A-Z Of Marques: Jensen

The marque: Posh British cars, but racier than Bristols, Bentleys and the rest.

The History: Founded by the Jensen brothers in the Thirties, the company, in its original incarnation, was based in West Bromwich. Jensen's very first car used an American Ford V8 engine, starting a tradition to which the company was to return.

Early post-War models used Austin 4-litre engines, but V8s made a reappearance with the advanced C-V8 of 1962. The Vignale-styled Interceptor, also with a Chrysler V8, was introduced in 1966 and remained the mainstay of the Jensen range until a weak economy saw the company fail in 1976.

Jensens, in particular the C-V8 and the Interceptor, incorporated innovations that only filtered through to mainstream cars 20 years later, including Maxaret anti-lock brakes. And who now remembers that it was Jensen, not Audi, that pioneered four-wheel-drive?

Production of the Interceptor was briefly revived in 1983 but in the late Nineties there was a more serious attempt to relaunch the marque. The new car, the S-V8, combined a Ford V8 with distinctive styling that harked back to the C-V8. But it was not enough to prevent the new Jensen company going into administration in 2002.

Defining model: The Interceptor/FF. It had the lot; advanced four-wheel-drive mechanicals wrapped in a sleek Italian-styled body.

They say: All round excellence (Jensen company catalogue).

We say: Any chance of another revival?

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