Free-wheeling Jowetts


I read with interest your article on freewheels. I was surprised no mention was made of the Warren Synchroniser, or “Easychange”.

Humphrey Sandberg devices were fitted on Jowetts of the late ’20s—the Metropolitan Police acquired a fleet of them. After-,the ’30s I think Laycock free-wheels were fitted as an optional extra to the twins and fours— sometimes with a centrifugal clutch, In 1937-38 the Warren Synchroniser was available.

The trouble with most free-wheels was that they could only he disengaged and the transmission locked when the engine was actually driving the car, and should one be caught unawares in strange country by a steep hill it was not always possible to do this.

The Warren Synchroniser was actuated by the last quarter of an inch of clutch pedal travel, and as Jowett clutches cleared long before maximum clutch travel the device could be ignored. However, in use, it was possible to depress the pedal fully, select any forward gear and provided the speed of the car was within the range of the gear selected one simply accelerated and on the engine revolutions matching the road speed the freewheel became inoperative and the transmission was normal. As you can see, one could not be caught unawares as a blip on the throttle locked the transmission.

Pre-war Jowett Tens are seldom mentioned, but they had an excellent performance and were very willing “revvers”; probably the only comparable family saloon in those days was the Rover Ten; they had similar speeds in the gears-30 in 2nd and over 50 in 3rd. These speeds were not to be sneezed at in pre-war days.

Shelf J. C. Haigh