Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Jensen: Cars

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December 1941.
1946.
October 1949.
October 1952.
1966. Jensen C-V8 MkIII Coupe.

Note: This is a sub-section of Jensen

General

In 1934 they were commissioned by American film actor Clark Gable to design and build a car for him based on a Ford V-8 chassis. The resultant car won them much acclaim and stimulated huge interest in their work including a deal with Ford to produce a run of Jensen-Fords with Jensen bodywork on a Ford chassis.

In 1934 they also started to design their first true production car under the name White Lady. This evolved into the Jensen S-type which went into production in 1935.

1946 Production of cars ceased over the war years, but a new vehicle was offered, the Jensen PW (a luxury saloon). Few were produced since raw materials were still in short supply. Also in 1946 body designer Eric Neale joined the company from Wolseley and his first project was the more modern coupe which followed in 1950, named the Interceptor, which was built until 1976.

1951 Exhibitor at the 1951 Motor Show in the Car Section.

1953 Jensen started production of Neale's masterpiece, the '541R', which used the then-revolutionary material of Fibreglass for its bodywork.

1962 The '541R' was replaced by another Neale design, the 'CV8' in 1962, which replaced the Austin-sourced straight-6 of the previous cars with a 6 litre American Chrysler V8. This large engine in such a lightweight car made the Jensen one of the fastest four-seaters of the time.

1963 Motor Show exhibitor. Showed C-V8 model. [1]

1966 For its replacement (the Interceptor, launched in 1966) Jensen used the Italian coach-builder, Touring, for the body design, and to steel for the material. The body shells were built by Vignale of Italy and later by Jensen. The same 383 inch Chrysler wedge-head power-plant was used in the earlier cars with the later cars moving to the 440 cu in engine. The Interceptor was offered in saloon, convertible and coupe versions. The saloon was by far the most popular with its large, curving wrap-around rear window that doubled as a tailgate.

Related to the Interceptor was another car, the Jensen FF, the letters standing for Ferguson Formula, Ferguson Research being the inventor of the full-time all wheel drive system adopted, the first on a production sports car. Also featured was the Dunlop Maxaret anti-lock braking system in one of the first uses of ABS in a production car. Outwardly, the only differences from the Interceptor were four extra inches of length (all ahead of the windscreen) and a second row of air vents behind the front wheels. The small number of 320 FFs were constructed, and production ceased in 1971.

1983 Introduced the Interceptor Mk IV

List of Models

See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. 1963 Motor Show