1 of 1,080: 1974 Jensen Interceptor Mk III

The Jensen Interceptor was built between 1966-76 and thought be a legitimate competitor of the Aston Martin Volante V8. The British-built cars used powerplants supplied by Chrysler, so they are mechanically familiar to U.S buyers. Production numbers were never large, witness that the seller’s 1974 edition is one of only a thousand or so made. Available in Encino, California and here on eBay, this car can be had for $14,995 or serious parties can submit an offer.

Jensen Motors was the company behind the Interceptor, which saw three series across its 11-year span. The all-steel body was designed by Carrozzeria Touring of Italy and built there for a while before Jensen took production in house. On the outside, the car featured a rear set greenhouse and a fishbowl hatchback, while on the inside it had a lavish interior finished in English leather and woodwork. Yet the car was capable of doing zero to 60 mph in seven seconds with a top speed of 135 mph. All this luxury and performance came at a price: the Interceptor gulped gas at 10 miles per gallon, which hurt it tremendously when fuel prices jumped after the OPEC oil embargo. Our thanks to Hagerty for the Interceptor low-down.

The seller’s 1974 Interceptor is from the third series of the car (Mk III), which was produced from 1971 until the end in 1976. Jensen built 7,141 Inceptors in total, 4,255 from Mk III and 1.080 of the ‘74s. This one is finished in its original Havana Brown paint, which looks surprisingly similar to UPS Brown. The Tan Connolly leather interior complements the vinyl roof of a similar color. There doesn’t appear to be any rust or body damage, so perhaps a good detailing would improve its looks. But it will still be a brown car.

We’re told this is a numbers-matching touring machine, so the 440 cubic inch V-8 and TorqueFlite would be original. It doesn’t currently run, but the seller tells the engine turns freely by hand. Perhaps it’s just been sitting too long and needs the fuel system flushed. The odometer is said to read just 34,000 miles, so that in itself doesn’t signal trouble. There are no obvious issues when you enter the passenger cabin. The car has factory air conditioning and all the goodies you’d expect of a car that cost about $25,000 in 1974. In 2020 dollars, that would be 130,000 big ones!

The seller adds that the Interceptor is complete, has a clean title and could be a driver while doing a restoration. But I’d be inclined to get in running and leave the rest as is as they’re only original once, brown paint and all. The seller seems to know his Interceptors as he says he buys them in any condition and can help with overseas shipping. These cars are not without their flaws. They were known to rust and even had electrical issues that led the factory to fitting fire extinguishers inside the passenger area. Hagerty seems pretty high on these cars more than 45 years later, with top-flight examples selling for up to $60,000. In good condition, they would go for half that and the seller’s asking price is yet half that again. So, is that a bargain if this sort of car is your cup of tea?

 

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Comments

  1. Moparman Member

    The brown and tan combo looks good to me! Hopefully, it won’t take much for the next owner to resuscitate the 440! GLWTA!! :-)

    Like 4
  2. Matt Watson

    “Jensen Interceptor” is this the best named car ever?

    Like 17
  3. Cold340t

    If only it was 4whl drive and Hemi powered. There was a 383 4whl drive in Oakland shop on Broadway. Last seen in 2012. Blue w/bulk int. Right hand drive. Wonder how many were made with left hand drive?
    Cool cars!

    Like 2
    • Chip

      It was called the Jensen FF, very rare, maybe 200 in total. Also late production.

      Like 3
      • Matt

        The FF was 4 wheel drive and had the biggest engine, most sought after , 1967. After that they were just rear wheel drive, but also made a convertible that was desirable. The FFs are really rare once recently went up for sale over 500k

      • Peter

        The FF was made from 66 to 71, 320 in all. AWD with 37/63 front/rear torque split, ABS, all with the 383 to Canadian spec. All RHD, when designing it they did not take LHD into account so front diff is in the way.

        Like 2
  4. Bud Lee

    A Pacer on steroids .

    Like 8
    • Phlathead Phil

      Dang, I was thinking the same. IMHO, car makers that use competitors products are DOOMED to fail. One late check and your supply line has a major kink.

