Fantasy Friday – Jensen Interceptor

Italian styling. American muscle and reliability. British class. And the best name in the history of cars. That’s the Jensen Interceptor.

The Jensen Interceptor that we’re talking about here is the 1960’s and 70’s model. There was an earlier Interceptor, but that was a totally different car. The one we’re looking at today is the big GT with a classic stylish body, 7 hides of leather and either one of two massive Chrysler-sourced engines.

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About the Interceptor

The Interceptor started life in the 1960’s, before all the anti-pollution gear took over in some countries. As a result, you get a big V8 engine that made some real horsepower (for the time) – 270hp in the 383 and between 305hp and 330hp for the 440, depending on when you bought it. The engine is most commonly driven through a 3-speed automatic transmission. A handful of 4-speed manual were built, but you’d have a better chance looking for rocking-horse poo than finding one of those.

The body of the Interceptor was styled by Carrozzeria Touring. It’s a massive coupe with a rear window that you wouldn’t want to have to replace very often. That rear window is the entire hatchback door and you get a reasonable amount of cargo space behind the rear seats.

Classics By The Beach

Those rear seats are actually useful, too, because the car is so well proportioned. The front features leather and wood in the early series cars. The second and third series lost some of the classic wooden touches inside but had plenty of leather and a more contemporary looking dashboard, too.

Jensens come with reasonably simple, US-sourced mechanicals. The main danger is over-heating and the damage that heat can cause to poorly maintained hoses and wiring. A bigger problem is bodywork. Jensens feature great build quality but there is plenty of potential for rot and it can’t always be seen on a regular inspection. Interiors are hard-wearing and the earlier ones are regarded as having better materials, but the youngest Jensens are nearly 40 years old, so there will be some wear.

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The ‘modern’ Jensen.

The Jensen has spawned such a devoted following that there are still dedicated repairers in various places. I even managed to track down one here in Australia.

SUPERCHARGED-INTERCEPTORIn England, though, you can actually get a Jensen re-built using all modern parts. Jensen International Automotive will replace the original Chrysler lump with a Corvette engine and update a whole host of other parts, too. New 6-speed gearbox, new suspension, new LSD, new steering rack, bigger wheels and tyres over new bigger brakes.

They can do a supercharged version, too, producing around 550hp. That version gets wider wheels and traction control to keep you on course.

The reviews of the JIA Interceptor S are good, but the price of entry is steep at well over £100,000.

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For Sale

The car you see for sale below is a 1969 model and is regarded as a Series 1.5 car, which might just be the pick of the bunch. it features some of the Series 1 classic touches, but gets some of the driver comforts of the Series 2 that were missing on the Series 1 – power steering is the most obvious one.

The car’s had a cooling system update and is fitted with LPG to keep the fuel bills down. Ignition has been adjusted accordingly. The LPG tank in the boot is covered with carpet and doesn’t look too out of place, but will inevitably encroach on your storage space.

The car is for sale right now in Victoria, for around $21,500. That’s a nice price for a classic Englishman that might run out of fuel, but will never run out of style.

If you’ve got 15 minutes, here’s a 2-part video highlighting the Jensen Interceptor and the rise and fall of the Jensen motor company.

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13 Comments

  1. I do remember lusting after those cars back in the day, but they were just more unobtanium to me.
    I love that steering wheel. It’s a dead ringer for the one in my MC850. At least I could afford that!

  2. If I were in a RHD country, I would most definitely seek out a Jensen FF, the world’s first AWD sports tourer.

    But I’m not, so I’ll have to deal with getting a plain old vanilla Interceptor. Shucks.

    I’ll keep the big old Chrysler mill, but it will get aftermarket MPFI.

  3. This may sound like a back-handed compliment but I just realized the Interceptor reminds me of my Renault R17 Gordini in the front and its successor the Fuego in the rear. That said, I have always liked the Jensen. A friend of mine’s father was the owner of the local Porsche dealership back in the 70s and also sold Jensen, MG, and Audi products.

  4. A friend at uni had a blue interceptor. 7 litre engine. Uni student. Do the math. He couldn’t afford to drive it most days. But he had the respect of everyone in the car park. And that meant something back in 1982.

    1. In 1982 more than half of the cars in my university parking lot would have been 5 liters or higher! Still, the Chrysler 440 (7.2 liters) had a bad reputation even among us for being particularly thirsty (it didn’t help that the preferred setup included six carburetors). Good times!

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