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        ** Warning - they are now out-of-date **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        2017        2018        2019        2020        2021       


50 not out!

It's 50 years since the first JOC meeting in 1971

At the International meeting, a special 50th Anniversary cake was cut to celebrate, while club Chairman, Shaun, made a short speech.



...the 541 series? If you think Jensen planned to end the 541 name with the 541S, here's a reminder that the replacement V8 with modified chassis was originally not going to be the C-V8. It was going to be the 541 Centre Tube, or 541 CT, reflecting the major change in chassis layout proposed by Kevin Beattie. To prove it, see the original Jensen proposal below, clearly marked at the bottom as a 541 CT.

Click on the image to enlarge it.

541 [NOW SOLD]

Terry Coggins of Bristol is selling his well-known 1956 Jensen 541, upgraded to Deluxe spec when restored in the '80s using 541R disc brakes.

NOTE: ** NOW SOLD** Members of the JOC Forum can see more details here


Occasionally pictures emerge of a 541 that I am unable to identify. The car shown here was photographed around a decade ago, when it was not particulary valuable, but with recent rising prices it must be a good candidate for a full restoration.

I believe it was on the West coast of America, and the photographer did not know the owner - indeed, he gueseed it was an AC!

Does anyone have any further information on it?
Click on the image to enlarge it.


Losing track of time in the garage? Need a reminder of when to come in? What you need is a genuine reproduction 541R speedo effect clock. It uses a printed image to give the impression of the Jensen dashboard -
the sellers warn "best enjoyed hanging on a wall and seen from a small distance"

Keep an eye on eBay


show everyone how mankind has evolved with this 541 themed T-shirt.

On ebay HERE at 10.99

Click on the image to enlarge it.

Spreading Christmas Joy

ILLINOIS REBUILD    Concours Winner

The Bristow family of Gloucestershire recently sold XFK 88, a 1959 541R in nice useable condition.

Since it arrived in the States, it has been completely rebuilt by Vintage Sports Car Inc. who said:
The engine was completely stuffed with "crud" and all water passages were blocked. We were lucky that the owner decided to go the whole nine yards with it. The engine restoration took almost a year, and when we put it on the engine stand if fired up as if it had been waiting for this moment as anxious as we did.
The owner took care of the body, we only did the engine and install/ hook up of it. The car is beautiful, and sounds completely different to the other 541 we service.

Picture credits: Vintage Sports Car Inc., Woodstock, IL

The finshed car has now scooped a trophy at the Milwaukee Concours for Best Post War Sports Car:    Click on the image to enlarge it.

Picture credit: Mike Wiviott for Milwaukee Concours d'Elegance

I personally love the painted wire wheels.

KEEP ON RUNNING    Castrol Advert

Back in the 1970s Castrol was promoting the long-life properties of its engine oil. One of the cars chosen to illustrate this was Jensen 541 deluxe YXA 202, which had clocked up 180,000 miles at the time. This was during a period when many engines were clapped out after 80,000 miles. In the group shot below, the owner proudly leans against the car.

Click on the image to enlarge it.

I'm glad to say that Castrol seems to have done the trick as 40 years and goodness know how many miles later YXA 202 is still going strong - here it is pictured with a friend of the owner in 2013, in its distinctive new livery of mid brown.

CARS ON STREETS    Answers on a postcard

I've come across a fascinating website that shows old photos of cars on postcards, but only (in an eccentric twist) "where the car is incidental."


In a recent posting, a Jensen 541 with Ace wheel trims happens to be partially visible in a postcard of the courtyard outside the Old White Hart Hotel in Henley-on-Thames.
Click on the image to enlarge it.

Another postcard I've come across shows that an adventurous 541 owner has taken his car abroad to a resort. The yellow tinted headlights would suggest France - any other suggestions?
Click on the image to enlarge it.


A handsome 1960 541R, previously in Switzerland, features in this very professional video by Netherlands trader "The Gallery". Practice your Dutch!



Media personality and ace mechanic Fuzz Townshend had been aiming to thin his classics collection down to an Austin 7 special and his 541 by this Christmas.

My enquiries as to progress on the restoration sufficiently needled him to jokingly ask me, "Yeah, yeah, yeah..... Are we married? :D"

However, we do get to see tantalising glimpses of his 541 project in the background of Channel 4's 'CAR SOS'.

Click the photo below to see car (and owner!) in more detail (picture from last year).


Scale model expert David Wright writes: I can confirm, that Matrix Scale Models do plan to release another 541S, in a different colour. I've given them an image of another member's car, in cranberry red, with wire wheels, suggesting this, so look out for this one being released before too long. Also, they want to produce a fine scale model of the 541 too, and are debating at present whether to make a 541, a 541R or a De Luxe.


I recently came across this image, which appeared on a collectors' card series in the 1960s. The red colour may well be retouched. It seems to me that Jensen would not have travelled far to take their publicity shots - does anyone recognise this park location in the Sandwell area?
I expect it does not have smart flower beds like that now!
Click on the image to enlarge it.


