So, it would seem it has been some time since I made a post on this site. Nearly as long since I have done any real work to the car. This is not to say I have done nothing though.
I have started stripping the old rotten insulation from the firewall and made access to the passenger side windscreen washer nozzle so I can get that replaced. It is often said that the car is built around this part, and I agree. It was a major pain to get to, involving removing of insulating trim and then drilling a hole in a fibreglass cover, then hacksawing that open to gain access. At least now I have access and as soon as I find some suitable nozzles, I can get the windscreen washer system fitted.
I am not sure what I will replace the insulation with. The car had been fitted with some sort of rubber foam that has a layer of a dense material, I think lead, and then a reflective foil on top of that. The foam had mostly disintegrated and the lead/foil layer virtually falls off when you touch it. Easy to remove, but getting the layer of foam that remains glued to the car off is going to be a challenge, especially with the motor and gearbox in place. It won’t be easy to put new stuff on either.
Maybe the motor should come out. But what would go back in?
I have been toying with the idea of fitting an LS3 motor and modern gearbox, as fitted to the Interceptor R. The benefits are many, but I can not imagine it would be a particularly easy job.
The good news is that the Jensen Interceptor S project has been saved. Jensen International Automotive LRD was formed in April 2010 and are developing the Jensen Interceptor S.
The Board is managed by Tony Banham with support from one of Britan’s most successful businessmen, Charles Dunstone of Carphone Warehouse who also happened to be one of the first to buy an Interceptor S.
The Jensen Interceptor S is built around a donor Interceptor, so it is technically not a new Interceptor. The donor car is stripped to a bare shell, restored, rustproofed, resprayed and re-engineered .
And what a job they do too, out goes the old Chrysler lump which is replaced with a GM LS3 V8, putting out a healthy 429bhp. Transmission is improved as well, gone is the old Torqueflite 727 and in comes either a 4-speed self shifter, or a 6-speed manual.
Handling is improved with a new independent rear end, and a big 6-pot AP brake system under new 17″ wheels. The wheels are basically the same design as the original Mk3 GKN alloys, only with a larger diameter and a bit less webbing around the spokes, which is real testament to the nearly 40 year old design of the wheels.
The new car is considerably lighter than the original, apparently around 400kg lighter! That along with the more powerful motor, far better transmission and gearing, sees 0-60mph in under 4.5 seconds, compared to around 7 seconds for the original car. Top speed is now over 160mph (130-140mph for the original) and fuel consumption better than 20mpg (compared to about 10mpg!). Impressive numbers to say the least.
JIA plan to build 18 Interceptor S a year, with about a 4 month build time per car. Prices start at ₤105,000.
Along with the production records I received a number of warranty claims and letters between Douglas Marriot (the original owner), Charles Follett (the dealership), and Jensen themselves. I now have a lot more to add into the History of Jensen Interceptor 128/4633 page, which will be up very soon.
Douglas was an architect, who designed the iconic Millbank Tower in London prior to setting up his own practice, which is still running today. Douglas passed away some time in the late 90’s.
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.