Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

1962-1966 Jensen CV8


The 1962-1966 Jensen CV-8, a low-production Anglo-American hybrid, was built by the small, West Bromwich coachworks run by Richard and Alan Jensen, successful purveyors of custom bodies for various British chassis in the 1930s. The CV8 was the last -- and regrettably the ugliest -- of Jensen's own fiberglass-body production models descended from the original 541 design first seen in 1953.

The four-seat, close-coupled coupe body rested on a very strong tubular chassis, with the tubes sealed to act as vacuum reservoirs for the brakes. The styling, which had evolved through several previous models, was marked by a controversial front end with slant-eye quad headlamps flanking a jutting, eggcrate grille. Wheel openings were accented with sharp horizontal creases above, and the gently curved tail had three small circular lights.

Power was supplied by contemporary Chrysler wedgehead V-8s, initially 361 cid, then 383. The Mark I became the Mark II in 1963, followed by the Mark III in 1965. More aerodynamic than it looked, the CV8 could reach 130 mph, and was fairly quick from standstill. Almost all examples had right-hand drive, and few were sold in the U.S.

The CV8 was expensive when new, mostly a function of Jensen's small production capacity and semi-handbuilt construction methods.


Pluses of the 1962-1966 Jensen CV8:
  • Torquey, reliable Chrysler power
  • Rot-free fiberglass body
  • Very low production
  • Mechanical parts plentiful yet
  • Low cost high performance
Minuses of the 1962-1966 Jensen CV8:
  • Love-it-or-leave-it styling
  • Burly handling
  • Fuel thirst
  • Modest rear-seat accommodation
  • Body parts becoming scarce
  • Prices have bombed since early 1990s
Production of the 1962-1966 Jensen CV8:
  • Mark I/II: 314
  • Mark III: 182

Specifications of the 1962-1966 Jensen CV8:
Wheelbase, inches: 105.0
Length, inches: 184.5
Weight, pounds: 3,360-3,515
Price, new: NA

Engines for the 1962-1966 Jensen CV8:

Type Size
Horsepower
Years
ohv V-8
361 cc
305 1962-1963
ohv V-8
383 cc
330
1963-1965

Want more information about classic cars? See:


More to Explore