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Jowett Jupiter MkI

Jowett Jupiter MkI Jowett Jupiter MkI Jowett Jupiter MkI Jowett Jupiter MkI Jowett Jupiter MkI
Jowett Jupiter MkI Jowett Jupiter MkI Jowett Jupiter MkI Jowett Jupiter MkI
Lot number 69
Hammer value N/S (est. £10,000 - £12,000)
Description Jowett Jupiter MkI
Registration MBM 305
Year 1953
Colour Aluminium
Engine size 1,486 cc
Chassis No. E1/PC/251R
Engine No. E3-PE-23214

Following the launch of the all new Javelin saloon, in 1950 Jowett decided to use its power train in a sports car, the only one the company ever made. For the chassis design they approached ERA who came up with a tubular steel fabrication based on a design by Austrian engineer Eberan-Eberhorst, formerly of Auto Union. The suspension used torsion bars front and rear and was independent at the front. Steering was by rack-and-pinion and brakes were Girling hydraulic all round with twin leading shoes at the front.

The steel and aluminium open bodywork was styled by Jowett's own Reg Korner, with a bench seat for three people. There was no external access to the boot and the bonnet was rear-hinged and opened complete with the wings. Power came from a tuned version of the 1,486cc flat-four overhead valve unit in the Javelin and had twin carbs and a higher compression ratio to develop 60bhp – good for a top speed of 85mph and a 0-50 time of 11.7 seconds. It drove through a four-speed column change gearbox with synchro on the top three gears.

The Jupiter was an instant success with a record-breaking class win at Le Mans in 1950, a class 1-2 in the 1951 Monte Carlo International Rally, an outright win on the 1951 Lisbon International Rally, and a class 1-2 at Dundrod in a gruelling 4-hr sports car race on public roads in 1951. Le Mans was again class-won in 1951 and 1952, and lesser events were taken in 1952, but by 1953 newer faster cars were proving a match for the Jupiter which was a well-appointed touring car first and a racer second. Just 899 Jupiters were built in all, including 75 special bodied cars, of which just 561 were right hand-drive. Around half of all cars produced are thought to survive today and all are highly sought after.


This particular Jupiter is one of six cars bodied by well-known coachbuilder Richard Mead of Dorridge, Warwickshire, son of FW Mead, co-founder of the Rhode Motor Company who made cars in Birmingham from 1921-1931. Read is perhaps best known for his work on the Marauder but he also bodied cars for Allard, Bristol and Lea Francis among others. Only four of these Jupiter Mead specials are known to survive and just three are in roadworthy condition.


According to the original buff log book in the history file, MBM 305 was first registered in August 1953 to an Allen Neale of Acton, London. In 1967 it passed to a Dr WGJ Hampson of Mansfield, Notts, who appears to have kept it until the mid-1970s when it was acquired by a CH Bartlett of Bristol. He laid the car up in 1976, apparently when the front exhaust started blowing, and it was to remain in dry storage for the next 32 years.


Acquired by the current vendor earlier this year, the car has since been stripped back to bare aluminium to appraise the condition of the bodywork which is all remarkably sound. The chassis is also said to be very sound and the car is said to run and drive well since the engine was partially stripped and reassembled and all the fuel lines cleaned out. The brake linings are said to have been renewed just before the car was laid up and to remain in excellent condition.


The car comes with the aforementioned buff log book (but no V5), lots of history up to about 1974 and much technical literature relating to the model including a very informative Jupiter maintenance manual. It is only reluctantly being sold because the vendor has too many other projects on the go and has realized that he will probably never have the time to finish all of them! Altogether a very rare and appealing car that should amply reward the mainly cosmetic refurbishment that is now required.    


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