Highlights of Previous Months' News

If you want to see what has been news in the 541 community in the past months, take a look below. Each month I'll take the best of the news items and preserve them here.    Happy Browsing!         ** Warning - they are now out-of-date **

2010          2011          2012          2013          2014          2015          2016          2015



Wherever you are in the world, preparing for snow or sweltering in the heat, we wish you a Happy Christmas...

If you are wondering about the lovely scene at the top of this page, it was provided by 541 owner David Ancona who photographed it around ten years ago outside his parents' house, in a scene which he admits is a bit "Miss Marple". At the time, the 541 was in the snow as something even more deserving was using the garage!

Never mind, the 541 was later whisked away to the warmer climes of Spain, where he has been completely rebuilding it.


The illustration above is from a Jensen catalogue, but new badges have been hard to find for many years. A new company, Heritage Emblems, has been set up to make and sell a vast array of classic car badges. Amongst those promised are the enamel badges for the 541, in red and in yellow, and the side badge for the 541S. Recent prices added to the site suggest they will be sold at around 33. The badges pictured seem to be originals; I wait with interest to see if they can start production of Jensen badges and hope to report back on the quality.


The prolific Tony Wilde (JOC founder member, now in Australia) has added another item to his range of high quality 541 parts. Details appear below. As yet, I have no details of price but can safely predict they will be expensive but of superlative quality.

Door Restraints

Fitted my passenger door one today, it looks beautiful if I do say so myself. If anyone is interested, I have another 4 sets of door restraints partially polished / assembled, waiting for the stainless spring washer to be finished. If yours is OK mechanically but you need new friction washers I can supply those separately. Could not get the nuts off my originals and one of the studs sheered. One of my spring washers was cracked and the friction material was badly worn and completely worn out on one of them. The restraints had not worked as friction restraints for years, probably all 39 years that I have had the car! Originally I tried to use the ones for AH3000, thinking they a good bet, but they were different dimensionally in a number of ways.
Warm regards
Tony Wilde
JOC Member #92

It is worth noting that the design of the Austin-Healey 3000 items is officially credited to 541 designer Eric Neale!
Contact details for Tony appear on the Links page


At the NEC Classic show I met Fuzz Townshend (and son) on the Jensen stand. Drummer, bus engineer, restorer and freelance classic car journalist - Fuzz is a busy man, but was able to reassure me that the Jensen 541 that he had been restoring for Practical Classics was still in his possession.

It had been parked up in the restoration garage he has recently been running, but he was able to reveal he has moved away from Classics Monthly to his old magazine, Practical Classics, where the Jensen 541 restoration will again be featured. As Editor Danny Hopkins is a Jensen fan, let's hope it is given editorial priority! To clear the decks, he is selling on his Minor, Humber and Daimler Dart and concentrating on the 541 and Austin A7 special. I'm not quite sure where his newly acquired double decker bus fits into this plan!


While Fuzz was on the stand, he was also hoping to drum up more Jensen business for his restoration venture, Westgate Classics of Aldridge in the West Midlands. Based on his Jensen work and glassfibre Daimler Dart restoration, he is hoping to do more work on glassfibre cars. The contact details will appear on the Links page.


An enquiry on the Forum about replacement bonnets led to a discussion about the location of the original 541 moulds [in the safe possession of the club] and the best way to utilise them to produce spare panels. Tony Wilde correctly pointed out that the renovation of the moulds and production of just one 541 and one 541S bonnet would enable the proud boast that "original" parts are still available from stock, with any profit going towards producing the next spare. However, others advised that this was a huge amount of work and a possible financial drain on the Club. Do you have any constructive suggestions? Join the discussion here! JOC 541 Forum (log in required)

Oldest Elf in the Grotto


As you can see, Darren Barnes' 541 did us proud at the 2011 Classic Motor Show. The JOC stand was in a prime position, and the 541 was in a very good spot.
He confessed to a slight paintwork scratch when squeezing into his garage but it was so expertly fixed that it was invisible - quite something when the car paint is as immaculate as on SXU 567! If you are going to make a mark on the paint, it seems best to do it while the paint is still young and unfaded.
Someone asked me to pass on his praise to the owner for the restoration, so it was obviously gaining admirers. Incidentally, the Welsh dragons at the front of the picture belong to the Gilbern stand opposite.


Confirmation of the 2012 International location has been received - and it's a change to the expected location! Still in the Midlands, on 8th - 10th June the JOC International Weekend will be at Chesford Grange, Kenilworth,Warwickshire. CV8 2LD.
Rough timetable will be:

  • 8th June Meet and greet.
  • 9th June AM - AGM
    John Lane (0151 9249621) general-john@joc.org.uk
  • Followed by classic run or shopping
  • 9th June Evening - Dinner/Dance & trade bookings
    Tony Davies, (01270 761444). international@joc.org.uk.
  • 10th June Concours
    Richard Streeter (07717 674670) concours@joc.org.uk

This year, the Concours will again be part of the International Weekend, making it doubly important.

Chesford Grange:    The hotel itself (pictured) boasts all the usual facilities & there will be a room price arranged via the Club. Watch the Forum events diary for updates.


