• A 1972 Jensen Interceptor Mk III, a combination of European design and American horsepower, is up for auction on Bring a Trailer.
• Jensen combined Italian design, British ride-hailing, and American V-8s for a one-of-a-kind touring vehicle.
• Bids are open until Saturday, April 23, with the current bid remaining on time 1972 dollars With four days left.
It’s worth buying Jensen for the name alone. “Jensen intercepts Mark III.” It looks like a fighter jet, not a big ’70s touring car. If that’s not cute enough for you, how about a conversation starter of a ride in an Italian-style car, a flock of English leather, and a powerhouse from an American muscle car mill? This series from the 1972 Jensen Interceptor Mark III is currently for sale on Bring a Trailer – which, as car and driverpart of Hearst Autos — at auction ending this weekend.
If you’re not familiar with Jensen, the Interceptor belongs in the same club as De Tomaso Pantera, or Iso Grifo, one of the quirky micro-car makers that combined European design with American power plants in the mid-20th century. Jensen started using American V-8s in the 1930s, but was best known for her cars in the 1960s and 1970s. The Interceptor Mk I was introduced in 1966, with a chassis designed by Carrozzeria Touring in Milan – the same design house as the Aston Martin DB5 – and built by another Italian vehicle maker, Vignale. Previous cars used Chrysler’s 383 V-8, but in 1972 the Mk III got the most massive block out of Mopar, 440 cubic inches. Just like in a Dodge Charger or Chrysler New Yorker, the V-8 is powered by a three-speed 727 automatic transmission. Jensen uses its own chassis and suspension, but we note that the burlap console shift knob looks very similar to that that you find in a 1970 Challenger, so Mopar fans can assume they’ll find themselves right at home.
The Mark III was released in 1971, with only a few changes from the previous design. The headlight bezels are more detailed, the wheel got a redesign, and unfortunately lost the previous, more attractive three-spoke steering wheel. No problem, you can buy this car and replace the steering wheel. You’re going to have to do a fair amount of internal work on this Jensen if you want it to look high quality. The wood is peeling, the leather is cracked, the power antenna, the air horns, the radio are down, the electric windows are only on and off. Some of these things are easier fixes than others. The seller says the window motors are Chrysler units that should make sourcing easy, but Jensen was famous for the leather of seven unlucky cows to make her fancy seats and door panels, so unless you own a tannery, plan on bombing the interior.
The exterior of the Interceptor resembles a barracuda backed by a bubble, and the Aston Martin has given birth to a baby. It’s a car with a great stance, elegant enough to roll in an arrogant motel, but intimidating if it comes fast in the rear view – and with a 440 under the hood, it can be. The Jensen 440s aren’t quite as high-horsepower as their American brethren, but Jensen reviews praised its torque—which American muscle cars rarely hear—handling. The powertrain on this vehicle could use some tuning. Sellers replaced the carburetor, the car has been sitting since 2007, but the plug wires look old, the yellow Accel coil is definitely old, the seller warns that aftermarket cooling fans aren’t plugged in, and everything is leaking. None of the mechanical issues would be insurmountable to anyone with prior Chrysler experience, which is one of the pluses of this European-US blend.
The largest dampers in this example from the Interceptor are rust and an aftermarket sunroof. There is a fair amount of surface rust on the body, though it’s hard to tell how far it goes, and underneath the exhaust it’s all devoured. The good parts are, wasps nest in the back – wasps free! – No, kidding, that’s bad. The good parts are the complete interior, the original alloy wheels, and the car that runs well in general. We say this based on a video of the seller making cakes in it. This is a rare machine. Jensen made fewer 2245 Mark IIIs, that’s more than any Jensen model. If this is our buy, we’ll replace the aftermarket side mirrors with great original chrome ones, fix the mechanical issues, re-spray the car burgundy, then throw a blanket over the bad seat and drive around feeling fancy and pick up unsuspecting little muscle cars.
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