Used car buying guide: Jensen Interceptor

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The Interceptor arrived in 1966 and lasted until 1973

It used a 6.3-litre big-block Chrysler engine delivering more than 250bhp

It was competent around corners and in a straight line, especially in 4WD FF form

The cabin majors on comfort, luxury and visibility

Close News by Autocar 5 mins read 29 May 2023 Follow @@autocar Share

For the classy customer who wanted unbeatable style, outstanding performance and a generous helping of that famous American V8 grunt, the Jensen Interceptor was a very welcome addition to a vast array of grand tourers when it arrived in 1966. 

There was also a slightly longer and pricier version, the FF, which had the double distinction of being the first production car equipped with four-wheel drive (instead of the standard rear-wheel drive) and an anti-lock braking system. 

With a 6.3-litre big-block Chrysler engine giving it more than 250bhp and a top speed of nearly 140mph, Jensen’s Interceptor must have seemed as fast and modern as the RAF’s own interceptor, the BAC Lightning, when blasting past breathless little Morris 1100s and Ford Anglias on the motorway. 

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Throttle response was lazy and the three-speed automatic gearbox was never in a hurry, but none of that really mattered, because you could nevertheless always rely on its strong punch for a quick getaway or an effortless overtake. 

Surprisingly for such a large and heavy car, the Interceptor was equally as competent around corners as it was in straight lines, especially so in 4WD FF form.

This dynamism was mostly thanks to the Interceptor’s extra-rigid all-steel body and, from 1968, its power steering. Its pliant suspension and plush leather seats made long journeys a dream – provided that your wallet filled up as quickly as the fuel tank emptied. 

Indeed, the Interceptor’s body came from Carrozzeria Touring, and its interior wouldn’t have felt out of place in the famous Italian design house’s usual Aston Martin or Alfa Romeo creations, either.


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Almost every facet was adorned with varnished wood or luxurious leather, cradling the driver and up to three passenger in fine comfort. Air conditioning was available and, even more importantly, so were lighters for your next rothmans. 

The Interceptor was given a mild facelift in 1969 (gaining a bulkier dashboard) and then a more comprehensive one in 1971, when engine displacement was increased to 7.2 litres. This yielded marginal improvements to power output and top speed, although the real advance was in torque. 

As the 1960s faded into the 1970s and the economy started to tank, worsened by the oil crisis of 1973, the popularity of the Interceptor understandably declined, and this combined with the troubled launch of the vital new Jensen-Healey roadster resulted in Jensen entering liquidation. 

However, this doesn’t change the fact that the Interceptor was a groundbreaking piece of engineering, especially so in FF form. It was a car that showed what the British car industry could be: an innovative powerhouse with the ability to compete with the world’s best. 

No wonder there have been several efforts over the years to revive it in various ways – and why it’s now a highly desirable classic surrounded by a good support network. 

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