Nick Donitz of Lancashire has owned his 541 for over a quarter of a century but has never driven it. Shortly after the NEC his restoration took a giant leap forward when he collected a newly re-constructed chassis from Ron Everitt Clay. Nick says "I am delighted with it, the workmanship is phenomenal. Ron has given me a much better start to my restoration than I could have possibly hoped". Apparently the chassis can incorporate updates, including rear seatbelt anchorages, various reinforcements and drainage solutions.
The photographs show the chassis with front end tubular framework powder coated and ready for fitting, and the flooring in place. You can also see the aluminium boot floor and the powder coated spare wheel carrier, which is a remarkably complex structure for such a simple task. These pictures were supplied by Ron who explains that he builds chassis parts to place in stock and says he has enough components ready in workshop and stores to build virtually any model from 541 onwards. He added "I need a few chassis to restore! ...That's why I cannot move in my workshop!" Please remember if you intend to contact Ron that he is a one-man business without a customer service team and you may have different priorities to him - why not chat to his customers on the Forum first to ensure you are on the same wavelength?

Ron's contact details are in the Links section of the Jensen541.com website.

CHARIOT OF THE GODS     Celebrity's car auctioned

"Crikey!", you may be thinking, "This is a bit much for the 541 website! Who is this popular beat combo?"
Well, these "Metal Gods" were good West Bromwich lads who decided to call themselves Judas Priest in 1970 and went on to a 40 year career which made them very rich men. Band members have spoken of the childhood excitement of watching Jensens being test driven through their town, so it is not surprising that the blonde Mr Priest on the left (also known as KK Downing, guitarist) decided to buy himself a 541R.

This year he has retired and has sold off his two classic cars at auction this week. Some details have emerged of the history of RFF 361 (registered in 1959 as MA 20). Mr Priest acquired the car in 1980 from a Martyn White and installed it in his new stately home, Astbury Hall. He lavished money on it, with a respray in the original dark red, interior retrim in cream Connolly hide and new chrome wire wheels.

Then came controversy! It was entered in the 1982 JOC concours and won first prize. But he was disqualified when the judges discovered that his hastily completed car was neither taxed nor MOTd, despite having being driven to the show! Now that's Rock'n'Roll! He lost some Rock credentials by remembering to complete the paperwork and re-enter the next year. However, he only came second, "losing valuable points when he realised too late that he had forgotten to attach the rear view mirror". Amazingly, the mirror was still missing this week when the car came to auction - not even Keith Richards could be that disorganised.

Since then, the car has done less than 1,000 miles and the guide price of 15-20,000 was comfortably beaten on 30/11/11 with a bid of 24,500 (hammer price). And Mr Priest has retired to his stately home's full size golf course - rock'n'stroll!


As mentioned above, Nick Donitz has been waiting a long while to make progress on his genuine "barnfind" car, so when his newly constructed chassis arrived he naturally rushed to film it and proudly put it on YouTube. If you have not seen it yet, it consists simply of over 4 minutes of video of a 541 chassis. Probably puzzling for most people, but pure gold for 541 enthusiasts!



Last month we saw how the 541 aerodynamics shaped its performance; this month it is the turn of the engine. A third report, in the new year, will focus on the Overdrive gearbox performance.
This is the first in a short occasional series of technical items, filling in the space while there is little planned activity during the colder months.

So, how did the 541 shape up against its rivals? Well, on paper it is outstripped by the E-type (different manufacturer, but same engine layout with 6 cylinders, around 4 litres with triple SU carbs) and by the Jensen-Healey (very different engine, but same manufacturer).

  • 80.5kw at 3500rpm Jensen
  • 123kW at 4500rpm Jaguar
  • 115kW at 6400rpm Healey

But if you look at the engine speeds for peak power, you can see why the Jensen was such a popular car for general driving and high speed touring.

Read the main article for more on the Jensen's power delivery.


In October we mentioned the European tour of the 541's contemporary, the 4-litre Interceptor. This car was once owned by the JOC President Lord Strathcarron, and is now owned by Derek Chapman.
I can now add that prior to the trip it competed in the Ragley Concours Gold Class and split the 541s of Ian Proudfoot and Darren Barnes, scoring 500 out of 520. That means Austin engined cars took the first 4 places in the top concours category! Time to get the chamois out, V8 owners...



A plea from Mike Byrne on behalf of a German 541 owner. He is looking for the correct Smiths right angle gearbox for a 541 with overdrive. This is the part that screws on to the overdrive rear casing, on the drivers side. What other vehicles share this same part ?. Shown below is an Austin-Healey equivalent, but these apparently look different and the thread for the speedo cable is much larger.

If you can assist, post a comment on:

The JOC forum

(free registration & login required for this topic)


Are you sure of your insurance? Every year a few motorists find themselves in the nightmare situation of having paid their Insurance money, but not being recorded as having been insured. This is usually easily resolved, but you don't want to be doing it on the hard shoulder as the Police tow away your Jensen.
There is a simple free site to check your insurance free of charge:


I checked my insurance and found it in order, although I apparently own a "JENSEN 514  3994 cc"


Following September's tale of "our" engines powering Combine Harvesters, comes the following information:
Newage Engineering used to produce marine and agricultural engine conversions based on the Austin six-cylinder engines. The agricultural versions were set up to run on tractor vaporising oil (TVO, Kerosene) or lamp oil (for Spanish and Portuguese markets).

The Newage converted TVO engines had two interesting reputations ? they caught fire easily, and the other trait was their ability to run completely sans ignition system! It is well known that TVO engines run hotter than their petrol fuelled brethren, due to the relatively low octane rating of the paraffin-based fuel and the need to vaporise it properly. In the case of the Newage conversion, the compression ratio was reduced greatly. That was quite alright, but, for some reason, the sharp point of the combustion chamber swirl-inducing shape was retained. When the engine was hot, that point would glow and completely take the place of the spark plug!

