Jensen Interceptor

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jensen Interceptor
1971 Jensen Interceptor MkII, front left (USA).jpg
1971 Jensen Interceptor MkII (USA)
  • 1966–1976
  • 6,408 produced
AssemblyWest Bromwich, England
DesignerCarrozzeria Touring
Body and chassis
ClassGrand Tourer
Body style
LayoutFront-engine, rear-wheel-drive
RelatedJensen FF
Wheelbase105.3 in (2,675 mm)
Length186 in (4,724 mm)
Width69 in (1,753 mm)
Height53 in (1,346 mm)[1]
Curb weight3,500 lb (1,588 kg)
PredecessorJensen CV8

The Jensen Interceptor is a grand touring car which was hand-built at the Kelvin Way Factory in West Bromwich, near Birmingham in 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.

Model history and specifications[edit]

Jensen Motors used Chrysler V8 engines for the Interceptor, starting with the 6276 cc (383 c.i.) with optional manual (Mark I, only 22 built) or TorqueFlite automatic transmissions driving the rear wheels through a limited slip differential in a conventional Salisbury rear axle. In 1970, the 383 c.i. produced 335 hp SAE gross, or 270 hp SAE net. Since this engine was detuned by Chrysler for use with regular gasoline and only produced 250 hp SAE net in 1971, Jensen chose to use the 440 in3 (7,200 cc) Chrysler engine for 1971.

For 1971, two 440 c.i. engines were offered. One had a 4-barrel carburetor and produced 305 hp SAE net. The other, which had three 2-barrel carburetors and produced 330 hp SAE net, was only available in 1971. Only 232 cars were built with the 440 "Six Pack", and it had the distinction of being the most powerful car ever to have been made by Jensen.

For 1972, the 440 c.i. engine with three 2-barrel carburetors was no longer produced by Chrysler. The 440 c.i. engine that remained was detuned to 280 hp SAE net. Chrysler continued to offer a high performance 440 c.i. engine through to 1976 when it only produced 255 hp SAE net.

The Interceptor may have taken some styling cues from the Brasinca Uirapuru,[2] with a distinctive large, curving wrap-around rear window that doubled as a tailgate. The original specification included electric windows, reclining front seats, a wood rimmed steering wheel, radio with twin speakers, reversing lights and an electric clock. Power steering was included as standard from September 1968.

The Mark II was announced in October 1969, with slightly revised styling around the headlamps, front grille and bumper and revised rear lights. The interior was substantially revised in order to meet US regulations,[3] and air conditioning was an option.

1967 Interceptor, 1973 Interceptor III & 1973 Jensen-Healey
1974 Interceptor III US Model
Interceptor III - rear view
Interior of an Interceptor III Convertible

The Mark III, introduced in 1971, revised the front grille, headlamp finishers and bumper treatment again. It had GKN alloy wheels and air conditioning as standard, and revised seats. It was divided into G-, H-, and J-series depending on the production year. The 6.3-litre 383ci engine was superseded by the 7.2-litre 440ci in 1971.

Jensen had fallen on hard times by 1975, owing to the then world-wide recession, and to problems with its Jensen-Healey sports car. The company was placed into receivership, and the receivers allowed production to continue until the available cache of parts was exhausted. Production of the Interceptor ended in 1976.

Later, a group of investors trading under the new Jensen Cars Limited brandname stepped in and relaunched production of the 1970s Interceptor, which was briefly re-introduced in the late 1980s as the Series 4 (S4) which was an updated version of the original Interceptor V8 series giving a new lifespan for the Jensen brand and its car production was resumed. The car came back as a low-volume hand-built and bespoke affair, marketed in a similar way to Bristol, with a price of £70,000. Though the body remained essentially the same as the last of the main production run of Series 3, the engine was a much smaller Chrysler-supplied 360 cubic inch (5.9-litre) which used more modern controls to reduce emissions comparatively and still producing about 250 bhp. In addition, the interior was slightly re-designed with the addition of modern "sports" front seats as opposed to the armchair style of the earlier models, as well as a revised dashboard and electronics.

The then owner sold up in 1990 to an engineering company believed to be in a stronger position to manufacture the car; this lasted until 1993 with approximately 36 cars built, and while work commenced on development of a new Interceptor Series 5 (S5) for the 1990s however the receivers were called in for a second time and the company was liquidated.

Performance against competitors (1972)[edit]

Performance was competitive with contemporary premium personal luxury cars, the North American market classification in which European grand tourers were sold.

