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Jensen Interceptor: Buying guide and review (1966-1976)

Jensen Interceptor Jensen Interceptor Jensen Interceptor Jensen Interceptor Jensen Interceptor
Cast your mind back to the early 1970s – the news a grim mixture of industrial strife and discord in the Middle East. No wonder we longed for an escape; and the cinema provided it. It was a world where supercars were celebrated, and a Technicolor drive to the French Riviera in a massively powerful GT was the done thing. 
 
Cast into this fantasy role of swaggering jetsetter, the Jensen Interceptor had it all: square-jawed styling by Carrozzeria Touring, a thumping great V8, and a suitably grandiose name. It was a recipe that worked very well – just look at Iso, De Tomaso and Monteverdi… 
 
The Interceptor was launched in 1966 as an up-to-date replacement for the fast-but-raw C-V8. Its all-steel body was as rigid as a monocoque, and was a radical step for Jensen. Initially, the body was assembled in Italy by Vignale, but that was soon brought in-house. 
 
Sadly, the Interceptor – and Jensen in its initial incarnation – petered out in 1976. However, just like Mike Tyson, it wasn’t averse to the odd comeback: first during the 1980s and ’90s, and again in 2007. That’s a reflection of the popularity of the Interceptor, and proof that we’re all suckers for a healthy dose of escapism. 
 
Which one to buy?
 
Buying an Interceptor is easy if you stick to one fundamental rule: buy the best body you can afford. As prices are not particularly high for such a complicated and intricate machine, a lot of the value of the car is in the body. Buying a car that requires serious welding is never a great idea, as it will often cost significantly more than the car will be worth when complete. 
 
You will also have to make some tough choices on originality versus usability. The Interceptor is extremely receptive to engine, suspension and brake upgrades, and buying one that has been improved could potentially give you something more enjoyable, but an original example will undoubtedly be a much safer investment. The problem with finding an original example is that build quality from the factory was patchy from the factory. 
 
You will of course need to decide on what age and spec of Interceptor you want. The were a few changes over the years, and generally the earlier cars were screwed together a little better. Not that that will really matter today, as most will have been rebuilt. 
 
Two of the more special versions that are worth considering include the four-wheel drive FF, as well as the convertible. 
 
Performance and specs
 
Engine 6276cc 16 valve Chrysler V8
Power 325bhp @ 4600rpm 
Torque 425lb ft @ 2800rpm
Top speed 133mph
0-60mph 7.3seconds 
Fuel consumption 13.6mpg 
Gearbox Three-speed automatic
 
Dimensions and weight
 
Wheelbase 2675mm
Length 4775mm
Width 1753mm
Height 1346mm
Kerb weight 1675kg
 
Common problems
 
• Being handbuilt, bodies are time consuming and expensive to repair – and even simple changes, such as bonnets, will cost about £1000 thanks to the adjustments required to make one fit your car. Also remember that, the earlier the car, the higher quality its body will be – Mk3s saw a notable drop. 
 
• Corrosion is an Achilles’ heel, and you’ll need to be thorough in your inspection. Most important is to check the side beams are in very good condition. Replacement will cost around £2000 per side. 
 
• Other places of concern are the footwells, the windscreen surround, wheelarches, and anywhere else where lead-loading was used to finish off the body during the build process. 
 
• Engines and gearboxes are a known quantity, with the 6.3 being the most reliable of all the V8s. Rebuilds are relatively cheap, too (budget for £5000), although a few basic checks should see you right. 
 
• Keep a keen eye on the cooling system and oil pressure (it needs to be at 30-40psi at idle) and listen for untoward noises from the pistons and valves. 
 
• Also, make sure the gearbox isn’t leaking – a rebuild costs around £1000. As for the extra complexity of the FF, don’t worry. They’re bulletproof!
 
• A tatty interior will cost big bucks to put right, but as they’re hardwearing you can afford to be choosy if you encounter one on your travels. 
 
