Running British Classic: 1973 Jensen Interceptor

The moment that you spot that distinctive rear window, there can be no doubt in your mind that what you are looking at is a Jensen Interceptor. These are a strikingly attractive car, and even though the last Interceptor rolled out of the factory in 1976, these are a classic car where the vast majority of parts remain readily available to keep them alive and in good health. This particular Interceptor is in need of mainly cosmetic restoration and is located in Dallas, Texas. It is listed for sale here on eBay with a BIN of $19,500, although the option is available to make an offer.

It’s funny how some cars can make an indelible mark on you, and I can actually remember seeing my first Interceptor, and the location was not where you would normally find a car like this. In the car park at a dirt track speedway was where I spotted my first Interceptor, which is an odd place to spot a prestige British Grand Tourer. This one looks like it is a solid car, and the supplied photos of the underside certainly show some promise. Tangerine was not the most attractive shade in the Jensen color palette, but that is the color that this car is finished in. Unfortunately, the windshield has multiple bad cracks, and will definitely need to be replaced. Thankfully, the remaining glass, especially that amazing rear window, is in good condition, as is the majority of the exterior trim and chrome. The paint is looking pretty sad today, and while the body itself appears to be solid and largely straight, there is one dent that I suspect is going to be a pain to address. If you look at the rear pillar on the passenger side of the car, you will notice a dent right at the top of the pillar. This is one of the strongest points on the body, so getting this repaired properly is not only going to be difficult but will need to be done properly to protect the vehicle’s structural integrity.

The interior of the Interceptor is a pleasant surprise because the condition actually looks quite good. The seats are upholstered in Connolly leather (Jensen boasted that each interior required six hides for the upholstering process), and it appears that these would actually come up nicely with the application of a good quality conditioner. I can’t see the frames for the front seat headrests, but it does look like the detachable cushions are still present. The rest of the trim and dash looks good, and it would just be interesting to see how it all presented after a good clean.

There are no engine photos supplied, but what should be under the hood is a 440ci Chrysler V8 engine, backed by a Heavy Duty 3-speed TorqueFlite transmission. Power steering and power 4-wheel disc brakes were also standard fare on an Interceptor. It isn’t clear exactly how healthy the drive-train actually is, but the owner does state that the engine runs and that the vehicle moves under its own power. The good thing about the engine and transmission is that they are essentially pretty normal Chrysler components, so maintenance and part supply should not be a huge issue. While many considered the Interceptor to be a sports car, its weight (4,050lbs) tended to work against it from an outright performance perspective, but it really was right at home as a comfortable grand tourer.

Jensen was a company that, as so often happens with low-volume producers, placed ambitions ahead of abilities. That it was trying to produce and evolve the Interceptor at the same time that it was developing and releasing the Jensen-Healey was a difficult combination. Throw a global financial slump and a looming oil crisis into the mix, and the writing really was on the wall for the company. Today, there are companies who are willing to take a tired Interceptor and apply some 21st Century thinking to it. The result is a car that not only still looks stunning, but provides high levels of quality and performance. The vast majority of replacement parts for the Interceptor remain readily available today, and with an essentially bullet-proof Chrysler drive-train, taking on an Interceptor as a project car should not be as difficult as you might initially expect. I hope that someone does take this one on because it really is a great old British classic.


  1. dave brennan

    I’ve nvr seen one in person. Cd a 6’4 person drive this ? or , like a model A, is it for short people only? The pix make it look about the size of my 66 Tbird.

    Like 2
    • SMS

      I’m 6’ and there is plenty of room up front and even the back seats are comfortable.

      If the interior is good and there is no rust then you’ve got a winner. Mechanicals and wiring are straight forward.

      Bodywork can be a challenge as panels were hand fitted. Helped a friend with one. We fought with one panel for quite a while. Never could get it to look right. Called in an old time body guy and he tapped, and massaged the metal until it matched up. Sometimes you need an artisan.

      I think the TBird is a bit wider. Mileage is about the same, thirsty.

      Like 7
      • Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

        Well said, SMS, and you’re correct-Thirsty miles a gallon! But then, it’s a unique classic so who cares?

        If you’re remotely serious, Dave, grab it if it’s what it purports to be and no one can or will ever fault your for the perpetual Cheshire Cat grin you will always wear when driving a car this car, or anyone like it. “Temptation is always knocking but opportunity knocks just once.”

