Historic Truck Brands
Jowett was founded in 1901 in Bradford, in the UK by brothers Benjamin (1877–1963) and William (1880–1965) Jowett with Arthur Lamb. They started in the cycle business and went on to make V-twin static engines, some of which were fitted into other makes of vehicles as replacements.
In 1904 they became the Jowett Motor Manufacturing Company and the first Jowett light car was produced in February 1906, extensively tested and went into production in 1910. It used an 816cc, flat twin, water-cooled engine of 6.4hp and a three-speed gearbox with tiller steering. Twelve vehicles were made before an improved version with wheel steering was launched in 1913.
The intention was to provide a low weight vehicle at a low price and with low running costs. The engine and gearbox were specifically designed for a light car and made largely of aluminium. The body was a lightweight open two-seater.
Jowett Cars Limited was formed after WWI and car manufacturing started in a new factory in 1920. The first vehicle was the Jowett Seven using an enlarged version of the pre-war flat twin. First it was enlarged to 831 cc then to 907 cc in 1921. Thereafter all Jowetts were Sevens until the introduction of the four-cylinder engine in 1936.
Commercial vehicles based on the car chassis were also built from 1922 and became an increasingly important part of the company’s output.
In 1929, the engine received removable cylinder heads to ease maintenance and braking was on all four wheels.
The first four-cylinder engine arrived in 1936, powering the 1166cc twin-carburettor Jowett Ten. This model continued until the outbreak of war, alongside the traditional twin-cylinder models, which grew to 946 cc in 1937.
Production of cars stopped in 1940 but engine production for motor-generator sets continued, along with aircraft components and other military hardware. The engine was also used in the Jowett Fire Pump.
The company was bought by property developer Charles Clore in 1945 and he sold it in 1947 to the bankers Lazard Brothers.
When production restarted after the Second World War, the twin-cylinder engine was dropped from the range of new cars, but continued in 1005cc form in the light lorry, the Bradford van and in two versions of an estate car called the Utility.
Around 5000 Bradford CA models were produced and then followed in 1947 by the CB. In 1949 the CC series was introduced, with a more powerful engine. At around this time the electrics were changed from the original 6V to a 12V system, overcoming the starting problems that had been experienced with the 6V system.
There were various utility variants of the Bradford van produced from 1947 onwards, as well as pickup lorries. The utilities were usually fitted with side windows and rectangular windows in the rear doors, and some versions were made with optional rear seats.
Bradfords were often supplied as a drive-away chassis so that clients could have custom built bodies fitted.
Production of these vehicles finished in 1953, with over 38,000 having been made.
Jowett Javelin and Bradford body production was out-sourced to Briggs Motor Bodies, who supplied the bodies fully trimmed and ready to be mounted on the mechanicals, but the Jupiters were always built in-house.
Collapse of the arrangements for the supply of bodies led to suspension of Javelin and Bradford production in 1953, though tooling had been completed for new models. Some 38,000 Bradfords were made and Jupiters remained in demand and were built up to the end of 1954.
The company did not go broke, but sold its factory to International Harvester, who made tractors at the site until the early 1980s. The factory was demolished in 1983.
Jowett switched to manufacturing aircraft parts for the Blackburn & General Aircraft Company in a former woollen mill. Jowett, now a “shell” of the former company, was later taken over by Blackburn in 1956, but spares for the postwar cars were kept available until 1963, when the remainder of the Jowett company was closed due to the rationalisation of the aircraft industry.