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Jensen C-V8 (1962-1966)

Published: 21st Jun 2011 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Jensen C-V8 (1962-1966)

Fast Facts

  • Engine: 6276cc/8-cyl
  • Power (bhp/rpm): 330/4600
  • Torque (lb ft@rpm): 425/2800
  • Top speed: 136
  • 0-60mph: 6.7sec
  • Fuel consumption: 20mpg
  • Transmission: 3-sp auto/4-sp man
  • Length: 15ft 4.5in (4.69m)
  • Width (inc mirrors): 5ft 7.5in (1.71m)
  • Weight: 3267lb (1485kg)
  • Books: Jensen & Jensen-Healey by Keith Anderson. Sutton, ISBN 0-7509-1808-X (OOP);Jensen by Keith Anderson. Haynes, ISBN 0-85429-682-4 (OOP)
  • Clubs:;
  • Websites: Jensen Owners’ Club. 01625 525699,
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The gentleman driver who wanted something fast but discreet was spoiled for choice in the 1960s, thanks to a raft of low-volume marques offering a variety of specialist models. One of the most stylish and distinctive was Jensen’s C-V8, produced for less than four years and now largely forgotten thanks to amass of more recent, higher profi le marques. However, despite the low profi le, the C-V8 is as desirable as itever was, with its ease of maintenance, mile-munching capabilities and effortless performance. They’re tough too; one owner famously racked up over 350,000 miles with his, usually with a caravan on the back, with no engine or gearbox rebuilds needed along the way. So while the C-V8’s rarity ensures a low profi le is maintained, if you want something fast, luxurious, distinctive and comfortable, the Jensen could be just what you’vebeen looking for. And of course you can play The Baron in one if you so wish!

What to look for?

More C-V8s have been consigned to the scrap heap because of chassis corrosion than anything else. If the inner sills have rotted beneath their glassfi bre outers you’re looking at repairbills well into four fi gures to patch up each side. Chassis outriggers also rot, while the pick-up plate on the top of the front suspension has been known to crack. Occurrences are very rare, but it’s not easy to spot, so check carefully. The lever arm dampers wear out (reconditioned units are £85 apiece) while the brake callipers can corrode; reconditioned replacements are £160 apiece for the front and £200 each for the rear. Engines and gearboxes are very strong, but both will wear eventually of course. Look for 50psi whencruising; anything closer to 25psi means a rebuild is due. Also check that the engine doesn’t run hot; cooling systems silt up eventually and the V8 produces a lot of heat so the radiator needs to be in tip-top condition. The bodywork is generally durable, but localised cracking and crazing is likely, which will be costly to fi x if it’s been allowed to become more widespread. Some brightwork such as the bumpers can be hard to source, so check it’s all there. However, some bits which were previously impossible to fi nd are now being remanufactured; these include the headlamp surrounds (at £30 each) and the grille (at £260). At least the interior is easy enough to overhaul – but it’ll be fi endishly costly if there’s a lot needs doing. However, this is only likely if the door seals have been allowed to perish, allowing water into the cabin.


Any C-V8 priced much under £8000 is likely to be a liability; you really need to spend £10,000 for something usable, but which is likely to be pretty tatty. Genuinely decent C-V8s are upwards of £15,000 while the best cars fetch at least £25,000. Really exceptional C-V8s can be priced at £40,000+, but such examples are few and far between. As you can see, CV8’s are worth more than the Interceptor it spawned but given the cost of restorations it is still wiser to buy the best you can rather than try to restore one on a tight budget.

Driving one

By the time the C-V8 MkIII arrived in 1965, Jensen was building one of Britain’s most accelerative cars, which can come as no surprise thanks to a massive 425lb ft of torque being on tap. Such huge numbers ensure the car is very relaxing to drive, and especially so in three-speed auto form; manual cars are very rare. As a very costly premium car, it’s no surprise that the C-V8 offers the best of everything, with strong brakes and a very comfortable ride. The handling is surprisingly good too,especially MkII and MkIII editions which feature Armstrong Selectaride adjustable suspension. However, with no power assistance, the steering is heavy at parking speeds.


Oct 1962

The C-V8 debuts at the Earls Court motor show.

Oct 1963

A revised C-V8 is unveiled (the Mk2), with minor styling changes and Armstrong Selectaride shock absorbers.

Jan 1964

There’s now a 6.2-litre Chrysler-sourced V8 under the bonnet, with 330bhp.

Jul 1965

The C-V8 Mk3 brings with it dual-circuit brakes, a deeper windscreen and various other minor enhancements.

Aug 1966

The fi nal C-V8 is made, after a production run of just 500.

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