Fans of oddball cars rarely get much gratification from mainstream Hollywood films. A TVR Tuscan Speed Six in 2001's fairly forgettable Halle Berry, Hugh Jackman, John Travolta actioner Swordfish is about all that comes to mind recently. For the most part, the Fast & Furious series has followed the formula of serving up familiar cars from the US and Japan. Until now that is. The sixth installment, which set records at the box office this past Memorial Day weekend, features a few notable eccentricities, including a 1978 Ford Mark I Escort, an LS7-powered Lister and everybody's favorite tough chick, Letty Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez), driving a Jensen Interceptor of all things.

The few sites out there that cater to the fishbowl-backed, Mopar-powered British coupe probably can't handle the traffic they got this past weekend, so to save their servers, we'll give you a bit of information on the Interceptor. In full disclosure, I'm an owner of a '73 Interceptor that several of my colleagues infamously drove from Arizona to St. Louis in a trouble-plagued delivery run/magazine story.


Rob Sass is the Publisher of Hagerty Classic Cars magazine. He is a regular contributor to the automotive section of the New York Times and is the author of "Ran When Parked, Advice and Adventures from the Affordable Underbelly of Car Collecting."



Jensen was a low-volume West Midlands-based British manufacturer that prospered doing assembly work for other manufacturers ranging from Sunbeam to Volvo and Austin-Healey. Their own cars were a bit of a sideline and ranged from the somewhat pretty 541 to the mutant-faced CV-8. The evaporation of Jensen's assembly business forced them to get serious about their own product. They needed to make something pretty that they could export.



Unlike many low-volume British cars, Interceptors aren't built like crap.

To that end, Jensen employed the Italian firm of Carrozzeria Touring to design the big GT Interceptor and the first cars were built by the Italian coachbuilder Vignale who, in a case of car karma, employed an even more casual approach to rustproofing than Jensen did in putting together essentially biodegradable Volvo P1800 and Sunbeam Tiger models. Most of the Vignale-built cars have simply dissolved. Power for them was provided by a Chrysler 383 V8 or later by a 440. Almost all cars were equipped with a Chrysler automatic transmission. The rare FF variant of the Interceptor even pioneered all-wheel drive a decade before the Audi Ur Quattro, and it had anti-lock brakes.

Stock Interceptors are decent to drive. Unlike many low-volume British cars, Interceptors aren't built like crap. Mine is tight and pieces don't fall off of it very often. Something like eight cows were murdered and skinned so that everything you touch has a luxurious, good-smelling feel to it. Hell, even the door-mounted ashtrays are leather-covered. Interceptor IIIs like mine (built from 1972-76) sport Girling four-wheel ventilated disc brakes and power steering similar to what was found in a Jaguar XJ6 of the day. Steering is reasonably quick with decent road feel. By modern standards, the brakes are just adequate to haul down the Jensen's two-ton mass. Fuel economy is largely theoretical – around 8 mpg.


It's like a Mopar muscle car, only with decent brakes, good steering and a handmade leather, wood and wool carpet interior

Still, the 280 or so horsepower and the 350 pound-feet of torque make for some entertainment and the big Chrysler lump of an engine makes a great sound after the whiny Mopar starter motor shuts up. For a big car, it handles well enough until the curves get bumpy and the live rear axle and leaf springs introduce themselves. In all, it's like a Mopar muscle car, only with decent brakes, good steering and a handmade leather, wood and wool carpet interior that wasn't slapped in by someone with a bad hangover on a Monday.

