Me and my motor - Tony Davies - Jensen Interceptor
PUBLISHED: 00:00 15 March 2014
Tony Davies from Sandbach bought his dream car, then took it to bits. Thirty years on, it's in pristine condition and licensed to thrill
When James Bond gets behind the wheel of any car, it becomes doubly desirable.
So Jensen owners such as Tony Davies from Sandbach were stirred and quite possibly even shaken to discover that the latest Bond novel, Solo by William Boyd, features 007 behind the wheel of a Jensen Interceptor. Seven gleaming examples of the Jensen Interceptor were involved in the splashy launch of the book in London last September.
And Bond was just the latest famous name to have been associated with the Interceptor, owners in the car’s heyday having included Sir Matt Busby, Sir Cliff Richard, Sir Henry Cooper and Eric Morecambe.
It was in 1976 that production ceased at the Jensen factory in West Bromwich after ten years of production of the Interceptor. The sporty-looking car with the distinctive huge back window and the burbling Chrysler V8 engine had been renowned, says Tony, as ‘a gentleman’s express’.
‘In its day, there was that and the Aston Martin and the E-Type,’ says Tony. ‘The Jensen having an American engine made it just that little bit less desirable to some people.’
James Bond, of course, has already done the Aston Martin. So Boyd put 007 in a Jensen for the latest book, which is set in 1969.
When Tony bought his 1973 Jensen from a garage in Warrington in 1985, he had just set up his own pneumatic tool company, having worked previously as an engineer at Foden’s truck and bus manufacturers in Sandbach.
‘I was running my own business and it was something to take my mind away from it,’ says Tony, aged 70. ‘I drove it home, took my wife up the road in it for a couple of miles, brought it back, put it in the garage and spent five years rebuilding it. I took it all apart, every last nut and bolt, rebuilt the engine, had the gearbox rebuilt. I put a new nose and two new wings on it.’
‘I joined the Jensen Owners’ Club and I have been an active member. I am the international weekend co-ordinator. Every year people come from all over the world and we have a weekend where we meet up at a hotel.’
That international network of Jensen aficionados has meant that Tony has driven the car to Europe - as far as Switzerland - on six or seven occasions. There has been the odd mechanical niggle, but nothing likely to stop the car going in the 40,000 miles he has notched up so far.
The 7.2-litre engine produces 280bhp, which means 0-60mph in 7.6secs...and big bills at the petrol station.
But is it necessarily the best daily transport for a spy like James Bond, who may at any moment be involved in a lethal car chase through the tortuous bends of the Amalfi coast?.
‘It’s lovely and comfortable, but not a car for tearing down country lanes,’ says Tony. ‘It likes motorways.’