Exclusivity has its price. Usually a big one. Except this time, in the case of the Jensen S-V8, it’s a remarkably attractive one. Fewer than 50 or so S-V8s were ever built, either as completed cars or as kits of components assembled after the company went into receivership. Classic Driver dealer Hilton & Moss has one for sale.
Most know Jensen for one model, and one model only: the Interceptor, with its trademark ‘goldfish bowl’ rear screen. But the company was founded in 1934 and was a well-respected supplier of ever-so-slightly flashy vehicles, best-suited for those in receipt of a recent windfall.
Production was based in the West Midlands, although financial troubles and several receiverships and reincarnations meant that it popped up variously in Speke, Merseyside, where the SV-8 was built, and latterly near Banbury, Oxfordshire.
The SV-8 programme certainly started with a bang. Benefiting from £10m in investment funding, the distinctly styled convertible (by Howard Guy and Gary Doy) was built in Merseyside and launched at the 1998 British Motor Show. It was powered by a 4,601cc, 32-valve, four-cam, V8 Ford Mustang engine, producing 325bhp and promising to speed the car to 60mph in under five seconds and on to a top speed of 160mph.
Impressive stuff. Sadly, the dream never materialised and only a handful of cars were produced before the company went broke (again). Which was a shame, as the idea was a good one, and respected writers rather liked the concept and its execution.
Nowadays, the cars are a rare sight. But, for those truly seeking something different, why not consider this grey example from Hilton & Moss, a car registered in 2001 and available for the oh-so-reasonable sum of £34,950?