We've always loved the Jensen Interceptor. After all, it was one of the two cars that got us into classic car hire in the first place. So at Great Escape Classic Car Hire were interested to read the recent article in Autocar with Brendan O'Toole, the man behind the proposed new Jensen Interceptor to be built in Coventry.
O'Toole runs CPP, a specialist low volume car manufacturer and supplier to top-end brands. When we originally heard of CPP's plans to revive the Jensen brand with manufacturer at Jaguar's famous Brown's Lane plant, we were somewhat sceptical. After all, plenty of people have tried and failed to revive Jensen over the years. Back in 1976 it was lack of scale and volume that killed Jensen. So we couldn't quite work out how CPP could make low volume manufacture economical.
O'Toole seems to have a plan. CPP already has a track record in low volume manufacture and has assembled a high quality suite of suppliers who can provide the specialist skills that it cannot economically provide on its own. CPP argues that by bespoking its products it can be viable for any production run between 1 and 250 cars. As well as offering this service to the automotive industry, it makes sense for CPP to also offer fully complete products to the end market in specialist niches based around desirable brands like Jensen.
In principle, this looks like a much more workable solution than some of the previous attempts to create pure stand-alone businesses. The question is whether enough people want to buy a Jensen Interceptor in the 21st century. We love them and there's no doubt that they still excude charm and character. But a new Jensen Interceptor will have to update the hairy-chested medallion man image that stuck with the car in the 1970s. In short, the new Jensen needs to be cool and desirable. Just as Aston Martin quickly discovered that James Bond won't sell cars for ever, CPP needs to make the Jensen Interceptor as good as it can be for the modern market, not a car that just rests on aging laurels.
We are very excited about the new Jensen and we wish CPP all the best. In the meantime, if you can't afford a new one or can't wait until it arrives, try the original - we have two Jensen Interceptors to hire from our bases in Yorkshire and Cotswolds. For more details call 01527 893733 or visit http://www.greatescapecars.co.uk/.