Jensen heritage for the next generation
Jensen C-V8 Chassis Number 112/2379 | The Driving Seat

Jensen C-V8 Chassis Number 112/2379 | The Driving Seat

This is the first of the Museum’s The Driving Seat features. In this first feature, Trevor Pyman, the current owner of Jensen C-V8 112/2379, has explored the history of his Jensen, and tells the Museum who has been in The Driving Seat of his car.

 

Jensen C-V8 Chassis Number 112/2379 | The Driving Seat | 1965 – 1966

 

Jensen CV8 Chassis Number 112/2379 | The Driving Seat

The Botwoods showrooms (right of photograph) at Major Corner, Ipswich. Photograph taken in the 1960s. The showrooms were demolished in the 1980s.

On the 31st October 1965 a new Mark 3 C-V8 left the Jensen factory, bound for their distributor, Botwoods of  Ipswich, Suffolk .

The car was ordered for their customer Mr. Paul Moyes, a local builder and property developer. This C-V8 was painted Indigo Blue with a complimenting Blue/Grey interior, exactly as the car illustrated in the brochure for the model.  The Jensen was assigned the registration number, DDX 227C, and Moyes took delivery of his new car on 3rd November 1965.

From the Jensen factory file on the C-V8 it appears that Moyes may have owned a Jensen previously, but at this time which model or further details are unknown.

Aged just 30 at the time of his purchase, Moyes was probably at the younger end of the age profile for purchasers of new C-V8s.

Moyes was a keen member of the Eastern Counties Motor Club and may have used the car for sporting events. Certainly the C-V8 took some hard use during his ownership, with the car requiring paintwork repairs and some replacement bumper parts on more than one occasion.  In fact, the transmission failed in August 1966. If this was due to overtly hard usage, or an internal fault isn’t known.

Used no doubt for both business and pleasure, by the end of its first year the car had clocked up around 16000 miles. This included a three week period when 3000 miles were added to its tally, perhaps a continental trip?

On or around the 4th November 1966 – at almost exactly one year old –  the car was sold by Moyes. At this point the C-V8’s history becomes a little vague. It seems likely the car was sold back, or part-exchanged to Botwoods. The car’s chassis file confirms Botwoods were ordering small parts for it into 1967, and the car was re-taxed in Ipswich at the end of February 1967.

The C-V8 may have been part of their used car stock and failed to sell quickly. Likewise the car might also have been passed in the trade to Coombes of Guildford, as in March 1967 they were offering for sale a C-V8 that fits its description perfectly right down to the month of first registration. This C-V8 disappeared from their advertisements days after 112/2379 was purchased by the next known owner, Mr George Birks.

 

Jensen C-V8 Chassis Number 112/2379 | The Driving Seat | 1967 – 1970

 

Birks purchased 112/2379 in June 1967 from Charles Follett the London Jensen agent. Whether it went directly from Ipswich to Folletts, or through trade links via Coombes of Guildford is still to be ascertained, but from this point on, the cars history is clear and detailed.

Of interest to the reader is the fact that Birks had purchased a Jensen that was one year eight months old. Birks was a relatively wealthy man by 1967, more than capable of buying a new Jensen.

Since the C-V8 had been discontinued by that time, in favour of the Interceptor, we can only assume Birks must have loved the style and old-world charm of the C-V8. That said, the C-V8 would be part-exchanged a few years later for an Interceptor.

George Birks was born on 13th September 1932, his father was a solicitor. After leaving school, Birks was going to join his father’s firm, and start his articles, to become a solicitor. However, he decided to do his National Service instead. His father died in 1949 during Birk’s period of National Service, so when he returned home, it was necessary for him to find a job.

Aspirations to become  a solicitor were gone, and Birks applied, and was successful in joining the City stockbroking firm of De Zoete & Gordon. Birks was quickly promoted within De Zoete & Gordon, later becoming a blue button.

Birks discussed his rise within the Company in an interview given in 1990,

“I started in the General Office in De Zoete & Gordon.  I spent a year there keeping a gilt-edged jobbers’ ledger; then I went into their private client department, answering the phone to banks and private clients; then I spent about a year in De Zoete’s private client department doing valuations and reports; then I went and spent another year to 18 months in their gilt-edged back room as they called it, which was a room up in the main office. 

