Jensen International Automotive, creator of the GM ‘LS3’ V8-powered Interceptor R, a version of which we drove in our modernised classics feature at Goodwood, and the fabulously decadent Chieftain Range Rover.
Unlike that car, the modernisation of which was largely outsourced, the £180,000 Interceptor R Supercharged you see here, the normally aspirated version, the convertible Interceptor Rs and the Chieftain, are almost entirely rebuilt (starting with a full shell refurb) by JIA’s workshop staff at its base in Banbury. Only retrimming and painting took place elsewhere, the former at long-time marque restorer Rejen near Winchester.
Powering the Interceptor R range
The ‘Supercharged’ bit comes thanks to the installation of the LSA engine – essentially a blown LS3 – which makes 556bhp (a full 127bhp more than the ‘R’ we drove) and 551lb ft, dispatched via an upgraded prop shaft.
This tune matches that of the LSA-powered Cadillac CTS-V. The six-speed GM auto gearbox seen here is now available in all ‘R’ models; our previous encounter was with a four-speeder. The naturally aspirated V8 version produces a not so measly 429bhp, while the convertible is available in both V8 and supercharged V8 versions.
The R Supercharged also demonstrates a host of refinements that JIA is introducing to its range. Changes include a bonded windscreen in place of the traditional rough and leaky rubber seals, electric front seats and column stalks sourced from a Jaguar XJS, larger, body-coloured heated door mirrors in place of the fiddly little chrome jobs, an effective single wiper replaces the pair of flappy originals and there’s upgraded air-con.
Lifting the Interceptors 70s interior
The split-prone black vinyl dash is replaced with a new custom-designed, two-tone leather layout, and two rows of illuminated aluminium toggle switches adorn the revised centre console.
The trim changes transform the cabin into a luxurious habitat of leather, Wilton carpet, chrome and aluminium. There’s even quilted hide on the ceiling and in the sizeable boot, while the ‘new’ seats, which manage to be at once squashy and supportive, fit in well and provide an appropriately laid-back driving position. Only the worn, Jag-sourced column stalks (which were on the snagging list for a makeover at the time) and seat controls detract from the opulent cabin.
Unleashing the Interceptor R’s V8
But what of the beast that lurks under the car’s bespoke aluminium bonnet bulge? Well, there’s no muscle car shimmy at start-up – the R Supercharged is rock-steady at idle.