The Joss JP1: Australia's first supercar
Australia’s very own supercar, the Joss JP1, is taking another run at the world stage. With a mid- mounted all-alloy V8, a claimed top speed of around 340 km/h (211 mph), and all of the current technical innovations expected in a modern day supercar, the Joss JP1 is the culmination of years of design and development work aimed squarely at producing a world-beating exotic machine.
Design work on the original Joss prototype, the JT-1, began back in 1998. The first prototype produced was the result of six years of hard work for its creator and founder of Joss Automotive, Matt Thomas, and was set to take on the best from the rest of the world in the supercar stakes. With a mid-mounted V8 engine, a claimed top speed of 300 k/mh (190 mph), and blistering acceleration, it was the epitome of a modern supercar.
Launched at the Melbourne Motor Show in 2004, the prototype created a storm of publicity and the adoration of many. However, once all of the hype died down, customers didn’t materialize. With such a small local market for supercars and potential buyers not willing to throw large amounts of money at a largely unknown vehicle and maker, the JT-1 struggled to find adequate backing and the project seemed destined to fade away.
Fast forward to 2014 and the re-emergence of Joss Automotive with the uprated JP1 version of their vehicle. Premised on the original layout, everything has been re-designed, re-assessed and redone to create a supercar for today, with an all new in-house designed DOHC alloy V8 to replace the existing pushrod version, a bespoke Albins/Joss transaxle, a chrome-moly space frame, carbon-fiber bodywork, and a host of other high-tech improvements and innovations.
Despite all of this engineering work, though, the Australian design regulations are amongst the toughest and most intractable in the world, and would take more money and time to comply with than is reasonably available to a boutique auto maker. The upshot of which means that the first five vehicles built and sold by Joss will only be available as track-day cars.
However, provided that that Joss can raise the necessary capital to fund its venture beyond this stage, the company will then apply for European limited-run approval where – particularly in the UK – the JP1 could actually be registered and used on public roads and compete against other niche builders, such as Caparo, Caterham and Noble.
To raise the necessary capital to take this approach, Joss Automotive has followed the lead of many of today’s entrepreneurs and gone down the crowdfunding route. Recently launched on Kickstarter, the JP1 project aims to raise AUD480,000 (US $446,000) to finish current work and produce the first of the new prototypes.
No official date has been given for a possible launch or impending production. Though, based on the proposed timeline and all going to plan, it would appear that it will be somewhere around two years by the time the first new prototype is produced.
The video below outlines a little of the history of Joss Automotive and shows the original JT-1 prototype in action.