Credit: All British Classics Car Club, Australia

As previously mentioned, optimistic 541 owners salvaging Newage Austin engines have found that they differ in so many details they are not a good source of spares.


We've all seen the forensic scientists identifying the gun that fired the fatal shot, by studying the markings on the bullet. Now the Bristow family, who have had more 541s pass through their hands than I have had ordinary cars, reckon they can identify the provenance of a 541 by the imperfections of the mould! At the Ragley Hall concours they were able to point out repeated flaws in the mouldings of various original cars and connect them with a particular batch of bodies.

REMEMBRANCE  11th November

"At the going down of the sun and in the morning, We will remember them."

On November 11th lies Remembrance Day, when all across Britain we think of those who lost their lives in the service of this country.

Through the medium of the Internet and the JOC, former allies and former foes alike are brought together and we hope that Members throughout the world are able to celebrate the Peace. In April 2011, a pair of Jensens took part in a rally at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire, a focal point for memorials to those who have served, and continue to serve, our nation in many different ways, including the Police, Fire and Rescue services.

By permission Albert Bite

By permission Pauline Blake Forge

For those who wish to know more:
This is a place where current and future generations can wander and wonder. Link to National Memorial Arboretum (new window).
Covering 150 acres, the Arboretum has something for everyone. For some it is a wonderful place to stroll and enjoy the beauty of the trees; for others it's a peaceful and beautiful place to remember loved ones, particularly those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. The focus, however, is not totally military. There is a large area devoted to Police who have fallen while on duty, as well as other areas given over to the Fire & Rescue and Ambulance services. National charities that represent those who have died in particular circumstances, including children, and people killed in road incidents, are also to be found in the Arboretum grounds.

NEC CLASSIC MOTOR SHOW  11th - 13th November

Despite the restricted size allocated, the JOC will be celebrating 40 years of the Club with a magnificent stand at the Birmingham NEC. Every main group within the club will be represented with seven - yes, seven - cars crammed onto the stand. Namely:

  • H type (pre-war) ~ Mike Williams
  • CV8 ~ Chris Walton
  • 4-litre Interceptor ~ Derek Chapman
  • Interceptor ~ Mark Manniat
  • Healey ~ Kevin Elliot
  • SV8 ~ Dick Davis
  • and especially for us 541 enthusiasts

  • 541 ~ Darren Barnes

The club marquee and the Regalia trailer will be there, so meet up with friends you've only met online, or who you haven't seen for months, and say "hello" to the JOC members on the stand. Darren's amazing newly restored 541 will be on display.
The JOC has arranged a discount on tickets to members - read about it in: this Forum thread!

Link to NEC site.

Watch their video of the 2010 show to see Keith Hudson's 541S @ 20 seconds in!
YouTube Video


In October we looked at a recently unearthed aerodynamics report that labelled the 541 as having the best drag co-efficient of any car yet tested. ...  Another part of the performance equation is the car's power. The Jensen designers realised from the start that this was likely to be a weak point in the car's design - the Austin 6-cylinder was a lovely engine but was not especially powerful. Designer Colin Riekie said "We learnt from Morris Engines that the output of the engine was 94bhp @3700rpm ... on the test-bed ... they were keen to test our modified cylinder head and we were pleased to learn it gave 117bhp @3500rpm ... torque was close to 190ft/lbs." On the road, "in normal top the bhp at the wheels would be about 110 at peak revolutions, but overdrive would reduce this due to losses in the overdrive unit."

With the kind permission of Ashley Hobson, of the Classic Performance Dyno Centre in South Australia, we are able to see how a 541 responds today.

For this they use their rolling road facility:

The car submitted for testing was a 1960 541R having a "Standard engine with factory triple SU's, standard exhaust". Initial power was 70.7kw, after which "The Carburretors were rejetted plus ignition optimised on the Dyno" and the car retested.

The results are shown below. Note that the peak power, when in correct tune, is 80.5kW which converts to 108bhp - just 2bhp less than originally! The peak torque was 234Nm or 173lb/ft which compares well to the 190lb/ft achieved on the test bed.

If any experts are able shed further light on the performance shown in this chart I'd be glad to hear from them!

Historical note: Although the four-litre engine was Austin, production had already been transferred from Longbridge to Morris Engines in the old Riley works in Coventry, where the staff were very interested in co-operating with Jensen.


Now that the results are published in the Club Magazine, we can cover the 541 successes.

By no means all of the 541s present were entered in the Concours, but of those that were:

Bronze Class:    The two 541s present grabbed two prizes in this class.
Brian Philpott with 525 FBC was thrilled to receive not just 3rd place prize in his newly acquired 541S, but also the 541 Registrar's Cup :

And Terry Coggins from Bristol in his distinctive scarlet (previously green) 541, XKN 541, took 2nd place.

There were no 541s in the Silver Class  but
moving up to the Gold Class there were three 541s in the running:

Keith Lee with his previous prizewinner NEA 495 took 4th place :

Darren Barnes' delectable new restoration, SXU 567, took 3rd place.

Ian Proudfoot added his name to the trophy yet again with the immaculate 541S, 912 UPF, taking Gold 1st place.

Next year, the Concours will once again be incorporated
with the International Weekend (click for dates)


   ...this month - the "rolling road" car featured above is seen in a recent Australian advert.

