The Jensen Interceptor was one of those great cars that comes along every decade or so. Built in a small Birmingham, England, factory, a triumph of tenacity over resources, the Interceptor’s lantern-jawed looks and tire-smoking power made the tiny Jensen company a household name. A glamorous cocktail of an Italian-styled body, American V8 engine, and genteel British craftsmanship, it became the car for successful Britons of the late 1960s and 1970s.
The Interceptor was handsome, fashionable, and formidably fast, but its tragic flaw was a big appetite for fuel—10 mpg (3.5 km/l) if you enjoyed yourself. After driving straight into two oil crises and a worldwide recession, as well as suffering serious losses from the ill-fated Jensen-Healey project, Jensen filed for bankruptcy in 1975 and finally closed its doors in May 1976.
The Interceptor’s futuristic shape hardly changed over its 10-year life span and was widely acknowledged to be one of the most innovative designs of its decade. The classic shape was crafted by Italian styling house Vignale. From bare designs to running prototype took just three months.
Bodies were all-steel, with little attention paid to corrosion proofing. Early cars were tragic rust-raisers.
Rear window lifted up to reveal a large luggage compartment.
With one huge carburetor and only a single camshaft, the Interceptor had a simple soul.
The lazy Chrysler V8 of 6.2 liters gave drag-strip acceleration and endless reliability.
Dunlop Sps replaced skinny pre-’68 RS5s.
Road testers complained that the Interceptor’s dash was like the flight deck of a small aircraft, but the interior was beautifully handmade with the finest hides and plush Wilton carpets.
S P E C I F I C A T I O N S
MODEL Jensen Interceptor (1966–76)
BODY STYLE All-steel occasional four-seater coupe.
CONSTRUCTION Separate tubular and platform type pressed steel frame.
ENGINE 6276cc V8.
POWER OUTPUT 325 bhp at 4600 rpm.
TRANSMISSION Three-speed Chrysler TorqueFlite automatic.
SUSPENSION Independent front with live rear axle.
BRAKES Four-wheel Girling discs.
MAXIMUM SPEED 135 mph (217 km/h)
0–60 MPH (0–96 KM/H) 7.3 sec
0–100 MPH (0–161 KM/H) 19 sec
A.F.C. 13.6 mpg (4.9 km/l)