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December 2017

The last of the straight six Interceptors

Last of the straight six Interceptors

by zacmarshall » Tue Dec 12, 2017 9:46 pm

This is early Interceptor chassis number INT885347, number 88 of 88 built.

Image
The car at Tim Clark's earlier today.

The car was first registered to Jensen Motors Ltd on the 13th August 1957 and retained by JML until May of 1958 when it was sold to Commander D S Crowther of Sussex. As well as being the last early Interceptor built the car differs from other Interceptors in having the Austin DS7 engine and 4-speed automatic transmission as fitted to the 541, it also has disc brakes all round and 15" wheels as fitted to 541s and C-V8s. Whether the car was used as a test bed for development of the 541 or simply finished using the components to hand in the factory in 1957 we can't say.

Richard Calver says it was used as a director's car whilst at JML and it may well have been driven by one of the Jensen brothers, but we don't know that for sure. The car passed through the hands of three further owners, one of which may have been a dealer, before being bought by C & R Briggs Ltd of Kirkcaldy in Fife, Scotland, in July of 1963. Colieson Briggs, the C of C & R Briggs, passed the car to his daughter, now Mrs Jean Robertson, who used the car for a number of years, including towing the family caravan on holidays, but eventually the car was laid up in a garage, possibly in the late '60s, and there it stayed until 1995 when it was recommissioned and MOT tested. In the next four years the car was driven all of 400 miles until a final MOT ran out in 2000 and it was put to bed again.

The car is very original and unrestored and though it has lost some minor trim items and a couple of interior light switches it is otherwise complete. Originally Court Grey (or Corfe, the chassis data book and the original log book differ on the spelling) the car is now black under the original green vinyl roof; the green leather interior is complete and just needs tidying (though the mouse nests need removing).

How long the car has been painted black is something I will have to try and establish and of course therein lies a dilemma, if the car has been black for almost all of its life should it remain black? But first the car will need recommissioning mechanically, it rolls, but doesn't stop, not even the handbrake works, and the engine won't turn. Bodily the car is in good condition bar a small crack in the aluminium near the bonnet catch (normal I'm told) and the chassis appears to be solid, though the open ends of the chassis tubes are brittle and there may well be some areas of localised rot waiting to be discovered.

What to do with the car next remains to be decided, the fact that it last passed an MOT 17 years ago, rather than standing unused for 50 years as the auction particulars suggested, may mean it can be put back on the road just as it is, a venerable old car, 'a survivor', before any decision needs to be taken on whether a full body restoration should be carried out.

Image
Photo believed to be from the mid 90s.

Some discussion in the early cars thread
https://www.joc.org.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=26685

and when it was for sale.
https://www.joc.org.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=26473

Image
Photo of the Morris Leslie stand at the NEC. Photo by Lawrence Vanhegan.
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by Martin R » Wed Dec 13, 2017 4:20 am

A worthy car of the month and now owned by a JOC member who will no doubt do the right thing 8)
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by DaveT » Wed Dec 13, 2017 2:51 pm

zacmarshall wrote:This is early Interceptor chassis number INT885347, number 88 of 88 built.

Image
The car at Tim Clark's earlier today.

The car was first registered to Jensen Motors Ltd on the 13th August 1957 and retained by JML until May of 1958 when it was sold to Commander D S Crowther of Sussex. As well as being the last early Interceptor built the car differs from other Interceptors in having the Austin DS7 engine and 4-speed automatic transmission as fitted to the 541, it also has disc brakes all round and 15" wheels as fitted to 541s and C-V8s. Whether the car was used as a test bed for development of the 541 or simply finished using the components to hand in the factory in 1957 we can't say.

.


Just a clarification with the claimed similarity to the "541", the DS7 engine was fitted to the first 50 ish 541R cars and only one of these was fitted with the hydramatic 4 speed automatic gearbox. This unique 541R is currently being restored by forum member Michiel Bohmer. The majority of 541S cars (106 out of 127 I think) had the hydramatic gearbox mated to the DS5 engine. Disc brakes were fitted to all 541 De Luxe, all 541R and 541S cars.

I'll put my anorak away now.

Cheers

Dave
Last edited by DaveT on Wed Dec 13, 2017 6:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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by cannonball » Wed Dec 13, 2017 6:14 pm

Is Tim not trying to relieve the SP plate from this car,, :wink:
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by John Staddon » Wed Dec 13, 2017 6:42 pm

I've already had one person asking to buy the number plate but it's a non-transferable number.

Dave, I understand all that, but I didn't want to bog down the description by getting in to detail. Disc brakes, as you say, were available as standard on the 541 de-luxe which was available from January 1957, that's in the right time frame, just, eight months before this car was registered, the DS7 engine was used from around 1958 on the 541 but this car is 1957, so that fits, but the first 541 with an auto box wasn't registered until December 1959, 16 months later. What we don't know about this car is when it was built rather than when it was first registered, the auction particulars suggested it was used as a development vehicle for the 541 "for evaluation of the disc brakes and automatic transmission for the 541", and that's possible if it was built some months before it was registered and of course it was retained by JML for another 8 months after it was registered, plenty of time to fiddle. But I did suggest, in the words I wrote for Zac, that it was simply finished with whatever was at hand in the factory. The truth is I don't know why it is built the way it is, but the engine, gearbox (always assuming it is a R-R Hydramatic, and it might not be) and the disc brakes were all found on 541 models and not on the early Interceptor range.

Regards

John
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by MikeWilliams » Thu Dec 14, 2017 10:07 pm

John, as you probably know, the records at Warwick University show that it was a "Works Car" sold in April 1958. This and OEA920 were sold for a total of £2,535.

Even though it is secondhand now I guess you paid a bit more than that!

Mike
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by John Staddon » Fri Dec 15, 2017 9:15 am

Hi Mike

No, I didn't know that, who or what did the cars sell to, is that known?

John
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by felixkk » Fri Dec 15, 2017 11:35 am

John Staddon wrote:Hi Mike No, I didn't know that, who or what did the cars sell to, is that known?
John


These are some of the records relating to SEA770, which I photographed at Warwick. The ones I found relating to my car were mainly financial records. Worth going through the archive, chances are that you will find some records on your car.

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IMG_9116.JPG (150.71 KiB) Viewed 1797 times

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IMG_9112.JPG (176.47 KiB) Viewed 1797 times

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IMG_9111.jpg (74.42 KiB) Viewed 1797 times

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IMG_9093.jpg (42.75 KiB) Viewed 1797 times

IMG_9081.jpg
IMG_9081.jpg (42.41 KiB) Viewed 1797 times
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by John Staddon » Fri Dec 15, 2017 12:07 pm

Thanks Felix

There is actually an entry for my car on the first page you have posted, to license REA 581 on 13th August 1957, £5/9/5 (five pounds nine shillings and fivepence, this is pre-decimal British money), this confirms the first entry in the original log book.

I didn't know this sort of info was available so a visit to Warwick might be on the cards as I have also been told of info that Warwick hold on C-V8s that might be useful.

Regards

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