... previous featured car pictures are stored in an Archive page.  Go to the "Toolbox" tab to find this.


   ...the 541 has many interesting and unique parts... here's one of them...

Boot Lamp.

   Lucas L491 (53163)
Come back in a month for another obscure part!


Trip Complete

A triumph for 1950s Jensens with the successful European tour of the 541's contemporary, the 4-litre Interceptor. The immaculate concours drophead, once owned by the JOC President Lord Strathcarron, is owned by Derek Chapman who said:
It was an incredible trip throughout and so great to meet everyone. My big thanks to everyone involved and for their great help and hospitality. It certainly makes all the effort worthwhile.
Special thanks to Andi Kreis and his family for looking after us so well in Switzerland... and sorry about the major oil spill outside (and inside!) your garages!!

Forum link to story of the trip. (new window)

569 MPJ - History

Last month, Lennie Boulton's two-tone "Pink" 541 was mentioned, and I have since received some interesting information about its history, which I will be researching. If you think you can add anything to the tale, please contact this site's webmaster.


Some users are in the habit of spreading thick grease over their leaf springs, wrapping them in Denso tape and then protecting them with leather gaiters.

I've recently heard that some MOT stations are asking to have the gaiters and wrapping removed, so they can check the springs for fractures. Has anyone else heard of this happening?


Good News! The first UK buyer has reported back via the forum:
I recently took delivery of a pair of the Alloy Bonnet Securing Thumb Nuts and Half Wing Nuts from Tony Wilde in Australia. The ones featured on the 541 section of the Jensen website. The quality, finish and fit is superb they also match the originals perfectly. Definitely a must for any 541 owners out there that are missing them or their originals have worn or damaged threads.
- Steve K, early 1955 541.


You may remember that long-time JOC member Tony Wilde was once our JOC Spares Secretary (JOC founder member #92) before leaving for Australia in the early 1980s, to found a successful international accountancy firm. As you can guess, he does not need to earn a living from selling car parts, so these are a labour of love. His 541R travelled to Australia with him and is our featured Car of the Month, in its unrestored state. He has posted the pictures on Flickr and Tony has supplied me with a price list.  See the Links page for more details.


Our JOC Regalia are offering some 541 clothing items at SALE prices. At 16.65, down from 18.50, is a 541 polo shirt.
Apparently, it is a Yarn dyed marl pique made from 100% ringspun cotton, with a Three button placket, contrast jacquard collar and cuffs, side vents and a locker patch.
If you contact Regalia they will no doubt translate that, or even better pop in at the NEC show where they will happily show you their placket.

Link to Regalia


Jensen 541R fanatic and author Barry Stone has contacted us:
Just a wee note to say that the exciting new Constable & Robinson edition of my dogtastic tail Barking At Winston is now available everywhere: isbn 9781780332420

Despite the cute cover, this is intended for all ages from teens upwards.

How did he get a mention on this website? By including his email address, which is:

What a superb address!


I was recently contacted by a relative of Jensen body designer Eric Neale with a rather interesting item - a copy of the famous aerodynamics report that labelled the 541 as having the best drag co-efficient of any car yet tested. ...  As we know, in the 1950s Jensen was enjoying a good relationship with the Austin Motor Company, an organisation which had been involved in aircraft production at its shadow factories during the War. It had developed an interest in aerodynamics and BMC had built what the BBC claimed in 1957 to be "the only full-size wind-tunnel owned by a car factory anywhere in the world".

One of the first to use this facility was Jensen. Here we see the Longbridge facility in 1954:

and from the other direction in 1956:

And this is the resulting document: Austin - Test Report No. S.1579/057 Wind Tunnel Tests on the Jensen 541 Saloon. 21st January 1954. Copies to: Sir L.P.Lord, Mr. G.W.Harriman, Mr.J.R.Rix, Mr. Stanfield, Mr.Neale, Mr. Riekie.    (Click on the picture to open the fullsize document)    Courtesy of Peter Neale. This is a wonderful document, reeking of the period in which it was written and a delightful mix and scientific report and literary work. Can you imagine anyone today producing a report as readable as this? The names at the front leap off the page at me - Leonard Lord, boss of Austin; George Harriman, later head of BMC; Jim Stanfield, Austin's chief body designer; and the two Jensen men, Colin Riekie and Eric Neale.

         George Harriman                              Len Lord

And the reports conclusion? "In its best form the car's drag co-efficient is .00100, a very low figure. It can be seen how remarkable is the effect of opening the radiator intake..."

So, proof of the oft-reported claims of the 541s incredible aerodynamics.


"Many of you from the UK, CH, D, B, N and, I am sorry too few from the NL, attended our meeting", reported organiser Kees.

Han Kamp told me:    Only one 541 DeLuxe and one 541R were present, an S from Germany unfortunately had problems and couldn't make it. There were 2 nice C-V8's as well as 2 early Interceptor cabriolets. A rare sight indeed! Five or six people showed up in their modern vehicles, which I think deserves an applause. Most important: they were there! It was a very good and enjoyable weekend in spite of the relatively low number of participants, at least compared to our 25th anniversary event (80 + then...... now 32....) but the hotel, food, tours, scenery, and most of all the people were magnificent. As a bonus we had 25 degrees or more and lots of sun!! Speaking for myself, I enjoyed myself tremendously having been given the keys of a MK1 FF for the weekend! More pics and video images soon on:
www.jensenholland.nl. - Jensenholland link


Dave and Jane Turnage, our 541 Registrars, have just completed a 3,000 mile European tour to Italy in their trusty 541R, with the only faults being a slight leak and a failed bulb. However, they have worn out their window winder trying to get cool on the long journeys!

