Interceptor 128/4633 first came into my life way back in 1986 or was it 1987. I finished school and went to my Dads shoe store, and I spotted it sitting in the car park out the back and wondered what the hell it was. When I got inside and went to Dads office I saw a few back issues of he Interceptor, the Jensen Car Club of Australia’s magazine sitting on the bench. I asked about it and Dad said he had bought it. I spat it at him and said “What about the Falcon!” which I was told was going to be sold. Dad had a blue XD Falcon S-Pack at the time, which I loved, for some reason. Probably because I had been learning to drive it on the sand flats at the beach. Maybe it was the sporty red pinstripe and fog lights. I told Dad I did not like the car, did not want it and that I loved the Ford and he could not sell it. Dads reply was simply “Don’t worry, you will love it.” I guess you could say he was correct there.
The car was Oatmeal, a delightful 90s PC case shade of beige. The interior was brown leather. Talk with Richard Calver a few years back revealed this car to be a very rare colour combination indeed, with only 12 cars being made in this combination, and that the leather is of “special order”. It does have an unusual grain, which has been hard to match, which will make repair difficult. I have only ever seen a photo of one other car in this colour, and it is on the JOC website here, second photo from the bottom. The car had GB plates on the rear deck, and Charles Follett dealer plates on the sill panels, under the door.
We have no idea when the car made its way to Australia. We do know that the car was in Oak Flats in New South Wales before coming to Tasmania, and was owned buy a guy called Richard Scobie. Here is a photo of the car taken in NSW, wearing old plates JMF-597.
I have found this document, i guess this is a NSW Pink Slip? It is very hard to read, you can not make out the name of the dealership apart from “Motors Pty Ltd” however the address can be read and is 69 Victoria Rd Drummoyne. Richard paid $13995 for the car and the odometer read 83390. The date was 23 January 1984. Interestingly they had listed the car as being a 1976 model.
Here is an image from Google Streetview of the address of the dealership.
Dad paid $12000 for the car. We put Tasmanian registration CE-1842 on it and the car was driven for a while as it was.
The Interceptor was used as Dads daily driver for some time, on the relatively short commute from our house to his shop. It was used also to carry tools in, and I remember a large step ladder and tool boxes being carried around in it on more than one occasion.
During this period of daily use, Dad had taken the car to the tip to offload some rubbish, and pulled up along side a guy with a Dodge Phoenix. They got talking and it turns out the guy had a Chrysler 383 and Torqueflite 727 sitting in his shed. Dad bought them, rebuilt the engine (sadly I don’t know what specs he built it with and he can not remember) and dropped it in in place of the original motor and box, which are still sitting in his store room under the house. Check out the home made engine hoist! Lucky OH&S were not around to see this one… and yes, that is a young me in the photo.
The car was then re-registered as CI-2441.
The car was used for a while again, and then it was decided to give it a new coat of paint so it looked less like a gigantic biscuit. So it was off to the bodyworks for a coat of Ford Monza Red two-pack. This occurred some time around 1989. Once painted it was off to the motor trimers for some new dark grey carpet. The dye was rubbed from the leather and the interior was repainted black, with shoe paint from the shoe store Dad owned. Not entirely sure if this was the greatest idea or not…
The car was used on and off for a few years after this, I have very fond memories of driving the car to school in the morning with my L-plates on the window, and then cruising around the streets of Hobart in it with my friends when I got my P-plates.
The last real use it got was when the Jensen Car Club of Australia had their national easter rally in Tasmania in 1995. It can just be seen in this photo, next to the white car, third from the right. At the far right of the shot is my Mum and Dad, and brother Richard, along with our Mercedes Benz 190E.
Following this the car was laid up in Dads shed again, where it sat for 10 years.
In 2005 the car was bought back to life and had its first drive for some time…
Check out the video:
The car was driven back to my house and apart from nearly losing a rear wheel on the way home due to loose wheel nuts, drove exceptionally well. There was a little slipping in the gearbox bands but the brakes worked fine, the suspension worked fine, no grinding, crunching or creaking noises, which was good. In fact there was less suspension noise in the car than in my Subaru WRX.
Dad had fitted a smaller carby to the car in an effort to reduce fuel consumption (but I don’t think that works, as you have to use more throttle to get the car to go at a decent pace) and the gear selector wont hold first gear, but it was doing that before it was laid up. The car survived its storage very well and it was not until I started the car in 2008 that it even had a split fuel line.
Of course I did not get around to doing much to the car. We tightened the bands in the gearbox and replaced the gasket, though they need more tightening. Changed the oil, put a new battery in and a few other bits and pieces, but then my mechanic neighbour moved, Lucas was born, my wife insisted we do the backyard first and it all became too hard.
Now Lucas is a bit bigger, and the back yard is done, I said to my wife that I was going to get the car on the road, so now I am working on it again. I would like to have the car registered by summer, but we shall see how we go there. That is the target anyhow. Of course, the car will not be finished by then, but if it has new plates on it and is allowed on the road, I will be happy.
