Following the end of production of the Austin-Healey 3000, which Jensen built the bodies for, San Francisco based Austin-Healey dealer Kjell Qvale was keen to find a new model to take to market.

He invested in Jensen Motors, making Donald Healey the chairman, and encouraged a joint venture between Jensen and Healey to develop and build the Jensen-Healey two-seater sports car. Production began in 1972 and continued until 1976, turning out over 10,500 cars.

In the early ‘70s, the oil crisis flattened sales of Jensen’s large capacity V8 Interceptor. In response, a 2+2 shooting-brake version of the Jensen-Healey sports car was developed and built during the last two years of production, which was known as the Jensen GT (Donald Healey having by then pulled out of the venture). In an attempt to appeal to buyers conscious of fuel consumption it was marketed as “The Good Thinking Car”.

Both variants of the car were powered by the new Lotus 907 engine - from the same inline four-cylinder, 16-valve, dual overhead cam family of engines that would go on to feature in the Eclat and Esprit, as well as the Talbot Lotus Sunbeam and a number of Vauxhall DTV rally cars.

This 1973cc engine developed 144 bhp, which was respectable for the time giving a top speed of around 119 mph, slightly lower for the heavier GT, but it lacked torque at low revs. It was mated to a Getrag 5-speed manual gearbox.

A combination of industrial action and over-extended production capacity brought about the demise of Jensen Motors, going into receivership in 1975 and eventually exhausting the stock of factory parts to build cars in May 1976.

In total, 511 Jensen GTs were produced during just under two years of production. The majority went to North America but 230 were sold in mainland UK.

The Vehicle

This 1640-prefix, UK home market Jensen GT was first registered in October 1975, carrying the registration number NNP 516P. The personalised registration shown in the accompanying photographs will not be staying on the car.

A key highlight of this example is that in 1996 it was comprehensively restored by Martin Robey - the company that acquired all the tooling, documentation and intellectual property from Jensen Motors’ liquidation.

Our vendor bought this unusual car just over a year ago, after it had been dry stored for several years, and spent good money to have it recommissioned and brought back to a well-presented condition and good running order.

On the Outside

The exterior of this GT is finished in Cheviot Brown and, as such, is one of only 37 cars that left the West Bromwich factory in this colour. Brown was a popular colour in the seventies and is enjoying something of a revival more recently.

The paint and bodywork appear in a generally good overall condition, albeit with the odd scrape to a panel edge and the brightwork looks original but has been well polished. A corner piece on the nearside rear has bent outwards slightly, and there’s the occasional small dent but otherwise the trim is very presentable.

The car is fitted with an inbuilt-type sunroof - in other words it slides inside the headlining rather than sticking up into the airflow. Although nicely done, this was not factory fitted but added during the restoration in the mid-nineties.

The Jensen sits on original-style 13-inch black painted alloy wheels, which look in good condition and are finished with the correct Jensen chequered centre caps. All are fitted with Hero HR558 tyres, which have good tread but may need replacing soon due to being 15 or more years old.

A nice touch is the presence of an original “Built and serviced by Jensen Cars Ltd” sticker in the rear window.

On the Inside

The interior of the GT is a very pleasant combination of black leather up front on the dash and central tunnel, tan leather on the seats and door trims, and brown corduroy/velour seat facings and door inserts.

All the upholstery looks to be in a very good condition, with no obvious damage or undue wear. The rear +2 seats look barely sat on - although full sized passengers would find it a challenge to ride in the back.

The steering wheel is a period Mountney three-spoke leather-clad item, slightly dished to increase reach. The instrument panel, centre console and glove box lid are trimmed in walnut veneer, which nicely contrasts with the black of the padded dash to give a very classic period feel. What isn’t so retro is the modern Blaupunkt Barcelona stereo unit sitting centrally above the clock.

The dark carpets look clean and in good order and up above the headlining is in reasonable condition, having been refitted recently, but still has a few loose areas around the sunroof opening.


The engine bay is very neat looking, with some of the ancillaries like the induction silencer and radiator looking newly refreshed along with a few new hoses having been fitted. The carbs and the engine itself look honest, in other words they’ve not been jet washed or steam cleaned to hide any issues.

The car’s undersides look in reasonable condition with an older coating of underseal covering most surfaces. There is a little surface rust coming through on some components but nothing that appears untoward.

The boot space is lined with the same tan leather as the interior and has a dark carpet across the load bed. The backs of the rear seats fold forward to give additional room for luggage. The frame around the tailgate shows a little oxidation to the chrome but otherwise all is presentable.

History Highlights

The Jensen’s last MOT expired in February 2017 and although it is exempt by virtue of its age, we would always encourage owners of classics to view an annual MOT as an independent assessment of your car’s roadworthiness, should you ever be called upon to prove it.

That said, a full inspection was carried out in October last year by JWORX in Bourton-on-the-Water, Gloucestershire where a few adjustments and replacements were made.

The history file contains correspondence, old MOT reports and numerous invoices for work done and parts purchased, including all the restoration work done by Martin Robey in 1996. As the sole supplier of many Jensen parts, the vast majority of the invoices are unsurprisingly from Robey’s.

Work in May 2022 to recommission the car following a number of years in dry storage includes the following, which totalled to around £7k of expenditure:

● JWORX Automotive - sorting out the ignition and tuning the carburettors.

● The Beaconsfield Workshop - engine recommissioning and cambelt service, replacing hoses, overhauling brakes, new windscreen and headlining.

An original Owner’s Handbook comes with the car along with a copy of a recent journal from the Jensen Owners’ Club.

What We Think

This nicely turned out Jensen GT starts and drives really well and for the money offers a far less common alternative to other +2 shooting brakes and fastbacks of the period.

With prices of sorted Interceptors climbing away beyond most people’s reach, perhaps it is time to consider the eminently more frugal and “good thinking” Jensen GT. We think that this well presented and low mileage GT will sell for between £18,000 and £22,000.

Our vendor - who has owned several Jensens including GTs - bought this unusual car just over a year ago, after it had been dry stored for several years, and has spent good money to have it recommissioned and brought back to a well-presented condition and good running order.

Viewing is always encouraged, and this particular car is located with us at The Market HQ near Abingdon; we are open weekdays 9am-5pm, to arrange an appointment please use the Contact Seller button at the top of the listing. Feel free to ask any questions or make observations in the comments section below, or try our ‘Frequently Asked Questions’.


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rod mckie

  • Location: The Market HQ Abingdon, United Kingdom
  • Seller Type: Private
  • Odometer Reading: 88k
  • Chassis Number: 30065
  • Engine: 1973
  • Gearbox: Manual
  • Steering position: Right-hand drive
  • Colour: Brown
  • Interior: Tan
  • Estimated Price: £18,000 - £22,000

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