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1973 Jensen Interceptor MkIII

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Seller

giles1

1973 Jensen Interceptor MkIII

  • Location: Abingdon
  • Odometer Reading: 46,259
  • Chassis Number: 1368068
  • Engine: 7212
  • Gearbox: Auto
  • Color: Blue
  • Interior: Cream Leather

Background

The Jensen Interceptor might just be the ultimate 60’s/70’s bruiser: 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.

Styled by Carrozzeria Touring of Italy, it was handbuilt in the West Midlands from steel girders by men with proper names like Bob and Steve and George. Hell, even the rear axle was named after an English city renowned for attracting Russian assassins like flies to honey.

Still not man enough for you? Aside from the sheer joy of a world in which we can buy a car with an engine called Golden Commando, I’d like to point out that Jensen offered a 7.2-litre/440cu/in V8 option, the so-called TNT engine for those of you for whom 383cu/in is too lily-livered.

Jeez, this thing is so macho you fill it with five-star testosterone instead of petrol…

Still not satisfied? How about the fact that the FF or Ferguson Formula was the first road-going four-wheel-drive production car in the world? Or the first to offer anti-lock brakes, the wonderfully named Dunlop Maxaret, which is modelled on the system used on the English Electric Lightning, among others. Yup, you could buy a Jensen with the braking system of a fighter plane.

Of course it had lashings of leather, wood and chrome inside too but none of that matters because the Interceptor can snap knicker elastic at a hundred yards with just one blip of the throttle.


The Vehicle

In the care of the same owner for the past four-and-a-half years and having had only three former keepers, this Mk3 Jensen Interceptor is in fabulous condition, dodging concours by a hair’s-breadth and little more.

Clearly the recipient of considerable expenditure prior to him buying it, he has continued to treat it in the manner to which it has become accustomed, lavishing far too much time and money at marque experts Cropredy Bridge to keep it looking sharp and running beautifully. And they have fitted some exceedingly sensible upgrades to such things as the brakes and the A/C. The vendor is keen to use his cars, and this Jensen is no exception, often having been pressed into daily service through many of the recent summers. This is why there has been much financial outlay in keeping it right under the bonnet and in the cabin. Too many classics suffer through lack of use; their windows seize, dry seals and bushes create vibrations, air-con ‘juice’ leaks away, etc. This is NOT one of those cars! Those who like to enjoy and drive their classics should read on…

Now reluctantly for sale, this is your chance to get one of the best-sorted, if not THE best-sorted, Jensen Interceptors in the United Kingdom. Yup, for the price of a middling new Ford, you could have an Interceptor on the drive. That’s worth thinking about, isn’t it?


On the Outside

The blue paintwork is glossy and even and suits the Interceptor’s purposeful lines wonderfully. Clearly a very high quality respray (we doubt anyone could have got a finish like this, back-in-the-day), the colour also serves to show off the Jensen’s wonderfully even shut lines and panels that are free of the sort of ripples and damage that lesser cars exhibit.

It’s in a fabulous condition, even in the hidden areas that no-one other than the owner will ever see. It’s a good job and whoever carried it out should be proud of what they achieved.

Jensen experts Cropredy Bridge added to the car’s presentation, tidying up the bodywork a little in late 2016. The work comprised adjusting the doors to gain an even better fit and fitting new door and boot seals.

The rest of the chromework is all very good too and free of pits and damage. As is the front grille, which is sharp and showing perfectly parallel horizontal trim, something that isn’t easy to achieve. The black vinyl roof is in great shape too, and is a wonderfully period touch that takes us straight back to our childhood watching The Sweeney on TV…

The quad headlights are marked with ‘Halogen’, while those of its contemporaries probably still sported tungsten bulbs and sealed-beam units.

The exterior badging is all good, and those twin exhaust pipes are as purposeful as they are subtle; if you’ve ever bought a set of faux exhaust trims from Halfords then this is not the car for you.

The original Jensen alloy wheels are in great shape, and are free of any cosmetic damage. The tyres all have good tread.

As we mentioned, it has been used and enjoyed, so problems seem to be limited to the odd small chip, indentation and bubble in the paintwork and (handcrafted, remember) panels; these are generally so small as to be almost impossible to photograph but the chip near the fresh air intake at the base of the windscreen is probably the most prominent, along with a couple of minor bubbles on the boot lid.

Oh, and one of the rubber trims on the rear bumper overrider has come adrift. None of these problems is at all serious and we would rate the bodywork as a solid 9/10 overall.


On the Inside

While some of you might argue that no-one does interiors like Ferrari, we’re prepared to fight anyone who doesn’t agree that the Jensen Interceptor has the very best interior of any 70s car.

Yes, it’s got the usual leather so beloved of luxury British car manufacturers, but it’s also got four dials showing the condition of the battery, oil, water and fuel – and they’re angled towards the driver, just like they would be in the cockpit of a fighter plane. Four air vents sit underneath them, aping their location and design, plus a row of rocker switches sit beneath them. There’s a clock too, but Jensen man wasn’t ever too worried about what time it was, confident in the knowledge that people would wait.

The cream leather seats aren’t only in great shape and as supportive and comfortable as they’ve ever been, but feature a matching original corduroy headrest. Yup, you read that right; it’s got cord head restraints. How cool is that?

