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Jensen Reviews

Jensen was created by brothers Richard and Alan as a family coachbuilding firm in 1934. By 1936 Jensen built its own car by 1936, using Ford V8 engines. Post-war Jensens were large and impressive machines with the emphasis on grand touring.

After experimenting with glassfibre-bodied cars (the 541 and individualistic CV8), Jensen suddenly leapt to fame and some fortune with the iconoclastic Interceptor, powered by a Chrysler V8. It also built a less-successful but revolutionary four-wheel-drive and ABS-braked version, dubbed FF, but it couldn't repeat the success of the Interceptor - it was a conceptual predecessor to the 1980 Audi quattro. Despite a 1970s tie-up with Healey to build sports cars, bankruptcy struck in 1976.

Good: Charismatic styling, tuneful seep-chested straight-six, plenty of performance, corrosion-free glass fibre bodywork
Bad: It's what's under the glass fibre you need to worry about
Good: Oodles of performance from its American V8, huge fun and great sounding to boot, characterful and a real head-turner
Bad: Marmite looks could count against the C-V8 too, heavy to fuel and run, mechanical parts easy to get hold of, but body and chassis less so
Good: Ultra-cool Anglo Italian GT with lashings of V8 power, FF version had all the toys
Bad: Horrendous thirst but we assume you'll not be racking up thousands of miles in it
Good: Lotus twin-cam engine is a peach, as long as it's been sorted, steering and handling aren't bad, GT shooting brake is an interesting and practical Scimitar alternative
Bad: Less than the sum of its parts, and obviously unreliable and less well-made than it should have been