1973 Jensen Interceptor S3View vehicle description
The Jensen Interceptor might just be the ultimate 60’s/70’s bruiser: originally fitted with a 6.3-litre Golden Commando V8 engine and an automatic gearbox called the TorqueFlite, the Interceptor – Interceptor! – is as brutal as it is handsome.
Hand-built between 1966 and 1976 at Jensen’s Kelvin Way Factory, the Interceptor marked a return to steel body shells (after the glassfibre CV8) and to cleaner Touring-designed Italian lines. The early bodies were built by Vignale in Italy, but Jensen soon brought production back to the UK.
The MkIII as seen here was introduced in 1971. Bumpers and headlights were revised, as were the seats inside. This last incarnation of the big grand tourer was divided up into three series; G-, H-, and J-series depending on the production year. The 6.3-litre was superseded by the (still Chrysler) 7.2-litre in 1971.
Of course it had lashings of leather, wood and chrome inside too but none of that really matters because the Interceptor can still snap knicker elastic at a hundred yards with just one blip of the throttle. With a top speed of 135mph and a 0-60mph time of 7.5 seconds, this thing is so macho you fill it with five-star testosterone instead of petrol…
Just 6,408 Interceptors were built, and the attrition rate was high, which means that survivors are either rotten or will have been rebuilt a couple of times in the past half-century.
This J-Series Interceptor MkIII was first registered on 12 October 1973, is powered by the larger 7.2-litre Chrysler V8 and is one of only 735 of its series configured in right hand drive. Seemingly used rather sparingly by each of its ten owners, the odometer read around 63,000 miles when its MOT expired and it went off the road in August 2008.
Bought in 2012 as a non-running restoration project which was never carried out, the owner is now passing it on through a classic restoration specialist in part-exchange for a newer car. They have spent a little time sorting out some ignition wiring and fuel lines to get the Interceptor running and, bearing in mind it hadn’t turned a wheel since 2008, it took very little for it to be driving again. It evidently had been a mechanically well looked after car.
It is, however, a project car which needs and deserves a decent restoration. Mechanically the car is mostly sound with a good chassis and it has been driven a few miles very recently. Incredibly original, paint aside, this would be an ideal start point for someone looking to bring another mighty Interceptor back to the road.
On the Outside
The metallic blue paint is not the car’s original colour and it has been rather inexpertly applied. A number of the outer and inner panels will require repair or replacement with fabricated or reclaimed panels anyway so a full repaint in a colour of the new owner’s choosing is likely on the cards when all is finished. The car comes with several reclaimed panels to use in the restoration, the front wings and doors are ok but the rear quarter panels are quite rough and rusty. There’s also a front valance but the workshop specialist says replacement isn’t really required.
The black vinyl roof appears sound although the side strips seem not to be adhering properly at the edges. The front and rear bumpers are pitted and rusting slightly in places but the chrome trim elsewhere around the car appears to be in reasonable condition. The driver’s door mirror has come off but has been retained with the car. The window rubbers and door seals around the car will likely need replacing.
The 15-inch GKN alloy wheels are original and in a fair condition and are fitted with a mix of Federal and BFGoodrich tyres. A little time or money spent on the wheels and a full set of good quality boots would set the completed car off very well.
We always encourage buyers to arrange a personal inspection of the cars we list, or at worst a video call with the seller to look at specific areas in detail. For cars requiring restoration, this is even more important to gain a better understanding of the nature and extent of work required. There are numerous detailed photos in the gallery to scrutinise first and then why not use the ‘Contact Seller’ option on this page to arrange a closer look.
On the Inside
In stark contrast to the outside, the interior of this Jensen is very strong and mostly original. Aside from a repair needed to a split on the side of the driver’s seat and a tidy-up of the door cards, there is very little that needs attention.
The black vinyl dash looks superb with its Jaeger instruments and Kienzle clock. Some of the electrical switchgear has been tested and appears working, such as the electric windows, the fuel filler cap which releases with an overengineered clunk and the air conditioning which clicks-in although likely isn’t gassed up properly. The Kenwood CD player is obviously a later unit but once replaced by a period look stereo there are very few other things needing to be done inside the car.
The steering wheel is a new Moto-Lita replacement but is of a type in keeping with the car. The original wheel was on the car until recently but during workshop manoeuvres it snapped. It has been retained with the car, should it be factored into the restoration.
The carpets and floor mats are a little scruffy in places and although not crying out for change, there are new replacement carpets in the boot. The headlining too seems in reasonable condition, given that the car has been left standing for several years.
Whilst under the bonnet there are many components and ancillaries sporting some surface rust, and hoses and cables in need of rejuvenation or replacement, pretty much everything in the engine bay is present and original and also functioning.