Sometimes an item on the Forum is so useful it qualifies as a "Sticky" and that post is always kept at the top of the page. At the moment, we have some useful chassis drawings for the 541R and a photos of all the parts that make up a carpet set for the 541R and 541S - thanks to Dave Turnage for the huge job of photographing these.
JOC 541 Forum (log in required)


TUNED 541 HITS THE MARKET     Record price?

Back in 2010 Malcolm Verey required an historic GT car suitable for use in a pre 63 GT series and at both "Master's Gentleman Drivers" and the Goodwood Revival. After much research a suitable Jensen 541R was found in a somewhat dilapidated condition in a French barn but with British registration No WLC 422.
The car was dispatched to Richard Warbyoff of R.W.Racing for full preparation into a competitive race car.
Further research and evidence was dug up by the ex-RAC archivist, John Godley, to enable the application for the essential FIA/HTP papers.
It should be mentioned that the brief to RW was to keep the car in very much original condition, with bumpers etc left on. The interior was obviously stripped but was finished with racing seats tastefully trimmed to match the original interior.

It was also decided that the late and much missed Denis Welch was the best man to strip and prepare the engine as the Austin 4 litre D5 six cylinder unit is basically of the same family as a Healey 100/4 with two extra pots and many parts, including competition pistons, readily available. Denis felt that the car should have a 'proper' steel crankshaft and a further 4000 later, one was installed. The total bill was 80,000.

The engine produces around 235 BHP with the FIA-correct triple 1.5 inch SU carbs, but with a change of camshaft and non-FIA triple 1.75 inch SU carbs, the power reached around 265 hp. Although 6,000 RPM is readily available from this well-built engine, the torque is such that the engine rarely calls for such RPM.
Initial testing at Mallory Park with Willie Green went well until a puncture nearly put him into the wilderness, but other than a few teething problems with height set up etc, the car was ready to race.

Picture credit: Chris Reed

An invitation to the Goodwood Revival in 2013 was very welcome, particularly since Malcolm had known the circuit since the Sixties. He was delighted with 5th in practice, pipping two Ferrari 250 GT Tour de France cars and ahead of the Astons! Sadly, a bad start dropped the car to 6th in the race, with one of the Ferraris nearly within reach. The car also competed at the Goodwood 72 Members Meeting in March 2014 beating strong competition from Big Healeys, Aston DB2s and a Ferrari.

Following the tragic loss of Denis's life during this year's Silverstone Classic meeting, Malcolm feels that it is a time to bring his racing career to an end and the car is now for sale at a record setting 80,000 at Runnymede Motor Company www.runnymedemotorcompany.com


Aluminium CNC machined cylinder heads, developed from the one in the above article, are available from Denis Welch Motorsport www.bighealey.co.uk in bare, standard or fast road versions at prices up to 5,950.00 plus VAT. Jensen specialists may be able to stock the part as well.

The image below is taken from the fascinating 3D rendition on their site - click on it, select the 3D tab, and move the mouse to rotate the head to any position!

BONNET FLAPS    Not Unique?

One proud boast of early 541 owners in that they have a "unique" moveable bonnet flap which can be altered from inside the car. (541S owners have a moveable radiator blind instead). I'd not come across another until I read of the Toyota Sports 800 (1965-69). This cute small sports car, sold only in Japan, also had an internal control and moveable grille shutter.

Picture credit: Toyota

The overall effect is not as startling as with the 541, as the external grille elements do not move with the flap, making it hard to notice.


WESLAKE CYLINDER HEADS    Something special?

Picture credit: AJ Cassar

Those new to 541 ownership often clean the dirt off an engine and discover mysterious writing on the cylinder head - "Weslake". Knowing of Weslake's involvement with F1 and LeMans, they assume they have something special; a tuned engine perhaps? Sadly not, but the true story is still interesting.

Harry Weslake's father was a director of Willey and Co., who made gas meters for the nation until the 1980s. Harry was born in 1897 and received an education through an apprenticeship to Willey's. Crucially, he studied the way that gas meters worked by measuring the flow of gas. He applied for his licence at 15 and started his lifelong connection with fast motorbikes by hiring one, and then buying a Rudge to travel to work. The Rudge's crude spray carb was improved upon by Weslake and he set up the Wex carb factory.

After some years racing and tuning bikes, W.O. Bentley commissioned him to improve a new engine. Weslake's airflow testing increased the output by 50%, and his new career was launched, working on the postwar Jaguars and the Austin Healey. His patents were adopted by Austin, and later BMC, and small plates were placed on all A-series engines to show this:

The same port shaping techniques were used on the big Austin engine that found its way into the 541, and this actually had the patent numbers cast into the head. The heads were all the same, according to expert Andy Fowler, the only difference being that Jensen skimmed a little off the cylinder head to improve the compression ratio.

Apologies to anyone who thought they had something 'special' fitted to their car, but I'm sure you will agree it is a great story anyway.


Worth watching the whole video, but if you want to see the 541 you can skip to 3 minutes 30 seconds, and practice your French skills. This car is apparently currently for sale!