JIA Jensen Interceptor R Supercharged

Thunder-cracking classic comeback

(Photos: Jensen International Automotive)
(Photos: Jensen International Automotive)
With an apocalyptic thunder-cracking boom reverberating throughout its walls, Jensen International Automotive’s (JIA) Banbury headquarters seemed to shake to its very foundations as the Interceptor R Supercharged rumbled to life. Settling into an intensely resonant but languid bass-rich burble, the immaculately rebuilt and re-engineered Interceptor R Supercharged sounded as dramatic as its scowling style would imply. The Interceptor R is a slice of moody 1960s glamor remastered for contemporary times, yet is no fragile relic or garage queen only to be paraded at classic car shows. The Interceptor R is instead a thoroughly updated classic luxury grand tourer with modern electrics and a reliably robust drive-line. اضافة اعلان

An ideal classic comeback candidate with its small but dedicated following, sturdy and stiff monocoque and twin beam construction, and more reasonable values than other classics of its era, the Jensen Interceptor was an unpretentiously glamorous niche grand tourer in its 1966-1976 heyday. Timelessly stylish, the Interceptor combined British luxury and engineering with seductive Italian design by Carrozzeria Touring of Milan, and Chrysler-sourced American V8 muscle.

Established in 2010 by Jensen-enthusiast businessmen and engineers — backed by Sir Charles Dunstone of Carphone Warehouse fame — JIA builds are based on 1969-1976 donor cars, and are limited to single figures annually. The resurrected Interceptor R is faithful to the original’s character and style, but is more than an exercise of simple nostalgia. It instead improves reliability, performance, comfort, and dynamics. Starting with a complete strip-down, donor shells are repaired, seam-sealed, primed, and painted. The 26-30 week build also includes new wiring looms and electrics. Refurbished seals and a bonded windscreen meanwhile provide enhanced refinement and reduce wind noise.

Modern muscle
Replacing the original Interceptor’s cast iron 6.3- and 7.4-liter Chrysler V8 engines, JIA instead opted for General Motors’ (GM) more modern 6.2-liter naturally aspirated 435HP LS3 or supercharged 564HP LSA power plants, driving the rear wheels through six-speed automatic or manual gearbox options. The Interceptor R’s aluminum LS-series engines are lighter, and more efficient and powerful than the original, but offer similar characteristics and compact OHV design. Mounted further back for improved weight distribution, the Interceptor R’s robust and reliable V8 options are easily maintained, brutally effective, and well-suited for the rigors of daily driving.

Developing a mighty 564HP at 6,100rpm and 747Nm torque at 3,800rpm, the gloriously bassy and bellowing 1,600kg Interceptor R Supercharged is supercar-swift, blasting through 0–100km/h in just 3.8 seconds and capable of 280km/h. The Interceptor R Supercharged lunges off-the-line with urgent immediacy and is utterly brutal as it races towards its rev limit. With abundant output throughout its rev range, it is muscularly versatile at mid-range engine speeds, while automatic gear shifts are dispatched smoothly and responsively. Modern brakes are meanwhile very effective, but original servo assistance requires firm pedal input.

The Interceptor R Supercharged most importantly replaces the original rear live axle with lower wishbone twin damper independent rear suspension. This allows independent wheel travel on each side and improves ride refinement and handling. Revised springs, bushes, and tightened-up and firmer steering meanwhile make it more connected, responsive, and refined. Fluent over imperfections and buttoned down on rebound, the Interceptor R is reassuringly planted at speed. Its meaty steering provides good road feel and tidy turn-in, but a tall ratio requires more turning input. Balanced, well-controlled and grippy through corners, its handling is predictable, progressive, and transparent.

Sense of occasion
The Interceptor was indulgent and sophisticated, yet somewhat understated. It projected a reserved sense of assertive presence and power, and was famously driven by Frank Sinatra, Clarke Gable, Dusty Springfield, and Farah Fawcett. Little altered aesthetically, the Interceptor R remains a model of unpretentiously dramatic design, with a slinky low waistline, generous glasshouse, and distinctive wraparound rear glass hatch. It is stylish yet uncomplicated, and classy but restrained, with its deep-set quad headlights and lasciviously long bonnet lending it a predatory presence.

The Interceptor R Supercharged’s subtle styling changes include a wire mesh grille and side vents, re-chromed bumpers, wider exhaust tips, a deeper air dam, halogen headlights, and tastefully incorporated modern electric mirrors. Bespoke replica 17-inch (rather than 15-inch) alloy wheels accommodate powerful modern AP Racing brakes, while 245/45R17 front and 255/45R17 rear tires provide improved road-holding, braking, stability, and handling without sacrificing comfort. Clients have a bespoke choice of solid, metallic, or pearlescent paint, and interior preferences.

Luxurious and exotic, the Interceptor R’s classy cabin gives a sense of occasion and provides good visibility to easily place it on road. It features new leather-lined carpets, a slim period-style steering wheel, refurbished double-stitch leather upholstered seats, and technologically contemporary, period-style stereo, air conditioning, and optional satnav. The Supercharged version incorporates a new, driver-focused JIA-designed dashboard. With pod-like instruments, user-friendly layouts, clear chrome-ringed instrumentation, metal-gated buttons, and vertical emphasis, it replaces the naturally aspirated Interceptor R’s horizontally oriented, refurbished original dashboard.

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