Styling is a matter of taste. There's little controversy to the handsome front three-quarter view, but some people find the huge fishbowl-like glass rear window off-putting. Having grown up with Porsche 944s, it's never bugged me. Some people think it looks like a AMC Pacer. Whatever. Jeremy Clarkson likes the Interceptor. That's good enough for me.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 34 Comments
      RGT881
      • 1 Year Ago
      I'd love to own one, but modernized much like it's done with Jaguar XJS. Also, should I grow a porn mustache? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7kPVhh5vr8I
      zakgee
      • 1 Year Ago
      "Unlike many low-volume British cars, Interceptors aren't built like crap." I'm not saying you're wrong, just that Jeremy Clarkson said otherwise. Not that Clarkson is a be all end all source of information, just that he was very convincing.
        aston.martin5
        • 1 Year Ago
        @zakgee
        Crap is relative. Having spent some time Interceptors, the build quality and finish is nice. Some of the engineering and execution doesn't exhibit the quality of a company with a large R&D budget. The cars also get a bad rap because they were cheap for so long there's a shortage of nice examples.
      A P
      • 1 Year Ago
      More like HACK-erty. Believing any of the crap this moron spews takes a special kind of stupid. And then he proves it by saying that if Jeremy Clarkson likes it, it must be ok. This guy is a total fraud, and he was called out on it two articles ago about cars from the 70's...factual error after factual error was pointed out and he was far to gutless to appear and try to make them right. Why does AB continue to use him? Oh thats right, AB never cares about factual errors either. All they care about is hit counts that they can run slobbering to their advertisers with. Facts dont matter, integrity does not matter (they constantly rip off other car mags stories) all that matters is MONEY. Oh and to prove that this donk knows nothing about cars: he calls the MOPAR starter "whiney"..ok fine, but a TRUE car lover (especially a MOPAR powered car lover) would know the starter was called the "hamtramck hummingbird". This poser may have a few rare cars so he can say he is an expert and charge idiots for his auction book. But the more he opens is mouth the more he reveals he is a fraud and a fake.
        Ronnie
        • 1 Year Ago
        @A P
        Bore off. Who cares what it's called, the stock mopar starter is a heap of rubbish - plenty of times i've been stuck in a car park cranking it on my interceptor and suffering it for originality when i could just as easily slot in a new powermaster. All us interceptor owners admire Clarkson for bringing the old girl into the limelight where it should be: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qLp4FhDAfQk ...even if he is a bit of a clown sometimes.
        Andrew Berardinelli
        • 1 Year Ago
        @A P
        Meeee??!! I always care about factual errors! :P
          A P
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Andrew Berardinelli
          Thats what I thought......another ninny. How about addressing my point that if your Jensen cranks and wont start then that has nothing to do with the starter? Oh thats right, you are an idiot.
          Ronnie
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Andrew Berardinelli
          Have at it then, you tedious curmudgeon.
      Rotation
      • 1 Year Ago
      It was weird to see Dom call it "American muscle" when Letty was working on it. Is he implying the engine has been replaced with an American one?
        rboote
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Rotation
        They always had Chrysler motors.
        ThomasP
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Rotation
        "Power for them was provided by a Chrysler 383 V8 or later by a 440. Almost all cars were equipped with a Chrysler automatic transmission"
        Michael Scoffield
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Rotation
        There's a newer revised version of the Interceptor sold with a Corvette engine. I think it's an LS7 but I'm not sure.
      Mazdaspeed6
      • 1 Year Ago
      The movie was good. 3 complaints though. 1) The rock said the M5s were twin turbo V8s with 560 hp when they were the last generation E60 M5s with V10s. The current generation F10 M5 has the V8. 2) They always do too much with the stunts 3) Why are they always changing gears in cars with automatic transmissions during driving scenes?
        Stomp and steer
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Mazdaspeed6
        Because its a movie not a documentary. It's not that hard to understand.
        Jonathan Wayne
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Mazdaspeed6
        That movie was an utter POS and I agree on the M5 point. I made that same comment myself. If you have a movie about cars, supposedly made by car guys, you would think they would not make a screwup like that about the E60 vs the F10. What was even sadder was that all the supposed car guys from all the major publications did not seem to catch that glaring error either which is kind of pathetic. Everyone in the movie is superman and can't get hurt and runways are 30 miles long. Really?
          Rotation
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Jonathan Wayne
          Yes, really. Go watch Senna if you want real.
          Max
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Jonathan Wayne
          This dude should absolutely not go see superman, I guess.
        ThomasP
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Mazdaspeed6
        Agree on the point about the BMWs. I caught that as well. On the second point... I'm not sure what you were expecting. Personally, over-the-top action is what I go for. On the third point, the only automatic vehicle I noticed them changing gears on was the Charger. Which has a tiptronic-type transmission.
        AP1_S2K
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Mazdaspeed6
        they've always butchered car specs and tech like saying "I've got a MoTech exhaust"....their love of nitrous oxide, 17 gears, and everything else....I hope you don't think Jurassic park is a documentary on dinosaurs.
      KaBoomBOX
      • 1 Year Ago
      I've always had a soft spot for the Interceptor and FF. Love the cleanly modernized one in the movie.
        Ronnie
        • 1 Year Ago
        @KaBoomBOX
        Good man! Check out the Segrave interceptor that was (maybe still is) for sale with the dodge viper engine in it too. Bit pricey though, but a good comparison with the made for screen looking mods in the film.
      Friedduck
      • 1 Year Ago
      Finally one I can chime in on. I got to drive one when I was a kid in Michigan. My brother worked for a family who hired him to run errands and whatnot, and one of the things was taking cars to get serviced. (We were both in HS, and yes, his was the best job ever.) We raced it against the motorcycle I owned at the time and it smoked it. Not even close. It's still in the top 3 or so of the coolest cars I've ever been in, much less driven. IIRC it was a 454 but honestly being a kid all I remember were the side pipes. Epic day.
      Bassracerx
      • 1 Year Ago
      pass seriously.
      thedriveatfive
      • 1 Year Ago
      The original movie was so much better.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @thedriveatfive
        [blocked]
        terrymcbeer
        • 1 Year Ago
        @thedriveatfive
        Having not seen Fast 6 the best movie was probably Fast Five. Followed by Tokyo Drift. Followed by Fast and Furious. Followed by the first film. Followed (and lapped hundreds of times) by the completely unwatchable 2 Fast 2 Furious.
        Rotation
        • 1 Year Ago
        @thedriveatfive
        If you car guy, especially tuner car guy, the 1st is the best. Otherwise 5 is the best. For me: 1 5 6 4 2 3 I don't really want to see 2 or 3 again. The rest I'll watch any time.
      A P
      • 1 Year Ago
      Still waiting for HACKerty to stop by and share some more auto wisdom with us. NOT.......ANYbody that thinks he know much about cars is even more stupid than he is.
      Teleny411
      • 1 Year Ago
      8mpg!!!
      JonZeke
      • 1 Year Ago
      I think I learned more about the Interceptor from an episode of Wheeler Dealers when they fixed up a white one than this article. *sigh*
    • Load More Comments