Forum link for more great pictures

  • Total indicated mileage 2922 (probably 8 to 10% greater than reality)
  • Fuel purchased 623.6 litres
  • MPG 21.3 (similarly 8 to 10% optimistic)

VIDEO CLIP:  Puoi parlare in Inglese?

Foreign Language class:  

Dave Turnage answers the pretty Italian lady's questions.



At the recent Silverstone Classic, a 541 was entered in the RAC Tourist Trophy, a hotly contested hour long two-driver race. If I reveal it was up against Ferrari 250s and Aston DB4s it will come as no surprise that it finished very near the end of the field, but its lap times were quite competitive and it was not put to shame by the more exotic machinery.
I hope to find out more and add details in the following months.

UK - Switz - Holland - UK    in the Strathcarron Interceptor!

I will be setting off in my 1952 early (Strathcarron) Interceptor for an epic journey

I'm sure lovers of 1950s Jensens will be interested to note that the 541's contemporary, the 4-litre Interceptor, is being taken on a grand tour of Europe from August 23rd to 4th September. The car in question is Derek Chapman's immaculate concours drophead, once owned by the JOC President Lord Strathcarron.

Forum link to Derek's progress. (new window)


Following on from the above item, I've noticed how overlooked this lovely car is by the public and the Press. I've therefore set up a private site (not an offical JOC site) with some pictures and information on it to help vistors learn more, and then redirect them to the JOC.

** 2019 - temporarily down **

Unlike Jensen541.com it will NOT be regularly updated. If someone better equipped to take over running it emerges, please contact Stephen Carter at the address below.


*  Jensen specialists Martin Robey have a newly revamped website. www.martinrobey.com
Unfortunately they literally have only a handful of items for 541 owners, but may be worth a ring.

*  A H Spares Ltd near Coventry took over the supply of Austin Healey parts 40 years ago when the original factory was closed, using many of the same staff. As the 541 was built by Jensen at the same time as the Healey, many parts match.
A H Spares have just announced a new expansion with increased shop space, giving you somewhere to stand while you try to compare parts with those from your 541!

A detailed read of Mike Byrne's 541 Build Sheets will help you pick the correct Healey part number for many items - see below for details.

  Long-time JOC member Tony Wilde is still offering several essential 541 parts from his home in Australia.      He has posted the pictures on Flickr and Tony has supplied me with a price list.  See the Links page for more details.

*  The 541 Build Sheets are still available from Mike Byrne on a CD. Virtually an instruction list on how to build a 541, they simply list almost every part,its dimensions, quantities and origins. It's up to you how to assemble them once you have sourced them! There are also miscellaneous other illustrated parts lists - around 300 pages in all. Mike has set the price at 12.00 plus 2.00 postage to anywhere in the world!
Please contact him at mikebyrne611@btinternet.com.
The "Workshop Manual" compilation remains on sale at the same address.

*  Our own JOC Regalia have their usual items, plus "JOC 40th" T-shirts and cufflinks.
I can also now personally recommend their magazine binders, which tidy away over a dozen copies of the Magazine - your partner will thank you! Read my Review on the Regalia site for hints on inserting the magazines.
Link to Regalia


As described above, the Jensen Build sheets are now on a CD. I recently discovered the existence of some later Build Sheets from 1959 (below), but unfortunately the trail has gone cold.

If YOU know of the existence of any similar paperwork from the past, let the Club archivist, the 541 Registrars or this site know - these things are too easily lost forever.


Classics Monthly is available as a digital magazine. You can view it on a tablet, Smartphone or PC/Mac. Is this the way all car mags are going? I hope not - I've just bought some "JENSEN" binders!


A wonderful day in the country featuring a good turnout of cars and lovely weather. If you were bored of the cars (!) you could wander around the House and Grounds, or partake of afternoon tea in the Stableblock cafe. Some excellent 541s were in attendance, although Keith Hudson left his prizewinning gold 541S at home in favour of his truly immaculate Jensen-built Volvo 1800.

I can't reveal the Concours results until they are officially posted in the club Magazine, but I can say that "early Jensens" made a strong showing! Many thanks to all who worked so hard on this day.

Amongst the non-concours attenders were the Bristow family, who brought two 541s that have unfortunately been missed at club events for many years due to clashing dates.

If you want to see more of this event, take a look at this month's video clip.


Rather an unusual departure for our favourite Jensen 4-litre based website, you may be thinking...  But as we move into September, traditionally the time for Harvest Festival, spare a thought for the hardworking combine harvesters. Back in the 1950s, a company named Newage specialized in modifying Austin engines for marine and off-road use.  One very popular model was the Austin 4-litre, as used in the 541. Next time someone says, "Wow! Is that a lorry engine under your bonnet?" you can reply, "Actually it's a combine harvester block"!

