Vignale’s Second Interceptor | HEA 1D
HEA 1D was the second Interceptor finished by Vignale, a couple of months after BEA 693C, in August 1966. This famous car, shown at the 1966 Motor Show, survives today. The Museum looks at the history that is held on HEA 1D so far, and hopes that further information on this historic vehicle might be found.
Jensen Motors sent out the experimental chassis, JM/EXP/115, to Turin in spring of 1966. Kevin Beattie and Mike Jones had travelled out to Vignale to road test and pick up the prototype Interceptor (BEA 693C) in June 1966. By which time, work to HEA 1D was proceeding well. So much so, that HEA 1D was ready for delivery by August of that year.
With time of the essence, Jensen Motors decided to have HEA 1D air-freighted to England so it could be made ready for the forthcoming 1966 Earl’s Court Motor Show.
BEA 693C had already been at West Bromwich since June of that year, and there was plenty of time available for engineering to make sure the car was mechanically reliable. As such Jensen Motors were going to use BEA 693C as the testing car for motoring journalists at the Motor Show, while HEA 1D would be prepared ready for going on the actual Jensen Motors stand.
Back at West Bromwich, HEA 1D was allocated a production chassis number of 115/2495 (although the experimental chassis plates remained on the car). HEA 1D was registered for demonstration purposes on 10th September 1966.
HEA 1D was required as a publicity vehicle as quickly as possible. As such, covering the period of the official announcement of the new Interceptor, HEA 1D was made ready to go on show at Follett. Meanwhile, the first Jensen FF, HEA 4D, was given over to Wilmslow Motors, for some showroom presence.
On 10th October 1966, Wyndham Powell, Sales Manager at Jensen Motors, drove HEA1 D down to Follett, arriving there late afternoon. Staff were waiting for Powell’s arrival, so they could get the car cleaned and into prime position within the small showroom as quickly as possible. There the car remained for the 11, 12, 13 October, with Richard Graves, Marketing Director at Jensen Motors, collecting the car on the Friday morning.
Steve Forrest from Elstree Studios was interested to see the new Interceptor, so it was decided that Graves would pass by the Studios with HEA1 D and show Forrest the car. Afterwards, driving up to West Bromwich. Forrest was playing the part of John Mannering, the antiques dealer come secret agent in the series The Baron. Forrest was driving a CV8 MK.II in The Baron, and obviously had taken to the Jensen. If Graves’ visit in HEA 1D prompted a later sale of an Interceptor to Forrest isn’t known.
Back at West Bromwich, HEA 1D underwent a thorough clean and check over in readiness for being transported back down to London on the 18th October for the Earl’s Court Motor Show. HEA 1D was sharing the stand with the second Jensen FF, JEA 4D.
Both the first Interceptor, BEA 693C, and the first Jensen FF, HEA 4D, stood outside the Earl’s Court Motor Show, where motoring journalists were given the chance to try the new cars out.
After the Earl’s Court Motor Show, HEA 1D, was given on loan to Autocar magazine for an article in their magazine. The Autocar feature came out in their February 1967 issue.
A Mr D Heald read the article with interest, although his interest wasn’t in the car itself, but the registration number. He wrote to the factory, asking if he could purchase the ‘HEA 1D’ registration number.
A polite letter went out stating that while the car was being used as a demonstrator, they wished to keep the ‘HEA 1D’ registration on the car. The letter went on to say that they had no objection to him buying the registration number at the point when they disposed of the Interceptor.
However, despite further letters being sent to Jensen Motors to keep them alert to the fact he wanted to buy the number, Heald never did have the chance. At the point when ‘HEA 1D’ was being sold, the buyer insisted the registration number be retained on the car. It was simply down to the buyer wanting to keep the registration on the car, that has led to the registration remaining on the car to the present day.
During 1967, HEA 1D was fitted with a tow bar attachment manufactured by Harben Limited. This was in advance of HEA 1D being used for Speed Caravan Towing at Silverstone. Jensen Motors had a history of being involved with Speed Caravan Towing, previously using a CV8.
