It’s been a few years since the original Jensen Interceptor graced our roads. In 1950, the Interceptor was born and in 1966, the model we all know changed how we looked at sports cars, with its whopping great American motor and original styling. In 1967, there was even an Interceptor FF (standing for Ferguson Formula) which not only featured all-wheel-drive, but also ABS and traction control.
But after 1976, the Interceptor was no more and Jensen slowly disappeared into the history books.
Now Jensen is back, and in much better shape than ever. And so is the Interceptor.
Jensen International Automotive has not only resurrected the name, but also the car, enhancing it to bring it into the modern age. The company was founded in May of last year and was born from a restoration firm, Cropredy Bridge Garage, located near Banbury in Oxfordshire, which specialised in Jensen restoration. Several businessmen, fans of the original Interceptor, began JIA with the goal of bringing the Interceptor into the modern age.
Taking an original Interceptor, usually a £7500 donor car, Jensen strips the car back to its original shell and then recoats it in a phosphate bath. Often the panels are renewed, while a new front valance is added which gives better aerodynamics, but also retains the original look of the car.
Attention to detail is what distinguishes the new Interceptor R, as various coatings and sealants are used to ensure the cars appearance is arguably better than new. Even the chrome bumpers are restored to their original spec – no plastichrome around here.
Inside, the Interceptor R is completely bespoke. Whatever a customer wants, they get. From the colour of the leather to the type of finish, even classic quilting is available. Jensen International Automotive calls it ‘Solo Mio’ (‘mine only’) and it allows for custom aluminium trim detailing, or even polished walnut – the choice is yours. Would you like your own integrated sat-nav? Not a problem. A custom stereo? Whatever you would like, sir.
Under the bonnet, things are more traditional than they first seem. Originally using a Chrysler-sourced V8, the new Interceptor still gets American muscle, but this time in the form of Chevrolet’s LS3 6.2-litre powerplant. At around 320kW, it’s good for a 0-100km/h dash of just 4.5 seconds, and you can have a four-speed auto or six-speed manual (the familiar T56).
All that grunt would be a handful if it were still trying to battle with the original leaf-spring suspension, so JIA uses a Jaguar sourced LSD with independent rear suspension. The front uses adjustable Spax springs and dampers and the original steering rack is reconditioned to increase feedback. Even the wheels have been increased from 15-inch to 17-inch but retaining the original design, and with new tyre technology, grip is increased dramatically.
The result is an old car which drives like a new one, but retains its sense of old-worlde charm. Any current Interceptor owner will tell you this can only be a good thing.
Jensen International Automotive also tells us that there’s a few special things planned for its new Interceptor, but we’ll have to wait and see what improvements lie in store.
The Interceptor R will be launched at Salon Privé in the next couple of days, and we’ll bring you a road test of this old-car-made-good in the near future.