Charles Dunstone invests in Jensen Interceptor relaunch
The Jensen sport car is being rebuilt in Banbury with modern technology
The multi-millionaire who founded the Carphone Warehouse is investing in classic cars in Oxfordshire.
Charles Dunstone has joined the board of Jensen International Automotive which is relaunching the classic Jensen Interceptor marque.
The car was built in West Bromwich in the West Midlands until 1976 when the business went into liquidation.
In its heyday it was driven by the likes of Sir Cliff Richard, John Thaw, Henry Cooper and Eric Morecambe.
Formula 1 driver Jenson Button was also named after the classic car.
The company is now based in Thame and is rebuilding the Interceptor with modern technology.
"We were asked by many of our customers whether we could provide a Jensen Interceptor that would be a lot more reliable and a lot more powerful than the original one," Steve Bannister, Marketing Manager at Jensen, told BBC Oxford.
"So we sat down and redesigned it and rebuilt it."
With Charles Dunstone as the new chairman, the influx of money has enabled the team at Jensen to accelerate production of the car.
The company aims to build up to 18 vehicles a year.
"We take an original Jensen reaching the end of its economic life and we strip it back.
"Then we rebuild it from the shell upwards into a new car and put a 6.2 litre modern engine in.
"It's an exciting thing to do."
The rebuilt Jensens can reach speeds of up to 175mph (281.6 km/h)
Gama Cars Limited in Banbury hand-build the new car for Jensen. Engineer Greg Alvarez explained the technology behind it.
"We've stuck with the same theme of the original Jensen," he said.
"It's an Italian-designed British-made car with an American engine.
"It's always been that so we've stuck with that and made it so much more economical and powerful too."
The rebuilt vehicles are capable of 0-60mph in under 5 seconds and can reach speeds of up to 175mph (281.6 km/h).
The dials are digital designs controlled by the computer that drives the car and are intended to look like the originals.
The luxurious interiors also recapture the feel of the original car.
"It's all very high grade leather," Mr Bannister explained.
"There are apparently seven cows inside an Interceptor S! The carpets are designed by the same company that fits carpets in Rolls Royce so it's rather an opulent thing.
"But we've kept the style of the 70s. When you sit inside it there is that feel that you're driving a wonderful classic car. But it's actually renovated."
The price for one the relaunched Interceptors is a cool £105,000, but Mr Bannister felt the car would successfully serve a niche market.
"Jensen was always known as the exclusive aspirational vehicle.
"What we tried to do when we redesigned it was to make it into a car that harks right back to the pinnacle of British motoring heritage."
The new car has the financial backing of the multi-millionaire founder of the Carphone Warehouse.
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