      Like 1
      • Stephen

        Every car manufacturer in the world uses other companies components, so they all have supply chain dependency risks. No one has been fully vertically integrated since a very short lived period in the early days of Ford. Interestingly, Jensen’s primary business was contract manufacturing other company’s cars, including the Austin Healey 3000, early Volvo P1800 and Sunbeam Tigers. They never had the volume or capital to fund development of things like an engine. The Jensen branded cars were more of a showcase for their engineering and manufacturing capabilities and a vanity business for the Jensen Brothers. After the production end of the big Healey and Tiger, they eventually tried doing their own “higher volume”, Jensen Healey to replace the lost contract business. I’ve owned a Tiger and Interceptor for decades, and formerly had a Jensen Healey as well.

        Like 6
  5. Malcolm Boyes

    FF stood for Ferguson Four if my memory serves me correctly. Ferguson created the 4 wheel drive for the Interceptor. I’ve always loved these..a lot but heard some scary tales. From a friend who owned one..they were very prone to overheating in California heat..not a problem I heard of in the chilly UK. My friend put two electric fans to help the problem. These days an aluminum radiator etc would probably do the trick. This one looks good and, as its a US motor, should not be brutal to get running and enjoy. One of the hardest parts to replace BTW is that chrome surround on the back window.If I had this beauty I probably would never open it for fear of damaging that or breaking that huge piece of glass!

    Like 2
    • Stephen Waybright

      Replacing the original Lucas fans with Bosch units fixed cooling problems in my ’74 Interceptor. I’ll probably do a modern Aluminum radiator when I rebuild the motor to higher power specs than they shipped with in ’74.

      Like 2
      • Marc

        Hello:
        I have owned an Interceptor III since the 1979 and dealt with cooling for years.
        I recently had my ’74 converted to a real fan run by the belts. It was not my idea, but while in my absence, the Mechanic (a Mopar Guy) did it. It came out nice and clean and no overheating problems at all. This is from 2 standard (upgraded) puller fans and 1 large pusher fan.
        Glad to send pix and discuss, Marc.
        marc@zitelman.com

  6. Steve Clinton

    Does anyone else see a resemblance to the 1963 Studebaker Avanti?

    Like 5
    • Phlathead Phil

      Yes, I do.

  7. Matt

    My cousin had one .. electrical fire make the brake fluid reservoir catch on fire … fire department showed up with a big crow bar … they didnt know the hood opened up backward, did more damage than the fire

    Like 1
  8. Gerard Frederick

    So they had a problem with electrical fires and rather than solving the problem they added a bunch of fire extinguishers. Please, let that one sink in. I find it unbelievable.

    Like 1
    • wifewontlikeit

      Yet, extremely British in its logic!

  9. Bernie Polen

    As for the FF…Ferguson Formula, all wheel drive with Dunlop Maxaret Anti Lock Braking used on large aircraft of the day. 320 cars were built in 3 Marks. More than half are believed to exist. In 1966, AMC bought 119-018, a MK I and used it to develop QuadraTrack. I owned that car, 005 and now a restored MK II that was factory restored in 1986 by Jensen Parts and Service. It originally used the Chrysler 383 with a Torqueflite trans. Very reliable and mine has an aluminum radiator and does not overheat. Given that they competed well against Aston Martin, in their day, they are still a bargain for a British Grand Touring automobile…that you can get parts for, locally.

  10. Stephen Hill

    I had one of these in 1980 and remember a few statistics , like 6 MPG in town and about 12 in the country , also expensive tyres that were rated for 150 mph.
    Mine had a quadrophonic 8 track stereo. The acceleration was amazing and friends often struggled to sit forward with hands on the dash as I floored the pedal and always failed due to the speed of takeoff.
    Mine was metallic blue with white leather .

    Like 1
  11. wifewontlikeit

    I remember seeing a customized 1973 in Fast & Furious 6. Looked amazing. The original was a Gentlemen’s car in the 1970s. While I like the Barracuda back window, I always lusted for the convertible. An amazing if impractical automobile. AT THIS PRICE, damn the mpg, turn up the 8track + CRUISE!
    https://www.ebay.com/motors/blog/fast-and-furious-6-1973-jensen-interceptor/

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