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1973 JENSEN INTERCEPTOR III

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Seller

joe nebbitt

1973 JENSEN INTERCEPTOR III

  • Location: Abingdon
  • Odometer Reading: 39,577
  • Chassis Number: 1368251
  • Engine: 6300
  • Gearbox: Automatic
  • Color: Blue
  • Interior: Black

Background

18/05 - the seller has asked us to significantly reduce the reserve, thus providing one of the best opportunities to own one of the strongest Interceptors on the market at the moment - please read on...


The Jensen Interceptor might just be the ultimate 60’s bruiser: with a 6.3-litre Golden Commando V8 engine, and an automatic gearbox called the TorqueFlite, the Interceptor – Interceptor! – was as brutal as it was 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.

Not man enough for you? Aside from the sheer joththy 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/440 cu in V8 option, the so-called TNT engine, 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 it was the first road-going four-wheel-drive production car in the world, the FF or Ferguson Formula? Or the first to offer anti-lock brakes and traction control – the Dunlop Maxaret that is modeled on those used on the English Electric Lightning, among others.

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

The Vehicle

Vendor Joe has known this example since 1987, as the mechanic who looked after his E-Types had it parked at the back of his premises and used to use it as a spectacular Gentleman’s office in which to complete his paperwork – yes, really! Our man bought it from him when he retired four years ago, and then gave the parts in boxes to the highly thought of Jensen specialist chaps at Rejen to rebuild.

Prior to that it had four owners and the first, a Chelsea-based doctor, is believed to have  ordered the car to replace his SP (triple carburettors and all) as that apparently handled the daily commute to Harley Street with all the decorum of a lothario devouring a debutante. There’s a delightful letter in the history file both attesting to his displeasure at the latter’s behaviour, and pleasure with his new steed.  

While many comedy, sporting and celebrity legends of Seventies are popping their clogs, and most other Interceptors have long fallen down the food chain to become atherosclerotic urban smokers, with just 39,577 miles on the clock this big beast is a true low-mileage survivor. Indeed Joe says both he and the specialist were amazed by how little rust was evident on the complex body shell during restoration. Rejen confirm it is very rare to be supplied with a shell that was this good 40 years on. 

Joe drove the car 50 miles to deliver it to us on a sunny day, in the comfort of the Jensen's air-conditioned cabin, and confirms Rejen's opinion that it is one of the better cars out there, he encourages anyone who has travelled in a few Interceptors to sample this and see how strong and sharp the on-the-road experience is.

On the Outside

With less than 300 shakedown miles completed post completion, the bodywork presents as immaculately as expected given the recent restoration work. The Pacific Blue paintwork is superb and matched to panel fit that’s almost certainly better than when it left the factory – perversely the first owner, while generally purring about the car in his letter to Jensen was also mildly critical of this aspect.

Everything about the Interceptor is gargantuan in proportion and that includes the sheer amount of bright work; thankfully all chrome trim is as new, with fresh overrider rubbers fitted and new stainless sill covers. The III’s badges have also either been replaced, or reconditioned where necessary. At all four corners the alloy wheels present similarly well, and are free from the presence of any scuffs or marks with new Dunlop SP Sport tyres (at a cost of just under £1k).

The car wears the registration plate VPH 1 in the photos, but this is not included in the sale and it will instead be sold with the registration number PMC 682L.

On the Inside

This is the one area where Jon felt the car didn’t require any work. He says: ‘I like patina and for an old car to be an old car. The interior is beautiful.’ It would have been easy for him to fork out for an all-new interior, but in reality he’s right as it's in lovely condition and retains a lovely period ambience. 

Step in and you can just imagine its thrusting young bolt of an owner at the wheel, his girlfriend of that week sitting next to him and two of her bubbliest friends in the rear as they barrelled their way to a frisky West End party. Of course today, in more straightened times, that’ll no doubt equate to the missus, perhaps a couple of grandkids and a visit to the garden centre – but what style in which to do it.

