One of the advantages of running a classic car hire company is that you’re never far away from old cars. And when the cleaning and maintaining gets to be a routine something always happens to change the tempo.
So it was for me this week. I have been running my own Jensen Interceptor for two years as a classic hire car through my company Great Escape. It joined the fleet after an engine rebuild – 20,000 miles on it has been remarkably reliable. But a couple of months ago I decided that I’d prefer to keep it for myself a little more and so I began looking around for a car to replace it.
Chance came in the form of a phone call from a Jensen owner in Eastbourne. He owns a 1969 Mk1 Interceptor that had just finished a 9 year restoration. I won’t go into details about cost and sweat and tears but suffice to say this car is in ‘as new’ condition. You often hear about nut and bolt rebuilds but this car has actually had one – it is quite simply magnificent.
Even before I’d driven 10 miles of my 200 mile drive back to my storage site in Worcestershire I’d already driven further than the car had ever been since its rebuild. I’ve now had the luck to drive several Jensens and this car is quite simply ‘fresh out of the box.’ It rides like a new car. The engine needs run in. It is spotless outside. It stops, it starts. For Interceptor owners traffic jams are the automotive equivalent of Chinese water torture – apt really, since the water does get rather hot rather quickly. But this West Bromwich grand tourer sat in an hour-long M25 traffic jam without a mutter (apart from a fuel guage drifting southwards at alarming pace).
Despite horrendous weather I enjoyed ever inch of the trip and realised exactly why people spend so much money restoring cars – the end result is a total transformation. My own Interceptor is a great drive but very different from this carefully set up Jensen – it’s less a grand tourer, more a B-road hooligan.