De Zoete’s gilt-edged partners all operated from a box in the Stock Exchange and I spent my day in this room working out redemption yields and preparing lists of yields which went out to clients.  Then I went into the House as a blue button with De Zoete & Gordon, and I suppose I was in the House about a year with them, and a job was advertised in the Financial Times for a blue button which in those days was a rather princely salary of £600.  I applied and in fact got the job.”

The move from De Zoete & Gordon took place in 1957, when Birks moved to the stockbroking firm of Phillips & Drew, and by 1963 had been promoted to senior gilt-edged dealer. In that same year, Birks was made a partner within Phillips & Drew at the relatively young age of 31.

Birks tells us more about his time at Phillips & Drew,

“When I joined Phillips & Drew I joined as a blue button.  Phillips & Drew had a very small House staff: they had one partner and two dealers and I think two blue buttons when I joined.  And the partner dealt in the gilt-edged market and the two dealers dealt in the equity market and they were very understaffed.

Coincidentally with my being taken on as a blue button, a man called Paul Bazalgette joined Phillips & Drew as a senior dealer in the equity market because Phillips & Drew realised with the expansion of their business they didn’t really have sufficient skill or numbers of people in the House on the dealing side.  Paul Bazalgette joined Phillips & Drew on the equity side as I joined them, on the equity side in September 1957. 

Within two or three years he became a partner. He was a very well-known and very respected dealer on the floor of the Stock Exchange, in the equity market.  I spent I would think it would be two years on the equity side of Phillips & Drew and then I was asked if I would go onto the fixed interest side and join a man called Arthur Beard, who was the partner in the House, as his assistant. 

So I did that, and in the early days he dealt in gilt-edged stocks as well as debentures and preference shares and for no particular reason also dealt in banks, hire purchase and insurance shares. Those three categories were not dealt in by the equity dealers. 

And so I became his assistant, and I think in a short time I was authorised as a dealer.  His wife was seriously ill for many years and he wished to retire early, and in fact retired I think in 1962, and I then became, rather luckily perhaps, the senior gilt-edged dealer for Phillips & Drew in 1963, and was made a partner in Phillips & Drew in 1963 at, I suppose I would have been, 31.”

Arthur Beard was a respected and sometimes fearsome character. Birks learnt many dealing skills from Beard. Again, Birks recounts what it was to be a good dealer,

” I always felt that the first and most important thing is not to be hypnotised by a price: a price is only a figment of anybody’s imagination at any particular time; because they were calling a stock a certain price, didn’t mean to say that in the end you needed to deal within that price.  A lot of people felt that that was the price and that was all they were going to get. 

And in many ways, by asking a jobber what the price was, you gave him the initiative because he said what his price was.  I think a broker’s role was to know the price, or to know what to expect the price to be.  If the market was falling, the right price might have been quite a bit below what they were actually calling them, and therefore if you were a buyer there was no reason to feel that you had to deal within the price they were quoting, you might well finish up getting it cheaper than that. 

So I always felt that if you asked a jobber a price you might well hear something you didn’t want to hear. It was far more important, in my book, to know what the situation of jobbers’ books were in the market, both as a whole and in individual stocks.  And you gleaned this by experience and being trusted by them.  If you got an order, very often the way to do it was to say, ‘I’ll give you so much for such and such a stock’, and forget what they were calling them.

Because if you were a buyer and they wanted to sell stock, okay they couldn’t put the price up against you because they were your way; if on the other hand you were a buyer and they were short of stock well then that is a different situation entirely. You then have to be careful, and you have to obviously ask the price and pin them down on what they were calling the stock.  But, if you were doing what they wanted to do – that is buying stock when they wanted to sell it – then there was much more scope for stating what your price was.”

Outside of his successful career as a stockbroker, Birks had taken up the sport of Sabre Fencing at the Polytechnic – being coached by the renowned Hungarian expert,Professor Bela Imregi. Such were Birks’ fencing skills, that in 1962 he represented England in the Commonwealth Games.

Jensen CV8 Chassis Number 112/2379 | The Driving Seat

The England Fencing Team receiving their medals at the 1962 Commonwealth Games. Cooperman standing on the podium shaking hands. Amberg to the left, and Birks to the right

 

Jensen CV8 Chassis Number 112/2379 | The Driving Seat

The England Fencing Team holding their Gold Medals. Left to right: Cooperman, Amberg, and Birks.

The Games were held in Perth, Australia, and Birks took part in both the men’s individual Sabre event,  and the team event.  In the team event he took the gold medal for England alongside team mates Cooperman and Amberg.

