1973 Jensen Interceptor Series III

  • 1973 Jensen Interceptor Series III
  • Various engine, performance and suspension upgrades
  • Full interior retrim to Interceptor ‘B.A.D’ specifications
  • Cooling system upgrade including modern air conditioning
  • Tuned exhaust system
  • Reconditioned transmission and rear axle
  • Upgraded lighting system

Ordered in late 1973, this Jensen Interceptor was exported new in January 1974 to its first owner – Chad Hwang Chi, who lived in Hong Kong. The history file shows that he used the car sparingly before it was shipped back to the UK in 1977.

Factory records that are included in the paperwork show that chassis number 2244-9343 was fitted with engine number 4C 12312. It was finished in black with a tan interior, plus the optional vinyl roof, while the 2244 prefix for the chassis number denoted a right-hand-drive car for the home market or the Far East.

By the time the Jensen was bought by a Mr D Monaghan in 1979, it had still covered only 9000 miles. Mr Monaghan and his son were based in Glasgow and owned the Interceptor for 10 years. There’s a letter on file that was written in 1989 by the proprietor of Bardeans Automotive – he could remember servicing the Interceptor a decade earlier, writing that ‘it was particularly memorable because of the fact that the car had just come from Hong Kong, had a walnut console and showed a very low mileage.’

The Jensen was put into storage between 1984 and August 1989, which meant that it was still showing only 16,800 miles when it passed to its new custodian, Stephen Smith. He ended up selling the car shortly afterwards, and during the late 1990s it regularly picked up awards at the Jensen Owners Club’s annual Concours d’Elegance with its next owner, a Mr PG Jones.

The Interceptor was acquired by a new owner in 2014 and received a number of upgrades from Cheshire-based restoration specialist Bespoke Auto Developments. Modifications were made to the engine and suspension, and a tuned exhaust system was fitted. Modern air-conditioning was installed, the lighting and cooling systems were both upgraded, and BAD added carbon fibre trim to the centre console in place of the standard wood.

A later Dodge A500/A518 overdrive transmission unit was subsequently fitted and is well suited to the immense torque put out by the 7.2-litre Chrysler engine. More recent work has included new front dampers, the fitment of a Powermaster 9300 starter motor, and new exhaust gaskets.

Now being offered for sale, this Jensen Interceptor has been retrimmed in quilted grey leather with matching carpets, features a Becker Monza cassette player, and its handsome five-spoke alloy wheels are shod with Pirelli rubber. The extensive history file is packed with invoices from leading marque specialists as well as its original handbook, its factory order card and inspection sheets, and paperwork going back to its first owner in Hong Kong. 

Model history

Launched at the 1966 Earls Court Motor Show, the Jensen Interceptor was a handsome blend of British engineering, Italian styling and American power.

Hand-built at Jensen’s West Bromwich factory near Birmingham, the Interceptor featured a steel body that was designed by Carrozzeria Touring, and early bodies were built by Vignale. Chrysler’s powerful 6.3-litre V8 engine was used, and it drove through a three-speed TorqueFlite automatic transmission or – in the case of a small number of early Interceptors – a four-speed manual.

Underpinning it all was a chassis that offered a simple but robust blend of a live rear axle suspended by semi-elliptic springs, and an independent front end that employed wishbones, telescopic dampers and an anti-roll bar. Disc brakes were fitted all round.

Just over 1000 examples of the original model were built – the vast majority of which were for the domestic market – before the short-lived Interceptor II was introduced. With an eye on increasing exports to the US, the long list of detail modifications included the addition of air-conditioning as an option and a revised dashboard with rockers in place of the toggle switches.

A more fundamental change came with the introduction of the Interceptor III in late 1971. The 6.3-litre engine was replaced with Chrysler’s 7.2-litre unit and when Motor Sport tested the updated model, it noted that it was £2500 cheaper than the Aston Martin DBS. The top speed for the magazine’s standard test car – a more powerful high-compression SP was also offered – was more than 135mph, while 0-60mph was dispatched in just over eight seconds.

The bigger engine impressed with its effortless performance. ‘It is a tremendously easy car to drive when not trying to break any records,’ wrote Clive Richardson in Motor Sport, ‘yet when overtaking performance is required, kickdown gives a tremendous thump in the back, the start of impressive and safe acceleration which keeps this Jensen well up in the league of the world’s high-performance cars.’

The magazine concluded that the Interceptor – which proved popular with celebrity buyers from rock stars to actors – was still ‘the epitome of the high-speed executive express’, and production lasted until 1976.

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