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Jensen – Interceptor


Vehicle Overview

In 1965 saw Vignale’s first contact with the firm which was to give him one of his strongest connections with the British market. The management at Jensen was split over the replacement model for their C-V8, but it was eventually agreed that the new car should be styled and built in Italy. Design and development manager Kevin Beattie visited Ghia, Superleggera Touring and Vignale, and asked each to submit designs for the new car.

Ghia were heavily involved with Chrysler at this time, and demanded a fee to divert their efforts to Jensen. Vignale produced a rather conventional-looking design – similar to Maserati Mexico which he had introduced at the 1965 Turin motor show, and Jensen were looking for a more dramatic treatment. This came from Touring, and Jensen liked it, but the Milan firm was in such a financial pickle that Jensen had no confidence in its ability to produce the car.

Jensen bought the design outright, removed Touring’s marks from the drawings, put Jensen’s name on them, and took them along to Vignale as representing the sort of thing they had in mind. Even if Alfredo Vignale knew or guessed that Touring was the originator he said nothing, being anxious to secure the order for final styling and building. With the deal signed and the tooling arranged it took Vignale only four months to produce a prototype car combining the proven C-V8 chassis and running gear and the new body. Within a further six months the first Italian-bodied, American-engined, British-built Jensen Interceptor was assembled at West Bromwich – one of the fastest international model operations then on record.

Vignale’s part in it did not last long, however. By October 1966, when two or three trimmed and painted Interceptor bodies were already arriving from Turin each week, Jensen had already decided that the finish was not what they wanted, and that the Vignale arrangement was financially unsound and too long-range for comfort and logic. Vignale was bought off, and the jigs and press tools transferred to Britain. Jensen later admitted, however, that it took their own craftsmen a long time to match the flexibility and quality of work of the Italians.

Technical Specifications

  • Body
  • Year
  • Make
  • Model
  • Coachbuilder
  • Length (mm)
  • Width (mm)
  • Height (mm)
  • Photo credits
    Hexagon Classics
  • Engine Type
  • Designer
    Touring Superleggera

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