10 Sep 1965 Jensen C-V8 road test

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1965 Jensen C-V8 road test 1965 Jensen C-V8 road test 2014 Drive-My

At a glance Jensen C-V8: Exceptional performance; 120mph from rest in under half a minute; very smooth engine and transmission, but creeps when idling; moderately heavy but responsive controls; firm, comfortable suspension; unusually complete specification.

 Big though its 5-9-litre engine may have seemed, and fast as it was when tested barely two years ago, the previous Jensen C-V8 is left somewhat in the shade by the latest model. It remains one of the world’s fastest cars — scarcely any other four-seater can equal it on straight-line acceleration — yet none of the refinement, precision of control and docility of the less powerful model has been lost.

Changes in the superb Chrysler vee-8 engine are few. The bore diameter is increased by 3mm to 108mm, and the compression ratio has been stepped up from 9 to 10 to 1. The increase of capacity from 5,916 to 6,276 c.c. is only 6 per cent, but as the car’s weight is unchanged all the extra 30lb ft torque (bringing this to 425lb ft) is available (for added acceleration. As compared with the earlier car’s impressive surge to 100mph in just 22.4sec, the new one reaches 110mph in the same time. Indeed, it can accelerate from a stand-still to two-miles-a-minute within 30sec. The standing-start quarter-mile in 14.6sec is the quickest we have yet med for any four-seater, and the speed at the end of the quarter was over 90mph.

1965 Jensen C-V8 road test

Throttle Response Jensen C-V8

Just as impressive as the sheer performance is the sensitive response to the throttle, and in stop-go city driving the car trickles along on the Carter carburettor’s primary chokes with supreme tractability. The power unit is as smooth as one would wish and is quiet all through its range, to its maximum of just over 5,000rpm.

Starting, both hot and cold, is a little temperamental, often calling for a second try with the rather noisy starter — a point commented on in the previous test. Once running, however, the engine is ready to give full power almost straight away.

Transmission Jensen C-V8

Chrysler Torqueflite automatic transmission is standard and suits the Jensen very well. Some whine is heard in low, but the intermediate and top gears are virtually silent and changes, especially under full power, are exceptionally smooth. Very often with automatic transmission, one has to think for it and use the selector to override the automatic control. With the Jensen’s Torqueflite it really is sufficient just to leave Drive selected. Much of the time the driver will be unaware which ratio is in use, and the changes up or down are so unobtrusive as to pass unnoticed by passengers. Quite a lot of the overall smoothness of the transmission is owed to the even torque and good low-speed pulling of the big engine in top.

Below 32mph firm pressure on the accelerator brings an immediate change down to low, and to intermediate up to 67mph. The selector lever provides first and second gear holds. A button in the lever end is pressed in to change from D to 2, but it can then be moved without hindrance between 1 and 2. Using the “ holds,” intermediate can be taken up to 88mph — the 5,100rpm limit — and low to 52mph. A gear change produces a marked jolt only if one accelerates hard and then abruptly releases the throttle, as when a decision to overtake is frustrated in mid acceleration.

1965 Jensen C-V8 road test

Some of our drivers commented on two characteristics which seemed at first to be transmission faults. The first was a tendency for the car to jerk when the selector was moved to Drive after starting from cold. This was reduced by waiting for a few seconds before moving off, to allow the initial fast idling speed to settle down. The second was the firm pressure on the brake pedal — as much as 50lb effort — needed to prevent the car from creeping forward at traffic halts unless the selector were moved to neutral. Adjustment of the slow running would have reduced this creep; a weakness in the brake servo of the test car was suspected as the cause of the heavy pedal load.

Brakes Jensen C-V8

Although there has been no change in the size or operation of the Dunlop all-disc system, the brakes could not match the efficiency of those of the earlier car. They still coped with the speed potential well enough to give confidence when driving fast, but needed much higher pedal loads than before. The handbrake also proved inefficient, and as there is no parking lock in the transmission, a chock under the wheels would be required for parking on slopes of 1 in 4 or steeper. The handbrake lever is also badly sited. It is so near the driving seat that it can be grasped only with a hand cupped over the end of the lever, otherwise one’s fingers catch on the seat trim as the lever is pulled up.

Manual Gearbox Jensen C-V8

Evidently there are still drivers so strongly against automatic transmission that they are prepared to pay more for the alternative clutch and 4-speed gearbox; this is now listed by Jensen at £100 extra including tax. After the main test was completed, another car with this gearbox was put through its paces, and representative figures are included in the data. After adjustment the clutch proved able to take the very high torque when the pedal was released abruptly at about 3,000rpm, and up to 44mph — the limit for bottom gear — this car was slightly quicker than the automatic model. The central change, however, objects to being hurried, and although it has a positive and reasonably rapid movement for normal use, yet, try as one might, it proved impossible to make the car keep pace with the automatic one through the gears. Each change seemed to lose a full second, so that the manual model was three seconds slower to 120mph; but it did have the edge on the automatic for maximum speed. The gear ratios are well-spaced, and 97mph can be reached in third, yet the engine is so sweet that it will even pick up speed from 10mph (under 400rpm) in top gear.

Peak power of the new engine is attained at 4,600 instead of 4,800rpm, and both cars were found to be too far down the "wrong" side of the power curve at maximum speed for there to be any risk of exceeding the recommended rev. limit. The manual car reached a mean top speed of 136mph — 7mph higher than the automatic. Much better brakes on the second car, incidentally, confirmed that those on the automatic were below par.

A limited-slip differential allows full throttle take-offs from rest with- since they generate loud wind shriek at speed; in contrast, the lack of obtrusive wind noise is exceptional when they are closed. The Jensen CV8 holds 110mph with complete ease and in deceptively restful silence; even at 120mph voices have to be raised only a little for easy conversation. This speed can be maintained without going beyond the first pressure (primary carburettor throttles only) on the accelerator.

Rather heavy controls make the Jensen CV8 very much a “man’s car”. Unusual tractability and mechanical refinement give it a Jekyll and Hyde character, so that one can appreciate it as much when in an idle mood (or hemmed in and frustrated by lesser vehicles), as when out to take every-thing it can give. But most of one’s motoring lies between these extremes, and for this the Jensen’s relaxed, easy stride, its comfort and stability mean high average speeds over long journeys in return for little hard work or fatigue.

Chrysler Torqueflite automatic gearbox, but a four-speed all synchromesh gearbox with central change is available for £100 extra.

Car 1965 Jensen C-V8

Made in

GB

ENGINE

Cylinders

8 in 90 deg. vee-8

Cooling system

Water; pump, thermostat and

Bore 

108mm (4-25in.)

Stroke 

86mm (3-38in.)

Displacement

6,276 c.c. (383 cu. in.)

Valve gear

Overhead, pushrods, hydraulic tappets

Compression ratio

10-to-1

Carburettor

Carter four-barrel progressive

Fuel pump

Mechanical

Oil filter

External, full flow, renewable element

Max power

330bhp (gross) at 4,600rpm

Max torque

425lb ft (gross) at 2,800rpm

TRANSMISSION

4 (manual or 3-speed  automatic)

Clutch

Single dry plate, 10.5in dia

Gearbox

Four-speed all-synchromesh

Gear ratios (manual)

Top 1,0

Third 1,39

Second 1,91

Gear ratios (automatic)

Top (Auto) 1,0

Inter. 3,18-1,45

Low 5,38-2,44

Reverse 4,84- 2,19

Final drive

Hypoid bevel, 3-07 to 1, with Powr-Lok limited slip differen­tial

BODY CHASSIS and Construction

Separate frame of welded tubes and sheet metal, glass fibre and aluminium body panels

SUSPENSION

Front 

Independent, wishbones and coil springs. Armstrong lever arm dampers. Anti-roll bar

Rear

Live axle on half-elliptic springs, with rubber button separators. Armstrong telescopic dampers with Selectaride control

Steering

Rack and pinion. Wheel dia. 17 in. 

BRAKES

Make and type

Dunlop discs

Servo: Lockheed

Swept area

Total 498 sq. in. (304 sq. in.) per ton laden

Dimensions

11-5in Front and Rerar

Type

Pressed steel, 5 studs, 4-5in

Tyres

Dunlop RS5 tubed, size 6-70— 15in

EQUIPMENT

Battery

12-volt 74-amp. hr

Alternator

12-volt 36-amp

Headlamps

Four Lucas sealed units, total 195-watt main beams, 90-watt dipped

Reversing lamp 

Standard

Electric fuses

Screen wipers

Screen washers

Interior heater

2

2-speed self-parking

Standard, electric

Standard, fresh-air, with 2-speed blower and rear window bleed

Safety belts

Interior trim

Standard (Britax) at front

Leather seats, p.v.c. headlining

Floor covering

 Wool carpet

Starting handle

No provision

Jack

Bevelift telescopic

Jacking points

2 each side, in body sills

Other bodies

None

MAINTENANCE

Fuel tank

16 lmp. gallons (no reserve) (73 litres)

Cooling system

24 pints (including heater) (14 litres)

Oil

10W-30 or 20W-40

Change oil every 4,000 miles.

Change filter element every 4,000 miles

Automatic transmission

15-5 pints automatic transmis­sion fluid. Change oil every 32,000 miles

Final drive

3 pints Shell SI747A, Change oil every 12,000 miles

Greas

6 points every 1,000 miles, plus 2 points every 4,000 miles

Tyre pressure

F and R 24 p.s.i. (normal driving), F and R 30 p.s.i. (fast driving)

 

  DRIVE-MY TEST RESULTS

TEST CONDITIONS

Weather - Dry with 20-40mph wind surfaces for both

Temperature - 0 deg. C. (32 deg. F.) for automatic car (0-10 mph wind, 9 deg. C., 48 deg. F. for manual car).

Barometer - 29-1 (30-0) in. Hg.

Dry concrete and asphalt

WEIGHT

Kerb weight with oil, water and half-full fuel tank 29-7 cwt (3,332lb-1,512kg)

Front-rear distribution, per cent .F. 52,3; R. 47.7

Laden as tested 32-7cwt (3,6681b-1,663kg)

TURNING CIRCLE

Between kerbs

L 38ft 1in

R 36ft 9in

Between walls 

L 39ft 8in

R 38ft 4in

Turns of steering wheel lock to lock

3,5

PERFORMANCE DATA

Top gear mph per 1,000rpm

26

Mean piston speed at max. power

2,590 ft/min

Engine revs, at mean max. speed

5100rpm

B.h.p. (gross) per ton laden

202

FUEL CONSUMPTION 

At Steady Speeds in Top:

30mph

23,2mpg

40mph

21,3mpg

50mph

20,4mpg

60mph

18,4mpg

70mph

16,8mpg

80mph

15,5mpg

90mph

14,2mpg

100mph

12,5mpg

Overall mpg

13,2 (21,4 litres/100km)

Test distance 

1,163 miles

Estimated (DIN) mpg

15,3 (18,5 litres/100km)

Normal range mpg

12,6 (23,5-17,7 litres/100km)

Grade

Super Premium (99,5-101RM)

OIL CONSUMPTION

SAE 30

8,000mpg

 

 

Standing 1/4-mile 14.6sec 86mph

Standing Kilometre 25.1sec 115mph

MAXIMUM SPEEDS

Gear

mph

kph

rpm

Top (mean)

129

206

5,000

(best)

130

209

5,280

Intermediate

88

142

5,000

Low

52

84

5,100

 

Speed range, gear ratios and time in seconds

Type

Automatic

Manual 

mph

Top (3,07)

Inter (9,77-4,44)

Low (16,5-7,5)

Top (3,07)

Third (4,26)

Second (5,86)

First (9,48)

10-30

 -

2,1

7,2

5,0

4,0

2,3

20-40

3,3

1,9

5,9

4,5

3,2

2,4

30-50

4,5

2,5

2,4

6,3

4,9

2,9

-

40-60

5,1

3,6

-

6,7

4,2

3,5

-

50-70

5,8

4,0

-

6,8

4,0

3,6

-

60-80

6,5

4,4

-

7,5

4,8

-

-

70-90

6,9

-

-

7,7

5,0

-

-

80-100

7,1

-

-

7,9

-

-

-

90-110

9,0

-

-

9,1

-

-

-

100-120

12,2

-

-

13,7

-

-

-

Last modified on Friday, 12 September 2014 02:21
Malcolm

Malcolm Fortnam. Malcolm learned to drive in his dad’s Bentley MkVI. He’s owned a Jowett Jupiter, two Jowett Javelins, a Jaguar E-type 3.8 and an MGB GT V8. Malcolm, a driving instructor for more than 35 years, now runs a Middlebridge Scimitar GTE, which he has owned for nearly 18 years.


HIS WISHLIST

Bentley R-type Continental

Austin Healey 3000 Mklll

Bristol 411

Gordon-Keeble

AC Aceca Bristol

Jaguar XK 140

AC Cobra 289

Morgan +8

TVR Chimaera

Jaguar XK8

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