Jensen Interceptor | Director Model Office Equipment
The Jensen Interceptor Director Model office equipment is the first in the Museum’s Touching History features. These are surviving artefacts that allow us to look back and touch history. This feature discusses three surviving items of office equipment, originally out of the Director Model Interceptor.
They remain tangible reminders of a unique idea from Good Relation’s Chairman, Tony Good. The Museum looks in depth at three surviving items left over from the Director Model. We hope further elements of the Director Model office will come to light.
Background to the Jensen Interceptor | Director Model
Always’s thinking outside of the box, Good Relation’s Chairman, Tony Good, came up with a novel idea. The idea was an office on the move for the fast living company director, all packed in a fast prestigious car called an Interceptor.
Having run the idea past Jensen Motors Managing Director, Carl Duerr, the idea was given his seal of approval. Initial discussions took place between Good, Duerr, and Jensen Motors Sales Manager, Wyndham Powell.
After developing the idea, and discussing the contents of the mobile office, a suitable name emerged, the Director Model. Good mentioned that a top-name designer needed to be brought in to devise a unique interior for the Director Model, and through his contacts, QE2 designer, Jon Bannenberg, was contacted, and agreed to the commission.
Bannenberg came up with an unusual blue theme, with blue leather trim with blue velour seat facings, along with a blue velour headlining and sun visors. Even the steering wheel was wrapped in a special colour coded blue leather. The car was finished with a special metallic cornflower blue paint.
The inside held everything a busy director might need, and the rear seats had to be sacrificed to fit everything in. Equipment included, a dictating unit, a portable typewriter, a small filing system, an Air-Call radio telephone, an insulated food container, a portable TV, colour-matched blue attache and overnight cases and even an electric razor.
With the idea agreed, Jensen Interceptor chassis number 115/3422, was built up to Bannenberg’s design. Once completed the car was registered as ‘VEA 600G’. Through Tony Good, an arrangement was made for the Director Model to be shown in the Banking Hall of Harrods on 17th June 1969.
The date was set to coincide with the 1969 reception for the new Miss World. The Jensen factory had agreed to give her an Interceptor on loan.
The price tag for the Director Model was a meaty £6581, hugely more expensive than a standard Interceptor. Duerr was never expecting there would be a rush to buy this executive toy; that wasn’t the point. The Director Model became its own publicity machine for Jensen Motors, and caused much positive discussion at the time.
After its launch at Harrods, the Director Model made the rounds of the various Jensen dealerships, and even featured in the Thames Television Magpie series in November 1969.
With the car’s return to West Bromwich, and having achieved the required publicity for Jensen Motors, it was decided to sell the car off. Duerr and Powell agreed the best way of selling this particular Jensen, was to return the car to standard specification. Former Jensen Service Technician, John Page, remembers the Director Model coming into the service section,
“service had to strip out all the interior, and then Eric Ward from the Trim Shop was sent down to see what needed re-trimming to turn the car back to standard specification.”
The Director Model was stripped of its ‘office’ during December 1969, and trimmed back to normal Interceptor specification, with various items of the ‘office’ being commandeered as souvenirs by employees at Jensen Motors. The attache case was commandeered by the then Service Manager, David Millard.
115/3422 was sold on 24th January 1970, having covered 4,292 miles.
Director Model Attache Case | Touching History
Having spent the last four decades in the attic of former Jensen Motors Service Manager, David Millard, the Director Model attache case was acquired from Millard by marque specialists, Rejen, in 2017.
Today, the Director Model attache case exhibits a wonderful patina. A charm that takes decades of use and storage to create. The Director Model attache case is actually quite complicated in its manufacture, in as much as it also serves as a writing stand, as well as being an attache case. The case is void of any manufacturer’s name or logo, and today, the maker remains unknown.
It is of course quite possible that the basic cases and accessories were purchased from outside suppliers, taken apart at Jensen Motors, and trimmed in-house. Certainly, Jensen’s trim shop had the skills to do the job. If this was the case, it would certainly fall in with the lack of a manufacture name or logo.
Externally the overall dimensions of the case are 43cm x 30cm x 9cm. The case is covered in special blue leather, and has a blue leather carry handle. There are two plain gold plated locks on the top section both 7cm x 3cm.
On each side are two gold plated plain finished heads, which hold the opening bars to the inside. To the base are four circular feet, along with two external hinges. These are in a chromed finish, now showing some pitting.
