One Owner 440 Powered 1974 Jensen Interceptor

Last week I opined about automobile model names and queried a thought about what do they really mean? That thread continues today with the Jensen Interceptor. When I first heard that combination of brand and model name many years ago, I thought, “That’s a name that really means business!” It still sounds impressive today and fortunately, we have found a 1974 example to study. It is located in Encino, California, and is available, here on eBay for a BIN price of $14,950. There is a make an offer option too.

The Jensen Interceptor (Mark I, II, III) was produced between 1966 and 1976 by Jensen Motors. There was an earlier version of the Interceptor offered between 1950 and 1957 but that car has little in common with the later version, other than the name. The second rendition, like our subject car, had a bit of international flair with Italian (Carrozerria) design, American (Chrysler) power and British assembly. There was a follow-on Interceptor built in the ’80s by a successor company but very few examples actually saw the light of day before that operation was shuttered too.

This 69K mile example is in surprisingly good condition. The seller doesn’t offer much on this Jensen’s history but it appears to be a rather original example. The finish is a bit dull but can probably be brought back to life, it is consistent with no sign of fade or burn-through.  Ditto the trim and chrome, they both appear as original and are still very presentable. In spite of this Interceptor’s 1974 model year, which means those blasted Federally required five MPH bumpers, the rammers on this Jensen are tucked in nicely, they blend well with the overall styling vibe of the car. Speaking of styling, if there is any aspect of the Interceptor that is controversial, it would be the bathtub shaped rear and accompanying backlight. I don’t hate it but I don’t love it either. The rear quarter windows and C-pillar have a hint of a Raymond Lowey inspired Avanti thing going on. Nevertheless, it all pulls together well. This Jensen has obviously been stored properly.

The interior is a bit unique too. Yes, it’s in fine nick but the original lamb’s wool inserts are one of those, gotta get used to it things. That said, they shout the ’70s all the way. The Connelly leather portions of the seats are showing just the right amount of aging, they appear as one would expect on a car of this age and mileage. While the carpet shows pretty well, I’m not sure why Jensen, or any manufacturer, would use such a light shade of weave for the floor. They perpetually show dirt and stains and detract from the overall balance of the interior’s fabrics and hues. The console inserted wood trim, a typically British trait in what is probably burled Walnut, looks fine with no cracks or splits observed.

Jensen aligned themselves with Chrysler Corporation as their powerplant supplier and this Interceptor is no exception as it harbors a 440 CI V8 “RB” engine. Power determination is tricky in the smog controlled years but research indicates that this mill is good for about 230 net HP. The seller advises that the engine turns freely but he stops there – I would assume it is a non-runner. The mileage is pretty low so assuming some semblance of proper maintenance has occurred, the big ChryCo motor should respond to resuscitation efforts. Transmission matters were Chrysler too with the use of a TorqueFlite A727, three-speed automatic unit driving the rear wheels. Bringing up the rear is a Salisbury style live axle; manufacturer, uncertain.

We don’t come across Jensen Interceptors all that often but this is definitely one of the nicer ones from the few that I have encountered. There is a bit of an unknown with the engine but it’s not like it is an unknown engine. Beyond that, it would seem this Jensen Interceptor is in need of little to nothing. The price is negotiable so what do you think, worth taking a chance on this powerful British tourer?


  1. Gus Fring

    I’ve always wondered…did they source the E85 440 from Chrysler or, was it the E86 440 HP? The dual-snorkel air cleaner leads me to think that it might have been the latter.

    Like 3
  2. djjerme

    How much power can these chassis handle? I mean, it’s a big block mopar, so there is plenty of aftermarket support to greatly increase that 230hp, but if the body will just fold like a taco…

    They look cool, and someone I used to race with had one sitting under a tarp that was his kid’s. Seems like they’d be fun to just go nuts on.

    Like 1
    • Dom

      Around 320hp here in the (less emission strangled at the time) UK, with no chassis issues, no reason to think anything different stateside.
      Fuel here though is $4.60 for a US gallon of 95-98 oct rating, and these heavy lumps like a drink with 6 mpg round town, so, though a frequent sight 20-30 years ago…they tend to be garage queens now.

      Like 0
  3. Bob Roller

    Good looking car and with a 440cid and the 727 Torqueflite it would be a fun car to drive.

    Like 3
  4. lukearnott Member

    There is a company in the UK who offer rebuilt examples with updated brakes etc.Not cheap mind!

    Like 2
  5. Michael House

    I imagine I probably worked on this car at Hollywood Sports Cars, the LA dealer for these in those days. They are wonderful GT cars and handle reasonably well, though definitely not like a sports car. The American drivetrain is reliable but Lucas and Smith always rear their ugly heads. If the engine is tired, a modern rebuild with aluminum heads, intake, Fitech injection and a four speed auto would result in a 400hp 450tq high speed reliable hotrod that would turn heads at cars and coffee. Plus it would get have much better gas mileage and have lower emissions. If this car has lived it’s life in LA, particularly in the Valley, then I’d guess rust isn’t much of an issue so this is the example to buy!

    Like 4
  6. John M

    I had several of these car when they were new. They ran well but you had to direct wire the engine cooling fans to keep it cool.
    The only detriment is they are very lite on the front end and the slightest wind over 90mph and you could easily loose it.
    The 75’s were the best especially in convertible form as the dash was also done in wood to match the console.

    Like 1
  7. lukearnott Member

    Hey guys! Why ?not buy a Jensen truck instead

    Like 0
  8. Husky

    It’s a bargain for 14 000 dollars, even if you add $4000 for shipping and taxes to Sweden.

    Hmmm maybe…

    Like 0
  9. That Guy

    This is in better shape than I’d expect at this price. The best part is, it doesn’t appear to have any rust. Interceptors can dissolve into mounds of brown flakes like nothing I’ve ever seen.

    There is a US parts supplier, K&D Jensen, which supports these cars well. They used to be in Oregon but the owners retired, and apparently sold the business to someone in Maryland. A few years ago the Oregon folks rebuilt my steering rack, and it was a great service.

    I could definitely live without the sheepskin seats, but they are original and correct, and look to be in good shape other than needing a really good clean.

    This appears to be one of the better deals on an Interceptor I’ve seen in a while.

    Like 2
  10. V8roller

    From the pics, this looks an incredible bargain.
    Over in the UK, a runner with needs would be $35k+ and more normally $50k up.
    As has been said, rust is the killer. A full resto and retrim and you’re in six figures and well underwater, but if this really isn’t rusty, and the interior is as good as it look, then grab it.
    There was a rare six-pack option that developed 330hp net so yes the chassis will take plenty of power.
    Read all about it here

    Like 0
  11. JMB#7

    Classic styling. One of my all time favorites

    Like 1

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