The Jowett Javelin Saloon



The Jowett Javelin is an astonishing car and a credit to the British technician. At last we have a saloon car which can hold up its head when it encounters the Continentals. Realise that this very brisk newcomer is of a mere 1,500 c.c., has ample room within for six persons, and is no more outre in appearance that the more modest pre-war American cars, and you will, as we do, enthuse over this refreshing newcomer from Bradford.

First impressions? Appreciation of the many clever features of the car, that must remain a source of convenience throughout its life long after the novelty of demonstrating them has palled, of the immense amount of passenger and luggage space offered, and that visibility is excellent and the steering-column gearchange something to which one readily gets accustomed.

Let us get some of the many unique features off our mind first. Right! The luggage locker is immense, yet its lockable lid is light to raise, and carries a second rear lamp and interior lighting. The tools stow in a felt-lined compartment at the outer edge of the locker, accessible by moving only the lighter pieces of luggage should the locker be full. By engaging the wheel brace in a socket and winding, the spare wheel tray, hidden below the locker, winds down so that the wheel can be easily withdrawn. There is a huge parcels shelf behind the rear seat and both bench-type seats have good, sturdy central folding armrests. Cutaways provide for the rear passenger’s elbows and adjustment of the front seat is simple and absolutely positive — you just wind the whole seat forward or backward with a sizable handle by the driver’s left leg. Door handles are of the liftup type externally; internally, the front handles push forward to “Open” and back for “lock,” the reverse of normal. The rear handles operate the reverse way. The driver’s door locks.

There is a useful roof lamp, with switch by the near-side front passenger. The facia contains good press-button switches of radio type. There is interior heating and provision for heating the inside of the windscreen, which is a large area of curved safety glass. The door windows are raised and lowered by sliding a knob on the sill backward or forward a very neat arrangement, obviating clumsy winders on the sides of the doors. Small arm-rests, folding up when out of use, are incorporated in the front doors. Upholstery is in good quality leather and three people can easily occupy the front seat, although leg room for the outer passenger is a trifle cramped by reason of the scuttle sweep-in to give front-wheel lock. The alligator bonnet is released by pulling a knob under the facia; it. supports itself safely and re-locks easily. The grille also unlocks and folds up to give greater engine accessibility. The rear plugs and carburetters are not very easy to reach, but the general layout is being modified to improve matters. Substantial bumpers and one of those excellent Lucas spot-lights were fitted. A very good point is the provision of a plug-in lead-lamp, carried in a pocket under the bonnet, while fuse and junction boxes and oil and water fillers are very well placed. The carburetter intakes have rubber tubes leading up to coincide with holes in the bonnet nose, through which cool air is drawn; removable wire-mesh cones prevent children from feeding oddments to the gas works. There is a spring-spoke steering wheel (the spokes of which could be better placed) with horn button in its centre and a huge cubby hole, provided with a rather “tinny,” difficult-to-lock lid. The horn is rather blatant. From left to right the facia fittings are: Screen heater control, push-buttons for starter and fog lamp, lamps and ignition switches, push buttons for panel lighting (which is good) and wipers and, below these push-switches, the oil warning window, clock and ignition warning window. Then comes the interior heater “Cold-Hot” control, fuel gauge calibrated in !/4, 1/2. 3/4, F, speedometer of nice size, calibrated in divisions of 5 m.p.h. to 80, with trip, and water thermometer, which never went appreciably over 75° C. The light switch is in the form of a square with the ignition key rather far recessed within. Bonnet release and choke knobs are below the facia on the right. Two shallow useful sun-vizors are fitted above the big screen. The lamp dimmer is on the floor, rather near the seat, the pedals are very much to the left of normal positioning, and while this is not particularly disturbing, they are not too well-placed generally. The r.h. accelerator is of roller type. The direction indicator switch is in the centre of the facia; the indicators (rather brilliantly lit) cancel effectively on time switches and the control switch gives their position. There is no hand-throttle. The central rear-view mirror is well-placed but vibrates; vision for reversing is reasonable. Entrance and exit are easily accomplished. The rear doors contain ash-trays, there is provision for radio and a transparent roof panel and front-door ventipanes are optional extras. The external appearance is modernistic and imposing.