Oh, I almost forgot, Dad bought another Interceptor III, 128/4780 in around 1990 from Sydney, sight unseen. It was advertised in Unique Cars at a time that Jensens were getting good money in, and seemed to be quite cheap. Plan was to buy, fix and sell the car for profit. Sent a relative to go and inspect the car and report back. My recommendation is don’t do this. The car despite his reports was rough, and pretty well went straight to the bodyworks for a full body restoration. The car was metallic turquoise when we bought it but a look under the boot carpet suggested it was originally Reef Blue, which is probably the best colour for Interceptors ever. The car spent some time at the bodyworks, went to the trimmers next door for new carpet then came home to Dads, where it sat for nearly 20 years. Thankfully interest in the car has been sparked again and Dad is doing some work on it, so hopefully we will see the car on the road again some day in the not too distant future. I will do a page for the car once I get a few more photos and info. We do not know much of the history of the car though. Yes, this is me in this shot too…
After the respray and repair to the panels…
There is a bit of work in it but it will be a gorgeous car when done.
This blog is an online diary of sorts, where I can keep notes of what I have done to the car, what I have learned, and pass on any tips and information that I learn along the way. 128/4780 will also get a bit of a feature as well. I’ll also include on the site any other information and news that is relevant to Jensen Interceptors and other Jensen cars. Hope you enjoy it.
Dont know what these are like. Could be OK. They are not cheap, and stainless instead of chrome. Still, could be a good option for Dad for 128/4780 as the bumpers he has for that are not good, though they might come up ok with a replate.
A few years ago I was contacted by a member of the Jensen Car Club who told me he had found kids t-shirts with an old illustration of a Jensen FF on them at Best and Less. I had to get one for Lucas, even though he would not be able to wear it for a number of years. In fact, I am not even sure if he was born at the time. We checked out all the Best and Less stores here and none had them so we had the club member send down one of the ones he had bought. (He had bought all the ones he could find…) Some time after we actually found one in the Glenorchy store, and it was a different size, so we grabbed that and now Lucas has two of them. I want one for myself!
If you didn’t know, Lucas’s middle name is Jensen… 🙂
Been doing a bit of work on the car the last few weekends whenever I have had a chance to get out to the garage. Sunday April 25 I decided to take the door panel off the passenger side door to start investigating the issues with the electric window motor on that side of the car, though I think I will just replace the motors on both side of the car as a matter of course. I know the nylon bushings in the motor gearbox has died on at least one side of the car once before and been replaced with bits of dowel cut to size. It may have been replaced on both sides so they really should both be done, even though the passenger side window stays up, unlike the drivers side which has completely failed.
Once I got the door off I noticed that the speaker is still the original speaker, and the cone has come away from the frame, so I shall buy some new speakers for the car as well. I thought these had been replaced some time ago but it must have only been the rears that got changed. I am not sure what I will do about a head unit, I am sure I have seen a company that do conversions with modern head units hidden behind old 8-track unit faceplates. The idea of that really appeals, especially if I can plug my iphone into it and just use it as an amp and volume control, and maybe a radio.
While I was removing the door trim, I dropped one of the screws and it went down into the side sill panel trim, so I had to remove that to retrieve the screw. The sill looked to be quite sound, no massive holes of rust. There is one little bit though which should get welded up before it becomes troublesome.
You have got to love hand built cars, on the back of every interior panel you will find the chassis number of the car handwritten by the craftsmen, usually either on a bit of tape stuck to the back of it or directly on the panel as seen here on the back of the door trim.
So I have not as yet bench tested the window motor and don’t know if I will now, I will just replace them both I think. So nothing else has come out of the door as yet.
Today I thought I would look around the rest of the interior to see what else was needing doing, what was missing, and what was there but not on the car.
As you can see here the horn button and pad was not on the steering wheel, and the trim around the ignition barrel had been removed. I fixed the steering wheel up, put the circlip on the end of the steering column that prevents the wheel sliding off, found all but two of the screws that hold the wheel to the boss, though one of them had had the slots in the head chumped and it could not be turned with the screwdriver. I could only find one of the screws and washers to attach the horn pad to the wheel.
Dad had told me that the ignition key should not be removed or else it won’t go back in. This was why he had removed the ignition barrel trim panel. I pulled the key out and it went back in fine. Several times. So I put the trim panel back on and then went to reinsert the key, and guess what… wont go back in. Happy days. This is going to require some surgery to fix. So I removed the drivers seat from the car, pulled the steering wheel and boss off and removed the padding/trim strip that goes along the bottom of the dash top. This trim covers the screws that hold down the trim panel that goes around the base of the steering boss/indicator stalk and hopefully, fingers crossed, will open things up enough to remove the steering lock from the steering column. Hopefully there is easily accessible plugs in the wiring too, I would hate to have to cut the wires, so I can get the lock off to take to a locksmith. Alas it was dinner time by this stage so I have not yet had a chance to pull that last bit off.
Speaking of the seats, the leather on the seats in the car is a special order, and has a very unusual grain. Which means its hard to match for replacement. The back seats are not too bad though I have noticed strange circular patterns in the leather which could be the result of some bug getting into it? Or maybe its just dried out? I have some Connelly Leather cream to rub in and see if that helps at all. I would hate to have to retrim all the car but the drivers seat especially will need it. The base has come apart and the foam is split and gone hard and powdery. You can buy new foam pieces to put in and trim, so I guess I will need to do this to the drivers seat at least. I should take the seat to an upholsterer to see if anything can be done to save it first though I guess.
The dash is going to have to come out too at some stage. This is a job I am really not looking forward to, but the heater core has a leak so needs to come out to be fixed or replaced. These things are set to test us, and whats the point in having a project car that does not require work doing, huh?