Monday, December 21, 2009

The Jensen Interceptor - The Car That Won't Die

A quick note... Christmas is coming (You probably figured that out on your own, huh?), which for me, as I own a retail store (some people will say it owns me), means long hours at work and not a lot of time to write.

I wrote this piece 8 or 9 months ago, but didn't post it. (I don't remember why.) I decided to resurrect it and post it now. I didn't do any further research or make any changes. I'm not sure if there has been any progress on the SX since I originally wrote this. If you have any additional info, please post it in the comments section.

Pontiac built a couple of dreadful cars called the Phoenix. Too bad. The name was more suitable for this car.

The Jensen Interceptor was an Italian designed (Carrozzeria Touring), British built, American powered GT car. It was the first Jensen to be made of steel instead of fiberglass. The FF variant of the Interceptor was the first production car to be offered with 4WD and anti-lock brakes. The Interceptor was offered as a hatchback (like the one above) and later on as a convertible. There were also 60 coupe versions of the Interceptor built.

If you're reading this blog, you probably know all that. I'm writing this post for another reason, one that ties into my Phoenix reference. In ancient Greek mythology the Phoenix was a bird that lives for 1000 years. Near the end of its life it builds a nest and sets it and itself on fire. From the ashes the Phoenix arises as a young bird, ready to start the whole cycle over again. (Or at least that's what I remember from my school days.)

The Jensen hasn't lived 1000 years yet, but it keeps rising from its ashes. Jensen Motors folded in 1976. With it went the Interceptor, which at that point was the Interceptor Mark III.

In the early 1980s, a small independent firm re-introduced the Interceptor as the Series 4. The company changed hands in 1988, but the new owners were no more successful than the original owners and the company went into receivership in 1993.

End of the Interceptor? Nope.

In 2007 Jensen specialist dealer Cropredy Bridge announced that up to 50 Mark III Interceptors would be rebuilt with modern components and called the Interceptor S. The Interceptor S came with a GM sourced 6 liter V8 LS2 engine, an independent rear suspension, seventeen inch wheels and a 5-speed automatic gearbox.

50 cars rebuilt into more modern cars should be the end of Interceptor development, right? Wrong.

In February, Jensen Sales Limited, a company that is somehow connected to Cropredy Bridge, announced the Interceptor SX. The Interceptor SX is an ambitious, impressive project. Their website describes it like this...

In August of 2008, after many requests from potential customers, we began to develop the Interceptor SX. A true supercar putting the Jensen name back amongst the great European names of Ferrari, Porsche, Aston Martin, and Jaguar.

The Interceptor SX is a 620bhp super car. Utilising modern lightweight elements in its production, the car is more than twice as powerful and efficient than its predecessor. It has a top speed in excess of 175mph and will exceed 20 mpg

Lightened, restyled body shell, 6.2 Litre SuperchargedbLS9 GM engine delivering 620bhp, 6 speed manual gearbox, Carbon ceramic 6/4piston brakes, 19 inch carbon fibre & magnesium wheels, Completely re-styled modern interior

It's that "lightened, restyled body shell" that caught my attention. This is a great looking car. It has all the original Jensen styling cues, but the body looks modern and not tacky-retro. If they actually succeed in producing this car, they may very well put the Jensen name back up among the greats. The Phoenix rises...

I'm very certain of one thing - this car will be EXPENSIVE - and fairly certain of another - it will not be exported to the US.

Seeing one of these on the road is worth a trip to the UK. Time to find my passport...

Check out the Jensen Sales Limited website. You can find it here.

1 comment:

Chris Keen said...

Drool... the Interceptor is another car on my wishlist. And you're right, it looks good without being retro-cartoonish.