Brian Dye has kindly let me reprint some of his Combine memories, and would like me to include a link to his current site: FordsonTractorPages

Mr Jones lived just on the other side of Norwich, our local city, about 30 miles from the depot. He had a small farm of around 100 acres, which like most of the farms around this area, was a mixed crop and cattle farm. He grew malting and feed barleys and feed wheat.... The 726 and 780 were produced in Scotland at Kilmarnock and based on the Massey 21... Some Massey?s had a Chrysler 6 cylinder side valve petrol engine but this was replaced with either a Morris 4 cylinder side valve, petrol / kerosene engine, the same as was fitted to the early Nuffield tractors or the beautiful Austin-Newage overhead valve 6 cylinder petrol / kerosene engine as home produced units became available. The Austin - Newage was an industrial version of a car engine that powered the luxury Austin cars of the time. I owned on of these, (bought second hand I hasten to add, some years later). The engine used to purr like a contented cat!! An Austin - Newage, powered Mr Jones?s Massey-Harris 780. On the Massey machine the engine was mounted underneath the combine threshing area. All the rubbish that leaked from this area fell on the engine. Mr Jones had made the fatal mistake of not cleaning the build up of chaff and rubbish from around the kerosene vaporiser at least three times a day! The build-up caught fire. Luckily the farm staff managed to save the combine but all the wiring was burnt out.
If you are interested in reading the full amusing article on the repair, follow this link: Memories of a Field Service Engineer - by Brian Dye (opens in New Window)

Suffice it to say that eventually, "There was nothing like the sound of that six-cylinder motor crackling out of that straight piece of drainpipe that the Massey called an exhaust."


Sadly, by the time Newage had modified the head, the block, the sump and the stroke of the crankshaft, there was not much compatibility with the standard road-car unit, so it is unlikely to be source of 541 spares.


JOC South Wales Area at the Tredegar House Rally and Show. Unknown 541 involvement this year.
Information on Tredegar House Car Rally (opens in New Window)
Contact: Richard Streeter (0771 7674670) concours@joc.org.uk

NEC CLASSIC MOTOR SHOW  11th - 13th November

JOC stand at Birmingham show. TBC.
Link to NEC site - watch their video of the 2010 show to see Keith Hudson's 541S @ 20 seconds in!


While the JOC Concours considered itself as upmarket as we sipped tea on the terrace at Ragley Hall, the real money was partying at the Hurlingham Club Concours in London. A chance to spend your inheritance while surrounded by priceless automobiles.

Classic & Sportscar Hurlingham club report

But amidst the quaffing of Veuve Clicquot champagne and munching of lobsters, and close to the Helicopter test flights (all completely true!) the Jensen flag was being upheld by Lennie Boulton with his 541. Sorry - Ill read that again, "Leonard Bolton" (who has gained a more impressive first name but at the expense of his surname's length).

Classic & Sportscar reported:    ....other 1950s highlights included another concours regular: Leonard Bolton?s superb, two-tone Jensen 541R (below).

"It was the 1959 Earls Court show car, finished in Dusk Rose over Primrose," explained Bolton. "I bought it 30 years ago from its first owner, who bought the car off the show stand because his wife 'liked the colour'."

Next year - Sir Leonard de Boulton to arrive by helicopter?


A brief glimpse of Ragley Hall Concours

  - a party in the Park for all the Concours competitors and those there for fun. Keep the Volume turned to medium as the first few seconds sound dramatic!
Nine out of fortynine cars were 541s - not included in the video were:
* Keith Lee's green 541 which was filmed two months ago
* last month's 541R red video star
* the newly purchased metallic red 541S shown at the top of this page
* Ron's aubergine 541R beauty (another time hopefully)
* the Turnage's 541S - see below for car of the month



Long-time JOC member Tony Wilde used to be the Spares Secretary. Since moving to Oz he has branched out into making the spares! Several essential 541 parts are now available from him.

They are not cheap, but represent good value as they are uniquely designed for the 541.


On the forum, there has been discussion of what the No.1 record was when your Jensen was first registered. It is quite instructive to do the same for the 541.

Firstly, the "Singles chart" only started the year before the 541 project was started. Up until then, sales were measured of sheet music for people to play on their own pianos!

As the project got under way, the sounds of "How much is that Doggy in the Window" were most popular. During its gestation, Frankie Lane's "I Believe" was popular, and during its unveiling at the Motor Show in 1953 the honours were shared by Guy Mitchell's "Look At That Girl" and Frankie Laine's "Hey Joe" (not, I hasten to add, the same song that Hendrix performed during the Interceptor era!).

By the time the very first 541 was registered in January 1955, the No.1 was Winifred Atwell's honky-tonk piano rendition of "Let's Have Another Party" (a Christmas leftover no doubt). The exhausted production team must have empathised with the track "Another Little Drink Wouldn't Do Us Any Harm" as they handed the keys over to the first customer.

By the time the 541S was introduced, the charts had changed in style and the hit was Roy Orbison's "Only the Lonely". When the last 541S quietly crept out of the factory in March of 1963, the Beatle's first hit "Please Please Me" had just been toppled by Cliff with "Summer Holiday".

So, from "How much is that Doggy in the Window" to The Beatles - what a ride that must have been!


The website page:
Metal chrome and leather
  (new window) features handsome black and white photos of parts of a 541. The photographer adds: "I deliberately haven't put a photo of the whole car on this page. Why, because you don't need it, you should imagine it. Here's the scene you should see in your mind's eye: The Jensen 541, a Grand Tourer. So let's tour down to the Cote D'Azur, pull up on La Croisette and sip cocktails at the Martinez. Cheers!"

And like me, he is from the area of Epping in Essex - obviously a man of taste.


