On February 26th,1725, Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot saw the light of day. Unbeknownst to anyone around him, he would end up changing the world forever – although only a few of us have ever heard his name.
Born in Void-Vacon, Lorraine, Cugnot trained as a military engineer who experimented with steam-engine-powered vehicles meant to transport cannons for the French Army. The inventor earned his place in history for a very important reason: he built the world’s first self-propelled mechanical vehicle – Fardier a Vapeur – completed in 1771.
Not to say that the work and innovative minds of Carl Benz and Henry Ford should be ignored, but we decided just to give credit where credit is due. As such, we would honor Joseph and his brilliance by researching all the car brands whose names start with the letter “J”.
There aren’t so many car brands starting with this letter that we know of, and we doubt you will recognize even half of the ones we’ve listed below. So, if you were planning on finding out new and interesting things about the automotive history, you’ve came to the right place once again.
Grab a coffee or a hot cocoa, get comfy and enjoy.
William Lyons and William Walmsley established the world-renowned British car brand back in 1922.
Since then, Jaguar Land Rover has impressed car enthusiasts from all over the world for more reasons than one.
The Jaguar name started being used after World War II and by 1966 British Motor Corporation and the Leyland Motor Corporation were assimilated, resulting in an automotive giant focused on fast, reliable, and beautifully looking vehicles.
The company was designing and developing luxury sports cars from early on – none can deny the global impact of the 1961 Jaguar E-Type 3.8 Roadster – with recent efforts including even luxury SUVs. The company’s status as a performance and luxury vehicle manufacturer has attracted the competition of established brands across the globe.
Jaguar, unwillingly, started to compete with names such as Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Lexus, Cadillac and more – and still came up on top. For a motorcycle sidecars manufacturer to reach world fandom and develop all kinds of iconic cars in just a few decades.. that’s an astounding accomplishment.
Whenever you think about off-road vehicles, durability and exciting times off-road behind the steering wheel Jeep is probably the first name that comes to mind. Founded back in 1941 and originally based in Toledo, Ohio, the American automobile marque initially aimed to fulfill defense orders for the production of military vehicles.
It all started with the production of a Karl Probst engineer car – the Bantam BRC 40 – which later were improved upon and transferred to Willys-Overland and the rest is history. Since 1957, the name has become an official trademark and the brand’s sport utility vehicles took over the world.
As cool as their lineup looks today, there was once a time when Jeep also manufactured pickups, small vans, as well as roadster models. Those were the old days. Jeeps today are bigger, better, sturdier and faster.
British car manufacturer Jensen Motors Ltd. wanted to create the most exciting sports cars in the world, and it did so since its launch, back in 1934. Based in West Bromwich, the company quickly made a name for itself, due to constant innovation and technology development.
Did you know that the Jensen FF was the first production passenger car to be equipped with permanent all-wheel drive and ABS? We’re pretty sure you didn’t, and it’s our way of saying: give credit where credit is due.
Although Jensen ceased to exist by 1976, their popular Interceptor model has teased our imagination for years – it was even featured in the Fast and Furious series, in case you were paying attention, although in an upgraded and resto-mod version.
The original, however, was built around an aluminum chassis and custom-made aluminum body, and only 512 Interceptor Mark III convertibles were ever made. Now, that would be a rare treat!
Eastern European drivers or car enthusiasts who are really into automotive history will definitely recognize this name – others may struggle with it. Czechoslovakian brand JAWA has always designed stylish and practical motorcycles, but did you know they’ve also made a few cars?
Founded by František Janeček in 1929 and headquartered in Prague, the brand has become a renowned motorcycle manufacturer and nowadays ships its bikes across the globe, to more than 120 countries.
In 1934, the company revealed its first car project, a vehicle inspired by the Germans from DKW, the JAWA 700. A few years later, in 1937, an upgraded version of the car was already riding down the streets. Most of the company’s efforts during the World War II were actually centered around the manufacture of cars.
The arrival of the 1950s saw JAWA as one of the top motorcycle manufacturers in the world. Some of the models that made history include the 350 Pérák and the 350 Californian. Today, JAWA motorcycles’ lineup includes five bike models.
Unknowingly, most PC-game fans or Porsche enthusiasts have been drooling over a project bearing the unique Joest touch for years now. Joest Racing, or simply Joest, is a sports car racing team established in 1978.
The long version of this story tells us about a team that has entered various racing events, including the Le Mans series. The German racing team was founded by a retired test racer, Reinhold Jost, and it was based in Wald-Michelbach.
In the beginning, the company was known for repairing and modifying cars. One of their most interesting projects yet is the 1981 Joest 935/78 – which people know by ‘Moby Dick’. The performance-oriented car started off as a Porsche 936 and competed at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. It was produced until 1983.
Founded only a few years ago, in February 2019, Jetta is a Chinese car marque that resulted from a joint venture between the Volkswagen Group and the Chinese FAW Group. The purpose of the newly established company was to manufacture economy-class cars, that were affordable, safe and high quality.
The reason behind starting this new car marque was simple: the Volkswagen Jetta was extremely popular in China, so popular that it only felt logical to establish a new car brand, one that would even include two SUV models.
Based in Changchun, Jilin, the new company quickly gained success and it’s already receiving orders even from other countries. The brand’s lineup was designed and developed by Volkswagen, in Germany, and includes the VA3 saloon, the VS5 compact SUV and the VS7 SUV.
For the most obvious of reasons, numerous of the technologies and components used for manufacture were sourced from various other VW-owned brands, such as Seat, Škoda and Volkswagen.
