Iconic hand-built luxury sports GT from the 1970s.  Mechanically re-commissioned and now in regular use.  Extensive history file, including invoices for c.£20k of mechanical work over the last two years.  Rebuilt original 7.2-litre V-8 engine, complete with numerous Edelbrock performance upgrades.  Upgraded suspension.  Long MOT.  Full specification from new, including automatic transmission, power steering, electric windows, central locking, air conditioning, leather interior trim, alloy wheels etc, and now also fitted with rear parking sensors and CD-player with Aux input.

Chassis number: 128-4851

In the details below, you’ll find full details of the specification, vehicle history, and a thoroughly detailed condition report.
Twenty-three large-format photos also below!

This is an advert that I never expected to write!  This is my personal Jensen Interceptor saloon – and is a car that I expected to keep for ever (and hence never expected to write a sales ad for it!).  As a small boy in the 70s, the Jensen Interceptor was the car I always wanted.  I’ve been very fortunate over the years, and this is the third Interceptor that I have owned – so I know a bit about them!

I bought this one in July 2017, responding to an advert in the Jensen Owners’ Club magazine.  It had been hardly used for many years, and was covered in a layer of dust when I bought it.  My intentions were simple – first, get it through an MoT; second get it running and driving both reliably and well; third get the bodywork re-sprayed.  Achieving the first of these was fairly painless.  As I then started to use it, it became clear that some more significant mechanical repair work was going to be needed; one thing led to another, and in July 2018 the car came off the road and the engine came out of it.

Over the course of the following nine months or so, the engine was removed, completely stripped and rebuilt, with a range of performance and reliability upgrades undertaken (bear in mind that the intention was to keep this car forever!).  The mechanical recommissioning  included (and this list is far from comprehensive!):-

  • New Edelbrock Performer-series unleaded cylinder heads
  • New Edelbrock Performer camshaft
  • New Edelbrock Performer Inlet Manifold
  • Overhauled existing Edelbrock Performer Carburettor
  • Timing chain and timing gear replaced
  • All bearings and rings replaced
  • Crankshaft re-polished
  • Aluminium cover fitted to new water pump
  • Hi-torque starter motor fitted
  • High output alternator fitted
  • High output oil pump fitted
  • Both exhaust manifolds replaced, together with interim pipes and tailpipes
  • Aluminium radiator fitted
  • New tyres to all road wheels
  • Xenon headlamp bulbs
  • Rebuilt steering rack fitted and rebuilt steering column with new bushes
  • All suspension fitted with polyurethane bushes
  • Spax adjustable gas-filled shock absorbers all round
  • New rear leaf springs
  • Underbonnet detailing, including new insulation material and lightly polished rocker covers

The previous owner had also fitted rear parking sensors and an over-ride switch for the twin electric radiator fans.  He also fitted a modern CD-player, with aux input, with speakers fitted to the front doors and to the rear parcel shelf.

The mechanical specification that I agreed with the garage was to make the car capable of reliable daily use and able to cover 10,000 miles per annum if required.  This task has been fully achieved, and the Jensen has covered nearly 3000 miles over the last three months or so – just to prove that point!  That mileage includes 850 miles in two days, as part of the Drive-It Day celebrations.  This epic trip is reported in this month’s Jensen Owner’s Club magazine, with a three-page photo-spread.

This begs the obvious question – having spent all this time and money getting the car into this condition – why is it now unexpectedly for sale?  Having got the car running properly, and started to drive it around, my wife and I love it.  So much so, that we started making some gentle enquiries after the car that I really always wanted – an Interceptor Convertible.  To our surprise, we found one in the right specification, for sale, almost immediately – so we have thrown caution to the wind and bought it.  Whilst to be honest I don’t really want to sell the saloon, the Convertible needs the same level of complete mechanical refurbishment, so the saloon is now for sale to fund that work.

The third priority outlined earlier was a respray – I never got to that, so the new owner can elect to do that when you decide that you want to do so, and conceivably in any colour you want.  This also explains the price, which is at least £20k less than the car would warrant with that respray completed.

This Interceptor saloon dates from September 1972, and is a Series III H-Series.  This uses the 7,212cc V-8 Chrysler engine, with the Mk III bodywork styling and internal revisions (which was launched at the October 1971 Earls Court Motor Show).  The first Series IIIs used the earlier 6.3-litre ‘G’-series engine, but from May 1972 Jensen started to fit the larger, and more powerful, 440cu.in (7.2-litre) ‘H’-series Hi-compression engine.  By late 1973, Jensen were obliged to fit anti-smog equipment to the engine, which then became known as the J-series, which reduced the power output again – so the H-series is the engine of choice!

