Triple Intercept: Three Jensen Interceptors!

1973 Jensen Interceptor

Being an oddball British car lover, it shouldn’t surprise you that a Jensen Interceptor has long been on my most wanted list. I’ve almost bought one twice, but been scared off both times by rust issues. The big Jensen tends to rust even more than most British iron, and based on the pictures, these three aren’t any exception. That being said, the combination of a big honking Chrysler V-8 combined with a body that I love the looks of, has made them barely resistible. The fact that these three are in my hometown and available for less than $1500 each is not helping my itchy wallet. Find them here on craigslist in Raleigh, NC.

1972 Jensen Interceptor

Originally intended as an Aston-Martin rival, the Interceptor followed the relatively common 60’s formula of large American V-8 in European designed body that was also used by the AC Cobra, Iso Grifos, Gordon-Keebles, Griffiths and many others. The first Interceptors were produced in 1966 with bodies designed by Touring, although all but the first few were produced in West Bromwich, England (the first ones were made by Vignale in Italy).

1975 Jensen Interceptor

All three of these cars date from the 70’s with the maroon one from 1972, yellow from 1973 and the silver one from 1975. Without looking at the engines, you can’t really tell whether these have the 340, 383 or 440 cubic inch engines, but I’ve heard in the past that the vents in the hoods of the silver car could indicate the big block.

Jensen Interceptor Interior

All three interiors look well and truly trashed, and restoring them to original leather (or leather and sheepskin in some cases!) will not be inexpensive. The seller says they were planning on possibly turning one into a restomod, which might be the way to proceed. The cars are claimed to be from Texas, and unfortunately, none have titles. The seller claims they have been off the road since at least 1994.

1973 Jensen Interceptor Interior

One of the cool features about the Interceptor is the huge rear windows. While the seller doesn’t state whether these cars have intact ones or not, that would be critical. Does the rust scare you off? It looks like the silver one has the best hood, and I’d argue that the hood on the red one isn’t reasonably salvageable. On the other hand, given the marque’s propensity to rust all over and have even worse rot underneath than on the surface, are all three of these parts cars? If you owned all three of them, you would have some choices to make…so what would you do?

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Comments

  1. Scott Allison

    A cousin of mine had a Jensen.. Sweet little car.
    The Silver one is my favorite of the three.

  2. Dave

    These big British muscle cars are very cool indeed !! though I’d be very leary, just looking at the incredible rust on the hood of the red car I’d hate to see what the underside looks like !! The pic of the red one you can see the intact rear glass of the silver car in the background. At first glance the silver car looks to be in better shape, but look along the rocker trim, alot of rust !! I’m wondering if there is even any rocker left under there !! and look at the corner of the upper valance in front of the hood, it looks like it’s all rusted as well !! the interior of the silver car looks to be relatively intact. I think a restoration of one of these cars would certainly require deep pockets !! then you’d have to see what the resale market is like and if you’d be able to recoupe any of the stacks of cash you just dropped into them !!!

  3. Don Sicura

    Buying these cars would probably be a bad choice since they all came from the same area, meaning they would all likely have the same rust issues & then you would be placing an ad on Craigs list after a few years of looking at them decline even further down the road of rust!

  4. Chris A.

    Three great Jensens that have been left to rot, what a shame. With all the rust damage I’m thinking outdorrs for many years along coastal TX. The interior rust will be mind boggling if salt air has hit these. I’d like to see what the undersides look like. Are spare body panels even available for Jensens?

    • Johnfromholland

      Chris, all parts of interceptors are available. You will need a lot of them. Unless you like to work for free and have the skills, it’s way to expensive to restore these cars. The cheaper way is to become a member of the Jensen Owners Club and take a year or so to find your right car.

    • Horse Radish

      By the way : years ago I was told there is no such thing as salt air, because condensation does not pick up minerals. Makes sense.
      So it’s a misnomer, that salt got to these cars by air.
      The only thing near the coast is a lot of humidity in the air, and that constant ‘wetness’ is what get’s ’em….

  5. Barry Thomas

    Josh, I have a great suggestion……rather than someone waste money on one of these problems, why not just send me the $ or a very nice gift? The money would be better spent and I’d be very appreciative. There would also be instant gratification. In other words, spend the money on anything but these Jensens.
    Barry Thomas’ “Wheel to Wheel” blog

  6. Mark E

    I’ve followed several restoration threads on Interceptors to appreciate that these are like Porches in that they develop rust in certain specific places. Buyers should be aware of this.

