Jowett Javelin

Jowett Javelin

Forgotten very early

Brilliant loss, as only the British could. The Jowett Javelin is an early and masterful example of this.

World car

The British automobile industry was always up with ideas, but never with testing. If it was right in theory, nothing could go wrong in practice? That is probably how the typically British humor came about. Nevertheless, the ambitions were great. Designer Gerald Palmer and manufacturer Jowett had nothing less than a world car in mind with the Javelin. Not only in a transferable sense; the Javelin had to be enjoyed on different continents and become the standard. He should, except in his own country, become a success in the rest of Europe, Africa and even the USA. No, they weren't modest in 1947 either.


The car is. In any case in its dimensions, competing models were from Hillman, Morris and Austin beefier and more old-fashioned, back then. De Javelin looked particularly modern with its recessed headlights. At the competition, they were still bolted to a rod or fender. People were used to that. His curved windshield was also unique, the Javelin was the first British car to be equipped with it. Competitors from that time had one split window with two pieces of flat glass. Handy drying after washing, though. The Javelin was an extremely aerodynamic design for its time, a lot of attention was paid to it. But no wind tunnel. Although the bodywork looked as if it had spent hundreds of hours in such a monstrous blowpipe, only theory was the basis here. It worked. That chap Gerald knew what he was doing. He also left out the footboards. The back of the Javelin was in a droplet shape, it was believed that a car was maximally aerodynamic if it had the shape of a fish. That could not be fully realized, but a half-full puffer fish could still be recognized in it.


All in all, the Javelin was a very modern and attractive car when it was introduced. With much more momentum than its competitors. In those post-war years, these were often nothing more than warmed-up turds from before the war, and the world quarrel meant that over half a decade there had logically not been much attention for innovation. Although Jowett could also do something about it: in 1946 they launched the old-fashioned Bradford Van, which was based on their own Eight from 1936. The Javelin stood out well. Even ultramodern. The car had something magical, but at the same time remained extremely sympathetic and dreamable for the common man. But not too ordinary, it was an expensive car at the time: £ 1100, - was for the average citizen an astronomical amount to smash on a car. Such an own machine in front of the door was not at all as self-evident as it is nowadays scattered in duplicate in the ripple-free Vinex neighborhoods, which flow like coffee stains over city maps. The Javelin had its own kingdom everywhere.

Good driving characteristics

In the end he turned out to stay there more often than average. The technology of the Javelin was progressive on some points, for example, it had independent wheel suspension and a very compact one flat four for the front axle as a source of power. That was a major advance on the smoky and lifeless two-cylinder from the Bradford Van, the driver of which could hardly have been in a hurry. Getting on with the Javelin was fine, he was highly praised at the time for his driving characteristics and performance. At the Motoring Press mainly, the citizen himself was not so busy with erasers or other sloshing. It kept a man's tobacco in his pipe, he concluded, and that was sufficient. The reliability of the Javelin is not.


There were some reliability issues, of which the gearbox was the most important. In order to save costs, it was decided in Yorkshire to design and manufacture the transmission in-house. But that is quite a complicated thing and apparently there was not enough expertise in house to manufacture a proper gear, shaft and oil construction. The greasy, grinding thing broke every second. Moreover, the first series of the four-cylinder were more than regularly warm and the crankshafts broke above average often. The public quickly became aware of that and that meant the death blow for the progressive and distinctive Javelin. The practice turned out to be a lot more merciless and unforgivable than the theory in which the Javelin sparkled flawlessly. The first owners were their own test drivers and that rarely goes well. In 1953, the last one was upside down after 22.000. Also progressive. The Javelin certainly lived up to its name: facing its downfall like a spear.




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