Jensen Interceptor Driven

Some cars look big on the outside, but are small inside, Jaguar XKR springs to mind. Whereas others are the polar opposite being more like Dr Who’s T.A.R.D.I.S, such as the Original Mini or Morris Minor. The Jensen Interceptor on the other hand is just plain big, inside and out. This car is enormous, when sat in the front anyway, and lurking beneath its expansive bonnet is 7.2 litres of American ironware.

Get inside a Jensen Interceptor and the extremely wide and attractive central console makes you feel a million miles away from your passenger. The distance apart is a little strange, but what a fantastic array of dials and switches all pointing purposefully at you the driver. Start the huge Chrysler engine, the electric motor complaining bitterly about the amount of effort required, and eight very good reasons to like this car whir into life before settling into a steady idle; one that rocks the car from side to side. Select Drive to pull away and it’s as much as your right leg can do in pressing the brake pedal to prevent the car creeping forwards, such is the torque from the mighty engine.

Jensen Interceptor
Torquey engine just requires a tickle on the throttle until you need to unleash the beast…

On releasing the brakes to get going the three speed auto will quickly slot itself into top before 30mph is reached and then stay there until the accelerator pedal is pressed very hard, to force it to kick back down. With a big capacity engine comes the inevitable big fuel consumption. Though what is incredible is how the Interceptor only manages to achieve 13mpg when half the time the engine is idling when the sheer mass of the car maintains momentum all on its own. Despite its bulky nature the steering remains incredibly light at any speed, masking the size of the car which also feels uncannily sprightly. A big surprise given the near two tonne mass and agricultural rear suspension layout.

The V8 soundtrack of the Jensen Interceptor is quite superb and the determination of the auto-box to stay in top gear makes passing through towns and villages an extremely cool experience. Exiting can be just as cool if accelerating gently and keeping the car in top gear. Or far wilder if a down change is provoked when the laid back demeanour of the Jensen Interceptor is transformed to one of wild stallions charging across the plain. You get both experiences in the audio clip below, listen out as well for the straining starter motor at the beginning, it sounds like it might not make it.

Jensen Interceptor
Jensen Interceptor praying for the price of fuel to come back down again

Designed for intercontinental travel, both front seat occupants are able to relax into every journey, absorbing their surroundings. In the Jensen you arrive just as fresh as when you departed and eager for another couple hours of driving pleasure. The only distraction being that infamous fuel consumption viewed through the rapidly descending petrol gauge, yes you literally watch the needle make its way back to empty with every twenty or so miles covered. Now where’s that credit card?

Jensen Interceptor offers compelling combination of distinctive good looks and intoxicating V8.

How does this car make you feel?

In one word: Awesome

As a favourite meal:   Full Mixed Grill (Mediterranean style)

Anything Else: Italian good looks hide the animal that lurks within.

Key Ingredients: Styling (inside and out), size, V8 engine and accompanying soundtrack

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With thanks to Great Escape Classic Car Hire.

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