Jensen Interceptor MkII: Spotted

The best-known example of a marriage between British chassis and American engine is unquestionably the Shelby Cobra, but the total number of times this transatlantic procedure has taken place successfully must surely be in the many dozens. Back in the third quarter of the 20th Century, the technique was almost commonplace, with the likes of Rover, Bristol and Sunbeam famously seeking the power of a US-built engine for their machines. It still happens today, as is evidenced by the upcoming TVR Griffith's use of a Ford-sourced 5.0-litre V8, but the heyday of British-American performance cars has long since passed.

You could argue that it was around the time of the Jensen Interceptor's creation that this procedure reached its peak. When the West Bromwich-made Interceptor - a two-door that wore a steel body designed by Carrozzeria Touring and built by Vignale (both of Italy) - arrived in 1966, it mixed the grunt American engines had become famous for with European style and the class of a British grand tourer. To be exact, drive was provided by a Chrysler 6.3-litre V8 producing 325hp and sent through a three-speed auto to the rear wheels. It was based on an evolved C-V8 MkIII chassis.

The Interceptor offered stonking performance. With 425lb ft of torque, progress was decidedly effortless, but gee up all its horses and this slab of Anglo American muscle could hit 60mph in about eight seconds. Back in the late '60s, that was swift to say the least - and it helped the plush, roomy Interceptor give more exotic machines a run for their money. Naturally, this mix of power and comfort caught the attention of the US market, where a large portion of an eventual 30-car-per-week production run ended up.

That was an impressive feat considering an Interceptor was significantly pricier than the US market's domestically produced V8 alternatives, but for those looking for something out of the ordinary, the Jensen's appeal was great. Plus, it was less expensive than other Europe-made machines of a similar calibre. In 1974, for example, the Interceptor sold from Β£7,179, which was Β£2,500 cheaper than the Aston Martin DBS V8. In today's money, that's Β£82,558 versus Β£111,308 - aka a heck of a lot of cash.

British sales were good too, and today there are about 500 Interceptors left here (484 are registered according to How Many Left, but there may be others lurking under cover). Yet even with this strong supply, the desirability of the model means prices are by no means cheap; if you want a spotless early one, expect to pay north of Β£65,000. Things are a little more attainable if you're happy with a later car, like our Spotted, a 1970 MkII with 74,000 miles on the clock.

The current owner has completely overhauled the car, treating it to a full respray and engine rebuild during a five-year tenure. The cabin's also been retrimmed in this time, so it's probably fair to assume this is one of the UK's tidiest examples. It even comes with an MOT (it's not mandatory on this age of car but has been done anyway), the presence of which backs the seller's claims that all is well with this Interceptor. If you want one, this has got to be on your 'to see' list.


Engine: 6,276cc, V8
Transmission: 3-speed auto, rear-wheel drive
Power(hp): 325@4,600rpm
Torque(lb ft): 425@2,800rpm
MPG: We daren't ask
CO2: A lot
First registered: 1970
Recorded mileage: 74,000
Price new: Β£7,179
Yours for: Β£34,995

See the original advert here.

P.H. O'meter

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Comments (49) Join the discussion on the forum

  • DrSteveBrule 19 Dec 2018

    I would love one these, I think they are gorgeous. One day.

  • Turbobanana 19 Dec 2018

    DrSteveBrule said:
    I would love one these, I think they are gorgeous. One day.
    Agreed, although I'm not so sure this one suits the colour.

    Found one in a barn once, while valuing a property for probate. It was sound enough but had stood for a few years, albeit in a good, dry barn. The owner's widow was unsure what she wanted to do with it, and I'd convinced myself it was too rich for my blood so didn't make an offer on it. I later discovered it was sold for £1800 and only needed a light recommissioning to go back on the road. Grrrrr!

  • Twoshoe 19 Dec 2018

    Seems to be riding very high in those pics.

  • P5BNij 19 Dec 2018

    Still high on my 'list', I go through phases with British classics bit the Interceptor always comes round and has me looking at the classifieds at least twice a week. The UK survival rate mentioned above may be correct, I suspect it may be higher but I think someone on the JOC forum said that of the six and a half thousand built, at least half of them are still with us, in various physical and mechanical states no doubt. Compared to most other marques that's very high but not really a surprise when you consider the sort of people who bought them in period, people who could afford to run and look after them for long periods, at least until the fuel crisis of '73 kicked in. Even taking into account the neglect many suffered in later life with some just rotting away to nothing or being parted out, it's still a high survival rate.

    For over twenty years I drove past the well known Vignale example rotting into the pavement outside a house in Walcote near Lutterworth, thinking one day it may be restored, alas it was scraped up off the pavement, put on a low loader and will never see the road again.

  • Dr Interceptor 19 Dec 2018

    They're not bad, although I'm not so keen on the colour of that one.

    We've got a 1974 Mk III Convertible, I think it's just about done 36k miles now, was 25k when we bought it.

    They are wonderfully effortless cars to travel in - keep the needle at 3500rpm, and they pull like the proverbial train.

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