The cream headlining is a touch marked in places and would benefit from a sympathetic clean, while the outlandish amount of leather is indicative of the low mileage and free from any rips or pulls. Again it too would gain from a thorough feed in order to give it a refresh. Once done it’ll look wonderful again; still the decision whether to keep it as is, or further the restoration work and replace will be the new owner’s to make.

Underneath

The seller was intimately involved in the restoration, taking the car apart himself and having items powder coated. Once done, everything was sent to Rejen in boxes. He says that he went through ‘the whole car front to back, replacing all the rubbers. If anything was slightly worn, then it too was replaced.`

On inspection that’s evident. In order to ferry the colossal amounts of fumes produced by that V8 there’s a fresh stainless steel twin exhaust system fitted. While the cooling system is endowed with all new pipes and sensors, and the brakes are completely new. Everything has a fresh painted appearance, with stone chip used for protection. The view that presents when lifting the bonnet is an absolute joy.

The engine was completely rebuilt, with new ancillaries, a new Edelbrock carburettor and a fresh wiring system fitted. Whilst out, the gearbox was reconditioned and fitted with a common upgrade, which by changing the innards sees the shift transformed from somewhat lazy lounge lizard to one of a more sprightly nature. When the vendor bought the car, it came with a 6.3 G-series engine that Rejen have professionally installed; as many will know, the heads are the same as those fitted to the 7.2 block. Most consider the earlier 6.3 the sweeter engine, and it will certainly be pushing out a few more horses than the emission-strangled bigger lump.

It’s recently been back in to Rejen to have the fuel tanks stripped, dipped, repaired, tested and re-painted (phew). Joe says this was one area that wasn’t completed as everything ran fine, but it subsequently became clear that performance would benefit from it – again the invoice is included, at just under £3k.

History Highlights

Included in the history file are some very interesting pre-production, final inspection and road test factory documents. These show the standards to which the company went in order to ensure the quality of its product. Also included are the various warranty claims made by its first owner, which saw a leaking steering rack, whining rear axle and defective radio (amongst other items) replaced. This continues to further claims, which Jensen rebuffed and to which the owner complained it was ‘being mean’ with the warranty guarantee. Balancing this are various field service reports by Jensen employees documenting what clearly had become a bit of a ding-dong, and battle of wills.

Whilst they add a lovely flavour to the car’s history, of more pertinence are the car’s recent invoices (the majority from Rejen). These comprehensively detail all the work carried out during the car’s restoration and give a full breakdown of all associated costs, which total just under £60k.

What We Think

It’s time for the seller to move onto another project and in his own words ‘rationalise his collection, from twelve cars down to four or five.’ He’s aware that now that the Jensen is complete, it needs to be used, and with so many he simply wouldn’t get the time.

Cue the next lucky owner. This Interceptor III is a car that really needs to be seen to appreciate the standard to which it’s been finished. £25k-£30k examples can be had for sale on the internet, but we reckon you’d be spending at least another £50k on top to get it anywhere close to this. And as if by magic, accompanying it is a Footman James agreed insurance value certificate for £80,000, dated 13/11/2018.

There’s room for some further polishing work inside should you so wish, or simply preserve it and get driving. The V8 fires first time with a bellicose rumble, and it really does drive as well as it looks. Acceleration is both vivid and thunderous in equal measure. There’s no sagginess - with everything feeling tight and fresh. Rejen are certainly very happy with the end result, they have seen plenty of the other 'highly-priced' examples out there and know this to be a stronger, more superior specimen - they are happy to speak to any serious bidders about the car.

We expect it to shift for between £50k-£60k and Joe’s realistic with his reserve price, which means someone else will benefit from all his hard graft and outlay. If you want to revisit the Seventies and all its excesses, then this is your high-velocity Tardis waiting to transport you there instantly.

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 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.

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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