A NEW APPROACH IN AN AGE OLD BUSINESS+44 (0) 1926 691 141
At the start of the 1950s the Jensen Motor Company had a financially sound business producing commercial vehicles and building bespoke bodies for other manufacturers. As is often the way with successful entrepreneurs, the Jensen brothers enjoyed having their name on their products and having been involved for years prior to the war building small cars in conjunction with Standard, Austin and Wolseley, their attention turned again in the late forties to the possibility of creating a rather more exclusive Jensen. Richard Jensen was joined in 1946 by Eric Neale and they jointly penned the sleek (and expensive) Interceptor which remained in production from 1950-57. The bodywork was mostly aluminium, but as an experiment Jensen had started making the large boot lids in a new process called glass fibre. Eric Neale's influence was immediately obvious in the, new for 1953, Jensen 541. He first created the distinctive 'mouth' shape, anticipating the cold air requirements of a possible big V8 although the Austin 4-litre straight six turned out to be the engine of choice, and the rest of the body flowed back from that point. A lattice of wooden body formers provided a reference over which skilled craftsmen beat a skin of aluminium. The finished car was exhibited at the 1953 Motor Show but there was one trick left up Jensen's sleeve, production cars were to be constructed from glass fibre! Offered here is a restored Jensen 541 carefully hand built in West Bromwich in 1956, some sixty years ago, and still looking as dramatically different as it did in the day. When they were first launched they had the same effect on a car-starved public as the Bugatti Veyron did fifty years later. This delightful example still carries it original registration 222 BPL issued in Guildford. The V5 shows just three owners and perhaps further research by the new owner could reveal more about the life and times of this stylish fifties Grand Tourer. The restoration appears to have been comprehensive and the interior is absolutely superb in red leather with matching carpets. The original body colour was green and, in period, a lot of 541s were finished in sober, even sombre, colours 222 BPL now looks resplendent in a Metallic Royal Blue which really lifts the car. The cabin of this GT is a very functional place to be with its impressive dash layout and its original style three-spoke steering wheel. The Jensen story is fascinating and as fifties GTs continue to return to favour, this lovely, well-restored 541 makes a very sensible proposition.