Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
- This page is about car manufacturer, for other uses see Jensen (disambiguation)
Jensen Motors was a British manufacturer of sports cars based in West Bromwich (in the West Midlands west of Birmingham). Jensen began as a small coachbuilding firm run by brothers Richard and Alan Jensen; they bought out the body works of W.J. Smiths & Sons where they worked after the owner's death and renamed it Jensen Motors in 1936. Smiths had previously built their first car, named the White Lady, in 1935. In the years leading up to World War II Jensen produced a small number of cars and commercial bodies for trucks and buses.
Production of cars ceased over the war years, but by 1946 a new vehicle was offered, the Jensen PW (a luxury saloon). Few were produced since raw materials were still in short supply. A more modern coupe followed in 1950, named the Interceptor , which was built until 1958. In 1955, Jensen started production of the 541 , which used the then-revolutionary material of fiberglass for its bodywork. The 541 was replaced by the CV8 in 1962, which replaced the Austin-sourced straight-6 of the previous cars with a 6 litre American Chrysler V8. This large engine in such a lightweight car made the Jensen one of the fastest four-seaters of the time.
For its replacement (the Interceptor, launched in 1966) Jensen turned to the Italian coachbuilder, Touring, for the body design, and to steel for the material. The bodyshells themselves were built by Vignale of Italy and later by Jensen. The same 383 in³ Chrysler wedge-head powerplant was used. Initially only a two-door coupe was available, with contemporary square-cut lines except for a large, curving wrap-around rear window that doubled as a hatchback.
Related to the Interceptor was another car, the Jensen FF, the letters standing for Ferguson Formula , the inventors of its groundbreaking full-time all wheel drive system, the first on a production sports car. Also featured was the Dunlop Maxaret anti-lock braking system in one of the first uses of ABS in a production car. Outwardly, the only differences from the Interceptor were four extra inches of length (all ahead of the windscreen) and a second row of air vents behind the front wheels. The small number of 320 FFs were constructed, and production ceased in 1971. A revival in 2001 was short lived, by the end of 2002 car production on their only model - the £40,000 SV8 - had ceased due to lack of interest and poor sales.
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