Performance against competitors (1972)
Make & model Horsepower 'SAE net' Top speed Acceleration 0 to 60 mph (0–97 km/h) Fuel economy
Cadillac Eldorado 238 PS (175.0 kW; 234.7 bhp) 189 km/h (117 mph) 9.7 sec 4 km/L (11 mpg‑imp; 9.4 mpg‑US)[4]
Continental Mark IV 215 PS (158.1 kW; 212.1 bhp) 190 km/h (118 mph) 10.8 sec 4.8 km/L (14 mpg‑imp; 11 mpg‑US)[5]
Oldsmobile Toronado 269 PS (197.8 kW; 265.3 bhp) 206 km/h (128 mph) 10 sec 4.2 km/L (12 mpg‑imp; 9.9 mpg‑US)[6]
Buick Riviera 253 PS (186.1 kW; 249.5 bhp) 202 km/h (126 mph) 8.9 sec 4.1 km/L (12 mpg‑imp; 9.6 mpg‑US)[7]
Imperial LeBaron 228 PS (167.7 kW; 224.9 bhp) 191 km/h (119 mph) 10.4 sec 4.1 km/L (12 mpg‑imp; 9.6 mpg‑US)[8]
Rolls-Royce Corniche 240 PS (176.5 kW; 236.7 bhp) 190 km/h (118 mph) 9.7 sec 5.1 km/L (14 mpg‑imp; 12 mpg‑US)[9][10]
Jaguar XKE Series III V12 254 PS (186.8 kW; 250.5 bhp) 217 km/h (135 mph) 6.8 sec 5.5 km/L (16 mpg‑imp; 13 mpg‑US)[11]
Citroën SM 170 PS (125.0 kW; 167.7 bhp) 220 km/h (137 mph) 8.5 sec 8 km/L (23 mpg‑imp; 19 mpg‑US)[12]
Mercedes-Benz 450 SLC 192 PS (141.2 kW; 189.4 bhp) 202 km/h (126 mph) 9.5 sec 6.5 km/L (18 mpg‑imp; 15 mpg‑US)[13]
Jensen Interceptor 254 PS (186.8 kW; 250.5 bhp) 217 km/h (135 mph) 7.5 sec 4.4 km/L (12 mpg‑imp; 10 mpg‑US)[14]
BMW 3.0CS 180 PS (132.4 kW; 177.5 bhp) 200 km/h (124 mph) 7.9 sec 7.6 km/L (21 mpg‑imp; 18 mpg‑US)[15]
Stutz Blackhawk 432 PS (317.7 kW; 426.1 bhp) 210 km/h (130 mph) 8.4 sec 3.3 km/L (9.3 mpg‑imp; 7.8 mpg‑US)


1971 FF - with dual side intakes
1973 Interceptor III Convertible
1974 Convertible - rear view
1975 coupé

Jensen FF Four Wheel Drive[edit]

Jensen were one of the first manufacturers to equip a production car with four-wheel drive, in the 1967 Jensen FF (Ferguson Formula). At the time it was hailed as a remarkable development, coming also with Dunlop Maxaret mechanical anti-lock brakes and traction control. The car is five inches (127 mm) longer than the Interceptor. Although looking virtually the same, the extra length can be seen from additional side vent ahead of the doors on the front flanks, and an additional swage line in the leading edge of the front wing. Press articles from the time quote "drag-strip" performance when describing the car. In total 320 FFs were produced; 195 Mark I, 110 Mark II and 15 Mark III. [16]


A convertible with powered soft top was introduced in 1974, mainly intended for the American market but also sold in Europe. 267 convertibles were made.[17]


Rarer still is the Coupé version introduced in 1975; just 60 were made in the one year before the company's demise.[17] The Coupé was derived from the convertible and therefore lacked the distinctive rear window of the regular car.

The Jensen Interceptor R[edit]

A Jensen specialist JIA based in Banbury Oxfordshire, England rebuilds original Interceptors using modern components, with a General Motors supplied LS 6.2-litre naturally aspirated or Supercharged engine and 6 speed automatic or manual transmission.

In May 2010, Jensen International Automotive was set up, with the financial backing of Carphone Warehouse founder and chairman Charles Dunstone who joined its board of directors. A small number of Jensen Interceptor Ss, which had started production under a previous company, were completed by Jensen International Automotive (JIA), in parallel with JIA's own production of the new Jensen Interceptor R; deliveries of the latter started at the beginning of 2011.


  1. ^ Cardew, Basil (1966). Daily Express Review of the 1966 Motor Show. London: Beaverbrook Newspapers Ltd.
  2. ^ Brasinca 4200GT / Uirapuru: Reportagem Auto (TV). Rio de Janeiro: TV Globo. Archived from the original on 22 December 2021.
  3. ^ Tipler, John, Jensen Interceptor - The Complete Story, Crowood 1991
  4. ^ "1972 Cadillac Eldorado Hardtop Coupe full range specs". Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  5. ^ "1972 Lincoln Mark IV Coupe full range specs". Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  6. ^ "1972 Oldsmobile Tornado full range specs".
  7. ^ "1972 Buick Riviera full range specs".
  8. ^ "1972 Chrysler Imperial full range specs".
  9. ^ "1978 Rolls-Royce Corniche (for Europe ) specs review". Retrieved 30 April 2019.
  10. ^ "1971-1987 ROLLS-ROYCE Corniche I specifications". Classic and Performance Car. 16 October 2014. Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  11. ^ "1972 Jaguar XK-E Series III 2+2 Coupe full range specs". Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  12. ^ "Citroen SM". Archived from the original on 13 May 2016. Retrieved 16 January 2017.
  13. ^ "1973 Mercedes-Benz SLC C107 Coupe full range specs". Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  14. ^ "1972 Jensen Interceptor Mk III full range specs". Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  15. ^ "1972 BMW 2500-3.0 CS E9 Coupe full range specs". Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  16. ^ Richard Calver. "Jensen FF 1966-71". Jensen History - Now it's Yours!. Archived from the original on 18 December 2014.
  17. ^ a b Robson, Graham (1990). A-Z of Cars of the 1970s. Devon, UK: Bay View Books. ISBN 1-870979-11-7.
  • Keith Anderson (1989). Jensen. Haynes Publishing Group. ISBN 0-85429-682-4.
  • Keith Anderson (1998). Jensen & Jensen-Healey. Sutton Publishing. ISBN 0-7509-1808-X.
  • John Tipler (2004). Jensen Interceptor: The Complete Story. The Crowood Press. ISBN 1-86126-711-8.

External links[edit]