1960 Jensen 541S (The Prototype)

Mr Belford

“Hi, I’m the former owner of the Jensen 541 S (prototype) that you have been restoring. I’ve been following the progress of its rebirth online

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Introducing Speedy Cable

We have unknowingly used the services of Speedy Cable in the past on various clock and dials refurbishment productbut going through various third parties. On the restoration

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A temporary refit

With the chassis rebuild progressing very well it is time for us to temporarily refit the body to ensure all alignments are accurate. Whilst the

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The chassis returns…

Our 1960 Jensen 541S chassis has arrived back at our workshops from the blasters. With the body completely removed and all of the areas exposed,
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When old meets new…

Last month we welcomed a familiar face back to Bridge Classic Cars…the very beautiful and very rare Jensen 541S. Back in 2015 we discovered a 1961

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Jensen Journaal – July 2021

It is lovely to receive a copy of the Zomer 2021 Jensen Journaal in the post this week.

Several of our Jensens that we have restored have been featured in this month’s copy of the Dutch magazine, Jensen Journaal! https://jensenholland.nl/ It’s an absolute privilege, so thank you.

The magazine talks about our 1957 Jensen 541R, the 1958 Jensen 541R, the 1960 Jensen 541R and the 1960 Jensen 541S (The Prototype).

Here are our website links to the cars that were featured to find out more information on each of the restoration projects.

https://www.bridgeclassiccars.co.uk/category/projects/completed/1958-jensen-541r-navy/

https://www.bridgeclassiccars.co.uk/category/projects/completed/1957-jensen-541r/

https://www.bridgeclassiccars.co.uk/category/projects/completed/1960-jensen-541r-01/

https://www.bridgeclassiccars.co.uk/category/projects/completed/1960-jensen-541s/

Bespoke Jensen book bag!

We call it the Jensen bible and in order to protect it Kath has made a bespoke leather book bag.

Jensen Genome Richard Calver July 2019 Edition

She started the process by drawing, measuring and working out the dimensions and design for the bag. Black leather was cut out to the required shapes and measurements and then mounted onto 3mm foam. She then sewed around the edges of the mounted pieces to make sure they were secure.

The first step in putting it all together was to sew a zip between two pieces of mounted leather with a zipper foot. Red topstitching went down either side of the zip as a finishing touch. Kath attached the zip and sidebands with clips onto the front of the book bag, to make sure it all fitted together, before sewing in place. She checked the book fitted inside, before sewing the back of the bag on. Red topstitching running around the outside edges of the front and back matched the zipper.

Twenty Twenty: The Year Of The Jensen

Some of you may remember we mentioned our busy Jensen workshop last year, and it hasn’t slowed down in 2021. We’ve become the Jensen Specialists of the UK with a constant set of Jensen 541R and 541S projects passing through our doors on a regular basis. With projects ranging from full nut and bolt restorations to small fixes and services, we’ve been inundated with Jensen’s, and we love it!

2020 saw 8 Jensen’s in at the same time, which led to this amazing shot of them all lined up. Our technicians are now well versed in Jensen mechanics, electrics and bodywork as we’ve still got 6 of them in the workshop plus another stored at Bentwaters waiting to find a new home.

With only 193 Jensen 541R’s ever made and 127 541S’s made, and even fewer still on the road, we’ve had a large quantity of them in the workshop.

Jensen 541S: Custom Cover

In order to manufacturer our bespoke Jensen 541S fitted car cover we have called upon the experts at Protec Covers in Bradford. They took a trip down to our workshops to measure up for the cover which we should hopefully see with us with a week or so. Whilst on site, they have also taken measurements for the Jensen 541R which is approximately 2 inches smaller than the 541S.

Now the templates have been drawn up, for anyone who owns a Jensen 541R or S Protec Covers will soon be able to provide a fitted car cover in a choice of colours.

Protec Covers is built on the principles of making quality products and providing reliable service. Their diversified product range continues to grow by following market trends, improving their standard products, and listening to the customer. Although they specialise in caravan covers, motorhome covers and car covers, they have made covers for practically everything.

Having been in the vehicle cover business for over 15 years and having manufactured thousands of covers they have an extensive database of patterns enabling them to convert each order into an excellent fitted cover.

Every element of their covers are made within the UK, from the fabric to the thread they use. They believe in supporting UK business.

During their time they have been blessed enough to provide items for such people as Martin Clunes, Jay Kay (Jamiroquai) and Jamie Oliver. As well as providing covers and show covers for many leading vehicle manufacturers.

Mr Belford

“Hi, I’m the former owner of the Jensen 541 S (prototype) that you have been restoring. I’ve been following the progress of its rebirth online over the past months and now it is complete it looks stunning, well done to all those skills for returning her to her former glory.”

1960 Jensen 541R – The Prototype – Hungarian Hall

At the start of the 1950s, the Jensen Motor Company had a financially sound business producing commercial vehicles and building bespoke bodies for other manufacturers. As is often the way with successful entrepreneurs, the Jensen brothers enjoyed having their name on their products and having been involved for years prior to the war building small cars in conjunction with Standard, Austin and Wolseley, their attention turned again in the late forties to the possibility of creating a rather more exclusive Jensen.  Richard Jensen was joined in 1946 by Eric Neale and they jointly penned the sleek (and expensive) Interceptor which remained in production from 1950-57. The bodywork was mostly aluminium, but as an experiment Jensen had started making the large boot lids in a revolutionary material formed from hair-thin glass embedded in a resinous gel, ‘Glass Fibre’.

Eric Neale’s influence was immediately obvious in the, new for 1953, Jensen 541. He first created the distinctive ‘mouth’ shape, anticipating the cold air requirements of a possible big V8 although the Austin 4-litre straight six turned out to be the engine of choice, and the rest of the body flowed back from that point. A lattice of wooden body formers provided a reference over which skilled craftsmen beat a skin of aluminium. The finished car was exhibited at the 1953 Motor Show but there was one trick left up Jensen’s sleeve, production cars were to be constructed from glass fibre! As production of the 541 settled down the options available increased. A package incorporating the most frequently chosen extras was applied to the car which was then marketed as the ‘541 Deluxe’ and rack and pinion steering followed shortly in the ‘541R’.

In 1959 work started on creating a slightly larger 541, which would be better suited to long-distance cruising. This car was to have an auto gearbox as standard and was wider and taller than its predecessor, and so was born the new 541S. Some 4” inches wider than the original 541R, while also offering increased headroom and greater luggage capacity, the ‘S’ version was generally considered to be a more practical machine and certainly more comfortable for touring. In addition to a general increase in size, the body styling changed at the same time with distinctive ‘scallops’ being added at the rear and on the bonnet and a new grille. Less apparent initially were the improvements these modifications made to road holding, stability and ride.

In the 541S, Jensen used their own powerful version of the Austin DS5 4-litre straight-six engine featuring triple H4 SU carburettors, a high compression ‘Weslake’ head, custom-made twin exhaust manifolds and an alloy baffled sump/oil cooler. A total of 127 cars were hand-built between 1960 and 1962 at Jensen’s West Bromwich factory, most having GM-licensed Rolls-Royce ‘Hydramatic’ gearboxes. This was unusual at the time as most performance cars were fitted with ‘sporty’ manual gearboxes but the automatic suited Jensen’s criteria for the 541S of effortless speed and luxurious long distance cruising, although twenty-two were fitted with Moss manual gearboxes at their owner’s request. The 541S is also notable for being the first British car to have seat belts fitted as standard equipment and the pioneering use of Dunlop disc brakes on all four wheels was carried on from the ‘Deluxe’. Other safety equipment included a padded windscreen surround, fire extinguisher and a first-aid kit and each car was fitted with a quality Motorola radio as standard.

