There’s something about the Jensen Interceptor that means it’s still a head-tuner 45 years after it was launched.
It’s a pretty rare beast (around 6400 were made) and also morphed into the world-leading four-wheel drive FF, but the styling just seems as show stopping today as it ever did.
Some years ago I heard that the market in Interceptors was oddly distorted because, while the car was an object of desire, most of the survivors were well worn and a proper restoration was hideously expensive.
The upshot was that many desirable Interceptors languished in barns and garages up and down the land. Indeed, I know of one, which is occasionally coaxed into firing up and taken for a quick spin around the lanes.
It was no surprise, then, that three years ago Autocar reported that specialist Jensen dealer Cropedy Bridge bought 50 of these magnificent hulks from owners, with the intention of re-building them as new.Cropedy’s recipe called for a ground-up restoration, new suspension and chassis and a new-generation GM V8 engine and transmission. The price of a new Interceptor S was set at £75,000 in 2007.
Not much has been heard of the project since, but this weekend it was re-launched again, this time with the help of Charles Dunstone, the Carphone Warehouse founder and rumoured billionaire. Dunstone is said have bought one of the first of Interceptor S models.
Jensen International Automotive is promising the same formula, with a more modern GM V8, but priced at £105,000. JIA says that it could build 18 Interceptor S models each year, which means they should have three years’ worth of production from the original stock of 50.
Usually, entering the bespoke sports car business is a surefire way of making a small fortune from a large one. But with this operation effectively a very sophisticated restoration business, the risk to Dunstone’s bank account seems minimal.
The question is, in a world where Bentley GTs and 911 Turbos are increasingly common, will the typical successful 50 something see a factory-fresh Interceptor as just a tempting as a modern, mass-market, supercar?
Maybe a burbling Interceptor is the perfect antidote to automotive bling.