Muscle machine: Jay Leno drives a 1974 Jensen Interceptor


Historic British carmaker Jensen is enjoying a second life these days.

Its flagship model—and best seller—was the big, V-8-powered Interceptor that was built between 1966 and 1976 and just over 6,000 were made. That may sound like a lot, but at just a few hundred per year, the British-built coupes weren't easy to find in the States in its time. Now, the newfound classics are popular with American owners.

Jay Leno walks us around a privately owned example from a Massachusetts collector named Mark Halliday. He drove the Interceptor from Massachusetts to California, disproving the long-held myth that British cars aren't reliable. (Maybe.)

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The Interceptor is well-known for having a giant 7.2-liter V-8 from Chrysler, although newer Corvette engine-powered examples are showing up. Leno astutely points out that the Interceptor is like a "Dodge Coronet that went to college," and we don't disagree. Halliday's Interceptor has fuel injection via Edelbrock injectors, and an overdrive added to the transmission—so it gets 10 mpg, not 2 mpg, presumably. It's American muscle in a British package with an Italian body.

The rest of the car is very well done, including an updated interior that Halliday said took about a year to refurbish.

The Interceptor's piece de resistance, of course, was the Jensen FF's four-wheel-drive system, which was one of the first in a production car of its time. Halliday's car isn't one of those models, but the pair discuss the innovative coupe around the 20-minute mark.

Leno provides a fairly comprehensive walk-thru of the car, and Halliday is clearly an engaged owner with plenty of interesting tidbits about the car's life and resurrection.

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