Lot 044: Jensen Interceptor III
Surely one of the most handsome and distinctive sports tourers ever made, the Jensen Interceptor was a fabulous amalgam of Italian style, American muscle and British craftsmanship. Styled by Touring of Milan with some subtle tweaks by Vignale (who also made the first bodies) it was initially powered by a 6,276cc Chrysler V8 driving the rear wheels through a TorqueFlite automatic transmission and had dragster-like performance. Launched in 1966, it immediately attracted the glitterati of '60s society, early owners including Dusty Springfield, Tony Curtis, Cliff Richard, Henry Cooper, Harold Robbins and Lord Carrington.
The MkII cars came out in 1969 and featured many detail improvements over the MkI including uprated front suspension and brakes, different front end styling and a more modern dashboard. Power was also up slightly to 330bhp and 425lb/ft of torque. The last model of the line was the MkIII which came out in 1971 with an even plusher interior, central locking, improved dual-circuit brakes, new GKN alloy wheels and a bigger 7.2-litre engine. In all just 6,408 Interceptors were made before production came to an end in 1976 and good ones are now highly prized.
"With a power output like this in a car weighing 33cwt unladen, the results of pressing the accelerator are pretty electrifying to say the least," wrote Autocar in its first test of the MkII, recording a 0-60 time of 6.4 secs on the way to a top speed of 137mph. "With all that torque on tap and such excellent brakes willing to take any punishment, there are no problems getting along very fast indeed."
First registered in October 1972, this particular MkIII looks particularly attractive in Silver over Grey with a nice original red leather interior. It has covered just 52,000 miles from new in the hands of five keepers to date, the third and fourth owners keeping it for some 15 years each. Appearing to be an exceptionally sound and original example with notably good panel gaps, it even retains the original 8-track stereo system with over a dozen cassettes still housed in the centre console.
Recently fitted with a new Holley carburettor, a new battery and four new tyres, it also benefits from stainless steel exhausts, a high-torque starter motor and air conditioning. It comes with many old MOTs back to 1977 (at 39,674 miles), plenty of bills to show regular routine maintenance and documents showing that it was loaned to the BBC's Top Gear programme in 1994.
The car is said to drive very well indeed and certainly fired up promptly and ran very smoothly as we manouevred it to take these photos. With an MOT until April 2012 and taxed until next March, it is only reluctantly being sold due to a back injury which means that the current owner can no longer comfortably drive it. These really are fabulous GT cars that every petrol-head should own at least once in their lives. Go on, you know it makes sense&
Classic & Vintage Cars & Motorcycles|
Brightwells Auctioneers and Valuers, Leominster, Herefordshire
|Hammer Price (inc premium)||-|
|Registration number||RVT 728L|
|Engine capacity (cc)||7212|
|Engine - cylinders|
|Number of doors||2|