Renowned sports and commercial car manufacturer Jensen Motors was founded by Richard and Alan Jensen in 1934. The company transformed itself from being a small coach-building firm to becoming a prominent sports car maker. The Jensen brothers introduced the body works of W.J. Smiths & Sons soon after the death of the owner. Later, the brothers renamed the organization as Jensen Motors
Initially they worked for quite a few manufacturers such as Morris, Singer, Standard and Wolseley, offering exclusive, customised bodies for these automakers’ standard cars. In addition to making commercial vehicles and sports cars, they took on various manufacturing projects in collaboration with other auto manufacturers.
1934 has a special place in the history of Jensen Motors, not only because it was founded in that year but also because it achieved instant fame and recognition that year. The American film legend Clark Gable commissioned Jensen Motors to custom design and build a car. The car designed for this purpose, based on a Ford V-8 chassis, received much attention and critical acclaim. This led to an upsurge in demand for Jensen cars. An important example of the interest and acknowledgement of their capabilities was the deal with Ford that required Jensen Motors to produce the bodywork to be fitted on Ford chassis.
In the same year they took the first step in designing and manufacturing their very own car, which was produced under the ‘White Lady’ name. This was followed by the Jensen S-type cars in the following year. Very soon, the company added production of commercial vehicles into their portfolio, though they did so under the JNSN marque.
Though car production took a backseat during the World War period, Jensen Motors moved on to produce sports cars in the aftermath of the war. They unveiled the Jensen PW in 1946, a luxury saloon that was exceptionally well received. However, raw material shortages resulted in very few cars being produced. Subsequently, together with body designer Eric Neale from Wolseley the Jensen brothers worked on creating the Interceptor. Apart from that, Jensen also worked on Neale’s masterpiece- the 541- in 1955, which used the then-revolutionary material – fiberglass.
Jensen FF was another vehicle that got a lot of recognition. Jensen also joined hands with Austin to develop a body for A40 mechanicals. Austin’s chairman Leonard Lord approached Jensen Motors as he was impressed with the Interceptor. In addition to A40 sports, Austin-Healey 100, Sunbeam Tiger and Volvo P1800 were some of the other projects that Jensen handled.
Jensen Motors was acquired by the Norcros Group in 1959 in a hostile takeover, which led to the resignation of the Jensen brothers. In 1970, Kjell Qvle – the American car distributor obtained majority shareholding of Jensen Motors. Finally, Jensen Motors ceased trading in 1976.
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