Welcome to the Official Jensen Owners' Club site:- Jensen541.com
Thinking of buying one? Scroll down for advice! Can I buy one easily?
Well, they only made just over 500 in all, so there’s not a wide choice on the market. However, it has a very high survival rate so you may be luckier than if you are looking for a car that was made in the 100,000s but was also frequently scrapped.
Which model should I buy?
The 541, deluxe and 541R are very close in character and performance. Most people won’t care which they end up owning. The 541 S is bigger all round, looks slightly different and almost all of them have an auto gearbox. After being the “Cinderella” model for many years, its popularity has now caught up with the others.
Where can I buy one?
If you are already checking all the usual places, it’s worth joining the Club and getting to know people. A lot of cars change hands by word of mouth. Just have patience and be flexible.
And how much?
Prices range from less than £7,000 for a pile of parts to £100,000 for a fully rebuilt car, better than new. There are a lot of complete wrecks awaiting restoration, and a surprising number of top-end cars around the £70,000 mark, but you’ll find it harder to locate a “rolling restoration” in average condition for under £35,000.
Complete Wreck? How would I restore that?
A lot of people have managed it! The bodywork hangs together indefinitely, as it is made of glassfibre, and the chassis is made of bent and welded steel joined to 2 easily obtained steel tubes. Any competent welder can rebuild it from scratch if they have enough determination. Alternatively, complete “new” chassis can be obtained from a member of the forum – with all the side frames as well, you won’t get much change from £10,000, but your car is then set for another 50 years motoring!
Is it practical?
It holds 4 in comfort, can cruise at motorway speeds, can drive round town without changing gears. Fuel consumption is going to be a problem - it will be hard pressed to exceed 20mpg - but if you are only driving a couple of thousand miles a year, this is not a big issue.
Will it fit my garage?
Dimensions are 14’ 8” long and 5’ 3” wide, and slightly larger for the S. It really needs to be in a garage – or at least under cover – as cars of this age are seldom completely waterproof and deserve to be protected from the weather.
Will I need to service it specially?
Yes and no. There are numerous lubrication points that need regular attention and several things need regular checking or adjusting. However, it is all easily accessible, easy to understand, and service parts are readily available.
I bet parts are difficult to obtain!
With only 550 or so cars ever on the road, parts should be scarce. However, most of them are from Austins of the same age, or standard Lucas/Dunlop/Girling parts. Compare the prices for replacements to prices for your everyday road car and you may get a pleasant shock! A few items, especially trim, are hard to find, but you seldom find a car off the road through lack of parts. Windscreens are available from some major suppliers just by quoting the product code, and wiring looms can still be supplied.
So Interior trim is difficult to find?
As the cars were craftsman built, a craftsman or careful amateur can recreate the trim. With a length of leather or vynide and some scissors, you can recreate parts. A mass produced car, or later vehicle, might require a blow moulded dash that costs thousands to tool up!
UK Road Tax?
Required, but free! Many Jensens were built before 1974 and are classed as Historic. Pre-1960 cars are exempt from MOT, with later cars soon to follow, but it is still recommended to get them checked.
Insurance will cost though, I bet…
Funnily enough, if you are 25 or over, no. Classic car insurance for limited mileage (1000 – 5000 miles a year) excluding business use is dirt cheap. You’ll probably pay around £100, but need a garage. If you are younger than 25, buy one that will take a few years to restore!
What about the UK MOT?
This is no longer required for cars manufactured prior to 1 January 1960, so some of them need it and some don't. They all have to be roadworthy of course.
How can I get support?
You’ll want to get involved with the Jensen Owners’ Club. This was formed back in 1971 by a group of 541 owners, so it has a history of supporting the earlier models.
Isn’t the attention on the Interceptor owners?
With more of them around, there is a lot of attention given to the V8 cars, but the 541s still get attention. In the last couple of years, the Overall Champions at the annual club meeting/concours have been a couple of 541s, and others also scooped prizes such as Chairman’s choice, most original and furthest travelled.
What do the Club give me?
There are Registrars who can help you with details of your car, technical experts and a thriving Forum to put you in touch with the worldwide community of Owners. The JOC Forum is free – but until you register your name the 541 Technical section will be hidden. Every two months you get a glossy magazine that is better produced than most of those in WH Smiths, and a yearly technical magazine (Torque). Go to the links page to join.
Wow! I expect the Club sell lots of parts too?
With several excellent commercial suppliers who invest in the model, it has not proved worthwhile for the club to be involved in selling spares. We do have a Regalia section (run by volunteers) which arranges clothing, books, models etc.