An appeal via the Forum from Craig: The top of the sleeve on the gearlever on my 1958 Deluxe has broken off. This is used to curl your finger under and pull the sleeve up to select reverse. I now have a jagged edge at the top and I now need two hands to select reverse. The crunch came yesterday when I sliced my finger on the jagged bit. Is this sleeve easily removeable and replaceable? Or do I remove it and get somebody to braze a new finger tab on the top?

Craig's Forum link. (new window)


I heard a very interesting story recently regarding the change of boot hinges from the original style, which hinged neatly from the bottom, to the more conventional style adopted by the R and the S, which had large external chrome hinges and opened upwards.

As I heard it, one of the Jensen brothers was travelling at speed when (possibly after hitting a bump) the boot catch sprang open. Instantly, a large vertical surface was presented to the wind as it flowed over the aerodynamic bodywork, which must have had a similar effect to the Mercedes race team and their LeMans airbrake. Whatever happened, it was scary enough for the design to be modified so that if the boot opened while moving, it would be blown shut again.

I'd be delighted to hear confirmation of this story or further details.

Where's Wally?


Out of 30 cars at London's Ace Cafe in July, about 20 must have been Interceptors so they seemed relatively commonplace. The only 541, belonging to Derek from Bristol, was parked in pride of place next to the doorway and therefore got even more attention, including a very enthusiastic young lady who made enquiries on behalf of her young man - he was quieter but had a glint in his eyes as he looked at it. Maybe in 20 years time he'll be joining the club as a middleaged 541 owner.

If you want to see more of this car, take a look at this month's video clip .


Those who attended our 20th and 25th will no doubt remember what HJGH has offered in terms of hospitality and facilities, not in the least, the very affordable cost. We are aiming to offer the Same quality, if not an even better event in 2011 ... You would not not want to miss this I am sure, just ask those Who have attended the other events.

Han Kamp says: Over the weekend we will be celebrating the 30th anniversary of Het Jensen Genootschap Holland. We have made reservations in a fantastic hotel in Goes which is near Antwerp and Ghent in Belgium and near most ferry services. Excellent motorway connections from all over continental Europe lead to Goes and the Dutch coastal area of the district of Zeeland where this city is situated. Zeeland is famous for its endless sand beaches and dunes and features many beautiful historic cities and other places worth a visit. Rotterdam is a mere 70 miles and Amsterdam just 120 miles away. Detailed information on our website (click the link below)
(opens in New Window) www.jensenholland.nl

From our archives, we have a picture of how the club celebrated their 10th anniversary back in 1991 with a limited edition model:



Some Italians appreciate the looks of classic British cars, and even hold special "British Day" events. Max Bottoli took along his family to such an event. "Bell'auto. Massimo". A couple more of his pictures can be seen, also thanks to Mike Byrne on his Flickr page.

Massimo and his family - on Mike Byrne's slot on Flickr
The British cars - full size - on Mike Byrne's slot on Flickr
The full parade - on Mike Byrne's slot on Flickr

SCANDINAVIAN ADVENTURE, 16-29th July    Event Report

The intrepid travellers from the UK were driving Interceptors, FFs and a Healey, so you might think there was no 541 involvement. But wait! In the Centre of Oslo on the 21st they were met by local enthusiasts, one of whom was in a 541R. They all parked up at Karl Johan and Town Hall, as can be seen below.

Picture: Jensen Owners Club Norway

Picture: Jensen Owners Club Norway

Click here to go to JensenCars Norway.


Keith "Rock" Hudson entered this 1961 Jensen 541S in the Practical Classics, Classic Cars and Classic Car Weekly "Classic Car of the Year 2011" competition. Entires closed on 31st July - will it be chosen for Public vote?

Keith gave a brief description of his car:
This car had been making regular trips to France with previous owner until a bad ferry crossing caused severe damage to front and rear of its fibreglass body.It was then stored for about 20 years until I purchased the car for 2000. Part of the bonnet came in carrier bags and a lot of the rear was missing.
After a (crash) course in fibreglass repair I spent the next 6 years restoring it and even located the original factory mould which I used to re-create the rear end. The welding took me 2 years to complete.


This month, Terry's 541 (ex-Malcolm Bristow) which has been on the cover of the JOC magazine a couple of times when it was green, but is now back to its original crimson. It burbled up from Bristol, stunned the Londoners at the Ace, and then proved it was as useable as it is attractive by setting off on the return journey.

JULY 2011


Update! Last month I reported : "The 541 body designer, the late Eric Neale, had a younger brother called Colin who achieved fame in Britain by heading the styling studio that produced the iconic Ford Zodiac Mk2 and the finned Consul Capri. He then moved to the US..." I have recently traced his address and was told by his daughter "Yes, you have found Eric's remaining brother. Eric was a lovely man and is greatly missed in our family."
I've now had a phone chat, direct from the suburbs of Detroit, with this youthful-sounding 85 year-old and he retained his enthusiasm for the motor business. So far I've learnt about their father's abilities with wood (his skills led to him being dubbed "Mr Wood" and he headed the woodwork section at Austin, an important area before the war). His inventions were the reason for his sons' interest in design; he improved WW2 bombers and the Horsa troop gliders. I hope to learn more next time we talk.


There's mixed news on project cars this month. Read on for the latest:

Good News

Readers of Practical Classics magazine may have been following the extensive restoration being undertaken on 541R "WXM 54". This has ground to a halt recently, and Bus mechanic/drummer Fuzz Townshend has now moved to Classics Monthly. When I enquired about the project, Fuzz told me: "My Jensen 541R has indeed migrated to Classics Monthly with me. I shall be recommencing its restoration over the summer, so I should have plenty to report by the Autumn."