    That said, there is well over $1k of parts in each car. Maybe twice as much if the back glass is intact.

  7. MikeH

    All the Interceptors I’ve seen were automatics. Were they all automatics? That would be a killer for me.

    • Paul P

      Almost all were automatics, only about 22 manual Interceptors were ever made.

  8. jim s

    i too think there is more in parts then the asking price but i would want to know a lot more about why no titles/keys. i would also have to research the VIN”s. 3 of a kind is a great find.

  9. Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

    Mike, I’ve heard of some conversions, but all I’m aware of were automatics from the factory. Now…the FF models, with Ferguson 4WD, early anti-lock brakes and Dunlop early run-flats…those are pretty cool. The layout of the 4WD precluded LHD, however, so those were all intended for the UK.

  10. Dan h

    These are wonderful cars. A perfect blend of American horse power and British class! Had the pleasure of resurectiong two MKIII convertibles. The task was an experience of both pain & pleasure!
    Note to the buyer: be prepared to spend a considerable amount of time and $$$ to do it right.

  11. That Guy

    I own an Interceptor now, but like Jamie it took me a decade or more of looking before I found one I was prepared to buy. They rust like no other car I’ve ever encountered, and even here in California there are a lot of rot-boxes. And for decades you could buy clean Interceptors for under $10K, so a lot of them got driven into the ground, victims of deferred or nonexistent maintenance.

    Almost all Interceptors were automatics. There were a few manuals built, but the total was something like 25 as I recall. I’ve only ever seen one for sale, and it was a stripped and rusty shell which would have been worthless except for the VIN plate. I don’t know what it eventually sold for, but I bet it wasn’t cheap.

    Interceptor values have been going up, but even so all three of these cars look too far gone to be worth trying to restore. They look like great parts cars though. These would definitely be worth buying, for someone who is local and can store them and part them out over time.

  12. artinoz

    I owned a 73 series 3 Interceptor many years ago and have fond memories of that ownership.
    I have a reference book, The Jensen Stories, which was published in 1974. This gives some brief specifications on the build of each model however it does not list how many of each variant were built.
    This shows that only the series one Interceptor, 1966 -1969 had the option of a four speed all-synchro manual trans. The 383 was the only engine until 1973 when the 440 was dropped in. The 440 was fitted to the series 3 and later Interceptor and the six pack triple carbs were available on the SP model.
    The vented hood was standard on the 1974 (I think) and later models. .

  13. Nova

    As I weigh in on this,

    I will agree you have a penchant for loner(ish) oddities…

    That aside,

    A friend had a maroon, tan guts, clean tight rust free pampered 440 Big Holley Jensen Interceptor.

    Tire blazing, smile inducing Holy terror…WOW…you want this, life’s too short.

    Pony up by a piece that you don’t have to invest unforeseen money AND sweat equity…

    You’re in the right place to realize one that is a “Bargain” instead of a Vacuum for money and precious time.

    …Oh yah, don’t buy the 3pak! Save your $$$

    Just my 2 cents…

  14. Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

    Thanks to all of you for the comments on this one, and the advice. I have to pass at the moment anyway as we are in the middle of moving (locally). Someday…

    • Jan

      I’m sure the Jensen Owners’ Club would like to know the chassis/engine/VIN numbers of these cars.

      I own a 1974 Mk III. I first saw one in swinging London when I was student – took me 40 years before I got one!

  15. Alex

    Raleigh and 1500 each!?!?! I’d go buy one if the post was still up!

  16. chive

    Just in case anyone reads this old article, I live in the UK and briefly owned a Mk III ‘barn find’ – it had been stored in a shipping container in mint condition, but when removed by the late owner’s son 20 years later, the condensation had rusted and rotted it almost to bits. I had a restoration plan but it never happened and I passed the car onto a mechanic friend – I still have the photo though – it made these cars look almost pristine…. If I had been able to do it, it would have been good as these cars now command ridiculously high prices in the UK. I should have bought the one I saw a few years before that, which actually drove! I’ve always thought these cars to be great looking – describing them as Ford Capri Mk III S (you’ll have to look this one up) meets Bentley Continental. Whilst still at school a friend’s father had one – it was stolen in London and the police never bothered to look for it – “no point, stolen to order, it will be in the south of France within 24 hours” and that was in the 1970s!

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