That then is the Jowett Javelin as seen in showroom or garage, and as such it is a most intriguing possession. How, then, does it motor? The answer is, very well indeed.

The steering column gear-lever, spring-loaded to 3rd and top, works as through a normal gate, and is quite easy to use. Reverse is obtained through 1st after depressing a knob. The synchromesh works very well even for fast changes, or one can double-declutch if one prefers. All changes go through as fast as the lever can conveniently be moved and the clutch is light and reasonably positive. Although the near-side front wing cannot actually be seen, visibility is immensely good, so that a driver new to this car has no qualms about traffic negotiation. Very soon one realises that the Javelin is a car that gets along. Acceleration in the lower gears is obviously something out of the ordinary, and even in top gear the urge is very evidently there. This, indeed, is a feature of the new Jowett — later we found 0-50 m.p.h., snatching the changes, could he accomplished in 14.6 sec. (the figures in the panel are for more sober handling), while in top gear from 25 m.p.h. onwards the pick-up is really brilliant, even up to 60 m.p.h. or so. This makes passing slower vehicles a safe, happy business, and, at the other extreme, you can run down to 10 m.p.h. in the same ratio. Within a very short space of time, encouraged by this reserve urge and the generally safe feel of the car, we were getting along at 55 m.p.h., and going up to 65 m.p.h. or more along short straights — and those are corrected speeds.

The car tested was not fully soundproofed, and some rather V8-Ford-like engine sound was evident when things were really turning over. Wind noise was commendably absent even at speed, and, in torrential rain, no water blew on to the driver with his window fully down, which shows how effective are the aerodynamics. The excellent performance aforementioned, allied to good handling qualities and good braking, results in a car which can set up average speeds of the 45-50 m.p.h. order over difficult roads. In spite of really soft torsion bar suspension and a tendency to roll in the modern manner, the Javelin handles beautifully. It distinctly understeers, and moderately high-geared steering enables it to be put round corners very much in the Continental-car manner. No return motion of any sort is felt through the wheel; indeed, the action is rather “dead,” nor is any but the merest trace of vibration transmitted by the column. There is good castor action and the lock is very generous indeed. This is steering which makes winding roads a treat, and allows one to wend a mile-a-minute way through recalcitrant traffic without endangering anyone. The back-end breaks away first and throughout spirited exhibitions the tyre howl is not above normal, although the inner rear wheel tends to lift. Any desire for somewhat stiffer suspension must be met by remembering the excellence of the springing over the most appalling roads — the sort cars for export will continually encounter. There is no pitching but a fair amount of wallowing and some up and down movement, throughout which the wheels remain glued to the ground. Hump-back bridges can be rushed without a qualm. The brakes are light to apply, progressive and positive and very, very powerful; they are also virtually silent, but tended to stick-on on one occasion. Applied hard, the Javelin stays in a straight line. The r.h. trigger handbrake under the facia works well and really holds the car.

Second gear gives an adequate start on level roads, and once in 3rd the speedometer needle surges round the dial — and continues to do so not so very much more slowly when in top gear.

Reverting for a moment to the driving position, the seat will adjust close to the wheel and is most comfortable, and there is a fair amount of room for both elbows. No gear-noise is heard above the engine noise, but on the over-run there is a very slight hum.

Conducting our usual tests over our much-maligned test-course, we got highly commendable results. There was a moderate wind and the surface was dry. The flying (or, more appropriately, accelerative) 1/4 mile was covered at 72.6 m.p.h. downwind, and the mean of the best two runs, one in each direction, was 70.42 m.p.h. The car was still accelerating somewhat at the end of the run and we would put its absolute maximum at 75 to 77 m.p.h. The speedometer showed 80 m.p.h. on one occasion. The best standing 1/4 mile occupied 22.6 sec. and the best 0-50 m.p.h. 14.6 sec., or 16.0 sec. with less brutal gear-changing. A genuine 55 m.p.h. was obtainable in 3rd, when the speedometer showed 60 m.p.h.; it was all but accurate at 30 m.p.h. These figures well portray the liveliness of the Javelin, as reflected in the excellent about-the-place averages of which the car is capable; and this from a hard-used engine, which needed a quart of oil after 250 miles. It ranks as one of the really fast A. to B. motorcars and with extreme ease and safety. The fuel consumption could only be estimated approximately, but was in the region of 29 m.p.g., driving very hard, and traffic driving and all our tests included. After standing out all night the engine. started fairly promptly but took some while to warm up to its job. It dislikes “Pool” from the pinking aspect. The car rocks rather curiously when the engine is idling, but is smooth for a “four” when under load.

