Chrysler 440 V8: 1972 Jensen Interceptor III

The Jensen Interceptor was a UK-built grand touring machine that drew from Chrysler Corp. for its drivetrains. Over a 10-year period ending in 1976, Jensen built 6,400 of these rather large automobiles, with more than 1,000 of them in 1972 alone. This ’72 edition is presently in non-running condition and its exterior has been subjected to the elements, but it looks to be in restorable shape. Located in Encino, California, the car is available here on eBay where the no reserve auction has arrived at $7,600.

Jensen Motors conceived the Interceptor in 1966, hand-built at their factory in West Bromwich, England.  At first glance, I always thought it might be what an offspring of the Dodge Charger and Plymouth Barracuda might look like. Unlike prior Jensen cars that used glass-reinforced plastic for their body panels, the Interceptor would employ a steel body-shell that housed its large, curving wrap-around rear window that was also a tailgate. Jensen relied on Chrysler for engines and transmissions. At first, they used a 383 cubic inch V8/TorqueFlite automatic transmission pairing driving the rear wheels. Later, they shifted to the larger 440 motor. The 440 only produced 250 to 280 hp SAE net depending on model year because of the detuning process required in the U.S. Jensen eventually ran out of money and production of the Interceptor ended in 1976.

The seller, possibly a dealer, has a Series III Interceptor from 1972 that appears to be largely original, including its worn Havana Brown paint and Expresso interior. The odometer reading is said to be 51,400 miles. We’re told that while the car is on the Left Coast now, it spent most of its life in Florida and the frame is solid, even though the Sunshine State is the humidity capital of the world. We don’t’ see any rust on the exterior, but the undercarriage is a bit crusty as you might expect.

Interior-wise, the car looks a bit nicer and quite presentable. The seller says it’s “mostly” complete, but we don’t know what might not be there. So, getting the car running again is where the buyer should start. Were told the 440 and 727 tranny are numbers-matching but we don’t know why it’s not running, although from some of the photos part of the exhaust system looks to be missing; however, it does turn over. We’re not sure if the steering is there or not giving the way the seller words the ad description.

New tires have been installed on the Jensen’s original GKN wheels. This car is one of the 1,047 built for 1972, yet we don’t know how many made it to the U.S. and then how many of those have survived. No matter how you cut it, there can’t be many of these cruisers still around, running or not. Restored, this car may be worth three times the current bid, but much of the difference may go into whatever work is needed.

Fast Finds

Comments

  1. Johnny Gibson

    I was managing a shop back around 1991/2, a friend of mine had one of these in silver and it was immaculate, quite snobby looking, so I charged him accordingly. IIRC it was quite pricey to purchase considering what else you could buy at the time for the same money, maybe only seen one since. With the exception of a few cars the world had only just got past the butt ugly put 4 wheels on a brick styling of the 80’s mainstream so this thing looked quite impressive back then. Don’t know it it is an omen but just like Jensen he run out of money too.

    Like 2
  2. Daniel Wright

    I heard an anecdote about these once. They don’t rust from the fire wall forward because the engine throws out so much oil that it is impossible to do so.
    From the firewall back they dissolve on contact with moisture.

    Like 7
    • John Polacek

      Yes I bought a 73 years ago, I removed the left sill plate and 4 lbs of rust spilled out lol. I ended up parting the car out for 5x what I paid for it

    • Shawn Fox Firth

      Dodge > Drips Or Drops Grease Everywhere .. .

      Like 1
  3. bobhess bobhess Member

    I’ve been a fan of good looking designed cars (Corvettes,Mustangs, Porsches, ’30s Fords,etc.) since I was a kid. Had a couple of these in the shop in the ’80s and never could get over the many strange bumps, curves, overall shape that reminded me of a kit car. Never felt all the individual pieces fit right.

    Like 1
  4. luke arnott Member

    Jensen stopped production in 1976.An attempt was made to launch a new model about 20(?) years ago,but the project also failed.There is a company near Oxford that rebuild & update Interceptors.

    Like 1
  5. John Polacek

    Yes I bought a 73 years ago, I removed the left sill plate and 4 lbs of rust spilled out lol. I ended up parting the car out for 5x what I paid for it

  6. Rustytech Member

    What are you going to intercept with this set up? Anything you want! I like this and it would certainly stand out in a field full of Chevys, Fords, and standard Mopars.

    Like 1
  7. Howie Mueler

    It also says that they buy Jensen Interceptors, sounds like a dealing business.

  8. john hugh

    crush it

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