History of Jensen Cars

The Jensen brothers formed Jensen Motors and began coachbuilding cars and later trucks on other chassis in 1937. In the ‘60s the Jensen Interceptor dramatically changed the future of Jensen. Its development split the company and resulted in the resignation of the Jensen brothers and their chief stylist. They had argued for a cheap volume car to fill the factory; instead the Interceptor was an expensive low volume replacement for the luxury C-V8.

In 1970 Jensen was bought by Kjell Qvale, the company’s ebullient American distributor. His approach was simple – introduce the Jensen Healey, a replacement for the Austin Healey, to fill the factory and a niche in America. It went from design to production in less than two years. But these grand plans ultimately failed. Jensen Healey sales never reached expected levels, due to quality problems and its typically fragile Lotus engine, which resulted in crippling warranty claims. Efforts to rapidly increase Interceptor production could not fill the void.

Qvale called in the receivers in May 1976. But that wasn’t the end of the Jensen Interceptor. Jensen Parts & Service Ltd survived the collapse and continued making a handful of Jensen Interceptor cars until the early 1990s.

In the late 1990s Qvale developed the luxury Qvale Mangusta sports car before selling the business to the post-BMW MG Rover. The basic underpinnings were used to create the monster MG XVR, a rather crude and expensive competitor to the Porsche 911.

Visit http://www.greatescapecars.co.uk/ to hire one of the only Jensen Interceptors available for self drive hire in the UK.

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