750 CEA, later registered as 377 HWT, Chassis Number ‘JM/EXP/101 is almost certainly the automatic 541S used by Jensen in 1960 on its stand at the London Motor Show at Earl’s Court. There were three experimental (EXP) cars built, (‘pre-production prototypes’), two being manual and one automatic. ‘101’ is automatic and was registered 750 CEA although the photographs from the show display the car with ‘JENSEN’ on the number plates. It was finished in Pearl Grey and looks superb sat on Stand 134.

This car was registered to Jensen Motors for a period of some two years. A letter in the file from them confirms that during this period it was used for road tests, demonstration purposes and as an experimental car, and according to the letter was no doubt driven by the Jensen brothers and carefully looked after by the Engineering Department. It was featured in ‘THE MOTOR’, October 19th. 1960 and ‘AUTOCAR’, Feb 3rd. 1961 road test reports. Whilst currently registered 377 HWT, there is verification from both DVLA and the Jensen Owners Club that 750 CEA was its original registration. An expression of interest has been lodged with DVLA to repatriate this number rightfully back to this car. An extensive history file accompanies the car and includes the original London Motor Show 1960 Guide, press cuttings of the day, old photographs, past invoices and letters. The show car was originally Pearl Grey but at some point has been changed to Maroon, but inside the engine bay an area of original colour has been deliberately left, presumably to aid a return to its factory finish.

First registered in September 1960 this most beautiful Jensen 541S, chassis number JM/EXP/101 is currently reading an unwarranted 75,800 miles.

This extremely rare and beautiful car has been in our workshops for a number of years undergoing an extensive ‘nut and bolt’ restoration. The work has been carried out to the original factory specification and is now finished in Pearl Grey with a black roof and red interior.

It was one of three prototypes for the 541S, the final iteration of a model that was very important to the long-term health of Jensen. It was a fetéd and much admired Motor Show car and an important part of Jensen’s history, and on top of all that, it’s a super British classic sports car that would be welcome anywhere.

Jason from Sugar and Spice Photography has once again completed the final photo shoot of our restored Jensen 541S.

The location for our shoot is within the grounds of the beautiful setting of Hungarian Hall.

Hungarian Hall is set in the un-spoilt Suffolk countryside just a few minutes from Woodbridge and a short drive away from the heritage coast including the coastal towns of Aldeburgh, Orford and Felixstowe.

Behind the scenes at today’s photo shoot

With our 1960 Jensen 541S restoration journey almost complete, today is the day for our wonderful photo shoot.

The sun is shining bright and we are on location bright and early with Jason from Sugar & Spice Photography. Today’s venue, the beautiful setting of Hungarian Hall, hidden down the country roads of Pettistree, Suffolk.

Hungarian Hall opened its doors to the public for outdoor activities and corporate hospitality nearly 25 years ago.

Following the huge success of a family marquee wedding held there in 2007 they decided to create Hungarian Hall Events, wedding and events venue, which has gone from strength to strength.

The licence for ceremonies was obtained in late 2008 and the word has spread fast about what a fantastic wedding venue they have to offer here in the heart of the Suffolk countryside. Their wedding venue, near Woodbridge is perfect for a beautiful and tranquil wedding.

With over 10 years experience in marquee weddings through the  sister company Anglia Coastal Marquees it has enabled them to be creative and adaptable to your requirements resulting in bespoke marquee weddings every time!

David and the team have been very accommodating this morning, giving us a tour of the setting and allowing us full access for different photos and angles.

Final stages of our 1960 Jensen 541S restoration

We are now into the very final stages of our 1960 Jensen 541S restoration. This very special and very unique car was one of only 3 prototypes produced by the Jensen brothers and was the only prototype to hold the automatic transmission which Jensen then went on to mass produce.

In theory, this is the very car that started the production of the Jensen 541S and this is the very car that can be seen across the majority of the Jensen marketing campaigns.

Unfortunately we have been unable to reunite the car with the original UK registration 750 CEA, due to the it being owned by an individual elsewhere…however the vehicle will be residing in Belgium and the current owner has now received confirmation that he able to use the original number of 750 CEA there which is fantastic news for the car and the history.

The final stages are now being completed with only the paint imperfections now to address.

The car will be leaving the UK early January to be introduced to her new home in Belgium.

Recommissioning our Jensen gearbox

Our Jensen 541S has returned to Graham Whitehouse Autos to have the gearbox set up.

The gearbox was rebuilt by Graham Whitehouse Autos earlier in the project build but now we have it fitted back into the car and with the engine running we can now set up to maximise performance.

In order to reset the gearbox the bottom bell housing is removed along with the torque set torus cover bolts. The initial setting of the throttle control valve to gearbox is then reset. Once the car is road tested they then adjust the throttle valve linkage to give correct line pressure and kick down operation. A further road test is given with adjustments being made to fluid level to correct the settings. The torus cover bolts were re-torqued and then bell housing cover is refitted.

Fabricating the Jensen’s front grille surround

We already hold the tooling to re-produce the front grilles themselves but now requiring the front grille surround it was back to design mode for Dave as he got to work fabricating the surround edging.

Running up the Jensen engine

We are now fine tuning and running up our Jensen 541S engine. The engine has been removed and detailed but has not been rebuilt.

We carried out various tests when we original received the car and with all running and pressures how you would expect we made the decision, alongside the customer, to leave the engine in one piece.

However, now we are running her up once again for fine tuning, Ady has discovered a lot of wear in the original rocker shaft.

Due the fact that these shafts are almost impossible to find Ady has re-produced the shaft and fitted with brand new fingers supplied to us from AH Spares.

You can see the wear in the original rocker shaft here.

1960 Jensen 541S Nearing Completion

We are now days away from the completion of our 1960 Jensen 541S (the prototype).

It has been a long restoration journey but hugely rewarding as we revive one of the very first prototype 541S’s to leave the Jensen factory.

We still have a couple of smaller tasks to take care of and some touching up in places but we are so very close now. The grille is cut, shaped and ready to be fitted but we are just waiting on completion of the outer chrome edging before we can fully fit up.

 

The fixings visible behind the rear plate will also be addressed as we lose sight of them during the paint touch up process.

 

Introducing Speedy Cable

We have unknowingly used the services of Speedy Cable in the past on various clock and dials refurbishment productbut going through various third parties.

On the restoration of our Jensen 541S we have headed straight for the source and now want to say a huge thank you to the guys and girls at Speedy Cable. They have made an incredible job of refurbishing the old clock when some other restorers have been unable to help with our request.

From the outside, the clock looks as original as the day she left the factory but due to modern technologies the internals have been upgraded.

Source: Speedy Cable

Speedy Cables is an independent small company located in South Wales employing around 20 people with a variety of professional, engineering and craft skills engaged in the customisation and repair of instrumentation and the manufacture of custom control cables and custom drive cables.

The market sectors in which the company operates is varied. Historically it was predominantly automotive including replica cars, classic cars, classic motorcycles, taxis, kit cars, motorsport and military whilst we continue to serve those sectors we also serve the agricultural, industrial and security sectors.

The company batch produces products from volumes of 2/3 up to 3/400 for some products/sectors and also extensively provides a bespoke service for almost all products.

Speedy Cables manufacture a wide range of mechanical drive, control and push pull cables from pattern, for sectors including automotive, motorcycle, canal boats, marine, agricultural, industrial and many more.

