Home » A Car That Shares My Name: Cold Start

A Car That Shares My Name: Cold Start

Cs Jason1

For people of my advanced age, my name was fairly common, at least for a little while. I’m told it’s a name popular with Hellenized Greek Jews back in around 400 BCE, which is significantly older than I am, for example, and even predates another ancient Greek cultural touchstone, that poster of that blonde woman pretending to eat a gyro. The Greeks got my name from a mythological figure who traveled in a boat called the Argo looking for some golden wool, whatever the hell that would be, and died in a manner that feels uncomfortably plausible for me, when a part from his old decaying vehicle fell on his head. The name, of course, is Jason, and as far as I’m aware, only one car has ever borne it: the Jowett Jason.

Jowett was a British carmaker that was active between 1906 to 1954. Jowett was very fond of flat, horizontally-opposed engines, starting with flat twins and then around 1936 moving to flat-four engines, one of which the Jason had.

Cs Jason2

It’s an appealing little car, this namesake of mine. I’m fond of flat-fours as it is, so I’m happy one of those is thumping away under that hood, behind that rakishly-raked radiator grille there. I don’t think Jowetts of any type were ever very popular, but they do seem like appealing little cars, and I like that for a while after the war they continued with an alliterative naming convention, building cars called the Jupiter and Javelin. They also, in the 1930s, built a car called the Weasel, so it seems they knew how to have fun, too. Weasel fun.

Cars with conventional human names aren’t common; I’ve written about some in the past, and maybe some future Cold Starts will have more. In the meantime, this one is mine, along with all my fellow Jasons.

But not Jaysons. That’s just weird.

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43 Responses

  1. Mercedes is of course not just a car, but a whole brand that was named after a person, or so at least common wisdom tells us, namely Mercédès Jellinek. Why she had that name or why her name was spelled with diacritics is unknown (maybe “because French” even if she was Austrian), but in Spanish the word “mercedes” (no diacritics) is simply the plural of the word “merced” meaning “mercy”, and as the Spanish are fond of calling their girls “Mary of the “, there would be Spanish women being called “María de las Mercedes”, or just “Mercedes” for short. BTW it’s the same story with “Dolores”, for example.
    In an interesting twist, IIRC our beloved Autopian author Mercedes named herself after the car brand, somewhat completing the cycle.

  2. And here I was thinking the car would be a Torchinsky.

    (Announcer voice) You want power….you want luxury…get neither with the Torchinsky Turbo S, new for eighty-fiiiiiive.”

  3. Thirty years from now, once The Autopian becomes the only auto site to have survived into the 2050’s and our man Torch has long since retired to the shores of East Eola, Illinois, people will be nostalgic for what, by then, had become known as the THE JASONIAN ERA.

  4. Really good stuff, Torch!

    I had never heard of Jowett, so this was a nice way to start the morning. When looking around for some more information, I found a nice photo to complement the cutaway drawing of the flat four in the Jupiter: https://historicvehicles.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/800px-Flat_Four_Jowett_Engine_from_a_Jowett_Jupiter-Tony-Hisgett.jpg

    The whole article is pretty interesting. https://historicvehicles.com.au/historic-car-brands/jowett/

    I like this piece in particular:

    “In 1926, two Jowetts, named ‘Wait’ and ‘See’ crossed the centre of Africa, covering 3800 miles in 60 days. Jowett had accepted a challenge issued by Frank Gray, the former MP for Oxford, to build a car that was capable of crossing the ‘uncrossable’ heart of Africa, from the Atlantic coast to the Red Sea.”

  5. My primary concern when deciding between a two- and four-cylinder engine is the proportion of individuality, so I am just elated that Jowett understands a discriminating driver like me.

    1. It was a little disappointing to see the four advertised to have “as much” individuality as the two. Shouldn’t it have twice as much? Or at least “even more”? I know individuality can be tough to quantify, but “as much” doesn’t inspire a whole lot of confidence when twice as many pistons are involved.

  6. I thought we were going to hear about an obscure Ferrari or L:ambo called La Torcia.

    The Jayson spelling is weird enough, but there’s probably a Jeighson walking around somewhere.

    1. ‘Creative’ spellings have gotten out of hand. They seem to go hand in hand with the kind of folks that have a sign that says “Farmhouse” in their newly built home on a quarter acre lot on a cul-de-sac.

      1. I remember getting something signed by an author who had just got back from a signing tour in the US, he said he was happy to be back into the UK, because practically everyone uses a standard spelling for their name.

    2. Have do you know about my new EV startup? We’re still in stealth mode, but thanks to an unlikely partnership with an elderly colonel who inherited a short-lived Motor Carriages business in the 1930s and an obscure Sicilian design house, my dream of bringing electric performance to the tragically under-served vintage alpine transportation segment is ‘ramping up for production’.

      Pretty soon everyone will be strapping steamer trunks on to the back of their Jeighson La Torcia ‘n’ Ski for the drive to Aspen.

  7. You guts ever wonder about the customer who bought the last new car built by a car manufacturer that went out of business? I’m not talking about something like Pontiac that went away, but the parent company is still around.

    Who was the last guy who bought a Jowett? Did he go into the last dealership, see the only car on the lot, and think to himself “Oh yeah. That’s the car for me! Parts availability? Service? All a mystery! Just part of the adventure! Where do I sign?!?”

    I could ponder this all day…

    1. I think about this when a model that has been out of production for several years still shows up on new vehicle sales reports. Who are you, odd stranger, who has purchased a brand new 2019 Buick Lacrosse?

    2. “Oh yeah. That’s the car for me! Parts availability? Service? All a mystery! Just part of the adventure! Where do I sign?!?”

      Stop giving away my shopping secrets! Now everybody will want one!

  8. The Jupiter and Javelin I am familiar with , the Jason not so much.

    On the other hand every car I have owned except one was an Otto cycle. Have another kid named Diesel and you will have me covered.

  9. My understanding is Jowett went out of business when BMC took over their body supplier, creating uncertainty over the future supply of body shells. Similar to what prompted Sir William Lyons into merging Jaguar with BMC over a decade later

  10. Regarding the ‘Jason’ name thing. ‘Jason Incorporated’ is a small manufacturing conglomerate that makes the seats for Harley-Davidson motorcycles and some other stuff. There’s also ‘Jason Automotive Technologies’ which makes battery power distribution units for high voltage automotive EV designs. If you work on vehicles in Asia or South America, you probably have heard of a ‘Jason Company, LTD.’ in China that makes knock off suspension and steering parts for almost every vehicle known to man. Otherwise, I have no ‘Jason’ related Autopian stuff on my radar.

  11. What did the cop say to the bank robbers as they jumped into their Jowett get-away car?

    “Sorry boys, you’re not going to Weasel out of this one!”

    1. This is an important question.
      I’m assuming it’s because ‘Alexanderized’ is a bit awkward and because ‘since the Greeks kicked your asses’ is just too much of a mouthful. Have we historians in the house?

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