The first all-new Jensen car for more than 13 years is set to roll off the production line, reviving the famed sportscar marque, once built in West Bromwich.
Jensen International Automotive (JIA) has unveiled its stunning Jensen GT, designed by Jonathan Gould, which it plans to put into production if it gets enough interest.
The V8-engined two-door GT will be a car for those with deep pockets and its makers predict it will cost about £350,000.
Durran Heslop of Banbury-based JIA said even one firm order for the car could see the company proceed with production though the cost for a one-off model would be considerably higher.
The car will be fitted with a General Motors 6.4-litre supercharged V8 engine, delivering 665bhp and a choice of six-speed automatic or manual transmissions in a lightweight aluminium and composite body.
JIA has built a reputation building ‘modernised’ original Jensen Interceptors – its R and R Supercharged models – at its Banbury factory, which sell for between £160,000 and £190,000.
Using an original 1970s Interceptor as a donor car, the vehicle is stripped back to the metal before being totally rebuilt from the ground up using the latest technology.
Mr Heslop said: “They are versions of the same theme – an original 1970s Jensen Interceptor, bare-metalled, fully restored in the body and modernised with modern running gear. It is a classic car but drives more like a modern car.”
The new GT has been made possible thanks to an agreement between JIA and Jensen Motor Group, which now owns the Jensen name.
Jensen Motor Group is planning to launch its own new Jensen – the Interceptor 2 – in due course with the GT acting as an interim special edition in the meantime.
Mr Heslop said: “Jensen Motor Group holds the legal rights to the Jensen name and have granted JIA an exclusive licence to use the name on the GT.
“Having acquired the name, Jensen Motor Group are keen to actively re-introduce the brand to the open market
“It is good for us to be able to add a new model to our range, something that has always been a plan.”
Originally JIA looked at the idea of developing a new version of the R based on the Jensen Interceptor Convertible.
A concept model was created by the exclusive car-maker and following acquisition of all the parts from the last Jensen manufacturing venture has evolved into the new GT.
The Jensen S-V8, a two-seater convertible, was launched at the 1998 British International Motor Show representing a £10 million investment, which included backing from the Department of Trade and Industry and Liverpool City Council.
Around 300 orders were received for the vehicles but only 20 were built at the Merseyside factory in Speke in 2001 and the company went into administration in 2002.
Mr Heslop said: “Last year we had the opportunity to purchase the remnants of the S-V8 parts stock.
“With the parts we had got it became quite clear to us that what we could do was to develop the original GT concept with new running gear and that is how the new GT came to be.
“It is a fresh car but uses some existing components and an engine and drivetrain which we get from General Motors.
“They spent £10 million designing the S-V8 and it was well designed with well thought-through components.
“We could see there was potential with its underpinnings and it was a waste to let it sit there.
“We felt it would be fantastic to create a car with the Jensen name that had the style and feel of a Jensen and used authentic Jensen parts.”
The famous Midland marque, which was once driven by the likes of Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, and Princess Anne, was originally made in West Bromwich before the factory there closed its doors in May 1976.
Mr Heslop added: “The Interceptor was a seriously aspirational car and that is what drives customers to buy one of our Interceptor Rs. They remember being wowed by it.
“It has a mystique and magical attraction to it. Many of the donor cars that come to us also have celebrity connections.
“It was a super expensive car in its day with a price tag that would buy a family home, much as it is today.”