When I was a small boy living in Cambridgeshire, about ten years old, there was a house in my village that used to have a Jensen Interceptor parked outside. Covered in tree sap and bird droppings, it was far past its prime. But it still looked amazing. I can directly attribute that Jensen to the start of my interest in cars and to what I do now.
And now, some thirty odd years later, that car has just gone back into production. I say “production”, but the new Jensen Interceptor is, in fact, something you can only have made from an old Interceptor, rather than built from scratch. But what you get once your car has been stripped, retrimmed and refitted is on a par with what other specialist sports car manufacturers churn out as brand new.
To be fair, much of what you’ll get back actually is new. Once stripped to the shell, the car is modified to accept new mechanicals, which include a GM sourced V8 6.2 litre petrol engine pushing out 430bhp (it’s the ‘LS3′ unit as fitted to the Corvette and the Vauxhall VXR8) and a four speed auto or six speed manual gearbox. The 0-60mph sprint takes just 4.5 seconds, not a figure the original car could touch. I’d guess at a top speed of about 150mph.
Obviously it would be foolish, if not downright irresponsible, to fit an old girl like this with such performance and not give the 45 year old design a big upgrade to cope. So ‘new’ cars out of Jensen Automotive International’s Thame, Oxfordshire base get brand new independent rear suspension, an upgrade to the front suspension and new six pot AP brakes all round to ensure it stops as well as it goes.
In total, each car takes six months to convert to the Interceptor R specification. Expect to part with over £100,000 to bring your dream up to date.
And I’m tempted. The problem is, I don’t have an old Interceptor and a hundred grand kicking around.
But there’s another issue — when I reached my teens, a neighbour bought a Jensen FF, the four wheel drive version of the Interceptor and a revolutionary car in its time, and my allegiance switched to that. The FF became my object of lust and the car I wanted more than anything. And, as yet, JAI don’t do a modern day FF recreation.
But I live in hope…