That racing Jowett

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Sir,

Your correspondent Mr. Peter Hepworth is obviously a distant, and hitherto unknown, relative of mine, in that his great uncle Joseph Hepworth was my maternal grandfather. I well remember the Jowett in the late 1920s, although at the time I was a mere lad of some seven or eight summers, and naturally at a distance of over 40 years my memory cannot be expected to be too accurate.

However, the car was known as “The Black Horse”, and when grandpa Joe became Member of Parliament for Bradford East I suppose he decided that dicing in Jowetts was no longer the thing—or maybe grandma Annie Louise decided it for him! In any case, he would have been around the 50 mark by 1930, being the eldest of the Hepworth brothers. Family legend has it that when he discontinued the sport he presented the car to the Engineering Department of the Bradford Technical College.

I well remember sitting in the back seat of the family Alvis excitedly watching the Jewett under tow completely driverless, and being fascinated by the steering wheel which turned of its own accord as we went up the Yorkshire dales to Park Rash, near Kettlewell.

Another popular venue was “Hepolite Scar”, near Bradford, a figure-of-eight freak hill-climb with a deep hole half-way up known as “Tommy Bullus’s grave”, where many people came unstuck. Tommy Bullus was a motorcycle and sidecar expert, as well as being a military tailor in Bradford. In 1943 he made for me a battledress in Navy Serge, which whilst most comfortable at sea earned for me a stern rebuke from the Commanding Officer of HMS Hornet and strict instructions never to wear “that thing” ashore.

In about 1927 the Jowett was entered at Shelsley Walsh, and returned (from memory) a time of 69 sec., which was considered good in those days for a car of its size and type. I believe it also exceeded 80 m.p.h. at Brooklands, although its forte was the freak hill-climb.

As a Bradfordian, and Joint Managing Director of Hepworth & Grandage at the time my grandfather was naturally very friendly with the Jowett brothers, Ben and Willie, who I am sure assisted in the design and preparation of this special.

Cape Province, S. Africa.
Peter A. Smith.