Activity at Idle
Travelling up to Jowett’s at Idle in the Motor Sport Jupiter, which was due for routine servicing after 8,500 miles—the more so after the fan had all but come through the bonnet on the way up !—we had a look at the factory before rettuning south in an overhauled Javelin, so perfectly serviced that its condition in is even better than that experienced 25,000 months ago. At Clayton, Mr. Gascoigne presided over, the vast Servicing Department jotting down, like an eminent surgeon, the symptoms described to him, after which a white-coated “medical student” prepares the “patient” for examination. We were glad to learn, and from experience agree, that early bearing failures have been entirely overcome; and that 60-ton in place of 55-ton head studs, together with slight mods. to gasket and head, look like curing the gasket-blowing to which the Jupiter has been prone.
At Idle, the original works where the famous “phutter-phutter” Jowetts were made is now a vast assembly bay, Javelins coming together down the centre, Jupiters on the left, the staunch little Bradfords on the right. The Javelins are inverted in wooden cradles and an engine can be installed in five minutes. Present production is some hundreds a week and Jupiter production is slowly being built up to 50 per cent. of that of the Javelin. Mr. C. B. Grandfield, the Engineer Manager, introduced us to Mr. Roy Lunn, late of A.C. and Aston-Martin, who is the Chief Designer. An air of quiet confidence pervades the entire factory. There is no doubt at all that Gerald Palmer’s Javelin was a brilliant conception when it was introduced just after the war, and still is. Few cars look so efficient in motion or run so smoothly and quietly. The Jupiter, too, is a great car; we were averaging over 50 m.p.h. and some 27 m.p.g. over wet roads on the way to Idle, prior to the fan incident.
It was truly gratifying to learn that Jowetts are convinced that racing teaches invaluable lessons that exhaustive running on the bench will not reveal. In the experimental shop stood the sports/racing Jupiters. This month a prototype and two normal Jupiters will run at Le Mans. All Jupiter engines are power-tested before leaving the factory, incidentally, whereas Bradford engines are electrically run-in and Javelin power-units motor one another through this stage.
A charming guest-house is maintained, where agents and other visitors are entertained, and here we were made welcome by the Managing Director, Mr. A. F. Jopling. We left with renewed faith in the future of this old-established Yorkshire concern, where they still believe in horizontally-opposed engines, whereas the “flat-fours” of Morris and A.C., for example, were still-born.