Speedy Cables History

Speedy Cables is a long established company and has served the automotive industry for over 60 years. The company Speedy Cables (London) Ltd was registered on the 13th of February 1975 and traded from premises in Islington, London, but its origins go back to a much earlier time when it had non limited status and operated from premises in Marylebone in London’s West End. The company had to move to Islington when its premises were compulsory purchased and demolished to build London’s Post Office Tower on the site.

A good deal of state secrecy and intrigue was involved at the time because the new Post Office Tower was a strategically sensitive installation that officially did not exist. Until the mid-1990s, the building was a state secret, and did not appear on official maps, even though it could be seen from just about anywhere in central London. Its existence was finally confirmed by Kate Hoey, MP, on 19 February 1993 when she addressed parliament. “Hon. Members have given examples of seemingly trivial information that remains officially secret. An example that has not been mentioned, but which is so trivial that it is worth mentioning, is the absence of the British Telecom tower from Ordnance Survey maps. I hope that I am covered by parliamentary privilege when I reveal that the British Telecom tower does exist and that its address is 60 Cleveland Street, London.”

If Speedy Cables’ founding business had not moved it could have vanished from the map into a black hole. This would surely have been one of the less common problems that new businesses have to contend with and overcome.

After its lucky escape from Marylebone however the company flourished in Islington and by the year 2000 it had outgrown its premises and moved to its present location near Swansea in South Wales. Over the years the company has placed great emphasis on retaining its staff with their many years of experience and acquired instrumentation skills. Speedy Cables (London) Ltd can now rightly claim to be a leader in its specialised field.

The company now manufactures and supplies all kinds of mechanical drive and control cables including a wide range of automotive instruments and gauges. In addition we repair, restore, and calibrate gauges from most classic, vintage and kit cars. The company holds ISO9001 2008 Approval and our certification can be seen by clicking here.

Fitting up the Jensen 541S bootlid

Lots of putting on and taking off today as John fits up the bootlid on our 1960 Jensen 541S.

It is finally secure and in position and looking incredible.

Every line and curve on this car is truly stunning…

Re-producing the spare wheel carrier

Our Jensen 541S has been bare due to the missing spare wheel carrier and like most items on the Jensen they are almost impossible to source.

Thanks to David at the Jensen Owner’s Club we now have exactly what we need and the spare wheel is now securely in position.

Jensen door cards are now in place

The beautiful door cards are now fitted back into place on our 1960 Jensen 541S.

John is now on the final stages of the build with only small, concentrated areas to focus on now. The final parts of the chrome-work will be back with us early next week.

The Jensen 541S Fuel Tank

With the new flooring now in position we are now able to re-install the fuel tank to our 1960 Jensen 541S.

Fitting up the power steering

I won’t lie to you, fitting up the power steering hasn’t been ‘EZ’ (sorry, couldn’t resist), through no fault of anyone in particular but simply due to the fact that this may be the only Jensen 541S of it’s kind to have one in.

We called upon the assistance of EZ Electric Power Steering, the market leaders in the manufacturing of classic car power steering. Luckily they had experience in the Jensen 541S having produced one before but unfortunately it turns out that the one before happened to have a manual gearbox.

Upon arrival we quickly noticed that the new system built for us was not going to fit correctly so back to Holland it went, along with the old rack for a new system to be made.

Fitting up the Jensen interior

Just waiting on the door cards to be completed but we have made a really good start with the refit of the Jensen interior. We have had very little to do with the interior as it came to us look beautiful. A few minor alterations and a couple of areas needed some TLC but we mostly removed, preserved and refitted. The carpets are in now in position as are the rear seats.

We have made up a  new parcel shelf and cut in the speak holes.

 

More Jensen parts to chrome

A couple of extra parts to get re-chromed, an over-rider, brackets and oil filler cap. A few weeks time we’ll have these back and ready to be fitted.

Jensen 541S: fitting up the new power steering

We are currently in the process of fitting up power steering to our 1960 Jensen 541S. Obviously not an original install when rolled out of the factory in 1960 but an excellent addition to the restoration.

EZ Power Steering specialise in power steering for classic vehicles. Their main offices are in Holland where they manufacture the items but they have represntation here in the UK in

An EZ Electric Power Steering system is completely hidden underneath the dashboard. The existing steering rack or box remains unchanged and thus retains the standard steering ratio and setup. The amount of assistance is fully adjustable and is sensitive to speed and load. They use CNC laser cut bespoke brackets designed to fit the original mounting points of your car. As no holes are drilled, with no cutting or welding to the chassis or body, the car can always be converted back to its original steering column. Under the bonnet there are no changes, everything remains as original. The advantages of an electrical system opposed to a hydraulic system are numerous. The electric motor only uses power when steering assistance is necessary whilst a hydraulic pump is continuously operating when the engine is running. A hydraulic setup generally uses around 4 bhp and therefore consumes extra fuel, even when driving straight ahead.

Because the electric power steering system is truly speed sensitive, it will steer light at low speeds and not become lighter at high speed. The amount of assistance can be selected by turning a potentiometer, so that the driver can select the desired feel (i.e. more assistance with wider tires and/or a smaller sports steering wheel’. With a classic hydraulic system there is usually little feel and no possibility to adjust this at all.

In the unlikely event that the electric power steering system has a defect, the car would steer exactly like it did prior to power steering conversion. If a car fitted with an hydraulic system would have a fault the car would steer extremely heavy.

The EZ Electric Power Steering works without making a sound. It can not leak and is completely maintenance-free.

EZ Power Steering are no strangers to the Jensen 541S but ours happens to be a unique one. Unbeknown to everyone, when the new power steering system arrived is wouldn’t fit eaxctly where it needed to which left both us and them a little confused.

It turns out that the automatic transmission makes a difference to the install and only having experienced a manual Jensen they are having to rebuild the system. This means the old column and new column have been returned to Holland and we await its arrival.

 

The brand new windscreen is manufactured

The order was placed at the back end of 2017 so it has been a long wait for the production of our Jensen 541S windscreen but the wait is over.

Due to the rarity of the car itself there are very few, if not any, brand new screens still in existence.  We therefore commissioned for a brand new screen to be manufactured in Finland and due to complications in the factory a 4 week lead time ended up being 7 month lead time but the wait is finally over.

The screen has arrived and along with the brand new rubber is now fitted and in position.

Prototype confirmation from Jensen Car Company

Original documentation from the Jensen Car Company to confirm our 1960 Jensen 541S was indeed one of the prototypes.

‘Congratulations on your acquisition. Your car was one of the three experimental chassis built to prove the 541S, and they were numbered JM/EXP, JM/EXP/101 and JM/EXP/102. Only EXP/101 had the automatic gearbox.

There are a few remaining records of the 541S, but we can supply the following on your car:

Chassis number: JM/EXP/101

Engine number: 40/A/11058

First registration: 750 CEA

Colour: Pearl Grey, Black Roof

Trim: Red

Invoiced: 11 January 1963

First owner: E.D Robinson

The car was used for road tests, demonstration purposes and, as an experimental car, was no doubt driven by the Jensen brothers and carefully looked after by the engineering department.

In addition to three experimental cars, 124 production examples of the 541S were built. Most appear to survive.

You might like to contact Keith Cerrino of the JOC for any further information on this car. His address is: “Dalkeith”, Village St, Harvington, nr Evesham, Worcs, WR11 5BQ (tel. 0386.871009)’

Jensen 541S Windows In and Badges Fitted

We are now making fantastic progress on our 1960 Jensen 541S as we fit up the exterior parts.

