Friday, February 11, 2011

Still No Love: 1974 Jensen Interceptor III

How long will it be before the market recognizes the poor Jensen Interceptor as a legitimate exotic car? Other Italo hybrids like the Iso Rivolta, Pantera, Mangusta and Ghia have all enjoyed recent price booms- and aren't built nearly as well as these jewels from West Bromwich.

Using Italian coachwork by Vignale, American V8 Muscle from Chrysler and hand assembled by the craftsmen of Jensen...this car should have been a Grand Touring sensation. Lush Conelly leather seats and Wilton wool carpets made the car a bit more posh than the usual sports car, and  the languid Torqueflite transmissions that found their way into most examples further diminished its sporting appeal amongst purists. The cars were heavy and not given to being tossed about. Fuel consumption-not an issue when they were newly built- is atrocious.

I prefer the first series cars, which have some glitchy electrical hardware but offset it with smaller bumpers, simpler wheels and generally cleaner lines. First series cars use a shorter stroke 383 motor while the later series employ a 440 unit. Some rare birds, the Interceptor SP's ("Six Packs"), came with factory triple carbs as found on stateside Cudas and RoadRunners.

This example in Canada is a Series III with alloy wheels and the 440. I like the bronze exterior with matching carmel leather. Despite claiming California origins, be wary of rust, especially in the paper thin bumpers. Replacements are like hen's teeth.

Buy it cheaply and enjoy...but not as an investment. Yet.


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