According to chassis file records, HEA 1D was being made ready for disposal in autumn 1967. A Mr P.A.B. Sheffield had agreed to buy the car for £2,950. However, within a week of agreeing to purchase the car, Sheffield pulled out.
Again, according to chassis file records, a new buyer was found very quickly, and by December 1967 HEA 1D was sold to Mr Anthony Williams, a solicitor from Old Hill, Staffordshire. Williams purchased HEA 1D for £3,100 (which included some rectification work), and by which time the mileage was showing 25,639.
Williams was no new-comer to the world of Jensen, having previously owned a CV8 (chassis number 104/2331). The CV8 was passed to his business partner, P.A.Tredrea around the time Williams was expecting his Interceptor. HEA 1D was registered by Williams under the business name, Snow Hill Hiring Company.
A document dated December 1969, shows Williams as still owning HEA 1D, and the mileage covered as being 58,284 miles. How much longer Williams kept the car isn’t known, but by 1971, Mr J.S.Baker from Avenue Road, Dorridge, Birmingham is shown as the registered keeper. The last shown keeper is keeper 4, the Ratcliffe Motor Co in Bournemouth.
An old Jensen Owners’ Club Interceptor Registrar’s Index Card agrees with the registered owners shown on the old green log book.
The Index Card gives us an insight into further ownership of HEA 1D. The card states that a David Zadel from Bournemouth is the fourth owner, possibly purchasing the car from the Ratcliffe Motor Co. A fifth owner is shown as a Richard Thrift, also from Bournemouth.
Then the sixth owner (possibly by 1979) a Brian William Roocroft, from Solihull, in the Midlands. Roocroft joined the Jensen Owners’ Club in 1979, with membership number 1947.
By the time HEA 1D had been purchased by Roocroft in 1979, the car was very rusty indeed. Roocroft ran a garage and MOT station in Solihull, and the decision was made to strip HEA 1D to a shell, and undertake a complete body restoration using all pressed panels purchased from Jensen Parts & Service.
The work was undertaken by Roocroft himself, and a friend of his that originally worked on the metalwork side at the Jensen factory. It was unfortunate for the car that by removing all the panels from HEA 1D, and replacing them with pressed panels from Jensen Parts & Service, that the car had lost its uniqueness – the Italian Vignale made body.
By the time Roocroft and his friend and welded up all the replacement panels, the only original panels left in place were the bonnet and tailgate. It was 1980 before the HEA 1D shell was completed. By this time, Roocroft had decided to sell off his garage, move to Bournemouth, and open a hotel. HEA 1D was quickly turned into a rolling shell, and everything crated up or put inside the car ready for the move.
It was one day in the early 1980s that a Bryn Shaw, from Christchurch in Dorset, happened to see the car. He takes up the story,
“I was in Bournemouth, and happened to be walking past a hotel. Towards the back was a garage and the doors were open. being a motor trader, I couldn’t help but look, and found to my amazement that there was the front of a bodyshell that looked possibly to be an Aston Martin.
A closer look confirmed it was a Jensen Interceptor. Calling out, eventually the owner came out to see me, and we had a chat about the car. Typically I asked if he might be willing to sell it, but he said it was his intention to complete the car himself. So, we carried on chatting, and I gave him my card before I left, saying if he ever wanted to part with the car to let me know.
Actually, we got on well, and did stay in contact. Much later on, in 1985, Brian [Roocroft] telephoned me. His circumstances had changed, and he wanted a nice luxury car for long distance travel, and mentioned he would be willing to swap the Interceptor for the right car. It didn’t take long for me to find something acceptable – a nice BMW 5 series in white.
The deal was done, with the stripped Jensen and £1000 being swapped for the BMW. There was one small problem. Brian had moved the HEA 1D registration number over to a Peugeot he owned, and meanwhile, he had registered the Jensen with his personal number ‘3 BWR’. It was quite a while later before I managed to get the HEA 1D number back onto the Jensen.”