During the time of Birks’ C-V8 ownership, he was living in Penn, Buckinghamshire, and most servicing and repair of the C-V8 was undertaken by Hughes of Beaconsfield, his local Jensen agents. By the summer of 1970 Birks was looking for a change of car. He had obviously enjoyed his ownership of the C-V8, but was now looking to change the C-V8 for an Interceptor. The C-V8 was part-exchange by Birks.

The trade almost certainly took place again at Folletts, however, it is just possible it was at Hughes. Either way the car, now four and a half years old, was not retained by the agents as stock. Instead the Jensen was passed on to the high-end second-hand car dealership Offords & Sons based in the Brompton Road, South Kensington, London.

Birks himself went onto the Stock Exchange Council in 1980, and went on to fund his own charitable trust. During the 1990s Birks built himself a light aeroplane from a kit of parts. The plane became known as the Birks GT Europa 12720.

 

Jensen C-V8 Chassis Number 112/2379 | The Driving Seat | 1970 – 2006

 

Lord David Strathcarron.

In Oxford, Dennis Bryden, was working for Morris Motors as a buyer, and was becoming increasingly disillusioned with the way the business was going.

Through his work, Dryden had contact with Lord David Strathcarron, friend of the Jensen brothers, serial Jensen owner and head of Strathcarron & Company.

Strathcarron was brokering parts to motor industry contacts for suppliers and was looking for a business partner. Strathcarron and Bryden got on well, both sharing a wartime RAF background.

Born in 1923, Bryden  joined the RAFVR during the war. By 1944 he held the rank of Flying Officer, and was attached to 148 Squadron.

On the night of 10/11th September 1944 Bryden was flying a Halifax BB422T from Brindisi on a supply mission to Warsaw.

The plane was shot down by a night fighter over Hungary, forcing the crew to bale out. The aircraft crashed 32 km south west of Debreczyn, but all of the crew survived to be taken prisoner.

Bryden was held at Stalug Luft 111 (of Wooden Horse and the Great Escape fame, although both these events took place before Bryden’s time there), prisoner number L3/8040. Celebrated his 21st birthdaty as a POW.

During the winter of 1945, Bryden survived two forced marches (the infamous ‘death marches’ where POWs were marched away from the advancing Russian army).

Having survived the war, Bryden was promoted to Flight Lieutenant on the 19th January 1946 and would marry his girlfriend, Phyliss Mary Newman, the following year. After leaving the RAF, Bryden went into business, ending up with Morris Motors in the 1960s.

Informal discussions between Strathcarron and Bryden, led to him joining Strathcarron & Co as a director. Bryden was driving a Rover at the time, but following a couple of breakdowns in his Rover whilst on business, Strathcarron suggested to Bryden he buy a Jensen – “reliable, fast and comfortable for long distance business travel.” Serial Jensen owner, Strathcarron, was forever, the Jensen enthusiast.

In August 1970 DDX 227C was advertised by Offord & Son for £1350. Lord Strathcarron, who was living close by in South Kensington, saw the C-V8 in their showrooms, and purchased it. The car was purchased on the 29th August, and was immediately dispatched to Bryden over in Oxford.

The car was immediately pressed into daily use for business and pleasure, but the mileages Bryden was now covering for business would became a problem.

Jensen C-V8 Chassis Number 112/2379 | The Driving Seat

The service centre at Hughes of Beconsfield. Bryden continued to have his C-V8 serviced here. Photograph taken beginning of the 1970s.

The Jensen continued to be serviced at Hughes of Beaconsfield, where it was in for service more or less monthly, in two years more than 50,000 miles were added to its tally.

One of the products Strathcarron & Co were encouraging the motor trade to adopt, was velour seat upholstery.  As the leather seat faces on the C-V8 were beginning to show their age, it was decided to trim them in blue velour. The motor industry contacts were shown the C-V8 as a mobile demonstration of velour’s practicality.  Slowly the material was taken up by the trade, no doubt the C-V8 played a small part in this.

Around this time Bryden had the (now fading) Indigo Blue paintwork resprayed in the Jensen Botticelli Blue metallic finish.

Jensen CV8 Chassis Number 112/2379 | The Driving Seat

Bryden’s C-V8 photograph at his home in Oxford during 1976. By this time the car had been re-sprayed in Jensen Botticelli blue. Now in semi-retirement, the C-V8 shared work with a Jaguar.

