London to Cape Wrath in a Jensen


Members of the Jensen Owners Club have been out again proving that these big old coupes are more durable and reliable than their reputations let on. In the last year the Club has completed Lands End to John O'Groats and a high-speed trial of an old Jensen FF. Now it's the turn of David Stagg who brought his Jensen Interceptor FF over from Australia to complete London to Cape Wrath. The event was held to recreate, on its 40th anniversary, an identical run in the same car by a pair of motoring writers.

The car managed without a hitch and collected numerous other Interceptors en route. Sadly, for me, I only heard about it after the event or I would have brought out my own cars since the convey virtually passed my doorstep on the M40.

David's FF had been subject to a mammoth renovation but even still the run is a testament to the strength of the Jensen Interceptor. The do have a well-ingrained reputation for being recalcitrant that isn't entirely undeserved, but is exaggerated by circumstances. Most of the problems on the cars are electrical involving wires and ancillary parts. The root cause is poor design and engineering and the excessive under-bonnet heat, which fries all the wiring. Apart from this bugbear, the Interceptor is a pretty basic and solid car.

The electrical problems are fiercesomely complex to fix because it seems that virtually no two cars are the same. This in itself leads to more problems as various owner and mechanics make bodges and fixes to repair or circumnavigate wiring problems that have no obvious cause. So subsequent repairs became even harder as each car moves further and further away from the standard specification. The problem is compounded by the relatively low values of Interceptors, which means that they're often fixed on the cheap.

So congratulations to David Stagg. I run three Interceptors as hire cars and I'm constantly impressed by them - apart from the occasional electrical fit they are much more durable and predictable (and cheaper to run) than British and Italian exotics like Ferrari, Iso and Aston Martin.

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