Subscribers to Practical Classics will have to content themselves with Editor Danny Hopkin's Interceptor rebuild.

Bad News

The website www.anugraha.org.uk  (new window) is now 12 years old and carried news of a 541R to be restored in 1999.

I have followed up on it and Andy told me that "Unfortunately, my friend emigrated to Australia and left the car in my garage for a few years with no funds to continue the restoration; at the time, I was trying to source replacement Dunlop disk brake cylinders. Eventually, about 6 years ago, he decided to get the car restored professionally and give the car to his daughter as a wedding present. A low-loader recovery truck was sent round to fetch the car and it was taken off to a restorer somewhere in south London. I heard nothing for long time but a few years ago I learnt that (a) the wedding was called off and the couple split up and (b) the restorers took one look at it and said it was beyond their resources to restore it and would cost a phenomenal amount of money in any case. I've no idea where it is now, my friend doesn't use email and I've no contact details for him in Australia. A terrible shame really as I have driven the car even though it was extensively vandalised after being left parked in a front garden in Merton, South London for a year."
Is this car back in circulation?

No News

While browsing on the computer I came across this image:

Of no interest? Try zooming in beyond the Escort:

Apparently this 541 is part of a huge stash of cars in barns on a farm I will keep anonymous. The owner has actually restored another 541 to show condition and has vague plans for this one. I managed to trace the photographer who has been out of the country for several years, but has just returned and, at my suggestion, will be asking the owner (his relative) for more information on the car and enquiring under what circustances it would be for sale.


...of anyone trying to make sense of the wiring diagrams on the JOC site. He says, "I am in the process of re-drawing the 541 wiring diagram and I intend to sectionalise it to make it a bit easier to use. The first section I have done is the dashboard."

Check his notes on the Forum (new window)

On returning from the International Weekend, my children presented me with Father's Day cards. My 12 year-old son included a tiny sketch of a 541 on his card, which I think captures its shape rather well.


The International seemed a great success, with plenty of chat replacing the usual Concours. Not many early cars were present, but a delegation from Denmark bolstered the numbers.

Here we see the beautiful sight awaiting visitors as they arrived at the Hayley hotel on Friday evening.


You may be aware of more changes at Cropredy: following the sudden departure of V-Eight from the site, manager Bob Cherry had to rebuild the business he had been connected to for decades. He has now decided to hand over the reins and contacted his former panelbeater Gregg Alvarez who has bought up the business. Gregg also runs Gama cars, which handbuilds the "brand new" Interceptor R on behalf of the JIA company. To find out how all this affected 541 owners, I contacted him and he told me:
We definitely intend to provide specialist 541 services, building upon the groundwork that Bob Cherry has so carefully put in place. We plan to offer an indepth, comprehensive service for all 541, CV8 and Interceptor customers old and new. We are able to offer major glass fibre repair facilities as well. Bob Cherry is staying with us at least for the foreseeable future, (let?s face it, he?s irreplaceable in the Jensen world!!) so we can offer a full technical support service as well.

The works will be run by the new General Manager at Cropredy, Michael Garden.


The 33rd Sandwell Historic Vehicle Show at West Bromwich had over 500 mixed vehicles. Steve J reported: "To prove that Jensens do not dissolve in the rain, 28 cars made the effort to give the public a display of West Brom's finest products. The previous night, the usual suspects plus several new faces came to Dudley for a few beers and a mind numbing Mexican meal (thanks to Bill Smith). Congratulations to club stalwarts Ron and Thelma Smith, as their superb 541R won "Best Jensen", a well deserved award."


Picture: Neil Jennings

Daniel Bristow told us: "We had 4 541s at Kemble in the end and the weather turned out really well for us. A bit of low cloud to start with but it lifted as the planes took to the skies. Lots of interest in the cars and met a couple who have their father's old 541 who are going to join the club and get it back on the road after seeing them at the show. Now that's got to be a result."


JOC Lincolnshire and South Humberside Area at the Bourne Show

Picture: Derek Chapman

Derek Chapman reported:  "Many thanks to Colin & Diane for all their efforts which resulted in a great turnout of 11 Jensens at the Bourne Show. Ok, the weather wasn't with us which resulted in the show packing up early, but hey, it was still great to see everybody again, and did we care as we tucked into our Sunday dinner and beer at the local?!!" Colin and Di added:   "A big thanks to those who made the effort, helping to make an impressive display at Bourne this year, our Third, we had people from five different counties, you all came from Lincolnshire, Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, Cambridgeshire and Suffolk. To those who came back to ours afterwards, it was our pleasure."
More pics on the Forum
  (new window)


Paul Vierhout sent the JOC a bundle of pictures chronicling the lengthy 6 year rebuild and conversion of "GFA 444". It is now possibly the only LHD 541? Now with rack and pinion steering box and a better brake system. The last couple of years have been taken up with resolving minor issues, and finally by the time you read this it will have a lucky new owner in Switzerland.

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VIDEO CLIP: International Weekend

A Scenic drive was planned for the Saturday afternoon of the International Weekend and it was a huge success, especially amongst those freed from the "tyranny" of concours preparation. Congratulations are due to Lewi and Zac Marshall for all the preapration they did. Many thanks also to Keith and Jenny Lee for offering the drive pictured below: