built, the Javelin relied on a stiff monocoque shell, and all-around torsion bar suspension and a light and pleasant steering. Unfortunately, despite things looking very good indeed, it did not turn out so well.

1947 Jowett Javelin
1947 Jowett Javelin

The problem with the Javelin was, ironically, its engine. It had very serious reliability issues, which crippled the car, and the company’s reputation, and led to its bankruptcy in 1954. What’s too bad is that the problems were quickly fixed, and the later Javelins had few if any of the problems present earlier.

The Jowett Javelin was fitted with a 1.5-liter flat-four, developing 50 horsepower. It was enough to push the car to a top speed of 80 miles per hour, and to accelerate to 60 in 22 seconds. The top speed was achieved in great part because of the car’s design: it was aerodynamic (relatively speaking), light and had a high-gear four-speed manual transmission. The 1947 Jowett Javelin was a nice little car with just one problem, which proved its undoing.

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