Comic Interceptor on the block

By: Mark Higgins, Unique Cars magazine

Presented by

Rare Jensen Interceptor owned by Eric Morecombe

Comic Interceptor on the block
This stunning car went through a major restoration a few years back.

A 1968 Mk1 Jensen Interceptor originally owned by English comic Eric Morecambe is the star attraction at the Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show

Famous for being the car that Morcambe suffered his first heart attack in, the Interceptor has undergone an exhaustive restoration and is now offered for sale by Silverstone Auctions in the UK.

The Jensen Interceptor was bought by Morecambe, also a keen bird watcher and part time novelist, in 1968, just as his career that of long-time partner Ernie Wise hit high gear as the Morecambe and wise comedy duo.

When bought by Morcambe, the Interceptor was one of the most expensive cars in the world. It was double the cost of an E-Type Jaguar and far more than the equivalent Aston Martin.

After Morecambe’s first heart attack just two months after he took delivery of it, the Interceptor became a star in its own right as the comedian recounted, during a television interview with Michael Parkinson in 1973, how Yorkshireman Walter Butterworth jumped into the driver’s seat and took him to Leeds Infirmary, saving his life.

The Interceptor’s rescuer, a then young Nick Whale, heard his father note: "That Jensen would be a great car to own one day."

Although Whale’s father sadly passed away while he was still young, his words prompted a decades-long search for the car that once belonged to his comedy hero. Whale, who is M-D of Silverstone, finally tracked down the famous Jensen to a garage in Belgium in 2014.

"It was in a rather sad state when I found it, so we embarked on a two-year restoration with one of the world’s leading Jensen restorers, Cropredy Bridge Garage," reports Whale. "I wanted it to be thorough yet totally original. I wanted it to be exactly the way it was when Eric Morecambe was driving it."

When the six-figure restoration was completed, Nick arranged for the Jensen to be re-united with Morecambe’s loyal chauffeur Mike Fountain, his son Gary, and live-saver Walter Butterworth as part of an ITV documentary on Morecambe and Wise.

"I’m so very reluctant to say goodbye to the Jensen," admits Nick. "I’m very emotionally attached to it and it took such a long time and a lot of money to find and restore it. However, since the restoration, I’ve only managed a few miles in it and it just doesn’t make any sense to keep it locked up in a garage when I don’t have the time to enjoy it. But I’m very proud of what we achieved with it."

The restoration has its own website at ericmorecambesjensen.co.uk.

With matching chassis and engine numbers and the original number plate when owned by Eric Morecambe, this is one of less than 30 Mk1 Jensen Interceptors left in existence.

It was advertised by Silverstone a few years ago and is now on the market again through the same firm.

The car is expected to fetch around $150-190,000 during the Silverstone NEC Auction on November 11-12.

 

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