By Rod Ward
The author is not a Yorkshireman, though he has lived in ‘God’s own County’ for many years. He first arrived in Yorkshire in the early 1960s. Many friends (and later, in-laws) turned out to be current or past Jowett owners, and he even owned a Mark I Jupiter myself for a short time. He had not been in Yorkshire long when a friend described seeing a Bradford van climbing the steep track up from a well-known cove heavily-laden with a catch of fish, its two-cylinder engine chugging manfully. This led to much car talk, in which he wondered aloud why Jowett had chosen to make horizontally opposed engines, which by the 1960s were usually only seen in Volkswagen Beetles. The response from a Leeds-born friend was, ‘Jowetts came from Bradford; they were horizontally opposed to everything. They even built Javelins upside down, just to be different’. That may be so; if you read the famous Jowett advertisements in motor magazines in the 1920s and 1930s, written by Gladney Haig, you could be forgiven for thinking that they sometimes took their ‘music hall Yorkshireman’ act a little far. There is no doubt, however, that their ‘little engine with the big pull’ kept the firm in business for half a century, powering no-frills reliable cars and vans. With this no-nonsense heritage, it is all the more remarkable that after the departure of the founding brothers this tiny company embarked on the design and production of the Javelin, one of the most advanced family cars of its era. The Javelin, with its Jupiter sports car derivative, is the car by which most enthusiasts know Jowett today, rather than 50 years of flat twin motoring. The British motor industry mostly developed in certain areas of the country. The West Midlands, South East and North West between them accounted for most vehicle production. Yorkshire had different industrial traditions, heavy engineering, steel and coal. Apart from Jowett, few enthusiasts could name more Yorkshire vehicle makers, but there have been others. Many of them are listed in a detailed and illustrated appendix to this book.