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1 of 900: 1951 Jowett Jupiter

1951 Jowett Jupiter

You may not be able to tell from this photo of the fender, but this bucket of bolts was once a beautiful 1951 Jowett Jupiter. Don’t feel bad if that doesn’t sound familiar. Only about 900 were built over in the UK. Even though the engine was small (1.5 liter) the few that competed, were very successful in motorsport. This one has seen better days, but considering the rarity and pedigree of this car, I think it deserves to be saved. The car was discovered in a California warehouse and is currently up for auction here on eBay where bidding starts at $7,500.

Jowett Jupiter at Le Mans

Here is what this car once looked like! Not bad, uh? It may look like it came from a cartoon, but wins at Le Mans and Monte Carlo proved that it was a serious machine. Do a little research and I think you will be pleasantly surprised at what this little car could do. Sometimes the best things really do come in small packages…

The history makes this car appealing, but the condition of the one presented here does not. I guess California black plates do not always mean rust free. It is hard to see everything in the photos, but it is obviously going to take bucket loads of money to make this project look and go fast. It will be a labor of love, but the end result should be well worth it. So are you ready to “Get your fast ride – in civilized comfort!“?

Jowett Jupiter ad


  1. Cameron Bater UK

    As a young gentleman I find my extensive knowledge of my country’s motor industry odd considering no-one else my age seems to have classic car intrests. That said, my knowledge is fairly extensive so I’m surprised that I’ve never heard of this car company. My favourite combo has to be the AH Midgit (it’s how I differentiate between the two) in Iris Blue

  2. Darrel H.

    This may very well be the same car that stored in the open in Sacramento in 1990 or 91. A mother and daughter lived in house with various imports spread about. Most were in a condition similar to the pictured Jupiter. They included a MG-TF, a TR2, an XK-120 or 140, a Morris Minor, and others. The cars were all for sale but the prices were rather high considering their condition. Some years later I drove by and the house and cars were gone.

  3. Ken Nelson Member

    This one is in worse condition than my first one, found on a 40 degree hillside in Mill Valley – had been outside on the hill for 40 yrs uncovered. Altho it had a lot of surface rust, it isn’t as bad as this one, and the engine I got with it is supposedly good. The really sad thing about this one is – the front tubes that held the engine have broken off completely from rust where they join the larger chassis tubes – that area was a poor design flaw where I’ve found beginning rustthru on a couple of my 5 Jupiters. But caught early, before the engine falls off on the ground, the joint between smaller front engine support tubes and larger front chassis tubes can be strengthened better than the factory design. Price here is very high for what’s there, and parts are not easy to come by, as total production over the three yrs these were made was only 900, and who knows how many are left? A fellow in LA restores the cars and races his at Laguna Seca and Infineon, where our tiny US club saw him run about 2 yrs ago. The engine is a bit odd, with aluminum crankcase and iron heads.

  4. John M

    Was this one of those cars placed out in the desert when they were doing atom bomb tests?

  5. Dolphin Member

    I think that B+W photo of car #36 got stretched out a bit in the photography because they don’t look as sleek in recent photos that are more faithful to the car’s shape. OTOH, there was a 1-off car, a Mk 2, that’s as beautiful as a Ferrari Barchetta, which I think it was based on. (2nd photo down, white car; the rest look about right for regular Jupiters)

    No bids for this car yet, and there might not be any. These aren’t even in the SCM Guide. $50K might be possible for one, but that would likely need to be the most perfect one on the planet, at the most upscale auction in the car’s home country, on a real good day.

    That said, it’s sad to see it like this, design warts and all as mentioned by Ken N., but if the seller will pull back from trying to turn what’s probably a parts car into a big payday this might provide parts for the rest, of which I’m guessing there aren’t many left.

  6. Tony Bittle

    I have a 1950 that I brought back to Illinois, from Connecticut several years ago. Mine was, and is in almost the exact condition of this auto….other than mine being minus the motor. It had been hacked to install a Ford V8/60, almost when the car was new. These motors suffered from a poor crankshaft design and most failed in short-order. With this being a last-ditch effort to save Jowett, the factory could not stand behind the replacement of the motors… I have wrestled for years how to configure this car, and I believe I will finally go with a V8/60, with the car styled in the flavor of the original LeMans car.

  7. Ken Nelson Member

    Tony, there was a second generation crank, with oval webs and possibly different radii in the journal fillets that didn’t break. Problem was, they only got the later crank some time after the car went out of production! I still don’t understand the timing of the better crank – and the gearboxes were a problem but guys in the UK club have solutions and better parts for the trannies. I”ve also come up with a fix to a design flaw on the vertical shifter shaft in the box – to replace the bottom bearing hole for the shaft with a real bushing that’s 3x the support area of the original hole bored into the housing and prevents the bottom end of the shaft wearing in a taper due to crud collecting in the case hole. A better engine that would be more in line with the original design would be an early flat four from a Subaru Brat or similar – should be about the same relative size and more likely more powerful and reliable.

    Like 1
  8. Werner Peeters

    Hey folks I bought this car
    And I ll make hime for rallye and races
    Greetings from belgium

    Ps the chassis is in verry good condition no rot

    Like 1
    • Ken Nelson Member

      Congratulations, i may know where a front hood is as it looks like you need one – let me know –
      Ken Nelson

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