The windows are now back in to position.

The badges are on and the bonnet vent is also in place. The bonnet vent is original and is in fantastic condition. During the detailing process at the end of the restoration we will further clean up the bright work to bring back the original shine. The badges we produced brand new as the existing badges were beyond repair. Although the 541S is a very rare car parts are still available for them and Appleyards stock a great selection on the shelf. They helped us hugely with the our 1961 Jensen 541S restoration back in 2015 and I’m sure we’ll calling upon Andy for the future projects we have lined up.

#

 

The brand new Jensen steering wheel arrives

Although our current gel coated steering was in better than average condition we needed to look at freshening it up so that it did not stand out against the rest of the car once the restoration was complete. This task proved very difficult as there are very few companies that are able to offer the gel coating. Other companies could offer the ‘next best thing’ but that was not what we wanted.

We heard rumours that the Jensen 541S steering wheel matched that of an Aston Martin DB5 but not only would be just as difficult to find, it was also incorrect information as the DB5 wheel is a different dimension. Albeit the same look.

We then stumbled across the guys at Classic Car Restoration Services, they were able to produce a brand new wheel to perfectly match the wheel from the Jensen…and offer a gel coat service in their factory. They are one of those fantastic finds that you know will come in very useful for many years to come.

 

 

Fitting up the Jensen’s lights

Whilst the car has been away in our paint shops John has been busy preparing for the rebuild. Now that the car is back with us the newly refurbished parts can be fitted back up and the car can start to take shape once more.

We are rebuilding the car to the original factory specification so you’ll see no more red exterior paint anywhere, instead the car has bee completely transformed in the pearl grey with black roof finish.

We’ll soon be in a position to reinstate the stunning red leather interior that came with the car. Tommy is just in the process of re cutting the new floors.

Let the rebuild commence

Our 1960 Jensen 541S is now back in our workshops having undergone a full colour change respray. Now finished, once again, in her original factory spec Pearl Grey and black exterior, the time away in our paint shop has given us the opportunity to fully prepare ourselves for what we hope will be a relatively simple rebuild. All loose components are fully refurbished ready to be refitted so we are now hopefully looking at the last big push before she’s back on the roads travelling around Europe.

1960 Jensen 541S painted and being polished

Our 1960 Jensen 541S is once again back in the original Pearl Grey finish as it was when new.

The final polishing is yet to be completed and we should see her return to our Ipswich workshops sometime later this week.

Fitting up the sills and bonnet

The bonnet has been primed and ready for the final paint.

All panels now prepped and painted John and Tommy have been fitting up the sills and bonnet ready for transportation back to the Bridge HQ.

We are now on to the final phase which is the full fit up before we can officially sign off the car and let her go back to her owner ready for the summer shows.

It’s off to chrome we go…

The majority of our chroming work has already been carried out by Tony and the guys at Wyatt Polishing in Thetford but having found a couple of extras on both the Jensen 541S and Jaguar V12 E-Type it’s another trip over to get these started.

Repairing our Jensen bonnet for paint

All repair and preparation work has now been completed on our 1960 Jensen 541S bonnet. Next step will be to spray the bonnet in pearl grey to match the bodywork before returning it back to our workshops for re-fit.

Repairing the Jensen’s fuel tank

Having blasted the exterior of our 1960 Jensen fuel tank ready for paint it revealed a couple of tiny pin holes that go unnoticed to the eye but a pressure test reveals that something is not quite right. These holes need correcting prior to paint.

We have called upon the skills of our colleagues at Sheldrake & Wells, Ipswich to repair the original tank. A brand new tank is available but for a slightly lesser price we can strip and completely overhaul the existing fuel tank. The treatment required is very specialist and needs to be carried out by a company who knows how to complete the works properly because once repaired and coated both internally and externally this treatment will come with a long guarantee.

It may be easier to purchase a new tank but more often than not it’s best to keep original.

We are expecting to see the tank returned to us in 2 weeks time so I will update you with more pictures of it looking shiny and new.

Building up the Jensen 541S dashboard

John’s continuing to progress very well on ‘Project Prototype’ as he fits up the Jensen 541S dashboard. The top has now been re-covered, the newly refurbished dials are now back in to position and the interior mirror is securely fitted up.

New Exhaust Now Fitted On Jensen

The brand new, bespoke exhaust system is now complete and fitted to our Jensen.

A fantastic job by our good friends at Demand Engineering who told us of having a very special visit from a journalist who loved seeing our car.

Fitting up the new ceiling cloth

The reproduction of the new ceiling cloth is now complete and Kim is currently fitting back up to our 1960 Jensen. Apart from one piece missing from the front which will tighten up the cloth it is in position and looking amazing.

Manufacturing the Jensen’s new stainless exhaust

Being a rare car to start and with the unusual set up of a single down pipe to a double exit it is not the kind of exhaust system that is readily available on the shelf so we have called upon the help of our friends at Demand Engineering in Stonham, Suffolk to re-manufacturer a stainless exhaust system.

Source Demand Engineering:

Demand Engineering was started in 2011, by our current Managing Director, Exhaust Guru and Engineering Graduate, Dan Dew.

Ever since then, we’ve been on an epic ride to become one of the industry’s most innovational and inspired businesses. We love what we do.

At our premises in Stonham Aspal, Suffolk we have made exhausts and components that have ended up all over the world. Our workers are passionate skilled people with an eye for detail.

Dan’s vision from the beginning was a range of hand crafted products based on a strong foundation of knowledge – the science behind an exhaust. To this end, you don’t just get an exhaust when you come to Demand, you get quality advice on exhaust design, always based on your requirements. Just don’t get him started on the theory of scavenging and wave reflection. If you need a manifold, he’s your guy.

Since the beginning we’ve had strong links with Longlife Exhausts, and we spearhead their brand throughout East Anglia. We can custom build an exhaust for almost anything, and through the Longlife Network, the products we turn out are backed up by a forever warranty. They’re the only guys that do this.

From the Mandrel Bender we have a strong line of Stainless Steel Mandrel Bends that are sold through our online shop, and have always got stock ready to be shipped out to trade or public.

Currently we are on a mission to develop our own Production exhaust systems, which will be sold fitted or not. Concentrating initially on the Land Rover Marque, with a unique Demand twist, the first few systems are nearly ready for market.”

 

They have already done wonders on the original exhaust flange. Rather than re-manufacturing the flange they have managed to strip back and clean the original. It’s always best to keep original as much as possible so well done guys.

We can’t wait to see the new exhaust system in position.

Jensen 541S – Refitting the engine

It was a tight squeeze but our 1960 Jensen 541S prototype engine is now back in the car ready for the ancillaries to be fitted back up.

All of the brake and fuel lines are in as is the gearbox, axle and propshaft.

Today, John has been fitting up the carbs.

New rubber on the gearbox mounts

As the existing rubbers had perished on our 1960 Jensen 541S gearbox mounts we have stripped, cleaned and re-manufactured with new rubbers.

Here they are rebuilt before and after primer.

Fitting the newly built rear axle

When our 1960 Jensen 541S (the prototype) arrived in our workshops back in 2016 we discovered that the rear half-shaft was 20mm too short and not only that but the nut at one end was only secured by 3 turns.

Something somewhere was wrong. The previous owner has since been in touch, his father owned the vehicle many years and and even back then the rear set up had issues. It has been a huge challenge trying to source the correct half-shaft for the job but we are now very pleased to say the challenge has been completed. The correct half-shaft is now fully restored and the back axle has now been fitted to the car.

We have a car on it’s wheels!!

