Class Sponsor

Year: 1966

Manufacturer: Jensen

Model: C-V8 MkIII

Country: The Netherlands

Anton Raaymakers

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1966 Jensen C-V8 MkIII

Ironically, the Jensen C-V8 was described by one journalist at its introduction as: “A superb concept carefully disguised as the ugliest car in the world.” This was mainly due to the nose design, with its striking slanted headlights. The initial concept was to use Perspex covers over these, but this plan did not reach final production due to concerns over reduced light output. However, with the changes to the MkII and ultimately the MkIII, the polyester body was further modelled and perfected. And so a serious Gran Turismo was born as a sports car that could compete with, amongst others, the Aston Martin DB5. It is notable that the best-known ‘gentleman playboy’ of all time, Sean Connery, chose a Jensen C-V8 for his private motoring and not the Aston Martin DB5 which earned him iconic status in his role as James Bond.

In the 1960s the C-V8 was what we now know as a hybrid – an English car with an American engine. The Jensen was powered by Chrysler’s 6.3-litre big-block V8 teamed with the fine Mopar Torqueflite automatic. It was pure American muscle coupled with innovative design from the British marque. The C-V8 was not only one of the fastest cars of its time, but with four-wheel Dunlop disc brakes, it was one of the most advanced in terms of technology and driving comfort.

The powerful heating system taken from the 1950-1958 Interceptor provided adequate heating and ventilation even in typical British weather. Journalists asked at the time why all cars couldn’t be like the Jensen C-V8. Jensen’s cars were, however, always a bit of an unknown to the general public, at least until the arrival of the later Interceptor. Unfortunately, as Jensen wasn’t active in motor sport, it was a case of ‘unknown makes remain unloved’.

This Jensen C-V8 MkIII, VIN 112/2419, was first registered in the UK on April 1966. Following eight British owners it was registered in the Netherlands on July 14, 1997, and after its final Dutch MoT in 2002 it was stored in a barn. The current owner acquired the car on July 16, 2015 and commenced an extensive nut-and-bolt restoration. Four years later, this matching-numbers example had been returned to its former glory, complete with California Sage and Light Mushroom paint and trim. Careful collaboration between the restoration craftsmen and the owner’s Jensen network resulted in it setting the brand’s benchmark for originality and excellence.

Even the rarest parts are in full working order. Take the car radio, for example. The Motorola 808T was made especially for the marque with a Jensen logo that glows brightly only when the radio is turned on. All these little details are fully functional here. The Armstrong Selectaride shock absorbers were overhauled and made electrically adjustable again, as they should be. Meanwhile, the original steering wheel, designed by Jensen and made by Bluemels, was present but had lost its authentic shine and splendour over the years. However, it was meticulously restored to its original glory and now occupies a prominent place in the beautiful interior.

Obviously the owner has the car’s original documentation and complete history, including the factory service file from Jensen Motors. Also the original tools, jack and even first aid kit from 1966 are present, exactly as shown in the sales brochure.

That all is quite exceptional within the Jensen world. Restoration costs often do not outweigh the lagging value development of this type of model. But the real connoisseur thinks otherwise. Jensen aficionados have expressed their appreciation for this car from all angles. One example of this is the recent purchase by Jay Leno of a C-V8 MkIII.

On June 20, 2019, the car made its maiden voyage back to the UK, where it participated in the concours at the 2019 International Meeting of the Jensen Owners Club. The car received the following four awards:

President’s Cup (Lord Strathcarron Cup)
First Prize Concours d’Elegance
Best Jensen C-V8
Members’ choice

Subsequently, the car also achieved the following results:

Concours of Elegance 2019 | Hampton Court Palace UK | Pre-1980 | Class Winner

Concours d’Elegance 2019 | Royal Palace Soestdijk‎ | Forgotten British Sport Pioneers | Class Winner

Classic Wings & Wheels 2019 | Gilze Rijen | Class Winner


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