Model history
 
1966: Interceptor launched, powered by a 6276cc Chrysler V8 and Torqueflite transmission. A mere 23 were built with a four-speed manual ’box. The FF was also introduced, with 4WD and ABS. Identified by a 4in stretch of wheelbase, but cost 50% more than the standard car. 
1969: Mk2 appears with a slightly altered front end, improved interior and uprated brakes.  
1971: Mk3 arrives, and the 385bhp 7.2-litre SP takes over from the FF as flagship. 
1973: The 7.2-litre engine is standardised – considered by specialists to be the nicest of all. 
1974: Convertible arrives (and later on, a strange fixed-head version of it) – it will be rare, with only 267 examples produced.
 
Owners clubs, forums and websites
 
• www.joc.org.uk – Jensen Owners Club
• www.jensen-sales.com – New Jensen sales
 
Summary and prices
 
Considering the Aston Martin DBS and V8 were Interceptor contemporaries, it’s amazing the difference in values now. And given the cost of servicing a Jensen in comparison with its Newport Pagnell compatriot, one can’t help but conclude that the Interceptor is a bargain. 
 
To drive, it’s more GT than sports car, but a well-sorted example is fun in the country and effortless in the city. You’ll be amazed at how little it rolls in bends and how simple it is to accurately position – and, with a good-sized boot and rear seats, it’s a car you can enjoy every day. Fuel consumption aside. Performance upgrades are simple, too, and not frowned upon within the Jensen scene. 
 
For the money, there’s little to touch an Interceptor, and as long as you make sure you pick one that’s been loved, and that has a body in tip-top condition, there’s no reason you won’t enjoy it for years to come.  
 
Few cars at this end of the market are more difficult to value. Being susceptible to rust, basketcases are now harder to find. Values in general have been steadily rising, with the fixed-head coupé and convertible forging ahead. 
 
There are few standard cars around, as most have been modified with uprated engines or brakes, but if you take £30,000 as your absolute minimum you’ll bag a perfectly usable Mk1, 2, 3 or SP. Spend £45,000 for something in good condition, with £65,000 being the the limit for the best regular interceptor. A convertible model will generally command 25 per cent more than a coupe. The FF is also the considerably more sought after, with top cars now pushing £100,000, although good condition cars can be picked up from £50-£70k.
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Last updated: 21st Jul 2016
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Jensen Interceptor cars for sale

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Jensen Interceptor
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  • 1968 Jensen Interceptor Mk I

    POA POA

    Shown at the October 1966 Earls Court Motor Show alongside the technically advanced four wheel drive FF, the Touring of Milan-designed Interceptor was quite a sensation and received much praise. The fact Jensen had, in the space of a year, produced two completely new models was also outstanding, particularly as the two companies involved in the project were 680 miles apart. The original design, penned by Touring of Milan, was taken to Vignale of Turin who had the capability to produce the car in far greater numbers than Touring. Fully trimmed and painted body shells were then delivered from Italy for assembly at West Bromwich by October 1966. Both new cars had the 330bhp, Chrysler V8 engine coupled to a Torqueflite three-speed automatic gearbox and fashionable Rostyle wheels were fitted. First registered on 5th March, 1968, this original UK Jensen is a rare righthand drive example. The car has had five UK keepers before being exported to Belgium in 2007 where it underwent a restoration totalling some €30,000 in 2014-2015. Work carried out included a mechanical overhaul with the engine partially dismantled to check for wear and underwent a respray to its original Crystal Blue. The c

    • Year: 2016
    For sale
    Historics at Brooklands
  • 1969 Jensen Interceptor Mk. I

    POA POA

    The Jensen Interceptor is a sporting GT-class car and were hand-built at the Kelvin Way factory, West Bromwich between 1966 and 1976. The Interceptor name had been used previously by Jensen for the Interceptors made between 1950 and 1957 at the Carters Green factory. Jensen had extensively used glass-reinforced plastic for the fabrication of body panels in the preceding two decades but the new Interceptor saw a return to a steel body shell originally designed by an outside firm, Carrozzeria Touring of Milan, rather than in-house. The early bodies were built in Italy by Vignale before Jensen took production in house; this stunning new car was built from steel but retained a similar chassis to the CV8. It also shared the same Chrysler 383 cubic inch (6,276cc) V8 engine and Torqueflite automatic transmission. The '67 Interceptor helped propel Jensen into international recognition with stars of stage and screen. Originally registered on 1 st January 1969, this Jensen was a demonstrator vehicle of Newbury Motors in Halesowen, Worcestershire. Copies of the original build sheet and correspondence between Newbury Motors and Jensen Motors Ltd. confirming the early history of LNH 968G are in

