Jensen C-V8 Mk II: Gentleman Express

Dino Eisele
Jensen C-V8 Mk II
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The brand based in West Bromwich, Staffordshire J ensen is featured in the Automobil-Revue- Catalog from 1964 described as “English commercial vehicle factory with small passenger car production”. That's right, even the passenger cars are somehow commercial vehicles: stable, spacious and unbreakable. The agents of the British secret service therefore drove a Jensen C-V8 - and not an Aston Martin.

Fastest commercial vehicle for four people

Nowadays, Klaus Steffens uses his chestnut-colored C-V8 coupé for rapid rallies -Events from the Histo Monte to the Silvretta Classic, from which he emerged as the overall winner this year, together with his co-driver and wife Karin. That's why this Jensen is not a show vehicle, but a commercial vehicle. The Minilite rims, which are fitted with lush 215/70 tires instead of the original 175 rubbers, are already apparent from afar. This makes the grim-looking four-eyed face even more aggressive.

The Jensen not only looks aggressive, he is too. A 6.3 liter Chrysler V8 with 335 SAE PS and 578 Newton meters of torque pushes the 4.69 meter long four-seater to the power ranges of a Jaguar E-Type 2 + 2 or Aston Martin DB5. The top speed is 225 km /h, and the sprint to 100 km /h takes just seven seconds. This was the first C-V8 Mk II the fastest four-seater of its time. Thanks to the long wheelbase and a high roof structure that extends far back and is reminiscent of a Jaguar sedan, there is enough space for two adults on the two shell-shaped rear seats.

But: The Jensen body is made of fiberglass and therefore, in conjunction with the imported US machine, raises the suspicion that the C-V8 is a sloppily screwed together kitcar.

Far from it, because the most advanced car technology is hidden under the attractive plastic cover. The ladder chassis consists primarily of two arm-thick longitudinal tubes that hold the Torqueflite automatic and the Chrylser V8 in tongs from below. Four disc brakes and standard, height-adjustable three-point belts guarantee a high level of active and passive safety. The hardness of the rearThe driver can adjust the shock absorber in four stages using a rotary knob on the transmission tunnel. Finally, in the interior: wood and leather as far as the eye can see. In addition, nicely made storage compartments next to the rear seats and in the center console.

Thanks to armaments production, Jensen can build cars

A look at the history of the traditional brand also makes it clear that there are no bunglers going on here were. The Birmingham brothers Alan (1906-1993) and Richard Jensen (1909-1976) took over the bodywork company W. J. Smith & Sons in 1936, where they had worked for several years as constructors and designers. In addition to truck bodies, sporty passenger cars were also produced, including those based on Ford. One of the clients was none other than US film star Clark Gable.

The first Jensen passenger car, an open tourer with a 3.6-liter V8 from Ford, appeared in 1935 and was built 50 times. Nevertheless, lightweight trucks with aluminum box frames, which Jensen sold under the JNSN brand, remained the real bestsellers.

Due to the production of armaments, including superstructures for fire fighting and ambulance vehicles, Jensen survived the war years with well-filled ones Cash registers and devoted himself increasingly to the production of passenger cars.

After the large PW sedan with a four-liter six-cylinder from Austin, Jensen presented the first Interceptor with a modern pontoon body made of aluminum in 1950. Jensen designer Eric Neale, who came from Wolseley in 1946, created his masterpiece nine years later.

The body of the 541 with its powerfully rounded fastback rear was made of fiberglass and was already resting on the ladder frame of the subsequent C-V8 , but had to make do with the only 130 hp Austin six-cylinder.

First ABS series car from 1966: Jensen FF

The Jensen FF (Ferguson Formula) from 1966, which looks like Also based technically on the new Interceptor designed by Vignale, it was the first production car to have permanent all-wheel drive and an ABS braking system.

But not only numerous technical innovations, but also many third-party orders taken on by Jensen document the versatility of the British company. This is how the Austin Healey and the Volvo P 1800 Coupé, among others, were built there at times.

But Steffens ’Rallye-Jensen shows best what the exotic is made of. The graduate economist and engineer, who maintains his C-V8 and other top-class old and youngtimers himself, bought the coupé in 2004 from a man in his mid-thirties in England.

“He drove the car as an everyday car and needed it because of his offspring a practical car with a tailgate, ”reports Steffens. The Jensen had the second engine, but the first paint. After the V8 machine had been thoroughly drained, the new owners reeled off 40,000 breakdown-free kilometers with their English dresser


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