In 1904 Bradford brothers Benjamin and William Jowett set up the Jowett Motor Manufacturing Co, in 1909. Their first car was an open two-seater with tiller steering, an 816cc flat-twin water-cooled engine and a three speed gearbox. From 1910 they built 12 tiller-steered cars, then in 1913 an improved version was announced with wheel steering and artillery wheels. 36 were completed before the Great War. Profits from wartime work paid for a new factory in Idle, and the firm was renamed Jowett Cars Ltd. The engines were enlarged to 907cc with an RAC rating of 7hp, renowned for their hill climbing, pulling power and reliability. And the cars were cheap to buy. Sports versions were successful in competition, the Army and the Metropolitan Police bought some cars, and van versions were popular with traders. In 1930 a disastrous fire destroyed most of the factory. Six pre-production 1931 cars were rescued as exhibits at the Olympia motor show. Within months the factory was rebuilt and working again, making 60 cars per week, though they had to stop at dusk, because the electric lighting still didn't work. A new engine was introduced in 1935, a 31hp 1,146cc horizontally-opposed four cylinder unit. Four cylinder cars were made alongside the flat twins until 1940. Jowett became a public company in 1935, but a share issue was a failure and Ben Jowett retired in 1936. Willie stayed on until 1940. In 1942 new MD Charles Calcott Reilly placed an advertisement in Automobile Engineer magazine which read: Wanted: chief designer for a motor manufacturer. This advertisement attracted Gerald Palmer, who designed every aspect of a new postwar Jowett with a stylish unitary construction body and a new flat-four 1,486cc overhead valve engine. This became the Javelin, with an aerodynamic Briggs-built body. The Jupiter three-seater sports car was launched in 1949, and Bradford vans had a 1005cc version of the flat twin engine. With sales falling and no money for new models, Jowett went into voluntary liquidation in 1954.
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