Fitting up the front assembly

Work is now well underway on refitting our Jensen 541S with the front assembly now reattached.

John has been busy re-wiring the loom this week.

Manufacturing new gearbox mounts

Due to heavy corrosion on the rubbers of our Jensen 541S gearbox mounts, it is simpler and more cost effective for us to re-manufacture the mounts ourselves as brand new are non-existent and good second hand will be more work than is necessary.

This is not the first time we have had to reproduce the mounts as our previous 1961 Jensen 541S restoration had the same issues. With the help from the guys at Walker Rubber we were able to manufacture new, relatively easily, using existing components as the moulding/shape to work to.

Unfortunately Walker Rubber no longer work out of a unit in Ipswich but the guys at the Norwich branch have taken on the project instead so we are still using relatively local companies where we can.

 

Fitting the Jensen doors

The doors have now been temporarily fitted up as this is safer than having them wrapped up and away on shelves. Within the coming weeks we’ll be able to show you huge progress on the car as we start to build her back up.

Classic pictures from the archives

Here we have some classic pictures given to us from our good friends.

It’s lovely when we have visitors with stories to tell and pictures to show.

We carried out some work on Trevor Murray’s 1949 MG TC  last year and whilst here he was thrilled to see the prototype 1960 Jensen 541S we had in undergoing a full restoration. Trevor was once the solicitor for the Jensen Car Club Limited and he owned a 541 himself. Here he is with his sons beside his Jensen.

And another fantastic archived picture brought to us, this time, by Asa’s dad Paul. Here is Paul and the family enjoying a summer holiday in they VW camper.

1960 Jensen 541S back from the paintshop

Today we accepted delivery of the prototype 1960 Jensen 541S, now back in its original factory colours of pearl grey with a black roof.

Now the rebuild begins!

1960 Jensen 541S – Pearl Grey and Black

So the moment has finally come!

The original Pearl Grey and black finish that our 1960 Jensen 541S prototype wore when she left the Jensen factory all those years ago is now back.

We still have a bit of correcting to do and a full polish but the transformation is definitely well on it’s way.

 

 

Re-chroming the Jensen Rocker Cover Cap

As we start to refurbish the rocker cover we realised that we had missed having one piece of bright-work chromed, the rocker cover cap.

Not to worry, it’s now over with Tony at Wyatt Polishing to have the chrome treatment.

It’ll soon be back to us looking brand new.

Jensen 541S prime is now complete

The two stage primer is now complete and she’s ready to be transformed back to the original factory colours. Soon to be Pearl Grey and Black.

 

Our Australian Parcel Has Arrived

The eagerly awaited Australia package arrived with us this morning from Jensen Spares.

Here we have the brand spanking new interior metal covers. As is often the case with classics and certainly the Jensen 541S’s certain parts are only obtainable from one source.

The metal trim covers are very rare and Tony at Jensen Spares in Australia owns the tooling that can manufacture these parts. Similarly, here at Bridge Classic Cars we have produced the tooling to manufacture the front grille and have subsequently been able to supply a number of them all over the world to fellow 541S owners.

More pictures of the Jensen in prime

As I took in impromptu visit to the paint shop today here we have some more pictures of our Jensen 541S in prime ready for paint.

The shell is due to be painted next week so the next set of pictures will be hugely different. It’ll be lovely to see this prototype Jensen 541S back to how it was on day 1.

Refurbishing the Oil Filter Housing and Steering Column Sleeve

On one of the hottest days of the year our newly painted Jensen 541S oil filter housing took no time at all to dry.

Along with the steering column sleeve, work on refurbishing the loose components is really picking up pace. The shell should be returning from the paint shop very soon and the parts are almost ready to be fitted back up.

Jensen 541S primed and ready for paint

Here we have the first pictures of our Jensen 541S in prime ready for paint.

The original colours have now been approved and the car is ready to be transformed from maroon back to the original factory Pearl Grey with a black roof.

1960 Jensen 541S ready for primer

The big day is almost here…the day our 1960 Jensen 541S body preparation is complete and ready for first stage primer. Within the next few days we’ll have the first pictures of the car in primer.

As one of 3 prototypes original built and the only one to be built as an original automatic, our 1960 Jensen 541S was personally owned and registered to the Jensen brothers themselves.

As we have mentioned before, it left the factory in Pearl Grey with a black roof but over the years has been altered to Pearl Grey with a maroon roof before finally settling as a full maroon car.

The car will be taken back to the original colours but we can’t pass this milestone without crediting whoever resprayed the car to maroon.

Having taken the shell right back to bare it is very difficult to find anywhere where the car was originally Pearl Grey. A fantastic job was done on the respray, however, a couple of questionable areas have been discovered. Questionable, as in, why were these simple areas missed in the first place when so much time and effort had been spent on the more difficult areas. Great for us to be able to discover the originality of it. As you can see, behind the rear lights and across the front both show signs of the original Pearl Grey.

Reuniting the Jensen body with the chassis

The body of our 1960 Jensen 541S has been successfully refitted back on the newly painted chassis.

With the original colours now confirmed we can continue with the body preparation ready for the full respray.

Extra images from Trevor at the paint-shop…

The Jensen Chassis Is Painted

With all of the chassis preparation now complete, the gloss black finish has now been applied.

We can now move forward with refitting the body that we removed earlier in the build. Once this is fitted we can progress to the paint shop for the fill respray back to the original, factory set, colour.

Seam Sealing our Jensen 541S Chassis

The final task to undertake before the chassis is finished in it’s new gloss black coating is to seam seal all of the edges. Good seam sealing will prolong the life of a vehicle after restoration. Virtually all rust problems on a car will start in the seams.

Here is a very informative article written by Brian Martin of Auto Body Store in Southampton, New Jersey. He explains the importance of seam sealing a car and demonstrates the best methods for applying seam sealer to body panels.

Jensen 541S Chassis in Primer

It has probably seemed a little quiet recently on our 1960 Jensen 541S project but be assured we’ve been very busy making the final tweaks to the chassis ready for it to be painted. Before the chassis entered our paint shops it was so full on for Tommy and Asa working on both the chassis and body shell so the time in our paint shop was also going to seem a little steadier for us.

The chassis is now primed and ready to be seam-sealed before it will be finished in gloss painted. After which, the body shell will be re-fitted ready to be prepared for paint.

Jensen 541S body repairs are now complete

Tommy has now completed the repair work on the body.

With the chassis arriving back soon from the paint shop, the freshly repaired body will now be permanently fixed back on the chassis ready for preparation and paint.

Lots of work has gone into perfecting our Jensen 541S body. The bottom of the A post panels have been cut away and replaced as have the offside and nearside door sills. The B post panels have had the same treatment and the entire roof lining , around the tops of the doors and windows have been re-manufactured.

Tommy has done an incredible job on our Jensen, it is a very difficult car to work on but with a number of these under our belt we have the experience and expertise to carry out work to this scale.

Jensen 541S chassis is now complete

With the body shell once again removed, the final improvements to our Jensen 541S could then be completed.

The wheel arches, boot floors, bumper hangers, body retainers, closing panels all round and all floor retainers have now be re-fabricated.

We have also removed the battery casing to replace with a safer, enclosed and vented battery box.

All protruding welds have been linished to accept the body.

The chassis is now ready to go to our paint shop to be prepared and painted.

Completing the rear arches

Tommy has now completed tacking the new rear arches to the chassis. The next stage will be to complete the welding work on the rear arches before the chassis can go off for paint preparation.