Once in Shaw’s hands, he started building up HEA 1D. Apparently a black vinyl roof had been on HEA 1D from before Roocroft owned the car, and this had stayed in place. Shaw did have a new bonnet fitted to HEA 1D, supplied from Jensen Parts & Service.
Likewise, the only other original panel (other than the roof), the tailgate, was also changed for a good rust free second-hand one. By 1989, the car was back on the road with a fresh MOT certificate and a mileage showing as 64,954.
Once HEA 1D was completed the car was advertised for sale. Shaw picks up the story again,
“I was your quintessential motor trader, all cars were for sale, and so HEA 1D would be advertised for sale once it was ready. I think it first went up for sale sometime late 1989, or beginning of 1990.
Trouble was the classic car crash happened around the same time, and there were no takers for the car. During the early 1990s I was contacted by the BBC. They were making a series called The Car’s The Star, and thought HEA 1D would make a good candidate. I agreed, and took the car up to Birmingham for the filming. The program went out in 1994.
I’m sure it was this program that helped to find a buyer for the car. I continued to advertise the car, and had reduced it down to £15000. Later in 1994 I was contacted by a chap, John Champion from Cumbria. He wanted to view the car. He viewed the car and offered me £10,000. It was time for the car to go, and I accepted his offer.”
Champion purchased HEA 1D, and not long after purchase, moved from Cumbria to live in St. Ives in Cornwall. The car remained in his ownership until is death in 2007.
With the death of Champion in 2007, it was only a matter of time before HEA 1D would come up for sale. The following year, in 2008, HEA 1D was placed into the H&H spring auction with a mileage showing of just over 82,000. As lot 41, the car was sold with commission at £20,350.
The new owners were the well known classic car dealers, the Old School Garage from Whaley Bridge, High Peak. HEA 1D was immediately marketed at £29,000. It took close on two years for the car to find a buyer, being transported across to Hamburg Germany for its new owner. Keeping HEA 1D for three years, the Hamburg-based owner, gave the car over to Grand Sports Cars in Hamburg, where the car was placed for sale at 55,900 Euro.
Jensen specialist, Andrew Cassar, from London, viewed the car in Hamburg, bought the car, and drove it back to the UK. Shortly afterwards, in March 2013, he placed HEA 1D for sale on ebay at £75,000.
HEA 1D was purchased by Jensen Specialists, Cropredy Bridge Cars, and as at 2021 remains under their ownership. As when HEA 1D was new, the Company use the car as a brand ambassador. In 2017, Cropredy Bridge Cars had HEA 1D transported to Turin for a major photo-shoot.
As at 2021, HEA 1D is still held within the ownership of Cropredy bridge Cars. It is there intention at a future point to undertake a full restoration of HEA 1D, and remake the panel-work in the style of Vignale. Matt Watts, the CEO of Cropredy Bridge Cars, gives the last word on HEA 1D,
“We have recently undertaken a nut and bolt restoration of the Vignale-made Interceptor, Sincar 1. With the help of the Jensen Museum, we have managed to craft back in many of the Vignale-styled panels which had been later replaced. With this knowledge under our belts, we know we can do HEA 1D, its just a hugely time consuming project. But, I hope we will have the chance to do it at some point.”
Vignale’s Second Interceptor | HEA 1D
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS: Mike Jones, former Chief Engineer at Jensen Motors| Tony Good, former Chairman, Good Relations | Bryn Shaw | John Staddon, CV8 Registrar, Jensen Owners’ Club | Stuart Turner, Interceptor Registrar, Jensen Owners’ Club | Cropredy Bridge Cars.
SPECIAL THANKS: The Jensen Museum would like to thank Bryn Shaw. He contacted us in 2021, and corrected some of the history we had of HEA 1D, and added his own memories of his ownership.
COPYRIGHTS: All images and text copyright of The Jensen Museum | | Michael Cooper Archive | Cropredy Bridge Cars | Mike Jones | Bryn Shaw
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