Jensen 541S rebirth

I bought 100/1039 in January 2013 [writes Roderick].
The car had been stored in a damp and grassy garage from 1971 until the summer of 2012 (41 years).

At some time in the mid 60’s the then owner, a London hairdresser called Jules Gee, decided to have the car repainted in gold over its original Princess Grey, the seats re-upholstered in black vinyl, then the dashboard together with door cards covered in a pinky red vinyl! He also re registered the vehicle using his initials, JG94.

The car was bought in 1969 by Tom Holland, then living in North London. Tom, I understand, was a military man and had many overseas postings during the 70’s & 80’s, and he left the car in a garage, where it lay until 2012. The car was then bought, quickly put back to some sort of order, gained an MOT and its registration number retained for the short term owner to resell at greater value than the car. I knew little about 541 cars until reading the musician Neil Young’s biography. This got me researching the various models, and I particularly liked the 541S model. I contacted Dave Turnage of the JOC, to find out if he knew of any such cars for sale. He had heard 100/1039 was coming up for sale and the car was down in the West Country. He indicated the car was in a rough state but due to have an MOT to allow it to be re-registered (now to 991YUN). To cut a long story short I travelled down to Devon by train and returned with the car, driving back to Buckinghamshire through January’s drifting snow.

I made up my mind that I would like to replace the automatic gearbox with a Moss gearbox of the type fitted to the manual cars by Jensen. Two people gave me huge help in identifying the necessary parts and supply these, namely Daniel Bristow and Andy Fowler.

The key task I wanted next was to get the 541R gearbox I had bought from Daniel Bristow fully overhauled, then to decide who would do the bodywork repair re-spraying, and re-trimming. Then who to do the mechanical work to change over the transmissions. None of these tasks could be tackled lightly, to say the least! By chance I know a mechanical engineer called Simon Borrell who had recently started up a Volvo P1800 restoration business in Marlow, together with his business partner Keith Forrest. They were already doing a restoration and upgrade for me on a Volvo 1800S. They were keen to tackle the mechanical work and Simon knew Jason Lawrence of Rejen, who would be interested in resolving the other needs.The car has been repainted and part re-trimmed.

The manual gearbox has been fully overhauled. Now the engine needs a change of crankshaft, and the gearboxes changed over.

Still quite a way to go but most of the thinking and sourcing has been done. In an ideal world I would like to take the car to the Goodwood Revival this year. It will be touch and go if this is possible!

Since that report, Roderick has taken the car, minus the painted bumpers, out to a rather wet Stony Stratford classic car meeting, where it was much admired.

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Update April 2014 (Drive It Day):

Car now has new bumpers, rear perspex screen, boot hinges and handle, door handles and as new seat belt buckles. Car now needs 5 keys to operate all locks. Transmission and overdrive all working fine. Has been running well this month.

"I have fitted the Stainless Steel bumpers from Harringtons, which came with brackets, bolts and nuts as required. Very little fettling required to get these in place on the car's mountings. I am indeed happy with the results."


Roderick says:
After much soul searching my Jensen was sold through Oselli in Great Horwood, Buckinghamshire.