1972-1976 Jensen-Healey and Jensen GT

The Inevitable End

By September 1975, Jensen was in trouble. Because of the big rise in gasoline prices, sales of its large Chrysler-powered Interceptors dried up, which left the Jensen-Healey and Jensen GT models trying to keep the sizable West Bromwich factory financially afloat. It couldn't be done. The receivers were called in, assembly line activity was run down, and, early in 1976, the last car was produced. In the beginning, Qvale had hoped to make 10,000 Jensen-Healeys every year; in the end, it had taken nearly four years to sell that many cars.

Left undone were replacements that were in the works for the Interceptor and GT, the latter another wagon-style car with gullwing doors tentatively known as the G-Type. Two spin-off companies were created out of the remains of Jensen Motors, Ltd., and one of them -- Jensen Parts & Service, Ltd. -- became a distributor of Subarus in Great Britain.

In the early Eighties, the car importing business was split from Jensen Parts & Service, the latter purchased by its managing director, who envisioned a revival of the Interceptor.

Only a mere trickle of of them came out before the last one was made in 1992, however. (Later rights-holders to the Jensen name attempted a rebirth of the marque after the turn of the century with a Ford Mustang-powered S-V8 two-seat convertible, but that effort ended with only about 30 finished cars.)

After Qvale walked away from his failed British investment, Donald Healey also tried to get the business restarted. Unhap­­pily, approaches to the government for backing were rejected. It was the same government, incidentally, which went on to lend 50 times as much money to John DeLorean to set up the DMC-12 facility in Northern Ireland.

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