Jensen Motors Ltd was a British manufacturer of sports cars and commercial vehicles in West Bromwich founded by brothers Alan and Richard Jensen when they took over the commercial body and sports car body making business of W J Smith & Sons Limited in 1934.
Jensen Motors built specialist car bodies for major manufacturers, alongside cars of their own design using engines and mechanics of big automobile companies Ford, Austin and Chrysler. The first true production car was called White Lady, which evolved into the Jensen S-type produced in 1935. By the late 1930’s, Jensen had diversified into the production of commercial vehicles under the marque JNSN, including a series of innovative lightweight trucks. Car production ceased during World War II when Jensen concentrated on the war effort producing components for military vehicles and on the production of specialised ambulances and fire engines.
Production of cars resumed immediately after the war with the introduction of the Jensen PW luxury saloon in 1946. The same year, body designer Eric Neale joined Jensen Motors from Wolseley resulting in the introduction of the first Interceptor coupe in 1950 and then his masterpiece, the model 541 in 1955 using the then revolutionary material fibreglass for its bodywork.
Jensen Motors also continued to produce a new range of JNSN lightweight diesel trucks and chassis for a variety of commercial vehicles, including pantechnicons and buses. In the 1950’s and 60’s, Jensen Motors were involved in collaborations resulting in the Austin A440 Sports, the Austin-Healey 100, the Volvo p1800 and the Sunbeam Tiger.
Jensen was bought by Norcros Limited (an industrial holding company) in June 1959. Alan Jensen retired from the positions of joint managing director and alternate chairman I October 1964, though he remained on the board. Richard Jensen “relinquished” his appointment as joint managing director in November 1965, but remained chairman. However, following disagreements, both Alan and Richard Jensen resigned from the board in 1966.
Following disastrous car sales, Norcros decided to sell their automotive subsidiary to a merchant bank in mid-1968. The Norwegian-American West Coast car distributor Kjell Qvale became the majority shareholder in 1970 and brought in Donald Healey who was appointed chairman in April the same year. This led to the new Jensen-Healey model being announced in March 1972, though the volume of sales was mediocre. In October 1974, Kjell Qvale appointed himself chief executive as well as chairman and production was halved to match sales.
A Jensen GT model was announced in July 1975, but then the business’ future came under threat again leading to the redundancy of two thirds of its workforce. Despite this, the company was forced to declare bankruptcy and an official receiver was appointed by the Bank of America in September 1975. Even so, production continued until Jensen Motors Limited went into liquidation in May 1976 and with the empty premises being auctioned off in mid-August.
Two new companies, Jensen Special Products (JSP) and Jensen Parts & Service Limited (JP&S) were created from the ruins of the original Jenson Motors company. JP&S then turned into a company called International Motors. Then, both JSP and JP&S were bought by a holding company, Britcar Holdings. In 1982, JP&S, with the rights to use the Jensen brand names, was sold to Ian Orford who put the Interceptor back into productionas the MkIV. In 1988, Orford sold the business to Unicorn Holdings of Stockport. Although development work then started on a new model, the Series 5, it was never realised. In 1998, Creative Design of Redditch developed a new Jensen car, the S-V8. Although a few cars were built, the project was unsuccessful and ended in 2002.
A new version of the Jensen Interceptor was announced in 2011 by Jensen International Automotive (JIA) with production commencing the same year.
RENT A JENSEN FROM CLASSIC PARADE
We stock a number of Jensen vehicles for hire around London and the UK. Take a look at our selection below. All come with a FREE DOORSTEP DELIVERY & COLLECTION SERVICE, as well as a GUARANTEED GOLD VIP SERVICE. We are OPEN 24/7, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
All calls are recorded for training and monitoring purposes.