Charles Dunstone, the founder of Carphone Warehouse, has emerged as part of a surprise new venture: an attempt to resurrect the iconic Jensen Interceptor.
Jensen International Automotive (JIA), set up this year to reinvent the classic car for the modern era, said the chairman of Carphone Warehouse had backed the venture with an undisclosed sum and joined the board.
It added: "He was one of the first people to own an Interceptor S and was keen to invest in, and join the board of JIA when invited to do so."
It is not the first time Mr Dunstone has been involved in the car business. Best Buy Europe – the joint venture between Carphone Warehouse and the US electronics group Best Buy – said in April it would sell electric cars from its out-of-town superstores.
JLA, which is based in Thame, Oxfordshire, was formed in April "exclusively to develop the successful Jensen Interceptor S". Tony Banham, who has been appointed to lead the new board, said the group would build only 18 cars a year, each one by hand. They will be made from existing Interceptors which will be stripped, restored and re-engineered.
Each car will take about four months to complete and will cost £105,000. JLA described the design and power of the original in the 1960s and 1970s as "symbolic of the hedonistic, unlimited optimism of a generation". Jensen, which first released the car in 1966, stopped producing cars a decade later.
Mr Dunstone, a close friend of Tony Blair, founded Carphone Warehouse in 1989. The group split in two this year, between electronics arm Carphone and TalkTalk Telecom, Britain's second-largest broadband provider. Mr Dunstone is chairman of both.