Back Issue: Philip Lochner’s 1974 Jensen Interceptor
1970s Britain was the birthplace of a few memorable beauties: Rachel Weisz, Thandie Newton, Kate Winslet… and this 1974 Jensen Interceptor Series III.
A rare sight on South African roads, this particular car features the low compression 7.2 litre V8 and generates around 300bhp. Having owned a V12 E-Type Jaguar and several V8 Land Rovers, owner Philip Lochner spoke to us about his life-long love affair with big-bore British engines.
Back Issue is a series where we dig into previous issues of Traffic, and pull out stories that we think still hold water—despite their age. This story first appeared in our Summer 2014 issue, so any facts printed here may have changed since.
Traffic Magazine: What is it about the Jensen Interceptor?
Philip Lochner: When I was a young boy we spent holidays on my grandparents’ farm in Marydale, which is about halfway between Kimberley and Upington in the Northern Cape.
The room I used to sleep in faced the main road out of town, and in those days you had these farmers who came along in their V8 Ford and Chev bakkies, those big engines rumbling along. I was lying in my bed, and I knew that one day I had to own that sound. I’ve been into my V8 Land Rovers for years, but I wanted that sound, that particular sound from my childhood.
Around 2000, I became aware of the Jensen, with it’s 7.2 litre engine—the mother of all V8s. I researched the marque, and realised there was the Series 1 and Series 2 with the 6.3 litre V8, and then there was the 7.2, and I knew, that’s the one for me. And so the hunt began.
Where did you finally get the car?
Philip: The previous owner was a collector from Irene, who had 32 cars in total, among them a Bentley Turbo R and a 1934 Lagonda 4½-Litre M45 ‘Silent Travel’ Pillarless Saloon. He passed away in December 2012, after which the executors—who heard I was interested—contacted me to say the car was mine.
Did it need some work once you bought it?
Philip: It had stood for 20 years, and I had to repair or replace the brakes, gearbox, cooling system, carburettors, engine oils, points, plugs the whole lot. I got it running and drove it home.
A great looking example, but you say that’s not the original paint?
Philip: Unfortunately it suffered a respray sometime during its journey South. It was a proper backyard spray job, and they used kilograms of body putty. The original colour was Brientz Blue, which perfectly complemented the Magnolia cream leather interior. It was a rare colour combination.
Are you thinking about restoring it?
Philip: Yes, it’s a good candidate for a ground up restoration, but the problem is taking it off the road. I start suffering from withdrawal symptoms. I enjoy the car and use any excuse I can get—I go buy milk in it, and I go to gym in it. My view is that I have the car now, it goes, so I drive it. That’s basically the reason why I’m not motivated to sort out the paintwork. The current condition of the paint also allows me to enjoy the car more, without being too precious about it getting bumped or scratched in parking lots.
Would you ever sell?
Philip: My plan is not to sell it, unless I get a ridiculous offer. I really want to keep this car, and once I do the gearbox conversion it will easily cruise at 120 all day, with that beautiful burble in the background. That’s what i call bliss.
It’s sad when you see these very special cars that are hidden away. When I drive this car it’s incredible the reaction I get. People recognise that the car is something special.
There’s no replacement for displacement…
Philip: I was driving behind a Chery QQ the other day with its 800cc engine, which is smaller than just one of my 900cc cylinders, and I have seven more of them! It kind of puts things in perspective.
Photos by Jason Bronkhorst.