Brothers Richard and Alan Jensen entered the motoring field as coachbuilders, and much like William Lyons of Swallow and Jaguar, the humble little Austin Seven was their initial platform of choice. After graduating from Austins, the Jensen brother moved upmarket with stylish body designs for Wolseley, Star, and Ford. Among those was a lovely special built on a Standard 9 chassis, which was so well received that the Standard Motor Company adopted the design for production, partnering with Avon Coachworks to create the Standard Avon.
As the 1930s progressed, Jensen discovered their niche when they imported a batch of twenty Ford V8 chassis from North America and created a series of stylish touring cars. However, around 1935, the Jensen name appeared more prominently as the firm morphed from coachbuilder to manufacturer. In the years bookending World War II, Jensen used various engines from Austin and Meadows, but it was the combination of British style and American V8 power that defined Jensen Motors from its inception until production ceased in the late 1970s.
This exceptionally rare Jensen-Ford Shooting Brake is the sole surviving example of an estimated two or three built in 1935. Based on a Canadian Ford Model 48 V8 chassis, it is one of the twenty-odd Fords imported and bodied by Jensen in the 30s. However, Jensen did much more than simply tack a new body onto the existing frame - to achieve their desired look and lower center of gravity, they repositioned the engine and lowered/raked the radiator, resulting in a dramatic and sporty appearance.
Previous caretakers of this Jensen believed it was built for a doctor, though it appears he used it sparingly. Records show it was briefly taxed and registered in the UK in 1957 & 1958, though it disappeared from the road soon after. In the early 1980s, the car resurfaced via a Jensen Owner’s Club UK newsletter article, describing a wood-bodied Jensen in a complete but rather sorry state, lurking in a garage in Dorking, Surrey. With the threat of the car being sent to the breaker’s yard, the author issued a plea to save it. Help arrived when the owner contacted a fellow Jensen Club member for a valuation. When he saw the car sitting in the junkyard, he immediately decided to buy it and bring it home for restoration. A piano restorer by trade, the new owner painstakingly refurbished the ash framework, taking great strides to preserve as much of the original wood as possible. In the early 1990s, after years of effort, the Jensen shooting brake returned to the road. By 2001, another club member acquired it and continued detailing the restoration and showing the car regularly for club events and concours. The most recent owners bought it in 2010, bringing it to the USA, where it joined their collection of rare and desirable Jensen cars and continued to be driven and enjoyed in shows and concours events.
Today, this unique and stylish Jensen is offered in excellent condition; its restoration gently matured after years of meticulous, enthusiastic care. The rich green paint is a fine match for the ash-framed body and red leather-trimmed interior, and the lowered, steeply raked radiator gives the Jensen-Ford a decidedly sporty character. The paintwork is glossy and attractive, with a few minor imperfections consistent with the restoration’s age. Brightwork is in good condition all around, and fittings include period correct Lucas head and marker lamps, a single oval Notek fog lamp, radiator stone guard, and rear-mounted spare wheel with a color-keyed cover.
The interior is trimmed in dark red leather with matching wool carpet, which has taken on a pleasing character with age and use. Controls and switchgear are original fitments, and the dash has knobs and a pressure gauge for the Andre “Hydro-Telecontrol” adjustable suspension. There’s also a lovely Smiths clock and Cooper-Stewart main dials.
Ford’s venerable flathead V8 sits under the bonnet and is tidy and nicely presented in green with silver heads and period-correct fittings and accessories. The Canadian-built 221 cubic-inch (3.6-liter) eight runs well, delivering a respectable amount of grunt to move the Jensen along with ease. Thanks to the robust Ford underpinnings, the Jensen-Ford is reliable and easy to live with, boasting excellent parts and service support from just about anywhere in the world.
Early Jensen cars are a rare sight on our roads, and this charming Shooting Brake has the added cachet of being the only known example. It has an interesting and well-documented history, accompanied by a large file of receipts, correspondence, MOT certificates, V5C documents, and insight from marque historians. This is a one-off opportunity to acquire a truly unique and cherished Jensen that’s ideal for touring and driving enjoyment.
Offers welcome and trades considered