Village garage helped restore iconic vehicle

This 1968 Jensen Intercepter, owned by comedy icon Eric Morecambe underwent a restoration project at Cropredy Bridge Garage last year. Picture by Silverstone Auctions/Lucy Burman NNL-160225-153738001
This 1968 Jensen Intercepter, owned by comedy icon Eric Morecambe underwent a restoration project at Cropredy Bridge Garage last year. Picture by Silverstone Auctions/Lucy Burman NNL-160225-153738001

A1968 Jensen Interceptor first owned by comedy icon Eric Morecambe has been brought back to working condition by a specialist repair garage in Cropredy.

The iconic vehicle was at the London Classic Car Show last month after Silverstone Auctions bought the car in September 2014.

This 1968 Jensen Intercepter, owned by comedy icon Eric Morecambe underwent a restoration project at Cropredy Bridge Garage last year. Picture by Silverstone Auctions/Lucy Burman NNL-160225-153800001

This 1968 Jensen Intercepter, owned by comedy icon Eric Morecambe underwent a restoration project at Cropredy Bridge Garage last year. Picture by Silverstone Auctions/Lucy Burman NNL-160225-153800001

They then approached Jensen specialists Cropredy Bridge Garage in to under take a full restoration at their base in the village which was completed in July last year. The car was put on sale on a POA basis.

Oliver Smith of Cropredy Bridge said: “It is a well known car and we knew about it for a while. The customer bought the car and then came to us to give a full check and we finished it last spring.

“The vehicle had hidden quite a lot of issues but the whole renovation works went well. It was slightly different to the other cars we have done because of its prominence, we had a set specification on what we needed to do overall and we are pleased with the end result.”

The job of restoring the Jensen Interceptor began in October 2014 when Silverstone Auctions approached Cropredy Bridge Garage, highly respected Jensen specialists, to undertake the work at their base in Oxfordshire.

This 1968 Jensen Intercepter, owned by comedy icon Eric Morecambe underwent a restoration project at Cropredy Bridge Garage last year. Picture by Silverstone Auctions/Lucy Burman NNL-160225-153750001

This 1968 Jensen Intercepter, owned by comedy icon Eric Morecambe underwent a restoration project at Cropredy Bridge Garage last year. Picture by Silverstone Auctions/Lucy Burman NNL-160225-153750001

The works undertaken including the removal and rebuild of rear axle, a complete strip down and restoration of original braking system, repair works to the body to save as much of the original metal as possible in order to maintain the integrity of the car, removal of engine and restoration of engine bay, stripping down and rebuild of engine, the fitment of new exhausts and a full replacement of side beams and sills.

The car has a fascinating history and left the Jensen factory on Kelvin Way in West Bromwich on September 23 1968, and was delivered to Mr Morecambe shortly afterwards.

Residing at Morecambe’s house in Harpenden, Hertfordshire, the car was driven by him as well as used by his chauffeur, Mike Fountain, to ferry him and wife Joan around.

According to Mr Fountain, this Interceptor was Eric’s favourite car.

Eric spoke about this car on an episode of Parkinson in 1972, describing the time when he was driving through Batley in Leeds late one evening. He was appearing with Ernie Wise at the local variety club when he became unwell and decided to drive home.

He felt increasingly ill, and eventually was forced to ask a passer-by to drive him to hospital in the Interceptor. He had actually just suffered a mild heart attack. Apparently the passer-by was so excited to be driving an Interceptor that it took him several minutes to realise who he was helping!

Speaking about the car, Nick Whale, managing director of Silverstone Auctions, said: “This is a wonderful car with an equally wonderfully history and has been a personal delight to see it restored to its former glory.

“It’s now time for the Jensen to find a new owner who will cherish it as much as Eric did.”

For more details visit www.ericmorecambesjensen.co.uk