History

There’s a fair bit of interesting history for this car too.  It was originally sold via London Dealer Charles Follett Ltd in September 1972 to a member of the ‘landed gentry’ who at the time was the financier for Trident Studio – a major music recording studio in Soho.  This studio even recorded Hey Jude for The Beatles, and supporting material with the car includes an original Joan Armatrading master-disc produced by Trident.  I’ve been in touch with the first owner, and there is a lovely supporting letter from him too.

The car then went through a couple of other owners before ending up with the manager of major pop bands, including A-ha and Kajagoogoo.  After this, its fortunes deteriorated, and it ended up parked-up unused for many years.  A Jensen enthusiast bought it, got it running, and then sold it on eBay in 2007 to the guy I bought it off two-years ago.

Most of the history is thus known, and there are some old MoT certificates etc.  There is a copy of the original build file, heritage certificate, warranty claim details etc.  I even managed to track down the original owners’ handbook for this very car and re-unite it, after it had ended up in Belgium!  There are two A4-lever arch folders that go with the car – one has history, specification etc in it, and the other contains parts and labour invoices for all the work completed recently.

Mechanical

On the road, the Jensen drives at least as well as you would hope that it would!  The car starts first turn of the key and settles down quickly to a powerful burble, holding good oil pressure.   There’s plenty of performance from the 7.2-litre 300+bhp engine, which pulls hard, accelerating quickly up to licence-losing speeds.  The gearbox is smooth and refined, and the handling and roadholding are excellent – thanks in part to the combination of new rear springs and adjustable gas-filled shock absorbers all round.   The milometer now shows 75,000 miles, and I’ve got no reason to think that that isn’t correct.

Inevitably, there are a few bits that don’t work:-

  • The air conditioning isn’t working – may simply need re-gassing, but I suspect that new seals would be needed. Frankly, you’d be sensible to spend the £1000 or so needed to replace the existing compressor and system with a new York compressor, which is much lighter, takes much less engine power, and runs on modern refrigerant
  • The clock doesn’t work
  • The brake warning light works for handbrake, but the fluid level test function hasn’t worked since the overhaul – may just be a wire off somewhere
  • The dashboard aerial switch doesn’t work – the aerial just goes up and down with the radio usage
  • The central locking only works from the passenger door – something needs adjusting on the driver’s door mechanism

Bodywork

The Interceptor is currently painted in a mid-blue colour, with a tan vinyl roof and tan interior.  When new, it was supplied in Royal Blue with no vinyl roof.  The current colour is reasonably close to Royal Blue, but it would be up to you what to paint it!  The car was resprayed by the last owner, and whilst he has made a reasonable job of it, it is getting close to the time to do it again and do it professionally this time.  There is some rust on the tailgate, the rear valance needs attention, and there is micro-blistering in a number of other places in the paintwork.  There is rust in the bottom of both doors, although this has just been tidied up and repainted (see pics).  All that said, the car still presents very well and attracts positive comments wherever it goes.

All Interceptor enthusiasts know to inspect the jacking points, and drain holes in the sills; these all check out fine and correctly – suggesting that the inner sills are fine.  The original front sidelight/indicator units are still with the car, if you decided to remove the aftermarket Series IV front valance that has been fitted.  The chromework is not too bad – if I was keeping the car then I would have the bumpers re-chromed when doing the bodywork, but it’s not pressing.

Interior

The interior is pretty good too.  The dashboard is fine, with no damage or cracks to the plastic.  The carpets were replaced in 2007, and they are fine.  The driver’s seat leather has split where the backrest adjuster rubs up against it; if I was keeping the car, then getting the front seats re-covered would probably be the next job on the list.

Summary

This is an opportunity to buy a mechanically-sorted Interceptor, either to use as-is, or to re-paint to your own specification.  There were about 4200 Interceptor IIIs sold (of which around half were for the UK market) with something around 700 still known to exist altogether worldwide.  Interceptor ownership is a wonderful experience, and there’s an enthusiastic and welcoming owners’ club to support this.  Virtually all repair parts are available – although (reflecting the handbuilt nature of the cars), most parts don’t fit ‘out of the box’.

The car is now well known to the chaps at Rejen in Winchester.  For impartial information and appraisal, call them on 01962 779556

As will doubtless have come across, I’m a die-hard Jensen enthusiast, so I’d be delighted to discuss this Interceptor (or anything else Jensen-related) at any time.  Please call me on 07917 234897.  Any professional inspection etc is welcomed, with all visits by appointment only please as the car is stored off-site.