1974 Jensen Healey

The Jensen-Healey was produced from 1972 through 1976 with around 10,000 examples produced. It was a two-door roadster with seating for two and designed by Donald Healey, his son Geoffery, William Towns and Jensen Motors. Jensen Motors had built the bodies for the wildly popular Austin-Healey 3000. When production of the 3000 ceased, a new product was needed. Thus, the Jensen-Healey project.

During development, many engines were fitted and tested, but it was the Lotus 907 unit that made it into production. The Vauxhall 2.3-liter version had met the US emission requirements but failed to meet the goal of at least 130 horsepower. BMW had a suitable power-unit but no guarantees were made that it would be produced in suitable quantities.

The Lotus engine was new and untested, but did offer 144 horsepower from its dual overhead cam, 16-valve all-alloy setup. A four-speed manual was used, later replaced in 1975 with a Getrag five-speed manual gearbox.

The first generation of the Jensen-Healey Roadster was produced from March of 1972 through May of 1973. 3356 examples were created. The Mark II, also known as the JH5, was introduced in August of 1973 and produced until August of 1975 with a total of 7142 vehicles produced. The third and final version, called the Jensen GT, was in production from September of 1975 until May of 1976 with a mere 509 examples created.

The 1970s was difficult for Jensen Motors as their V8 Interceptor model was slow to sell due to the oil crisis. In response, the company worked quickly to get their Jensen GT into showrooms. The car required a large amount of labor expenses which dwindled the company's budget. This, coupled with a number of other issues such as inflation and a strike, the company entered liquidation in 1975 and officially closed their doors in May of 1976.

By Daniel Vaughan | Jul 2008

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