    • Year: 2016
    For sale
  • 1976 Jensen Interceptor Convertible

    $63,500(£51,898.55) $63,500(£51,898.55)

    Chequered Flag International is pleased to offer this 1976 Jensen Interceptor III Convertible. This is the one of 171 '76 Intereceptors built and the ONLY one in Frisco Blue. Has an amazing Red leather interior with wool inserts. 58,500 miles. Runs and drives nicely. Body is very good, underside is solid. The car is stunning with this original color combination. Just had a full windshield out repaint. Rechromed bumpers. The interior and top are really very good, the dash although still shiny should be refinished. Mechanically strong. Nice engine that seems commensurate with the mileage. Upgraded fans. I think this car makes sense as a investment for the following reasons: last year, the only one in this incredible color. low mileage. solid and straight example. Inspections encouraged, all sales AS-IS, sales tax and license fees due if delivered in California. Visit Chequered Flag International online at chequeredflag.com to see more pictures of this vehicle or call us at 310-827-8665 today to schedule your test drive.

    • Year: 1976
    For sale
  • 1975 Jensen Interceptor III Convertible

    $79,500(£64,975.35) $79,500(£64,975.35)

    For automobile enthusiasts in the 1960s and 70s, the term “hybrid” had a rather different meaning than it does today. In fact, hybrids of the 1970s were pretty much the polar opposite of the high-tech fuel sipping eco-mobiles we see all over today’s roads. A hybrid of the 60s and 70s combined coachbuilt European style and handling with the unsophisticated but undoubtedly effective grunt of an American V8 drivetrain. Many great cars were built on this formula, some more successful than others. Early trend-setters included Facel Vega, Bristol, Monteverdi and Iso Rivolta. Lesser known cars such as the Momo Mirage and DeTomaso Longchamp carried the torch against the likes of Aston Martin and Ferrari. But perhaps one of the most examples of this hybrid formula was the Jensen Interceptor. Built in original form between 1966 and 1976 (though several attempts to revive the model were made later), the Interceptor combined a British chassis with a Carrozzeria Touring-designed body, and big, thumping Chrysler V8 power. Jensen was no stranger to building American powered cars, having a long relationship with Chrysler thanks to the fiberglass CV8. With the new Interceptor, Jensen’s traditional fiberglass body was eschewed for steel and mated to a steel chassis featuring independent front suspension and a traditional Salisbury rear diff. Chrysler’s proven 383 cubic inch V8 powered the first series, but for 1971, the big-block 440 cubic inch unit was chosen for its superior power and torque ratings. All cars were fitted the bullet-proof Torque-Flite automatic transmission, though a manual could be had on the earliest examples. Customers could opt for the four-seat coupe with its distinct wrap-around rear glass, or for an equally elegant four-seat cabriolet. Whichever body style was selected, buyers were treated to a sumptuous, leather-lined cabin with aircraft-inspired switchgear, as was de rigueur for the time. While certainly not a lithe sports car, the Interceptor was no-doubt a proper GT thanks to the endless torque from the massive MoPar 440 and exceptional ride and handling characteristics. The style was very distinct and unlike some of the other “hybrids” of the period, unmistakable as anything but a Jensen Interceptor. Today, these fabulous GT cars are highly desirable for their excellent road manners, ease of service and exotic good looks. Comparable to a contemporary Aston Martin in terms of luxury and performance, the Interceptor can deliver today’s enthusiasts many of the same thrills at a fraction of the cost. Our featured 1975 Interceptor III Convertible is a late-production convertible with all of the engineering and design refinements that make it one of the best driving and most desirable of the range. Finished in striking red over tan, it is unusually flashy yet still retains an air of elegance and sophisticated style. This high-quality Interceptor has been treated to extensive restoration and refurbishment and it presents in beautiful condition. The red paint is excellent and the body is laser-straight with crisp body lines and excellent panel fit. It is very well detailed with correct, restored GKN alloy wheels and lovely restored brightwork. These late Interceptors have fabulous cabins and this example is no exception with seemingly endless swathes of tan leather in excellent order. Likewise the wool carpets have been restored as well as the beautiful burl walnut trim. A very nice Moto-Lita three-spoke wood wheel has been fitted and the stereo system upgraded to modern components. The tan Everflex convertible top is in excellent condition and operates smoothly at the touch of a switch and a leather top boot keeps things tidy when the top is down. In proper drophead coupe tradition, the top is fully lined and insulated to ensure quiet and comfortable top-up motoring. The engine bay is pleasingly well-detailed, and while showing some moderate use, remains clean and tidy with plenty of evidence of careful maintenance. The prominent air cleaner has been painted red to match the bodywork and the car retains its proper original Jenesen-branded alloy valve covers. With a quality restoration and well-sorted mechanicals, this Interceptor III is ready for enjoyment on the road. When compared to its contemporaries it also represents an amazing value. This is a proper Italian designed, British-built GT car with loads of luxury and the added bonus of relative ease of service, thumping performance, and real exclusivity.

