This cherry-red Jensen Interceptor is ripe for restoration

by Antony Ingram
19 August 2021 2 min read
This cherry-red Jensen Interceptor is ripe for restoration
Photos: H&H Auctioneers

It might look like the classic optimistic “barn find”, but the 1969 Jensen Interceptor Mk1 coming up for auction with H&H Auctioneers in September actually has a running engine, and could prove the ideal restoration candidate for the right buyer.

That right buyer will no doubt be familiar with the history of one of Britain’s most celebrated luxury grand tourers, but a refresher never hurts. Jensen Motors began as a coachbuilding business in the 1920s and moved on to commercial vehicles shortly after, but following the Second World War the company concentrated primarily on luxury sports cars.

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Jensen is best-known though for the Interceptor, a Chrysler-powered, fastback GT built between 1966 and 1976. The model started out with a 6.3-litre “big-block” V8 similar to that used in several Dodge and Plymouth muscle cars, later moving to a 7.3-litre, the engines’ sizeable torque outputs offsetting what at nearly 1.6 tonnes was far from a light car for the era.

It was however a strikingly-styled one, with a body by Carrozzeria Touring of Italy, while a spacious cabin and luggage deck added to the Interceptor’s grand touring credentials.

Like so many British manufacturers the cars comfortably outlived the company, and despite a brief revival in the early 2000s with the curiously appealing S-V8, the Interceptor remains perhaps Jensen’s most prominent contribution to the automotive world.

The car being offered by H&H at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford on 8 September is a Mk1 from 1969, one of apparently 923 right-hand drive, automatics Mk1s and in a lesser-spotted shade for an Interceptor, cherry red.

The exterior paintwork is offset by chocolate leather trim, and from the photographs at least it appears usefully complete inside and out. Underneath things appear a little more crusty, as you might expect for a car that has sat in storage (albeit dry) for the past two decades.

The engine is running though, albeit with a misfire, and oil pressure is said to be good. With the correct maintenance, big, understressed American V8s have a habit of chugging on forever, and these days parts for encouraging more power from the often-strangled units are only a click away.

Actual Jensen parts might be a little more difficult to come by, but with a £14,000-£18,000 estimate, it could be worth a shot for restoration. The Hagerty Price Guide puts a usable daily driver at £23,000, while a car in excellent condition – as you’d hope a restored car would match or exceed – at more than £40,000. The best, concours cars have reached £70,000.

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