The Jensen C-V8 is one of those “love it or hate it” cars. To Jay Leno, it’s adorable.
On the latest episode of Jay Leno’s Garage, Jay highlighted his newly purchased 1965 Jensen C-V8. Think of Jensen as the Aston Martin of Jaguar that never quite took off. Fans may best know Jensen as the manufacturer behind the Interceptor. The C-V8 was the smaller and lighter of the cars. The comedian and car collector said he’s looked for a C-V8 for about five years and finally located one in California. It’s right-hand drive, and like all third-generation models, sports Chrysler power.
Specifically, it’s a 383-cubic-inch V-8, which made 330 horsepower and around 460 pound-feet of torque. For a small British car, that’s a lot of power, and it flows through a Chrysler TorqueFlite automatic transmission. Leno notes the engine powers the C-V8 effortlessly, and the engine is incredibly reliable as it doesn’t ever work very hard to move the car. He did install a larger radiator to cope with California heat, however.
Except for the steel doors, the body is made entirely from fiberglass, yet it’s hard to tell fiberglass is so prominent. The design, certainly polarizing, is actually quite unique. Jay says it’s either the “ugliest attractive car you’ve ever seen or the most-attractive ugly car.”
If the looks don’t enthrall bystanders, the sounds the car makes will. The burbling V-8 sounds delightful at idle and under throttle.
Inside, the car features the high-end appointments of a Jaguar or Aston Martin of the era, including burled wood, leather upholstery, and beautiful chrome-rimmed gauges, a 160-mph speedometer among them.
Leno says his shop has a few things to do, such as look at the “SelectARide” shock absorbers that don’t work, but overall, the car is in complete running shape. This is just one of 500 cars built from 1962 to 1966, and now we all get a chance to appreciate it thanks to Jay. Take a closer look at the American-English hybrid in the video above.