Only 511: 1976 Jensen GT

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Brian BirknerBy Brian Birkner

With low production numbers, and a lotus engine, these Jensen GT’s are a rare and unique sight to see. Similar to the Jensen-Healey convertible that some of us are familiar with seeing, the only real difference between the two is the obvious body work, and the back seats. Appearing to be in good driving condition, this Jensen needs a little attention to be perfect. For $9,300, you too could be the owner of a unique and exclusive British shooting brake. Find it here on craigslist out of Vallejo, California.

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The dual overhead cam 1973cc 16 valve 907 Lotus engine is listed as being original and running. With a clean and original appearance, the engine bay looks very well kept. The 907 Lotus engine is often considered to be the first modern dual overhead cam 4 valve per cylinder engine to be mass produced. The Lotus power plant offers horsepower in the 140 range.  This will not be the fastest car anyone has ever driven, but it will certainly offer some fun keeping the engine on boil all while rowing the gears of the manual transmission.

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From the driver seat, little appears to be wrong with the cockpit. The obvious missing horn button is an issue, and the veneering on the dash is starting to fail, but these are likely items that could be remedied in a weekend after ordering some parts.

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The seats looks to be nice with little to no wear, though they resemble a shower towel in texture. The door panels, the rear seats, and trim, look nice as well. The rear seats are not burned up at the top from sunlight exposure. The craigslist ad is lacking in information, but we hope all of the cockpit gauges and lighting is operational. The exterior looks nice, though we would opt for the earlier style bumpers as the rubber styled bumpers are a little off putting. The paint looks nice from afar, but the seller has mentions that there is some cracking. There is also mention of rust, but we cannot clearly identify any from the provided photos.

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Solid and unique, this would be an interesting car to own. We think it would make a cool parts hauler for a British automotive shop. Or perhaps it would be someone’s fun and sporty shooting brake, with room for a lunch kit, and a twisty road of your choice to your favorite picnic spot. What would you do with this 1976 Jensen GT?

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Comments

  1. Trent

    Weird but cool hatch from The Brits. Wouldn’t object to it in the driveway.

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  2. Gene S

    Agree with Trent- would love to have one- only one in the state!

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  3. Leo

    Whats up with the cinstant view that anything with a eear hatch is a good parts hauler? Hauling parts in a classic car is not my view of how you retain collectability… just sayin…

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    • Mark S

      I’ve herd this reliability issue more than a few times on barn finds and if true I would suggest a few changes. First of all you have to really like ugly hatch backs, but if you do than your going to need an old Nova donor car with a 350 in it. You’d have to gut this Turd out of all things mechanical and transplant them into the Jensen. Now I know some you are going to think this a bad idea and I have to agree, what a terrible thing to do to a Chevy Nova.

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  4. brakeservo

    Per the comments above, the driveway is the best place for it! Awful reliability and build quality when new, combined with 40 years of natural aging and deterioration could produce something I’d never drive further than I’d want to walk back from!

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    • Dave Wright

      My thoughts exactly………sort of like being the only one in your state to have Yellow fever………rare has no relationship with good……….

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    • Glen

      yeah, but the seats look nice !

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  5. Luke Fitzgerald

    No way – effin’ hideous

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  6. motoring mo

    That’s one awkward C pillar. Crooked!

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    • CarNut from Winnipeg

      And the rear bumper could go on the front of a tugboat.

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  7. Rocko

    Weird~looks like something that should never have been made. Took something cool and muckled it up for some obscure reason ! Way out in left field production wise. Hatch looks similar to the Pinto.

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  8. Yellowjax Member

    Oh I know lets all drive tri 5’s. 2 doors only.

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  9. brakeservo

    I think this looks so much better than the Jensen Healey roadster. Unfortunately I worked for a large Jensen dealer when these were new and saw so many problems with them I’ve never ever had any sort of desire to own one but I’m not going to criticize anyone else who loves them – good for them and good for the rest of us – the world is a much more interesting place with a diversity of cars (and people)!

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  10. leiniedude

    Looks cool to me. Reminds me of that Volvo shooting brake rig.

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  11. Rovohn

    They are great little cars,sure they were problematic when they first came out,but anyone who has one such as me has the bugs worked out and they sure turn heads,as yellowjax stated “Oh I know lets all drive tri 5’s. 2 doors only” sure would be a boring world.

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    • Dave Wright

      No one is suggesting everyone drive the same car……….these are just really bad cars. Many in the junkyards here in the west. Sort of like Sterlings.

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  12. Don E

    I had a Volvo “shooting brake rig” aka 1800ES 1973. I too tried to use it as a parts hauler. But alas, the rear hatch openings are sooo narrow and the front doors offer such limited access to the rear, that it turned out to be an exercise in futility. The “sport wagon” was anything but. Drove like a truck and handled very heavily. Glad I did it but never again!

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  13. Sebtown

    This car has been on and off Craigslist for over a year. I kind of like it but then again I owned a Saab station wagon at one time. I never fancied the Saab as a “shooting brake”

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  14. Car Guy

    I really like the blue one pictured here. This bodystyle lends itself to darker colors. The dark color also hides the huge rubber baby buggy bumpers they hung on these poor cars. The silver one would look much better in black with a black and gray interior, not made out of terrycloth………

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  15. The One

    What a bunch of knobs. Can you imagine what a car like this will be worth in 20+years? 1 of 515?

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    • Dave Wright

      30.00 a ton

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  16. cliffyc

    Guy near me has a yellow ’74 convertible very nice. This is a rare car,as said it looks better in the dark blue.

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  17. gearjam1

    Reminds me of the Harold and Maude Jag… In terms of reliability-issues… Years ago, I was looking at buying a Mopar muscle-car. My Dad warned me, that the Dodge/Chrysler line had NEVER been reliable cars…as far back as he could remember… But, since they were now sought-after, and driven by enthusiasts…hopefully, all of the original quality-control problems had been fixed. Crappy alternators, starters, brakes, body fit…on and on would hopefully have been addressed and corrected by the succession of owners in the last 40 years. (Of course we know, p.o.’s can also make things much worse…). Might be the case for the Jensen’s that are left out there. Most of the bad stuff could have been replaced/rectified by now. (Another reason to avoid “barn finds”…you’re getting the original crap that the factory hastily stuffed out their door in the first-place..). 🙂

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  18. Greg S

    Was at a dealership years ago. They had a year old Jensen GT. I was quite intrigued by it. The salesman must have liked me as he refused to sell it to me saying over again “No. You don’t want that king of headache.” Glad I listened to him.

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