It is a lone survivor from a time when the car park beside Bradford City’s football ground was Yorkshire’s answer to Ford’s of Dagenham
With crumbling wheel arches, a rotting wooden frame and a four-cylinder engine that hadn’t seen an engineer’s rag for decades, the dark blue Jowett 10 could no longer make it under its own steam from the pick-up trailer to the workshop.
But it its day it had been a grand tourer, traversing western and central Europe in style, in the time just before and after the war.
Yesterday marked the dawn of its next chapter, as a restoration appeal was launched to put it back in front of the public in its home city.
Made in 1938 and off the road since 1964, the 10 horsepower saloon has been in the ownership of the Bradford Industrial Museum since the 1980s, when the Northumberland family that had owned it since new, presented it as a gift.
But lacking the showroom looks of the 14 other Jowetts on display, it was consigned to storage and forgotten.
Its resurrection has been the cause of excitement within the nationwide Jowett Car Club, whose 600 members make up the oldest organisation in the world devoted to a single marque.
“As far as we know, this is the only example of the 1938 model still in existence,” said the club’s chairman, Paul Beaumont.
“Jowett had remodelled it that year, to give it a different radiator superficially in line with the, with the Hillmans of the period.”
It will cost £5,000 to make it presentable, though not necessarily roadworthy.
“It needs a bit of love and attention,” said Elizabeth Llabres, curator of industrial and social history in Bradford, who brought the car out of storage and made it available at a restoration event in Birmingham to gauge interest.
“Jowetts have an international appeal. Younger generations come with their grandparents to see them,” she added.
Yesterday, it was returned to the museum by Mr Beaumont, whose team will work on it over the next two years, funded, they hope, by public subscriptions.
The car had 150,000 miles on the clock when it was taken off the road. Its log book had taken in Switzerland in 1938, and Austria, Liechtenstein, France and Denmark after the war.
“The Jowett 10 was one of the smaller projects that just got forgotten about,” Ms Llabres said. “But it needs to go on display in our gallery, to expand our story of the Jowett company.”
Jowett Cars was a prestige brand, whose most famous post-war models were the Javelin executive saloon and the Bradford delivery van beloved by small businesses.
They were turned out from a large plant in Bradford’s Idle district, which became a tractor factory when production ceased in 1955, and is now the site of a Morrisons supermarket. But its smaller, pre-war site was on Back Burlington Street, beside the Valley Parade football stadium.
A Jowett 10 would have cost around £209 in 1938. A sliding roof would have been £5 extra.
In post-war Britain, the firm was a mass manufacturer but its site at Idle was still not big enough to compete with all-in-one plants in the Midlands, said Mr Beaumont.
“Jowett had to buy in bodies from Doncaster, but their supplier was sold to Ford, which was a rival,” he said.