New steps for our 1960 Jensen 541S

We are so close now to being able to remove the shell once again and paint the chassis.

Tommy is very happy with the new steps, the doors line up as they should, the measurements are mm perfect so Tommy can now move on to the next stage.

 

A temporary refit

With the chassis rebuild progressing very well it is time for us to temporarily refit the body to ensure all alignments are accurate. Whilst the body shell is in place Tommy will continue to work on the areas of the chassis that still require welding work but needed the body to be in position.

The new inner wheel arches will be measured and shaped whilst at this stage.

Once Tommy is 100% happy with the work carried out and he has ensured it all lines up, the body will then be removed once again.

At this stage, the chassis will then go on to our paint shop to be prepared and painted.

Getting the Jensen body ready to be refitted

The sun is shining over Bridge Classic Cars HQ and here we have our 1960 Jensen 541S bodyshell back in the workshop ready for it to be temporarily fitted to the chassis to ensure that all dimensions are accurate in looking perfect!

Repairing the Jensen 541S chassis

We’ve managed to successfully tackle the main tasks of our 1960 Jensen 541S prototype chassis rebuild.

As you can see, we have had to replace one side of the chassis with new but we have managed to save certain areas of the other side which is great news.

The rear tube has also been replaced, this forms parts of the spring hangers and also holds the bumpers. We have also carried out extensive work on the strengthening bars.

We are still only a fraction of the way through the chassis build but the next task is to temporarily refit the body.

The body will need to be refitted to ensure everything lines up as it should. The inner arches also need to be fabricated but for these to be designed and built accurately the measurements are best to be taken with the body attached.

Polishing the Jensen 541S Copper

We posted earlier this week images of the bumpers finished in copper. They have now been polished ready for the chrome plating process.

Fabricating the new Jensen 541S chassis

The first site of our newly formed 5″ Jensen 541S chassis, moments before it was fitted to the beautiful 1960 Jensen 541S prototype that we are currently restoring.

Asa has been busy fabricating the piece to replace the rotten component that unfortunately we had little option but to remove.

I am hoping tomorrow that I will be able to update you with images of the chassis being pieced back together. We are now at the stage where everything has been removed that needs to be and now Asa is busy building it all back up ready for the paint preparation to take place.

A copper finish to the Jensen 541S chrome

Wyatt Polishing of Thetford have now completed the majority of the chrome brightwork on our 1960 Jensen 541S and as I was over there collecting Tony kindly showed me the stage he is at with the bumpers.

Here we have a very unusual site, the chrome bumpers have been fully cleaned down prepared for the chrome treatment. A copper finish has now been applied, these will now be polished up before chrome plating is added.

It is not very often we get to show the chrome in it’s copper stage but here it is…

As Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen would say; Copper is very ‘on trend’ at the moment. Maybe we should start fitted copper bumpers to our classics!

Running the Jensen 541S engine

We’ve been blessed with the presence of renowned race engine builder Don Warman today in our workshops as he spent a second day testing the engine of our 1960 Jensen 541S.

The engine is running beautifully and has been for the majority of the afternoon and with the gearbox soon to be arriving back after a full rebuild we now need to get started on thoroughly cleaning and tidying up the engine’s components.

The removal of the Jensen 541S chassis tube

Our 1960 Jensen 541S chassis tube has now been successfully removed on one side. This will soon be replaced with brand new tubing to make up the chassis frame once again.

Our 1960 Jensen 541S in need of some new wheel arches

With the rear cross members and leaf hangers in place it was time for Asa to focus on the rear wheel arches which are in desperate need of repair.

It is a common issue we’ve found with the Jensen 541 chassis’, they rot…and unfortunately it is often not until you remove the sills do you find how badly they have been affected.

Removing the sills and body from the chassis on a Jensen 541 is not an easy task but it is one that must be carried out, and must be carried out delicately and with confidence. A lot of technicians would not even attempt the procedure as the thought alone is scary but when you are looking at the 1960 Jensen 541S prototype, one of only three that were made and the only one to hold the automatic gearbox you are looking at a special car. And the history of this car alone is enough to ensure the work is carried out right!

Here we have the rear arches cut away at the affected areas. Upon exposing the chassis tubing it is evident that these will also need to be removed and replaced with new tubing too.

Replacing the rear cross members and leaf hangers

The corroded rear cross members and leaf hangers have now been cut away from the chassis of our Jensen 541S to be replaced with new. The new components will be fabricated and refitted in our Ipswich workshops.

A new component has now been manufactured and fitted to replace the rear cross member and leaf hangers.

Asa has now turned his attention to the arches, having already cut out the offside arch, again, he is having to fabricate them from nothing…in house.

Creating and re-manufacturing body panels is never a problem but it is often good to check whether panels are readily available before attempting to do this, for no other reason than time.

Time costs money and if it can be saved then everyone is happy. It’s always beneficial to explore the options.


 

The chassis returns…

Our 1960 Jensen 541S chassis has arrived back at our workshops from the blasters.

With the body completely removed and all of the areas exposed, we thought it was best to blast the chassis to remove years of debris, grit and rust that had been collected. Only then could we truly see the challenges that we would be faced with.

When the blasting process has taken place, more often than not it reveals new areas of the car that need attention, areas that may not have been noticed before.  The great news on this one is that it is no worse than we expected.

We knew there would be a lot of work needed on the chassis but we half expected to find a lot more…on this occasion we are lucky.

Don’t get me wrong, there is still a long way to go but Asa has already got his teeth stuck into the repair work!

 

 

Gearbox gets the specialist treatment

Our 1960 Jensen 541S is one of 3 the prototypes that were original built by the Jensen brothers. Two of the prototypes were built with a manual gearbox and only one was developed with the automatic transmission…this, is the automatic.

A very special and unique car that deserves the very best and that is why certain aspects of the restoration journey require more of a specialist touch. Here we have the automatic gearbox that has been removed from the engine by our expert engine builder Don Warman.

The gearbox is now being packaged up to be delivered to the West Midlands to be rebuilt by G.Whitehouse Autos Ltd.

G.Whitehouse Autos Ltd are Automatic Transmission Specialists for Classic Cars including : Rolls Royce, Bentley, Aston Martin, Jaguar, Daimler, Alvis, Bristol, and Jensen.

They rebuild Automatic Transmissions for all the classic cars from 1950 to the early 1990’s. All work is undertaken “in house” and they can either rebuild transmissions.

G.Whitehouse have built up an incredible reputation over the years and lead the way in their specialist field.

Jensen 541S Gearbox

Jensen 541S Gearbox

Stripping the Jensen doors

With the body now completely removed from the chassis and the chassis away for assessment, Asa could turn his attentions to the body itself.

A lot of work is required on our Jensen 541S body and it’s even more challenging when fibreglass is enthused with steel.

Here we have the doors fully stripped to reveal the steel framework and the fibreglass skin. It is a very delicate procedure but the project is in save hands with Asa.

Cutting out the rot affected areas

Our 1960 Jensen 541S (750CEA), the prototype, is still in our workshops as Asa spends another day repairing the steel bodywork sections.

This was always set to be one of our most challenging projects as fibreglass is so delicate. The Jensen body is predominantly made from fibreglass but the areas where the body meets the chassis and areas where the body requires most of its strength is finished in steel.

A lot of the steel has deteriorated badly, the rot has taken over. The only way to resolve these issues is for the rotten steel to be cut out and replaced with brand new steel.

Asa is busy doing this at the moment, a long and repetitive task but one that is essential and must never be avoided.

The Jensen 541 suffers from rot and the most affected areas are more often than not in the areas that aren’t easily seen.