The significant rise in the price of petrol in the early seventies eventually forced Bryden to withdraw the C-V8 from daily use, and from then on he purchased a new car and changed it every two years.

Meanwhile,  despite by his own admission, not being a car enthusiast, Bryden hung onto the C-V8 even keeping it taxed and MOT’d, and by the 1990s had given the car over to his son, Peter.

In 2004, DDX 227C was in need of a little more attention than just conventional servicing. Bryden’s son, Peter, contacted Jensen specialists, Cropredy Bridge Garage, and asked them to provide  a report on its overall condition.  He was advised that the sill outriggers needed renewal together with a complete brake and suspension refresh and a host of other minor items.

Jensen CV8 Chassis Number 112/2379 | The Driving Seat

112/2379 undergoing some restoration work at Cropredy Bridge Garage during 2004.

The work was completed at a cost of nearly £14,000,  and the car remained within the Bryden family for a couple more years, before a lack of use prompted the car’s sale. The Jensen had remained in the Bryden family for 36 years.

It was Christmas 2006 when the C-V8 actually sold, with Peter Bryden purchasing a piano with the proceeds of the sale. The Jensen moved into the ownership of Mrs. Roselind Gullick from Shropshire,  whose husband Steve was a keen car enthusiast.

 

Jensen C-V8 Chassis Number 112/2379 | The Driving Seat | 2006 – 2019

 

The Gullicks kept the C-V8 for just under three years, advertising the car for sale on the internet website, Pistonheads, in 2009.  Essex-based, John Elvidge, acquired the C-V8 in August 2009.

Elvidge immediately realised that whilst the car drove beautifully some cosmetic aspects of it needed attention and top of the list was the velour seat facings. They had more than fulfilled their requirements nearly 40 years earlier but while still in good condition were totally out of keeping with the need for a top example of this classic model.

Jensen CV8 Chassis Number 112/2379 | The Driving Seat

The interior of 112/2379 photographed around 2009.

Accordingly the seats were re-trimmed once more back to the original colour grey leather, whilst the remainder of the interior continued to be the original factory offering.

Other cosmetic work was also undertaken by Elvidge, including attention to the chrome and paintwork, the car looked superb.

Apparently a lack of suitable storage caused Elvidge to advertise the C-V8 for sale on a Classic Cars website in July 2011, where it was instantly snapped up by London-based Classic Cars Worldwide  dealership.

A month later the C-V8 returned to Essex just six miles from its previous home with new owner, Trevor Pyman. The new custodian’s remit was to give the car regular use, coupled with careful preservation of its factory original features.

Jensen CV8 Chassis Number 112/2379 | The Driving Seat

112/2379 photographed in 2016.

 

Jensen CV8 Chassis Number 112/2379 | The Driving Seat

112/2379 photographed at Tillingham in Essex during 2016.

DDX 227C is a testament to the care exercised by its owners over more than fifty years, ensuring that it always got the care and maintenance needed to maintain it as a usable car, keeping it as close as practical to factory specification.

Upon purchase by the present owner, Trevor Pyman, it was suggested that Dennis Bryden had been the first owner of the car, and this seemed to be confirmed by correspondence with the DVLA.

However, two things didn’t seem to fit this story, firstly the fact that the car was first registered in Ipswich, whereas Bryden was Oxford based, and secondly a chance sighting of DDX 227C by the present owner, outside a house in Penn, Buckinghamshire in August 1969 [Pyman always recorded details of any rare sports cars he saw over many decades].

The help of the Jensen Owners club, in providing details from the factory C-V8 chassis files in their possession, confirmed Pyman’s suspicions – the name and address of the first owner in Ipswich, which wasn’t Bryden. Since ownership of DDX 227C, Pyman has managed to research the full and colourful story of this very special Jensen C-V8 Mark 3, and its previous owners.

 

Jensen C-V8 Chassis Number 112/2379 | The Driving Seat

 

FEATURE POSSIBILITY: Have you researched the previous owners of your Jensen, and found them to have led interesting lives. If so, we might publish the story of your car and its owners as one of our The Driving Seat features.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS:  Bernard Attard, Birks interview 1990 | Peter Birks |Debbie Canning, Strathcarron & Co | Trevor Pyman | John Staddon, CV8 Registrar, Jensen Owners’ Club

COPYRIGHTS: Bernard Attard | Trevor Pyman | The Jensen Museum

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: If you have any additional information about this article, please contact us at archive@jensenmuseum.org or telephone on: +1694-781354

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