The story of the Jensen Interceptor and why its in Fast and Furious 6
Jensen is one of those many pre war British brands that met an unfortunate end at the hands of bankruptcy. The company was started by two coach building brothers in 1934 when they were asked by Hollywood star Clark Gable to build him a bespoke car based on the Ford V8. World War II saw the builders shift their focus to building components for military vehicles but they resumed to building cars soon after with the PW luxury saloon. Austin, a big British firm of the time was so taken with the PW's design that they made a very similar car of their own called Sheerline. Naturally the Jensen brothers weren't too pleased about this but Austin placated them by offering to supply them with engines from the Sheerline as Jensen was having problems with the V8 motor that was being used in the PW. This was the start of a long relationship between the two firms.
The first Interceptor surfaced in the early 1950s however this was a totally different car from the one you will see tearing it up in the sixth Fast and the Furious movie. The new one debuted in 1965 to replace the older CV8 model. It instantly became the most famous car from the brand, to the extent of being the very face that pops up in your head when you think Jensen. The styling was far more modern than anything previously seen from the brand. There was a good reason behind this the handsomely proportioned body was designed and also initially built in Italy. The design was the brain child of Italian coachbuilder Carrozeria Touring who were also behind cars like the original Alfa Romeo 8C from 1930 and the Lamborghini 350 GT. The Interceptor was essentially a 4-seater GT car and came in a choice of hatchback, convertible or coupe body styles. Jensen used Chrysler V8 engines with a choice of four speed manual or automatic transmissions. About 6000 Interceptors were built till 1976 when the brand went into liquidation.
So why was the Interceptor so special? It was neither the fastest nor one of the best cars to drive from its era. No, the Interceptor was quite simply one of the coolest cars of the period. And that's why it gets some precious screen time in the latest Fast & Furious movie. It's also why the Interceptor is still very much alive today despite the fact that the brand died almost 40 years ago. Restored and rebodied Interceptors are big business today. Jensen International Automotive, for example specializes in building the Interceptor R where the company strips, reengineers and rebuilds old Interceptors. They use modern running gear like engines from a Corvette, uprated suspension and big six pot brakes in addition to reworking the interior with modern luxuries without losing the retro theme. If that's not enough then you can also buy an all new, modern take of the Interceptor in 2014.
CPP Holdings, the same folk who own extreme off-roader specialists Bowler has been appointed to engineer and develop the all new Interceptor by brand owners Healey Sports Cars Switzerland Ltd. These are good times for fans of the Interceptor and because the king of cool is coming back with a bang.