Toasted Classic: 1970 Jensen Interceptor Mk II

In automotive terms, the designation “GT” usually stands for Grand Touring and is used to identify vehicles that combine high levels of luxury, comfort, and performance. Grand Tourers are designed to eat up the miles effortlessly, with its occupants passing the time in splendid isolation. The Jensen Interceptor is widely acknowledged as one such car, but for this 1970 example, the GT designation would be more apt if it stood for “Generally Trashed.” This once magnificent vehicle has fallen on hard times, and the owner says that it needs restoration. That means that the time has come to take a closer look to see if such an exercise can be justified. The Jensen is located in Encino, California, and has been listed for sale here on eBay. The BIN has been set at $2,995, although interested parties can consider making an offer.

I’ve been looking at the limited photos that the owner offers and have been trying to remember when I last saw a classic car with paint that looked this bad. The answer to that is that I don’t think that I have. I believe that the original color was Aruba Red, although it has deteriorated so severely that it is hard to be sure. From a positive perspective, stripping the body back to bare metal will not be a difficult task. One blast with a high-pressure hose should nearly achieve this goal because the paint is falling off in sheets. Unfortunately, this has also left the steel exposed, and even the Californian climate hasn’t managed to stop “Ye Olde Rust” from attacking the British steel. It has taken hold in the rockers and the hood, along with areas in the lower doors. Sadly, it looks like rust might have eaten its way into the floors, which is seriously bad news. If it hasn’t progressed too far, there is the possibility that it can be repaired. However, that places a huge question mark over the financial viability of the project. The other spot that we don’t get to see is the hatch surround. This is another known trouble spot, and if that is gone as well, the structural integrity of the Interceptor will be severely compromised. Many trim and chrome will need to be restored or replaced, but the tinted glass looks to be in good condition. That is a plus point because replacing that complex rear window will leave no change from $1,600.

If you were hoping for better news when we opened the doors, you are sure to be disappointed. The Jensen is nothing if not consistent because the interior is just as trashed as the exterior. The upholstery is beyond help, while components like the dash pad are toast. If we are going to look at the positives, the interior does appear to be complete. That means that there are potentially plenty of parts like switches and gauges that could be salvaged if the vehicle is dismantled for parts. The Interceptor doesn’t have a “nose up” attitude, which would suggest that there might still be a motor occupying the engine bay. If so, it should be the 383ci Chrysler V8. This would have been producing 330hp, which found its way to the rear wheels via a 3-speed A727 TorqueFlite transmission. I suspect that the transmission has been removed because the tailshaft can be seen in this photo, and I can’t spot a shifter poking through the floor. The engine’s state is unclear, but being a Chrysler V8, treating it to a rebuild might not be a difficult or expensive proposition. If it is in good health and the Interceptor is eventually dismantled for parts, this could be an excellent little money-earner.

I would love to think that someone will eventually buy this 1970 Jenson Interceptor and return it to its former glory, but I doubt that will be the case. Its rust issues appear to be quite extensive, and while they could potentially be repaired, you would have to question the financial viability of undertaking this work. It is possible to find some tidy driver-quality examples for under $20,000, while even pristine examples will struggle to sell for much above $40,000. This one is a long way from pristine, and I believe that its fate rests as a parts car. Still, it might not be a bad buy at the BIN. When you consider how much a replacement back window costs to purchase new, this is a car that actually makes financial sense for the right buyer.

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Comments

  1. HenryHudson

    Neat car but too far gone. Sad. Looks like the seller has more than one interceptor by the look of the last photo.

    Like 4
  2. Mike Hawke

    Run, don’t walk…unless you want to get into the parts business.

    Like 3
  3. AMCFAN

    It makes me uncomfortable looking at a project and seeing the seller have another like and kind vehicle. Such as the case here. Hopefully the rare and unobtanum parts needed are not already missing. Instead of looking at an online auction if really interested one better see this one in person.

    Like 2
  4. Arthur

    I wonder if the suspension is still good. If so, and the chassis itself was beyond salvage, a custom chassis might be the basis for a project where the best parts of this car are kept while a new body is built by a professional coachbuilder utilizing those parts.

  5. AMCFAN

    This would make an excellent candidate for a drift car. The restoration costs would far outweigh the value of the car. Smooth the rusted body and seal it. Gut the rotten interior and post up everything you don’t use. Weld up the rusty chassis. Cage and racing seats. Find an already running Chrysler engine. Motor home engines come to mind. Put a wrap over the body and you are into some fun with an otherwise usless parts car.

    Like 3
  6. scottymac

    “That is a plus point because replacing that complex rear window will leave no change from $1,600.” Peanuts, I say! Bought a loaded ’09 Mustang GT glass top that had been damaged in an Oklahoma hail storm. Replacement glass top, installed, ran a little over $3K. Yes, I got a really, really good deal, one of the best cars I’ve ever owned. Loved it!

  7. Bill L McCoskey

    This is a great example of a Murphey’s Law parts car. Never heard of one?

    Murphey’s law of extra parts, says if you have a specific part or selection of parts already available, you won’t need them. However within weeks of selling the parts car without selling your main car as well, you will suddenly need parts that were on that parts car!

    I’ve worked on several of these cars. This is a parts car.

    Like 1
  8. Bill McCoskey

    Also forgot to mention “McCoskey’s addendum to Murphey’s parts law” —

    If, while working under the hood of a rare vehicle, and you drop a special part or piece of hardware, you will hear it bounce off the frame, and hear it hit the ground, whereupon it will disappear from the face of the earth, only to reappear exactly where you thought it should be, as soon as you obtain the new correct replacement piece [usually at great expense or effort]!

    And yeah, as you can tell from my family name, I’ve got Irish heritage!

    Like 1

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