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

Jensen Interceptor: Buying guide and review (1966-1976) Classic and Performance Car
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
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  • Jensen Interceptor Cabriolet 1975

    POA POA

    SOLD / VERKAUFT / VENDU / VERKOCHT Jensen Interceptor cabriolet 1975 1 of 276 built in marvelous condition This Jensen Interceptor convertible was handmade in England in 1975. Only 276 convertibles were built. This car has the beautiful ‘Royal Blue’ metallic paint, a great combination with the chromeparts of the car. The interior has black leather, comfortable seats and marvelous woodparts. The paint, interieur and chrome are in a great condition. This Jensen has the original 7206 CC, V8, 390 HP engine. The Jensen Interceptor cabriolet is a very rare car, that’s why it is a good investment also. Car has USA title and document importduties for every EU country are paid by us. Documentation is complete for registration in every EU country. You do not need to pay any importduties. We can help with transport. Trading in, buying and consignment possible.

    • Year: 1975
    For sale
    POA POA
    E&R Classic Cars
    +31 416 751393 View contact number
  • Jensen Interceptor III 7.2

    POA POA

    1974 Interceptor 3 7.2 Automatic Finished in grey metallic with red leather interior 84,000 recorded miles Registered new on 1st February 1974, records show that it was first registered official Jensen dealer T.G.Reynolds Ltd of Cambridge as their demonstrator vehicle. Originally finished in Havana brown but change to the far more desirable shade of metallic grey whilst undergoing a body restoration by the highly regarded Jensen body specialist Colin Holley/C&H Autos in 2006. As testament to the quality of Colin’s workmanship, the bodywork is still gleaming over 10 years later. Since then the vehicle has been maintained by renown Jensen specialist Richard Appleyard Engineering from where there are several invoices on file. Since acquisition Avantgarde have carried out a very thorough programme of work which has included commissioning a full re-trim in red leather, extensive under-bonnett detailing which has involved the removal and refinishing/re-plating of many components, the results of which are stunning. A very well sorted Interceptor which benefits from a host of upgrades which bring this vehicle up to date. This includes an uprated air conditioning system which uses a more ef

    • Mileage: 84000 mi
    For sale
    POA POA
  • 1976 Jensen Interceptor Convertible

    $57,500(£43,590.75) $57,500(£43,590.75)

    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 delivered 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. Great body with very bright paint. 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: Very limited production, last year built, the only one in this incredible color, low mileage and a 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.

    For sale
    $57,500(£43,590.75) $57,500(£43,590.75)
  • 1972 Jensen Interceptor SP

    $44,500(£33,735.45) $44,500(£33,735.45)

    Launched in 1966, Jensen's incredibly innovative (and desperately complicated), four-wheel drive FF, was extremely expensive to produce and only sold in very small numbers. So, when Kjell Qvale took over Jensen in 1970, he decided to create a new, less costly and labour intensive flagship. As the Interceptors all came fitted with a big-block Chrysler engine, he simply chose to increase the power of the existing set up, using stock Chrysler components. In place of the standard 383 cu.in. engine, he chose the 10.3:1 compression ratio, 440 cu.in version and, to spice it up still further for this new top-of-the-range beast, he opted for the triple-twin-choke induction system (or 'Six-Pack', as it was known in the States). All these upgrades required no major modification to the existing Interceptor and so, the production cost increase was minimal. Stated power was up by over 85 bhp (though in reality, it was probably an even greater increase). This made the SP (Six-Pack) the most powerful Jensen ever produced and in fact, one of the most powerful cars in the world, at that time. Unfortunately, the early seventies fuel crisis and other economic factors meant that only 232 of these behem

    For sale
    $44,500(£33,735.45) $44,500(£33,735.45)
  • JENSEN INTERCEPTOR

    POA POA

    Description 1971 Series 2 Jensen Interceptor. Currently undergoing extensive modification and modernisation through our restoration centre. We wanted to create an Interceptor with the go to match its show, so we’ve fitted an LS3 V8 mated to a Tremec T56 gearbox. The exterior of the car has been taken back to bare metal and all corrosion attended to. The car is now in primer awaiting a prospective buyer to specify the colourway – both exterior colour and interior colour can be anything a future client desires.

    For sale
    POA POA
  • Jensen Interceptor II

    POA POA

    1970 Jensen Interceptor II 6.3l Auto Finished in yellow with black leather interior 55,000 miles from new Only one recorded lady owner form new Supplied new by Jensen main agent Newbury Motors Ltd of Halesowen on 22 October 1970. Incredibly this stunning motor car has had only one registered owner since, a local lady who along with her husband completely and utterly cosseted and cherished her. Since arriving with us we have commissioned a full strip-down and bare metal repaint at our trusted prize winning body-shop due to age related marks and imperfections. When stripped back the body was found to be in remarkable order, just as we expected. We also had some brightwork refinished, again not due to damage but minor age related fading, which we wanted perfected. Needles to say the re-fit included many new parts and new seals were used throughout. The results to this lengthy but sympathetic restoration are simply stunning. We have also given it a thorough mechanical check-over & service and can confirm she drives superbly. This beautiful example comes complete with original service book, owners handbook, factory build sheets, original toolkit and a file of old MOT’s and invoices. Thi

    • Mileage: 55000 mi
    For sale
    POA POA
  • 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
    POA POA