Jensen emerged from the war with much added experience, through War Department contracts, but a bombed factory and the loss of most records. At first, they produced a vehicle similar to their 1930s models but plans were afoot…
Post War – a new start.
The H type had established Jensen Motors Ltd as bona fide manufacturers of fine motor cars, and after the War their new model was intended to build on that reputation. Many manufacturers introduced smaller models to appeal to the cash-strapped public, but Jensen designed a totally new, large 4-door saloon on a chassis derived from HC1. They also commissioned the famous engine manufacturers Henry Meadows to produce a brand now overhead valve straight eight of 3.9 litres. Unfortunately the engine suffered from serious vibration problems which severely delayed the launch of the new car, and eventually the Meadows engine was abandoned. Jensen fitted left-over Nash engines to the first few (perhaps six) cars, before securing a contract with Austin for their 4 litre unit from the new Sheerline. Just 18 of these cars were made, known as the “4 litre” but now referred to by their chassis prefix “PW”, meaning Post War.
A Return to Sports Cars – the First Interceptor.
The relationship with Austin started with the PW was to prove invaluable to Jensen, and enabled them to adapt an Austin chassis and the same 4-litre engine in a new car known as the Interceptor, which was introduced in 1949 as an addition to the range. Low-slung, it was fast for its day and had few competitors, since other manufacturers were still concentrating on either small practical and affordable family cars, or large saloons which were not at all sporty. The few sports cars that were around did not have the 4/5 seats of the Jensen. 88 Interceptors were built, saloons and “cabriolets”, as the drophead style had now been called. The body panels were mainly aluminium, as had been all previous Jensen cars, but towards the end of production Jensen experimented with glass-fibre for certain panels (notably boot lids), and that legacy was developed with the replacement model – the Jensen 541.
Words by Mike Williams, page edited by Stephen Carter