Matching cream leather covers an awful lot of the rest of the car too, and it all looks to be very good. More switches are dotted here and there, and while you won’t have to think for too long to name a more ergonomic car, we doubt you will be able to nominate a cooler one.

The door cards are in a very good condition too, as are the carpets and the pleated headlining, the wooden veneer trim and the gearlever shroud. The three-spoke Mota-Lita steering wheel does look epic. Ditto the retro-modern headunit, which looks utterly at home in the dashboard and sounds far better than anything that is truly authentic.

Cropredy Bridge wove its magic on the interior too, and the work it carried out included fitting a new gearknob in addition to the Mota-Lita steering wheel. It also fettled the non-operative windscreen washers, interior lights, cigar lighter, boot light, and headlight dip switch, fitting new seatbelt washers, and installed the new headunit. It recharged the air-conditioning system with modern R134a gas too, and it now blows ice-cold.

The boot is neat and tidy, with a good carpet. However, as with most Interceptors, there is some rust along the seam of the boot lid, and this will need to be sorted sooner rather than later in order to forestall a greater problem.

The only other blemishes we can see are a crack in the covering of the rear hoop. It’s small and situated at the base of the offside lower edge, so is barely discernible. The glovebox lid is wonky too, but we suspect that’s more to do with early seventies’ workmanship than any subsequent neglect or abuse. Oh, and the heel protector on the driver’s side carpet has worn away.


Underneath

The subject of vast recent expenditure at marque experts Cropredy Bridge, the work that has been carried out is too detailed to list here but comprised in brief fettling of the fuel system and the installation of a Fosseway brake system upgrade that included new front and rear calipers, discs and pads, fresh fluid and flexible brake hoses.

It’s has also had new adjustable front dampers and suspension bushes, an anti-roll bar link, new exhaust manifolds, a new ignition coil, HT leads, and spark plugs, repairs to the heater system valve control and new hoses, fresh coolant, a new oil filler cap plus fresh oil and filter, replacing and rerouting the transmission pipework, fixing an oil leak and topping up the gearbox oil, and reconnecting the fuel vapour separator.

Have you got all that? Good. Now, why not make yourself a cup of tea and leaf through the rest of the invoice because there was way more to the work than we have listed and the final bills came to more than £41,000. The owner uses the car regularly and it was important to him that it was ready to be used at a moment’s notice and was as reliable as a modern car. That might have been a tall order but it was one that he was prepared to throw money at until it was achieved.

There are also a number of invoices from other retailers, all of which show that money really was no object when it came to maintaining the Interceptor.

The engine bay is, as you might expect, clean and nicely detailed. That orange air filter housing and the matching lettering on the valve covers is an especially nice touch; after all, this isn’t a car for shrinking violets, is it?

It drives “exceedingly well” according to our grand fromage (You don’t think he’s going to delegate a job like that, do you?) and feels eminently capable of that clichéd trip to the South of France.

The underside of the car looks straight and clean, although the suspension components do have a light coating of surface rust. A new fuel tank looks to have been fitted in the car’s recent past.


History Highlights

The online MOT history shows nothing of concern whatsoever – it hasn’t garnered a single advisory point in its history - and confirms the car’s low mileage. The MOT certificate itself expires in October 2019.

The car comes with a number of expired MOT certificates plus a thick sheaf of invoices and bills to confirm the work that has been done to it, along with a set of photographs documenting its restoration.

It still has its original owner’s handbook, which lives in the armrest and is held in place by a strap. It’s a wonderful touch, and made us fall a little bit more in love with it…

It also has two keys and a stamped service history booklet.

Please visit the documents section of the gallery of this listing where you will find photos of this and other paperwork to support our claim that this car has been restored and maintained to the very highest standard.


What We Think

Now fully fettled and running beautifully, this is a rare Jensen Interceptor that has been maintained regardless of cost. With way more than £41,000 having been spent in the past four years it looks wonderful and runs and drives even better.

So if, like us, you’ve always fancied one but were too scared to take the plunge, this might be the car for you. With a guide price of between £37,000 and £44,000 it won’t be cheap, but then quality never is. Besides, there is simply no way you could buy a rough Interceptor and bring it up to this standard for even a fraction of the cost of buying this one.

Viewing is always encouraged, and this car can be seen here at The Market HQ in Abingdon; 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’.

If needed, please remember we have a network of trusted suppliers we work with regularly and can recommend: Classic & Sportscar Finance for purchase-financing, Thames Valley Car Storage for storing your car, AnyVan for transporting it, and Footman James for classic car insurance.

BORING, but IMPORTANT: Please note that whilst we at The Market always aim to offer the most descriptive and transparent auction listings of any auction, we cannot claim they are perfect analyses of any of the vehicles we have for sale. While we use our trade experience to assess every car that comes through our hands (and between us we have bought hundreds of classic cars over the years for our personal use…) we are fallible, and our assessment of a car may contrast with that you might form yourself.

This is why we offer a far greater opportunity for bidders to view, or arrange a professional inspection on their behalf of, each vehicle prior to bidding than any traditional car auction, and we will never stop encouraging bidders to take advantage of this by coming to see it in person.

That said, 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 those formed as a result of a long test drive.

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.


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