The first Jowett light car was produced in February 1906 although various delays meant that it did not go into serious production until 1910.
In 1925 Jowett became front page news when two of its cars, nicknamed ‘Wait’ and ‘See’, became the first vehicles to cross Africa from East to West unaided. It took 60 days to cover the 3,800 miles of desert, swamp and mountainous country, ‘Wait’ and ‘See’ proving their worth and averaging over 30mpg in the process.
This intriguing little Coupe was built by the previous owner in response to a very wet VSCC Lakeland Trial. Sitting in his lightweight two-seater open Jowett Sports model on a bleak hillside in the pouring rain, he decided he needed something with a roof. The project that had been slowly developing in his head suddenly got the push it needed, his comprehensive selection of spare parts being laid out to see what was missing – the answer being not much!
The chassis was carefully constructed using largely original Jowett parts, the axles coming from a 1929/30 model which were unique to those years. The engine was moved 6” towards the back of the car, a position reserved by the factory for their Sports models. The barrels were bored out, giving a boost to 950cc and a later 1933 four-speed gearbox fitted. Shock absorbers were upgraded to more robust Hartford type and the brakes converted to a clever hydro-mechanical layout which has proved most effective.
Attention then turned to the body, which was entrusted to a Jowett expert . He produced a wooden frame that mirrored that of a standard saloon up to the B-posts, thereafter being cut into a ‘Jowett-like’ Coupe. It was panelled in ply and aluminium and the roof covered in Rexine. Steel wings finished the job off nicely, the car performing well, loping along with its typical flat-twin exhaust note thanks to the relatively high overall gearing of 16mph/1,000 rpm.
With the gradual change in the nature of VSCC trials (for which this car is eleigible), moving away from the days when low-speed lugging ability was the order of the day, Ever since its completion, the car has been referred to as the ‘White Lady’, a tongue in cheek reference to Jowett’s production models – the ‘Black Prince’ and ‘Grey Knight’.