Having access to a lift, the specialist selling the car has been able to take many photographs of the condition of the car’s undersides which are well worth looking at closely. At first glance the rust and corrosion shown may seem overwhelming but he reports that the main chassis members are sound and free of any corrosion or previous welding but it’s the bodywork panelling such as the outer sills that need to be cut out and repaired or replaced. The steering rack seals have failed leaking oil onto the subframe below, so a new rack would probably be in order. The rear leaf springs are still mostly wrapped in some kind of covering - a common rust-proofing measure used on Jensens and likely done before it left the West Bromwich factory.
The boot lid release lever has become disconnected but it does work using a pair of pliers or grips on the cable. Inside is a jack and small toolset and a few spares. The carpet linings in the boot seem relatively new and appear in a good condition.
We have no evidence to either prove or disprove the currently displayed 63,000 miles although the specialist selling the car believes it to be genuine based on the general condition and originality of the car.
The earliest independent record of the mileage we have is from March 2000 when the MOT records it as 59,422. Given the 7.2-litre V8’s thirst (claimed to be somewhere around 12mpg) it could well represent 27 years of frugal use up to that point. It is also possible that its continent-crossing GT capabilities have been exploited to the full and another 100,000 miles need to be added, but we think it less likely.
Although little is known about the car’s original specification or early history, the factory documents and first-owner details for most UK-market Jensen’s are held by Martin Robey Group from whom copies can be obtained for a small fee by supplying the chassis number - in this case 136/9052.
The Jensen’s most recent MOT expired in August 2008 and the car still sports its last tax disc from that time. Although as an Historic Vehicle, the car would be MOT exempt, we would strongly encourage the new owner to have it tested following restoration. The cost of an MOT is a small investment when offset against the purchase and upkeep of any classic car, and it gives an independent, third-party assessment of the car’s condition, which not only provides reassurance to the owner and any subsequent purchasers but is also invaluable in the event of a bump when negotiating with the police and any interested insurance companies.
What We Think
Having got the car running again, the seller has driven the car for several miles and reports that oil pressure is good and the engine gets up to temperature. The engine pulls well and the automatic gearbox changes up and down smoothly, also giving a good kick-down when demanded. The car is comfortable, running and coasting nicely. Given the steering rack issue it is surprisingly light and nimble on the steering and whilst the brake pedal is a little sticky, the calipers engage and release properly.
Having what must rank among the best car names ever, the Jensen Interceptor still fuels many a middle-aged man’s dream or brings back memories of its all-conquering “Cubic Capacity” playing Top Trumps Sports Cars. Those of a younger demographic may fancy restoring the car without bumpers or chrome work and painting it matt grey with black racing stripes as a menacing-looking Fast & Furious 6 tribute. Although we recommend you drive around London with a little more caution than Michelle Rodriguez did.
Whatever your dreams or ideas for returning this very original, iconic British muscle car to the highways and showgrounds, it could be yours for somewhere between £10,000 and £20,000.
Viewing is always encouraged, and this particular car is located with the specialist near Silchester between Basingstoke and Reading; to arrange an appointment please use the ‘Contact Seller’ button at the top of the listing. Feel free to ask any questions or make observations in the comments section below, or try our ‘Frequently Asked Questions’.
This vehicle is not with us at The Market’s HQ near Abingdon, which means we have had to rely on the seller’s description of it, in conjunction with the photographs you see here, to compile the listing.
With this in mind, we would encourage potential bidders to contact the seller themselves and arrange to view the car in person, or to arrange a dedicated video call in which they can view the car virtually and ask questions.
If needed, please remember we have a network of trusted suppliers we work with regularly and can recommend: Classic & Sportscar Finance for purchase-financing, Footman James for classic car insurance Thames Valley Car Storage for storing your car and an array of regional providers for transporting it.
BORING, but IMPORTANT: Please note that whilst we at The Market always aim to offer the most descriptive and transparent auction listings available, we cannot claim they are perfect analyses of any of the vehicles for sale. We offer far greater opportunity for bidders to view, or arrange inspections for each vehicle thoroughly prior to bidding than traditional auctions, and we never stop encouraging bidders to take advantage of this. We do take a good look at the vehicles delivered to our premises for sale, but this only results in our unbiased personal observations, not those of a qualified inspector or other professional, or the result of a long test drive.
Also, localised paint repairs are common with collectable and classic cars and if they have been professionally carried out then they may be impossible to detect, even if we see the car in person. So, unless we state otherwise, please assume that any vehicle could have had remedial bodywork at some point in its life.
Additionally, please note that most of the videos on our site have been recorded using simple cameras which often result in 'average' sound quality; in particular, engines and exhausts notes can sound a little different to how they are in reality.
Please note that this is sold as seen and that, as is normal for used goods bought at auction, the Sale of Goods Act 1979 does not apply. See our FAQs for more info, and feel free to inspect any vehicle as much as you wish.
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