If one bought cars by the pound, Jensen Interceptors would be the best value in the marketplace. Produced in Great Britain during the death throes of the Jensen company and following the time-honored traditions of British companies installing big American engines into Italian-designed bodies, these cars are large, heavy and dirt-cheap. With space for a golf foursome, complete with bags, and sporting a Chrysler V8, the car was huge by contemporary English standards. Aluminum and fiberglass minimized the weight, though it still tipped the scales at 3,500 pounds.
Trying desperately to find a sweet spot in the US market, Jensen went through three models in the ten years the car held on. All were luxuriously trimmed, with leather throughout and deeply sculptured rear seats, the interior set off by swathes of wood veneer glued to the fascia panel. The Mk II got a completely redesigned suspension, steering and brakes that could handle the power and weight of the car. With the Mk III the engine was upgraded from 383 to 440 cubic inches-bumping horsepower up from 330 bhp to an awesome 385 bhp-and could reach 60 mph in less than seven seconds.
While technically interesting, the four-wheel-drive FF model, with the first antilock braking system on any production car, sold for more than a comparable Aston Martin and was still being produced at a loss, so it was terminated after only 318 were produced.
The prettiest cars of the line are the convertibles, which fetch prices twice those of the saloons. These were put into production in 1974 at Kjell Qvale's insistence after he bankrolled the company out of receivership and lasted until he shut down the company in 1976 in frustration over labor management issues.
Interceptors show up surprisingly often at auctions, generally in fairly shabby condition. Doug Meyer of K&D Enterprises (www.jenseninterceptor.com) says these probably don't represent the real market in Jensens, but rather may be cars that simply haven't been able to find a buyer in any other venue. Nevertheless, innocent buyers can be tempted into the money pit when bidding for a large, luxo-barge with a huge engine stalls at a price that wouldn't buy a decent MGB.
We'd suggest extreme caution when buying an Interceptor. The best examples tend to trade within the closed circle of Jensen aficionados and at prices considerably higher than any of the price guides would suggest. The performance and feel of a well-prepared and well-maintained version, especially a droptop, is exceptional. But most examples that do appear on the open market, like cheap Ferraris, will be nothing but black holes for the owner's money.

Comments are closed.