    For sale
  • 1971 Jensen Interceptor II

    £64,995 £64,995

    This is an incredibly special car and we are truly delighted to offer this very unique example onto the market. This Jensen just has everything you would look for in such a car. First of all this is a genuine UK car, first registered on the 12th July 1971. It is a matching numbers car with a lovely low mileage of 59,000, it is the more scarcely seen MKII model with low survival rate and the car spent 33 years with just one owner. Adding to this, since being purchased in 2014 as a good quality, very original example, £25,000 has been spent taking this Interceptor to the next level and today is a truly magnificent original car that has proven reliability. The Jensen has been subject of a recent bare metal re-paint and body restoration. Any evidence of corrosion was removed from the car and fresh new metal fabricated and various new panels fitted as required. The Jensen was stripped down to the rolling shell with all glass removed and treated to a top quality re-paint in its original colour. The result is a first class bodyshell boasting sharp wheel arch edges and stunning straight panels. Various re-chroming work has been carried out, wheels have been re-furbished and new Vredestein

    • Year: 1971
    For sale
  • JENSEN Interceptor

    POA POA

    New in stock Jensen Interceptor. Refurbishment and modernisation planned in our leading restoration workshop. This is the ideal time to be part of the project and build an Interceptor to your exact specification, included but limited to paintwork colour, higher power engine and interior styling. Contact our sales team to find out more

    • Year: 1970
    For sale
  • Jensen Interceptor III Convertible

    POA POA

    1976 Jensen Interceptor III Convertible The iconic Jensen Interceptor is a highly regarded British sporting GT-class motor car. These stunning cars were hand-built at the Kelvin Way Factory in West Bromwich England by Jensen Motors between 1966 and 1976. The Interceptor name had been used previously by Jensen for the Jensen Interceptor made between 1950 and 1957 at the Carters Green factory. Jensen had extensively used glass-reinforced plastic for the fabrication of body panels in the preceding two decades, but the new Interceptor saw a return to a steel body-shell. The body was designed by an outside firm, Carrozzeria Touring of Italy, rather than the in-house staff. The early bodies were built in Italy by Vignale, before Jensen took production in house, making some subtle body modifications.   The Interceptor Mark III is probably the most widely known and recognized Jensen found on roads today. In its final form, the Interceptor III represented the pinnacle of Jensen car development. For those thinking about buying a Jensen today, these cars epitomise what Jensen motoring was all about. The Mark III was first introduced in 1971, with a revised front grille, headlamp finishers and bumper treatment. It had GKN alloy wheels and air conditioning as standard, and revised seats too. The 6.3 litre 383ci engine was superseded by the 7.2 litre 440ci in 1971 delivering a new range of torque and power.   This magnificent Jensen Interceptor III Convertible is finished in Platinum Silver metallic with Black hide upholstery and complemented with a Black mohair soft top. From the private garage of a Gentleman collector, this exceptional car has been the subject of meticulous attention during his long ownership with invoices amounting up towards a six figure sum throughout its cherished life and remains today in a state of road readiness for everyday driving or some serious continental touring.   Available for viewing in our Kew showroom.  

    • Engine size: 7.2
    For sale
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