Jensen 541S bodywork preparation is well underway

Now that the shell has been completely removed from the chassis and it is now away being prepared, this gives Asa the opportunity to investigate and come up with a plan to resolve the issues with the body.

1960 Jensen 541S A Post and surrounding area

The A-Post and surrounding area was where the majority of the work was needing to be carried out. The panels have now been ground done to reveal all of the rot. We have then removed the rot by cutting the areas away completely before applying brand new steel.

1960 Jensen 541S A Post and surrounding area

1960 Jensen 541S A Post and surrounding area

1960 Jensen 541S A Post and surrounding area

1960 Jensen 541S A Post and surrounding area

1960 Jensen 541S A Post and surrounding area

Removing the fibreglass bodyshell

Having built one of the very best Jensen 541S’s in the world back in 2015 Asa and the team at Bridge Classic Cars have a very good knowledge and understanding of this beautiful vehicle.

Having said that, we were very fortunate with our previous Jensen that the chassis had already been worked on prior to us finding it so that was a huge proportion of the hard work already complete. We knew with this new project that eventually we would have to delve into the unknown, we knew we needed to remove the delicate fibreglass bodyshell.

After carrying out a lot of research and finding very little information from anyone who had carried out this task previously, the day has come where the bodyshell would need to be lifted free of the chassis.

Removing the Jensen 541S Bodyshell

It was a time consuming task but the end result was successful. The body is now completely away from the rolling chassis.

Now that the body shell has been removed the next stage is to repair the chassis ready for the shell to be refitted.

Jensen 541S bright-work ready for Wyatts

The bright-work has now been delivered to Wyatt Polishing in Thetford ready for Tony and the team to carry out a full refurbishment of them.

Every inch of chrome work on this vehicle will be worked on.

It is a very delicate task to undertake as not only are these parts small and intricate but they are also very rare so one false move could be disastrous.

Tony at Wyatt Polishing is one of the best in the business so we have every confidence that the end result will be outstanding.

Refurbishing the Jensen Dials

The Jensen dials have been packaged up and sent for refurbishing by world renowned restorers Speedograph Richfield Ltd.

Within a couple days we’ll touch base with them, by which time they would have fully assessed the extent of work that will need to be carried out.

They are the experts in this field, we have trusted Speedograph Richfield Ltd with the majority of our major dial restorations for some time.

It is truly amazing how they can bring these dials back to life.

1960 Jensen 541S Dials

1960 Jensen 541S Dials

1960 Jensen 541S Dials

1960 Jensen 541S Dials

Removing the Jensen dashboard

With the engine now out Asa and John are concentrating their efforts on removing the dashboard this afternoon.

Before any work is carried out we have taken a number of pictures which we can use to cross reference when we look to refit it later on in the build process.

 

1960 Jensen 541S Prototype – Removing The Engine

Today’s the day we are removing the engine ready for our engine rebuilder Don Warman to work his magic on her.

Initially the engine was going to stay in the car until the carbs had been rebuilt so that Don could run her in situ but he has since decided that it needs to come out.

Over the coming months the entire engine and gearbox will be rebuilt so before we on this huge task, first, we need to take a number of pictures as reference for when it returns in a number of months.

As we mentioned before, when restoring a car or taking on any project it is vital to take lots of pictures as you go along. You may never need them but if, one day, you’re questioning the position of something you know you have images to fall back on.

A successful morning in our Ipswich workshops and Asa and John, together, managed to lift the Jensen 541S engine and gearbox out of the car.

Jensen 541S Engine Removed

Jensen 541S Engine Removed

Jensen 541S Engine Removed

Here we have the huge Jensen 541S engine and gearbox. Now fully removed from the vehicle she’s ready for Don to inspect and guide us one what his next stage will be.

1960 Jensen 541S Prototype 750 CEA Engine Removed

1960 Jensen 541S Prototype 750 CEA Engine Removed

1960 Jensen 541S Prototype 750 CEA Engine Removed

1960 Jensen 541S Prototype 750 CEA Engine Removed

Jensen 541S ready for chroming

The 541S was manufactured between 1960 and 1963 by the Jensen Motor Company and with only 127 produced, available parts, as you can imagine, are very few and far between.

With our 541S almost stripped, the chrome work is now ready to be re-chromed and polished.

The winged badges are in reasonably good condition however the shields are in need of refurbishment.

Our previous Jensen 541S restoration required the full set of  badges to be refurbished.

This time round we have managed to secure a brand new set of original badges which is very exciting for us. Finding original parts are always exciting…

Bonnet and Doors are off

In preparation for the body shell to be completely removed from our 1960 Jensen 541S, the engine needs to be removed. In order to carry out this huge task we have removed the bonnet and at the same time have taken off the side doors.

These can now be prepared ready for paint.

Jensen 541S - 750 CEA - Bonnet and Doors Off

Jensen 541S - 750 CEA - Bonnet and Doors Off

Jensen 541S - 750 CEA - Bonnet and Doors Off

Jensen 541S - 750 CEA - Bonnet and Doors Off

Jensen 541S - 750 CEA - Bonnet and Doors Off

Stripping our 1960 Jensen 541S prototype

The week started out with a visit from our engine builder Don Warman. He came over from Maldon in Essex especially to inspect the engine of our Jensen. Don built our 1961 Jensen engine so there’s no one better to perfect the running of this engine than Don.

Before he even started the engine he made the decision to take the carburettors and distributor back to his workshops to rebuild them. Once these are rebuilt he will return to run the engine properly, only then will he decide the next step for this engine.

In the meantime Lauren has been busy stripping our 1960 Jensen 541S prototype of all removal components ready for the shell to be removed and the chassis to be repaired.

1960 Jensen 541S Chassis

It’s the news we were hoping not to hear but unfortunately the chassis is in need of attention.

Jensen 541S Chassis

With the car in full working order and with all panels in place the chassis is barely exposed on the Jensen 541S. It is not until you remove the outer sills do you fully expose the chassis which was one of our first tasks on this restoration project.

From first impressions the chassis looked good so we were all very hopeful that once the sills were removed we’d be looking at a similar condition but luck is not always on our side…with the sills fully removed it was evident to see that we were not working with a solid, acceptable chassis. What makes the Jensen 541S chassis very unique is that, in parts, it is also used as a a vacuum chamber for the braking system.

So our order of work has altered slightly, now to include the repair of the chassis. When you are looking at a car as beautiful as this and even more so, when it is one of the very first three ever to be built you know that all the hard work it will take to get this back to it’s best is well worth it.

When old meets new…

Last month we welcomed a familiar face back to Bridge Classic Cars…the very beautiful and very rare Jensen 541S. Back in 2015 we discovered a 1961 Jensen 541S in a barn in Boxford, Suffolk.

With only 127 Jensen 541S produced we set out to restore this beautiful creation.

Jensen 541S

Jensen 541S - Seckford Hall Shoot 04

Last month we saw the arrival of another Jensen 541S. This one is very very special indeed.

1 of the 3 prototypes (experimental models) built and the first to be personally owned by the Jensen brother’s themselves. Our new arrival is this 1960 Jensen 541S. Originally pearl grey with a black roof she was the very first automatic model to be built and is in with us at Bridge Classic Cars ready to be taken back to her original routes.

1960 Jensen 541S - 377HWT

We were joined last week by owner Ronald, he had travelled over to see us from Belgium to have a look over his wonderful Jensen but this post is not actually about the Jensen, instead I would like to discuss the future!!

