Rare Rides: The 1975 Jensen GT, Stylish Performance in Shooting Brake Format
Rare Rides has featured exactly one Jensen vehicle previously, in a fairly fancy and exclusive Interceptor convertible made in left-hand drive for the US market.
Today’s GT was made the very same year as the Interceptor, just before Jensen went bust.
The GT was introduced in 1975, as the shooting brake variant of Jensen’s popular Jensen-Healey. The Healey was introduced in 1972, and quickly became Jensen’s best-selling model. Available only in two-seat convertible guise, Jensen wanted a little more flexibility (and volume production) of an extant platform. With minimal alterations, the GT was born!
Jensen created the GT by placing a long roof over the existing Healey roadster bodywork. The roof ended in a rear hatch and required the addition of rear and side windows where previously there was nothing but air. Now with a larger greenhouse, the GT added two very small rear seats and turned the shooting brake into a 2+2 affair.
The GT used the same Lotus 2.0-liter inline-four as the Healey, and the same five-speed manual built by Getrag. With the additional weight, the GT was slower than its slimmer brother, but was also sapped of power by additional emissions controls not implemented to the Healey. Both of these factors also reduced the top speed.
But the environment wasn’t the only thing holding Jensen down, the company’s funding was also a big problem. Already in a bad financial situation when the GT was introduced, the shooting brake would end up the company’s final model debut. In 1976 Jensen entered bankruptcy proceedings and all its production ground to a stop. The GT, Interceptor, and Healey all had their last model year in 1976. Jensen has resurrected itself here and there but has never again entered production of any scale.
Just 511 GTs were made before the company closed up shop, and in 2009 only around 200 remained in the UK. Today’s example is a nice soothing gray with black pinstriped seats. In excellent condition, it sold in 2018 at Silverstone for around $27,000.