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    Jensen intervention
    CAR: #1968-Jensen-Interceptor / #1968 / #Jensen-Interceptor / #Jensen

    OWNER: JAMES ELLIOTT

    It all started when we were preparing for the Octane Tour to the Concours of Elegance at Hampton Court last autumn. Mark Dixon announced that he would be doing it in a lovely new Bentley, not his Mustang because it wasn’t in good enough condition, this took me aback because Mark’s Mustang is a minter compared to either of my current classics.

    Maybe Mark was just saying that to warn me off using the Jensen - until then it had never crossed my mind not to - and potentially embarrassing us in front of our readers. Or maybe not, but either way it really made me aware of the depressing state of my cars and their unsuitability for ‘official’ occasions, those frilly-knicker arches and all the other bodily shortcomings were suddenly and hugely amplified in my mind.

    To be fair, the bodywork was last looked at eight years ago and I guess that in my mind it was just too soon to need to revisit it to this degree. So I had been ‘driving around’ the issues for years. Of course, much-used, all-season cars are always going to deteriorate more than classics tucked up in a garage and wrapped in blankets over winter, but there is only one thing worse than using your classic at will, that is not being able to use it, and I was damned if I was going to have a car that was mechanically sound, but which I felt compelled to leave at home for purely aesthetic reasons.

    So I started casting my net for someone I trusted to make the Jensen great again, there are loads of those, but when we added the filters of doing it on my terms and to my budget, the playing field thinned rather.

    Good pal Tom Cribb recommended Massimo Olimpis Autostilo (01707 658723), which had been looking after Tom’s many Alfas for years. We contrived a visit so they could check out the car and I could check them out, and we all got on like a house on fire. Of course they desperately wanted to do a proper body-off restoration, but I insisted that this time around the best I could stretch to was to make it solid and presentable. Of course there are degrees of presentable and, such is the work Autostilo carries out when broke Jensen owners aren’t forcing them to compromise, I sensed these guys would be near the top end.

    We arranged a second visit for a proper on-ramp inspection, and agreed an initial price exclusive of undiscovered nasties. I wish I could fund a full resto, but I can’t. Neither can I jettison the Jensen. So, watch this space...
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    James Elliott
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    James Elliott
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