When I hand the reigns of Bridge Classic Cars over to my children and they do the same to their children this incredible machine would not look out of place in the Bridge Classic Cars carpark…the Tesla Model S.

This is the future and I am so grateful that I got to drive it and experience it.

2015 Tesla Model S

The Tesla Model S is designed from the ground up to be the safest, most exhilarating saloon on the road. With unparalleled performance delivered through Tesla’s unique, all-electric powertrain, Model S accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in as little as 2.5 seconds. Model S comes with Autopilot capabilities designed to make your highway driving not only safer, but stress free.

Tesla Model S

Model S is a driver’s car. The cabin combines meticulous noise engineering with Tesla’s uniquely quiet powertrain to obtain the sound dynamics of a recording studio. The gem of the interior is the 17 inch touchscreen, which is angled toward the driver and includes both day and night modes for better visibility without distraction. It puts rich content at your fingertips and provides mobile connectivity so you can easily find your destination, favourite song, or a new restaurant.

Tesla Model S Interior

Tesla Model S Floorplan

Thank you Ronald for the amazing opportunity to drive your Tesla.

Stay tuned for updates and details on the progress of our 1960 Jensen 541S

Our 1960 Jensen 541S has arrived.

1960 Jensen 541S arriving

1960 Jensen 541S arriving

1960 Jensen 541S arriving

This car is the original Prototype 541S by Jensen Motors manufactured in 1960. There were only 3 prototypes made, two were manual geared and this was the only automatic. It carries the unique experimental chassis no. JM/EXP/101. This car was used by the Jensen brothers as their demonstration car and was exhibited at the Earls Court Motor Show in October of that year and the Geneva Motor Show in March 1961. Her logbook shows that the Jensen brothers used her a s their own personal car before being sold in 1962. During this period she was also the subject of test reports within the Autocar and MotorSport magazines 541S series replaced the 541R being some 4″ wider which Jensen found made for better comfort and handling.

Price new in 1960 – £2185

There were only 127 541S car ever built.

1960 Jensen 541S - 377HWT

Her new owner currently resides in Belgium but before she takes the trip to her new home she has arrived with us here at Bridge Classic Cars for assessment.

We have been instructed to check over the car (inside and out), advise on any engine and gearbox work that may be required and together, with her new owner, we will decide on what the next stage will be on this beauty.

Awaiting the arrival of a Jensen 541S

At the start of the 1950s the Jensen Motor Company had a financially sound business producing commercial vehicles and building bespoke bodies for other manufacturers. As is often the way with successful entrepreneurs, the Jensen brothers enjoyed having their name on their products and having been involved for years prior to the war building small cars in conjunction with Standard, Austin and Wolseley, their attention turned again in the late forties to the possibility of creating a rather more exclusive Jensen.  Richard Jensen was joined in 1946 by Eric Neale and they jointly penned the sleek (and expensive) Interceptor which remained in production from 1950-57. The bodywork was mostly aluminium, but as an experiment Jensen had started making the large boot lids in a revolutionary material formed from hair-thin glass embedded in a resinous gel, ‘Glass Fibre’.

Eric Neale’s influence was immediately obvious in the, new for 1953, Jensen 541. He first created the distinctive ‘mouth’ shape, anticipating the cold air requirements of a possible big V8 although the Austin 4-litre straight six turned out to be the engine of choice, and the rest of the body flowed back from that point. A lattice of wooden body formers provided a reference over which skilled craftsmen beat a skin of aluminium. The finished car was exhibited at the 1953 Motor Show but there was one trick left up Jensen’s sleeve, production cars were to be constructed from glass fibre! As production of the 541 settled down the options available increased. A package incorporating the most frequently chosen extras was applied to the car which was then marketed as the ‘541 Deluxe’ and rack and pinion steering followed shortly in the ‘541R’.

In 1959 work started on creating a slightly larger 541, which would be better suited to long-distance cruising. This car was to have an auto gearbox as standard and was wider and taller than its predecessor, and so was born the new 541S. Some 4” inches wider than the original 541R, while also offering increased headroom and greater luggage capacity, the ‘S’ version was generally considered to be a more practical machine and certainly more comfortable for touring. In addition to a general increase in size, the body styling changed at the same time with distinctive ‘scallops’ being added at the rear and on the bonnet and a new grille. Less apparent initially were the improvements these modifications made to road holding, stability and ride.

In the 541S, Jensen used their own powerful version of the Austin DS5 4-litre straight-six engine featuring triple H4 SU carburettors, a high compression ‘Weslake’ head, custom-made twin exhaust manifolds and an alloy baffled sump/oil cooler. A total of 127 cars were hand-built between 1960 and 1962 at Jensen’s West Bromwich factory, most having GM-licensed Rolls-Royce ‘Hydramatic’ gearboxes. This was unusual at the time as most performance cars were fitted with ‘sporty’ manual gearboxes but the automatic suited Jensen’s criteria for the 541S of effortless speed and luxurious long distance cruising, although twenty-two were fitted with Moss manual gearboxes at their owner’s request. The 541S is also notable for being the first British car to have seat belts fitted as standard equipment and the pioneering use of Dunlop disc brakes on all four wheels was carried on from the ‘Deluxe’. Other safety equipment included a padded windscreen surround, fire extinguisher and a first-aid kit and each car was fitted with a quality Motorola radio as standard.

Due to arrive at Bridge Classic Cars very soon.

1960 Jensen 541S - 377HWT

Chassis Number ‘JM/EXP/101 is almost certainly the automatic 541S used by Jensen in 1960 on its stand at the London Motor Show at Earl’s Court. There were three experimental (EXP) cars built, (‘pre-production prototypes’), two being manual and one automatic. ‘101’ is automatic and was registered 750 CEA although the photographs from the show display the car with ‘JENSEN’ on the number plates. It was finished in Pearl Grey and looks superb sat on Stand 134.

This car was registered to Jensen Motors for a period of some two years. A letter in the file from them confirms that during this period it was used for road tests, demonstration purposes and as an experimental car, and according to the letter was no doubt driven by the Jensen brothers and carefully looked after by the Engineering Department. It was featured in ‘THE MOTOR’, October 19th. 1960 and ‘AUTOCAR’, Feb 3rd. 1961 road test reports. Whilst currently registered 377 HWT, there is verification from both DVLA and the Jensen Owners Club that 750 CEA was its original registration. An expression of interest has been lodged with DVLA to repatriate this number rightfully back to this car. An extensive history file accompanies the car and includes the original London Motor Show 1960 Guide, press cuttings of the day, old photographs, past invoices and letters. The show car was originally Pearl Grey but at some point has been changed to its current colour of Maroon, but inside the engine bay an area of original colour has been deliberately left, presumably to aid a return to its factory finish.

First registered in September 1960 this most beautiful Jensen 541S, chassis number JM/EXP/101 is currently reading an unwarranted 75,800 miles.

The fibreglass body is described as being in good general condition, with the paintwork reasonably good but would benefit from some future attention. The Burgundy interior trim appears to have been replaced more recently and, from the photographs, looks to be in good condition. We are told the engine runs well and starts easily and the automatic transmission changes gear well but the ‘kick-down’ is a little hesitant at times. The brightwork has recently been refurbished and all the tyres were replaced last year. The car will be offered with a fresh MOT Certificate at the time of sale.

This extremely rare and beautiful car is offered with fantastic provenance. It was one of three prototypes for the 541S, the final iteration of a model that was very important to the long-term health of Jensen. It was a fetéd and much admired Motor Show car and an important part of Jensen’s history, and on top of all that, it’s a super British classic sports car that would be welcome anywhere.