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So why has Autocar lined up some of yesteryear’s greatest cars on the home straight of the Goodwood circuit in West Sussex?
Well, like Goodwood’s storied acres, these five iconic knee-weakeners have retained their evocative looks while being lovingly enriched with modern-day convenience and technology.
All are produced by British companies that are part of the growing market for modernised classics, born of buyers’ indifference to the mass-produced white goods of today’s showrooms.
But have their modifications diluted their spirit, and can they really cut it as regular transport in 2014? Let’s find out.
Jensen Interceptor R
Penned by Carrozzeria Touring, the Interceptor presents an unmistakability that has only strengthened with age. But time has been less kind to its dynamics.
A wheezing Chrysler V8 can be revived to some extent, but the wallowing chassis and overlight, time-lapse steering of West Brom’s muscle car feel painfully outdated.
Jensen Motors of Banbury is a new business, but its owners have been making modernised Interceptors since 2007. This is their hottest: the 6.2-litre V8-powered Interceptor R.
Created from a Mk3 car, its shell has been chemically stripped and rebuilt with much-improved fit, finish and sound deadening, while the cabin has been retrimmed with yards of luxuriously pungent leather.
The rack and pinion steering and front double wishbones are reconditioned and the live rear axle has been replaced with Jaguar-sourced independent suspension. Adjustable coilovers complete the 30-40mm lowered set-up.
The starter button and modern shifter stand out in the otherwise period-perfect cabin. But does firing up the 429bhp GM LS3 lump shatter the illusion? Not a bit.
The old-school, big-cube luxury GT traits remain; the engine’s metallic churn, the loping gait, the ‘slow in, fast out’ methodology and the embarrassment of 424lb ft of torque are all in evidence. But the plane on which all this familiarity operates is that much higher.
The engine loves to streak beyond 4000rpm, its note rising from gentle rumble to heady scream. This is a seriously rapid car, and also one that’s settled at a high-speed cruise.
The suspension shudders a bit over ridges, the four-speed automatic gearbox can be ponderous, wind noise is greater than you’ll be used to and the upgraded brakes still aren’t as well mannered as modern kit. But you could live with – and enjoy – this car every day. The Interceptor R strikes a sweet balance between throwback character and 21st century composure.
Jensen Interceptor R
Price £200,000; 0-60mph 4.5sec; Top speed Over 167mph; Kerb weight 1775kg (est); Engine 6162cc, V8, petrol; Power 429bhp at 6600rpm; Torque 424lb ft at 3800rpm; Gearbox 4-speed automatic
Also consider... Ferrari FF (£227,142)
Maranello’s 651bhp four-seat breadvan costs similar money to the Jensen from new but can shed up to £50,000 within a year.
Spydercars Zetec Elan
Lotus’ flyweight Elan offers a sublime steer, but rust can ravage its steel backbone. That malaise has created a demand that Spydercars has served for 30 years with its replacement chassis.