        Like 4
      • Michael Rogers

        Gas is cheaper than in the 50’s: Minimum wage in 56 was $.70 an hour and $.31 a gal now here the minimum wage is $10.50 and gas $3.00 a gal AND if you can afford this toy you don’t need to cry about the fuel cost, a Ferrari wouldn’t save you anything

  2. JohnD

    Pretty roomy car. Bigger than you would think. They rust, though. That is the enemy.

    Like 4
  3. roarrr Member

    I HAVE A mk-2 they’re big enough for your 6’4″ but you’ll have to take your top hat off~~ RUST?? yes– they’re made of ferrous metal so with txception of Singers, Astons, etc. they CAN rust, being in Texass it probably hasent met salted roads!! Yes, there’s hardly any alloy on these, they’re British Barracudas but much higher quality. They have a very tall diff so while they’ll probably blast up to 140 they’ll not do burnouts–remedy– swop the tall gears out of the dana and put in a set of 3:73’s and the OD version of the 727 box AHAA!! you have a luxo super car! BTW that car is cheeeeeeeP! whatdaya pay for a big block barracuda/

    Like 5
    • EoinDS Eoin Douglas-Smith

      They came with a Detroit Locker differential if my memory serves me well?

      Like 1
  4. Ralph

    The award for worst factory steering wheel in an expensive luxury sports car goes too………….

    Seriously, I’ve always wondered why Jensen stuck that wheel in there……

    Like 1
    • Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

      Because ViceGrip pliers look cheesy?

      Is that the correct answer, Ralph?

      Like 2
      • Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

        You’re right though-I recall the used a unique hand hewn wood inside, and the steering wheel should correctly be of the same!

        Like 1
    • Jeff

      Agreed, I’ve always loved those cars. That steering wheel looks like it came out of a Chevy Chevette. It needs a nice wood wheel for sure.

      Like 1
    • Michael Rogers

      Agreed Ralph BUT the snivelers on this site would whine that a nice MOMO or such wasn’t original To them a car is only an investment not a quality ride, My Mk-II has an alloy intake getting poundage off the front and bigger ARBS to make it a BETTER ride for me not to make a buck selling it CARS SUCH AS THIS ARE TO DRIVE!~

  5. Frank Sumatra

    Odd design with way too much glass above the belt line.

    Like 1
  6. Gay Car Nut

    Lovely looking car. Assuming no serious mechanical problems plague the car, it shouldn’t be a problem restoring it. Given its condition, I’d pay at least $10,000 for the car, that way I have enough to have a thorough inspection done on the car, make sure everything works like it should.

  7. Del

    Love these.

    Always wanted to drive one.

    Never got the chance.

    We are seeing a lot of these here lately.

    Wait for a good one

  8. Freskinutz Member

    Are Connolly cows bred only in England?

    Like 3
    • Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

      I think this may be your answer, as R-R used their leather…

      Like 1
      • kenzo

        Thanks Nevadahalfrack.
        Amazing look inside the upholstery side of high end automobiles.

        Like 1
      • Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

        You’re welcome, kenzo. It’s apparent from this old article that the Connolly Hides employees are every bit the artists that their metal, paint and other interior counterparts are in their respective fields. I’d never given it a second thought until my friend at the old Harrahs Automobile Collection brought me inside for a tour…Wow!

        Like 1
      • Michael Rogers

        it doesn’t matter too much about the mechanicals they can be found at most wrecking yards, the leather interior is the big thing along with the glass and of course serious rust!

  9. WaltL

    I’ve seen several of these ready to drive and in much better shape than this one go for less. Depending on what you might discover on inspection, this car is probably only worth ~ $8-12K. Pictures are terrible. Not the way to market and ask top dollar for a car in need, but maybe that was the point…

  10. Robert Thomas

    There was a clip in recent British film that showed someone driving one and it was awesome sounding and very impressive looking. The site for the company rebuilding these in the UK is

    Like 2
  11. TimM

    I would bet that this car would move along a quite a good pace with a 440 in it!! These small cars with good handling and big American muscle under the hood must be a blast to drive and the fact that they handle is just a big plus over the American muscle of this era!!! I’m surprised that they don’t bring more money considering!!

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