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Buyers Guide to:

Jensen Interceptor Mk 3

Useful Info

Manufactured

1971 to 1976

Fuel Type

Petrol

Engine Size

7200cc

Engine Type

Water-Cooled

Drive Configuration

RWD

Jensen Owners Club

www.joc.org.uk

Martin Robey

www.martinrobey.com

Just Kampers

Odiham,
Hampshire,
RG291JE,
01256 862288,
www.justkampers.com

Background

Launched at the Earls Court Motor Show in October 1966, the Jensen Interceptor was a beguiling mix of Italian styling and American engines. Designed by coachbuilder, Touring of Milan, the early cars were built by Vignale before being shipped to Jensen’s West Bromwich factory for completion (later cars were fully assembled at the factory.) Under the bonnet was a 6.3-litre Chrysler V8 producing 330bhp, but by the time the Mk3 model arrived in 1971 the engine had grown in size to 7.2 litres with 385bhp. As you’d expect, the fuel bills weren’t cheap! Jensen, though, was a troubled firm and production ended in 1976 although there were a number of attempted comebacks over the following decades. Sought after today, the Interceptor has a loyal following and boasted numerous celebrity owners when it was new.

  1. Front wings
  2. Front and rear valances
  3. Bonnet
  4. Windscreen surround
  5. Door bottoms
  6. Sills
  7. Rear wheel arches
  8. Tailgate surround

The Checklist

  • The bottom six inches of the bodywork as this is where many of the rust problems occur
  • For signs of rot in the sills. Check carefully from inside the cabin and underneath because if it’s bad you could be looking at £5000 per side to replace them
  • The condition of all the panels as replacement isn’t cheap and their hand-built nature often makes fettling necessary to make them fit properly. The cost of restoring an Interceptor can be huge so check carefully for signs of filler
  • The underneath, preferably on a ramp, looking for corrosion in the cabin and boot floor, the chassis box section below the foot wells, and in the chassis tubes
  • Around the tailgate hinge area as cars with a vinyl roof can be concealing rot here. Check the boot for damp, too, as perished tailgate seals will let water in leading to rust in the floor
  • That the big V8 isn’t badly worn. Look for at least 40psi of oil pressure at idle, while lots of blue smoke from the exhaust means a rebuild is due, and the cost can exceed £5000 at a specialist
  • The engine for oil leaks, rattling from a worn timing chain, and for signs of overheating which will damage the head gaskets. Let the engine idle and check that the cooling fan cuts in. Also, high under-bonnet temperatures can lead to perished wiring so check the condition of the loom, and keep an eye out for electrical issues
  • For a ticking from under the bonnet which points to cracked exhaust manifolds
  • For lumpy running caused by a worn fuel or ignition system. Some examples have been converted to fuel injection to improve economy, but make sure you can live with the thirst
  • That the automatic transmission changes gear smoothly. The Chrysler Torque ite unit is fundamentally strong but bene ts from regular uid changes, and it can be prone to leaks, too. Budget around £1500 for an overhaul
  • The differential for oil leaks. It can get noisy at high mileages although that rarely leads to failure
  • The suspension for worn joints and bushes. The Interceptor is a heavy car, so check the gap between the top of the tyre and the wheel arch, especially at the rear – too small, and it points to sagging springs and dampers in need of replacement
  • For signs of fluid leaks from the power steering hydraulics. Pipe connections and the rack itself are the usual culprits, and the latter is awkward to change, so ensure the steering doesn’t feel notchy on the test drive
  • That the brakes aren’t worn. Replacing the discs and pads isn’t prohibitively expensive, but a worn master cylinder will leak fluid and cause excessive pedal travel
  • The condition of the cabin. There’s acres of leather and if it’s damaged or badly worn you’ll be facing a hefty bill for specialist re-trimming
  • For any signs that the windscreen seal has been leaking – water ingress will damage trim and carpets, and accelerates corrosion in the floor
  • That all of the electrics work as old wiring can cause problems. And check that the air- conditioning is present and working – the cost of repairs may mean it’s been ignored

Everything Check Out?

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