Internally, the roof of the case is finished in fine matching blue moire silk. Machine sewn to this are additional sections, trimmed black leather edging, acting as compartments for papers. The sections run across the inside roof and measure 35cm.
A British Airways Birmingham services timetable from 1981 to 1982 remains in one of the silk morie sections – a reminder of the last time Millard used the case, before it was placed in his attic. An unused packet of Bryant & May matches, branded for the former Scottish Jensen distributors, Rossleigh, also occupies one of the smaller silk moire pouches.
The inside base has been modified to allow a writing tray to sit at the point of opening. The tray 38cm x 26.5cm is also finished in blue morie silk with an inner edging of black leather. A blue leather finger tab is riveted in place, allowing the writing tray to be pulled out with ease.
With the writing tray removed, a single blue covered lever arch file sits in the base. If this was meant to be in the attache case, or was a part of the Director Model filing system positioned elsewhere in the car, is open for debate. The file measures 36.5cm x 24cm x 5.8cm. Parts of the file appear to be covered in blue leather, while other parts are matching blue binding paper.
The interior base of the file is finished in an off grey binding paper, and the lever arch is of a standard nickle-silver type. Since the file doesn’t sit perfectly within the attache case, it is more probable, that the file was found amongst the pulled out parts of the Director Model, and put in the attache case by Millard.
Director Model Sony portable TV | Touching History
As with the Director Model Attache Case, the cutting-edge Sony portable TV, and the dictating unit also had remained in an attic for nearly fifty years. The two items were acquired by the former Sales Administration Manager, Jim Branson, sometime between 1970 and 1976, and eventually found their way into the family attic.
Branson’s son believes the blue picnic case (or insulated food compartment as it was called in the Director Model) had also been acquired by his father at the same, but that item was used by the family. Whatever happened to it eventually isn’t known. Today, both the Sony portable TV, and the dictating machine, remain in the archive of the Jensen Museum.
The Sony portable TV is a model 9-9OUB, a miniaturised portable TV at the cutting-edge of 1960s technology. Launched in 1969, Tony Good had used his contacts to get one of the very first units for the Director Model. The eighth unit made was sent from Sony to Jensen Motors, the unit bearing the serial number 21008 (21001 being the first unit).
The unit is manufactured in black rigid plastic with chrome accents, such as the top carry handle, the aerial, and various knobs. The control section of the front is finished in brushed aluminium, and bears the black designation, ‘SONY SOLID STATE’. The overall size is 25cm high, by 22cm wide, and 22cm deep. The TV has a 9″ screen, and has a special black finished frontal cover. Although Sony called this a black finish, it was in a very dark tinted finish, which helped reduce glare or reflections.
Director Model FI-Cord 300 Dictating Machine | Touching History
As with the Sony portable TV model 9-9OUB, the FI-Cord 300 was at the cutting-edge of miniaturised reel-to-reel tape units for 1969. FI-Cord had been manufacturing various reel-to-reel tape players from the 1950s. The Company specialised in miniaturised units for use with reporters, with many being sold to the BBC.
The FI-Cord 300 was the smallest unit of its day, and was made to a particularly high standard in Switzerland. As one would expect, this was not a cheap bit of kit, with the retail price coming in at around £120. This so-called pocket dictating machine, was advertised as the complete office transcribing system.
The FI-Cord 300 has overall dimensions of 16cm long, by 8cm wide, and with 4cm depth. The entire base section of the unit is in metal, and is then finished with a black rinckle finish paint. The clear plastic cover has three holes cut through immediately over the microphone. The unit weighs in at exactly one kilo.
This unit is no longer functioning. At some point the Museum hopes to run the tape on another unit. Who knows who’s voice (if any) we will find on the tape. Possibly the voice of Good’s PA, Kate Eccles ?
Jensen Interceptor | Director Model Office Equipment
REQUEST: Do you have any surviving items from the Director Model, if so we would like to hear from you. Likewise, if you own 115/3422 (which isn’t currently known as a surving car) we would very much like to hear from you.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: Dickie Bannenberg |Anthony Branson, son of Jim Branson | Tony Good OBE |Jason & Paul Lawrence, marque specialists, Rejen | Tony Marshall, former Sales Manager, Jensen Motors | John Page, former Service Manager, Jensen Motors.
COPYRIGHTS: The Jensen Museum | Michael Cooper Archive | Rejen
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: If you have any additional information about this car, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone on: +1694-781354
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