The Jensen Interceptor is one of the oddest cars to ever come out of Britain.
The quirky Jensen Interceptor is one of the most misunderstood cars to come out of Britain. Around 6,000 were built in its 10-year lifetime between 1966 and 1976. As Jay Leno explains in the latest episode of his popular "Jay Leno’s Garage" series, the Interceptor was conceived of as a grand tourer, this despite the fact that it packed a Chrysler-built V8 440 engine which was unheard of at the time in England. It was the celebrity’s car of choice and was famously owned by Roger Moore. Yes, James Bond drove one of these.
The Interceptor also starred in numerous TV shows popular in the ‘70s and ‘80s such as "The Protectors" and "The Saint." Its unique styling was certainly an acquired taste, and it was much larger and heavier than most coupes of its time. This made it no fun to drive down narrow and twisty country roads.
As a testament to its reliability and GT credentials, the Interceptor featured in the video embarked on a cross-country road trip from Massachusetts to California. This Series III 1974 Jensen Interceptor doesn’t belong to Leno, however. Massachusetts resident Mark Halliday purchased the British grand tourer in 1995 and wanted to feature it on the show. Halliday made some modifications to improve the driving experience of the British brute by adding a fuel injection system and cold-air intake to improve performance, as well as upgrading the cooling system and adding an overdrive unit to make the grand tourer more efficient at highway speeds. Aside from those changes, this is a mostly stock example of the Interceptor.
It retains its stylish interior, comfortable ride and four-seater practicality. Jensen was closed in 1976, and despite its obscurity the US proved to be the Interceptor’s most successful market. That's not so surprising when you consider the sheer size of the grand tourer. Speaking of which, whatever happened to the newly reborn Jensen Interceptor which was meant to debut this year?