Another British car brand worth mentioning, JBA Motors was officially registered in Norfolk. Established in 1979, JBA Engineering was the brainchild of Kenneth Glyn Jones, John Barlow, and David George Ashley – hence the abbreviation – with an initial purpose set to rebuild pre-WWII British premium vehicles.
By 1982, the first model – the JBA Falcon Roadster – had been introduced. Soon afterwards, the two-seater JBA Sports SRi was revealed, a beautiful car that was built around the Ford Sierra design.
Other models worth mentioning include the 1985 JBA Javelin or the 1994 JBA Falcon TSR. Nonetheless, in 2006 the brand changed ownership and this is how a completely different story began.
A hidden gem if you ask us, Javan Sports Cars is another automobile manufacturer of British origins. Founded in 2003, the company didn’t manage to stand out from a crowd – at least, not as much as it was intended.
Based in Clifton, Bristol, this car brand slowly released a few cars and kits, but it was one particular model that made everyone look its way. Javan designed and developed the Javan R1, which became the company’s flagship.
The 220-hp track-oriented speedster was designed to be thrilling and equally impressive, both on the streets and at the rack. Thanks to a high-quality construction and a performance-oriented suspension system, the open-top R1 only managed to tease four driver’s car muscles – sadly, that many units were made.
In 2012, a new model was announced, yet we are still waiting on it to tease our senses.
Founded by John Donnelly in 2008, Jetstream is a British sports car manufacturer based in Cornwall. Their first project, the Jetstream SC250 car was immediately introduced to the world, at the 2008 Birmingham Autosport International Show.
Designed to handle both roads and tracks and looking pretty much like a toy, the two-seater featured RWD and a 250-hp engine. The road-legal SC250 was meant to make a bold statement, featuring impressive performance capabilities and offer owners a high-quality driving experience.
Designed by former Ford employee Brian Rossi and built around the idea of a tailored vehicle engineered for high performance, the car gives you mixed feels. You either love it, or you don’t.
Ramon Jimenez was the brilliant man behind this French car brand. Focused on designing and developing sports cars, the company wasn’t as successful as its founder was dreaming about, but they did release a one-hit wonder.
Jimenez made its way into the history pages by introducing their 1995 Novia Concept. The one-of-a-kind supercar was an interesting project that could easily rival with the best supercars of the 90s.
On the outside, the concept displayed an aerodynamic, modern design. The rest of the vehicle’s appearance kept in line with outrageous and futuristic ideas. Sadly, the Novia never became a mass-produced item.
Automobile design house Jiotto Design was founded in 1988 by Minoru Hayashi. Based in Maihara, Japan, the company would only last on the market until 1998, not before making sure there is reason enough to remember it by.
The brand is best known for its vice president and chief designer, Kunihisa Ito, who envisioned the Jiotto Caspita (Mk I) sports model. Meant to inspire that very special feeling, as you’d drive a Formula 1 car on the road, the car had plenty of going for itself.
The mid-engine sports car was revealed at the 1989 Tokyo Motor Show and then a limited series of 30 units was planned. Sleek and aerodynamic, the Caspita was built around a bonded aluminum and carbon fiber monocoque chassis, courtesy of Mitsubishi.
On the inside, the race-inspired vehicle had no comfy features worth mentioning, not even air conditioning. However, the sports car did benefit from an electronically retractable rear wing as well as an adjustable suspension system.
It featured a longitudinally mounted flat-12 engine coupled to a 6-speed gearbox built by Weismann. The car’s naturally-aspirated 3.5-liter engine developed 450 hp and 362 Nm of torque, which translated into 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 4.7 seconds and a top speed of 320 km/h (199 mph).
Chinese company Anhui Jianghuai Automobile Co., Ltd or simply JAC Motors was founded in 1999. The Chinese brand is based in Hefei and it’s a state-owned enterprise established upon an older car manufacturing company.
JAC has a wide array of vehicles prepared to cater to customer demands, including trucks, buses, commercially oriented vehicles and even various automotive components and parts. Some of the most popular vehicles manufactured by the brand include the JAC Binyue, Heyue A13, Heyue or the Jiayue sedans, and more.
Also worth mentioning is the fact that the brand is still very much alive today, with a plan to manufacture electric vehicles in the works – with Volkswagen joining in on the venture.
Jiangling Motors Corporation Group was founded in 1968, a Chinese truck production company that’s still very active today. That led to the 1993 birth of the Jiangling Motors Company – JMC – the group’s cars-manufacturing division, that is based in Nanchang, Jiangxi.
The Chinese automobile brand has been a member of a joint venture with Ford Motor Company since 1997. As a result, the production of the Ford Transit started immediately after, with JMC in charge of supplying various key components – engines and axles.
By 2010, the company’s logo was already displayed upon its own JMC Yusheng SUV. Three years later, in 2013, JMC would form subsidiary JMC Heavy Duty Vehicle, only to sell it to the Volvo group in 2021.
In December of the same year, a new agreement was signed with Ford, where Jiangling Ford would focus on the development of passenger cars.
To be perfectly honest, not even us were aware of all the automotive brands you’ve just learned about today. Sure, we all knew the first big names from this list, but the other companies were interesting surprises as well.
With such a dynamic market, where demand and offering vary every day (this might sound like an exaggeration but it isn’t), supported by newly-developed technologies and innovative ideas, the automobile manufacturing industry has nowhere to go but up.
As such, up and coming car brands pop up from time to time, with the ones developing solid cars quickly climbing up the favorites’ list and gaining popularity – not to mention the necessary funds to remain financially viable and helping them design the next best thing.
Thanks to a plethora of choices, car enthusiasts get to enjoy all sorts of cars today and pick one that seems specifically designed to match their preferences. We see nothing wrong with that, regardless of the brand name or the letter said name begins with.