James Bottoms and Sons developed the JBS 500 from the Cowlan Special of RL Coward and Geoff Lang. The modified prototype was built in early 1950, supposedly for André Loens, but Alf Bottoms, the former speedway rider, appears to be the only real driver during the year, with occasional appearances for Charles Bottoms and a single drive for Miss Elisabeth Store who won the Ladies race in October. The front half of the car retained much of the Cowlan, including the upper leaf, lower wishbone independent suspension. The rear of the car, though, was pretty much designed from scratch with new body, chassis and independent suspension by unequal length wishbones.

Alf had a highly successful first season, with a number of podiums and a few outright wins, very much serving notice to Surbiton. It is no coincidence that the Cooper Mk V of '51 was a far more radical design than the Mk IV had been.

Alf Bottoms at speed

Alf Bottoms in JBS.jpg (32862 bytes)

An early outing for the first JBS at Brands, the Cowlan roots are clear from this angle

About 20 production cars were built during 1951 to an updated design with a multi tubular frame and double wishbone suspension at the front and Alf was joined in early '51 by Ron "Curly" Dryden, Les Leston and Don Parker. These four took numerous wins and places between them, with Alf and Ron taking a one-two at at the Earl of March Trophy in March giving notice of the car's potential. Other drivers for 1951 included; Winco Frank Aikens, Dick Richards, Ron Frost, Jack Westcott, Ken McAlpine, Peter Collins, John Habin, Allan Moore, John Coombs and now André Loens. Between them they racked up over 120 podiums during 1951.

Tragically, the project lost much of it's momentum when Alf was killed at the Luxembourg Grand Prix in 1951. This was followed by Ron Dryden's death at Castle Combe in October. In the event, the national Formula 3 Championship went to Eric Brandon in the Ecurie Richmond Cooper with his team mate, Alan Brown in second. Peter Collins and Don Parker were third and fourth but it could have been quite different.

Les Leston ran a standard JBS though 1951 which was then modified with swing axle rear suspension by Ray Martin to become the Leston Special for 1952. JBS production continued but the big names were largely gone, Don had spotted the potential of the Kieft and Peter had switched back to Cooper before the end of '51 so it was left to the likes of Dick Richard, Allan Moore and Vic Firm to fly the flag.

Cutaway of the production JBS

As reviewed in Iota

Richard Utley's JBS at Cadwell Park, June 2004

JBS of Richard Utley at Cadwell Park June.JPG (58697 bytes)

Brands Hatch in August 1952. Photo courtesy of John Furlong.

JBS at Brands Aug 52.jpg (41982 bytes)

Richard Utley's JBS at Goodwood in 2008

Hakan Sandberg's car at Cadwell Park, 2004

JBS of Hakan Sandberg at Cadwell June 04 .jpg (19841 bytes)

Snetterton in 1952

JBS Snetterton 1952.jpg (19574 bytes)

Don Parker at Brough. Photo supplied by Michael Aikey.

Don Parker JBS Brough 51 small.JPG (72969 bytes)