At night the lights were adequate to the car’s speed, the Lucas spotlamp especially so. Some oil smoke rose at times from the near-side exhaust pipes. It is very difficult to convey in words the attraction which the combination of good qualities in the Javelin exert on a keen driver. The car is new, novel, obviously well planned. It has unexpected roominess for a 1 1/2-litre, the easy ride and practical detail associated with the better Americans. Yet it goes better than some sports cars and handles like a Continental. Technically it has a great appeal, by reason of its unconventional flat-four engine, set well at the front of the car and having its radiator behind it, and the excellent torsion-bar suspension. Its handy speed, in town and on the open road, by reason of real acceleration, is a most valuable possession, and uncommon in a 1 1/2-litre saloon.

This new Javelin may not be the enthusiasts’ ideal, but for those who need a second-string as companion to something like a “2.8” Alfa-Romeo, or those drivers who cannot own a sports car at all, because they must have thief-proof, weatherproof transportation, here, obviously, is their car. As an attempt to prove not only that Britain can make it but that she can also sell to competitive export markets, the old-established Bradford concern is to be heartily congratulated on this remarkable newcomer. They have achieved what they set out to do by combining the factors just enumerated and also, we suspect, putting some aircraft practice into their formula.

If times were normal Javelins would he flooding our roads; as it is, this modern Jowett will, we suggest, become one of the world’s most successful productions. If it does not, we do not know a good car when we try one The wheelbase is 8 ft. 6 in., and the car weighs exactly a ton. Full details are available from Jowett Cars, Ltd., 48, Albemarle Street, Piccadilly, W.1, who announce the price as £818 10s. 7d., with purchase tax of £178 10s. 7d.— W.B.

Jowett Javelin Sloon
Engine: Four cylinders, horizontally opposed, 72.5 by 90 mm. (1,486 c.c.). Tax £15.
Gear Ratios: 1st, 18.9 to 1; 2nd, 11.6 to 1; 3rd, 7.31 to 1; top, 4.86 to 1.
Tyres: 5.25 in. by 16 in. Goodyear.
Weight: 20 cwt. (in road trim with approx. 2 gallons of petrol but less occupants).
Steering ratio: 2 3/8 turns lock to lock.
Fuel capacity: 8 gallons.

Performance Data
Acceleration: (mean of two-way runs)
0-30 m.p.h.: 6 sec.
0-50 m.p.h.: 15.7 sec.
0-60 m.p.h.: 22.7 sec.
s.s. 1/4 mile: 23.0 sec. (mean).
22.6 sec. (best run).
Speed: f.s. 1/4 mile ( approx. 1/2-mile run-in):
70.42 m.p.h. (mean).
72.60 m.p.h. (best run).
Maximum in indirect gears (corrected for speedo. error):
1st: 22 m.p.h.
2nd: 36 m.p.h.
3rd: 55 m.p.h.
Fuel consumption:
Approximately 29 m.p.g.


There is an impression amongst motorists that when a car is fitted with a sports coil the gaps at the plug points must be opened wider than normal. The Lodge plugs company, however, point out that this is not so ; so long as the plug gaps themselves are normal it is immaterial whether the coil is of the sports or standard type. If, however, it is desired to use wider plug gaps, then a sports-type coil is advisable, if not essential.

The main object of installing a sports coil is to provide the necessary higher voltage current to jump wider plug gaps for the purpose of igniting weak or otherwise special gas mixture, which a normal spark gap might not be able to cope with. Alternatively, the higher voltage coil will provide a spark across the normal plug gap in a high compression engine where an ordinary coil might fail.

Another advantage of a sports coil is that it will compensate for a partially run-down or otherwise sub-standard battery which might be unable to produce the necessary spark with an ordinary coil. An example of this is found when starting from cold in the winter. The use of the starter then takes so heavy a load from the battery as substantially to reduce the voltage for ignition purposes. In such circumstances a sports coil will often make all the difference between ” Stop ” and “Go.”