Last Hand Built Cars by the Jensen Brothers

The Jensen Article

by John Neville Cohen

  Page 3 of 4.  

Super Luxury

I have not yet mentioned the luxurious interiors, but both of these models provide lavish leather arm chair comfort for four, but also with plenty of head room and leg space even in the back. A lockable glove compartment, a useful container under the central arm rest, a deep pocket either side of the rear seats for rolled up newspapers, as well as large pleated pockets, in the back of the front seats. The 541S front passenger seat folds completely up to allow far easier access into the rear than most other two door cars - even modern ones.

Our Jensen 541S Manual drive interior John Neville Cohen

Both the 541S and the CV8, unlike many more modern fast cars, sensibly provide a very large boot space for luggage.   I do feel that a lot of the modern fast car designs, fail to provide the head room and leg space for taller drivers, and completely fail to provide useful luggage space. As a family man these are some of the reasons why I favour the CV8.

An overwhelming amount of standard equipment, at a time when so many items were charged as optional extras, such as:- a Motorola radio (lights up with the name Jensen); the heater; a fog and a spot light; a fire extinguisher; a first aid kit; a cigar lighter; a clock; rear window heater and all the instruments one could wish for. Plus a very generous tool kit in a fitted tray, under the 541S dashboard, consisting of (apart from screwdrivers and spanners) pliers, an adjustable spanner, even a tyre pressure gauge, spare bulbs, tyre valve and cap.


Our Jensen 541S Manual Drive, picture used for The Jensen Owners Club Calendar 1981. John Neville Cohen

Our Jensen 541S Manual drive interior view John Neville Cohen

Our Jensen 541S Manual Drive John Neville Cohen


Out of all the Jensen cars of this period, the 541S has been the least sought after, and the most difficult to sell.   There is a reason for this, although it is an impressive car and beautiful, it has a reputation for lacking acceleration as a sports car. It has a good top speed and is capable of travelling at over 100 mph all day long.

The Fabulous Manual Drive 541S

But all the original road test reports were based on the automatic version (this automatic gearbox although developed by Rolls Royce lost an awful lot of performance) - it is such a pity that the manual version was never tested!

Between 1960 and 1962 Jensen built 127, in total of 541S cars, out of these only 22 were manual drive. The manual is a gem of a car! The most luxurious car of all the 541 range, and what is not generally known, these manual drive cars with the Lacock-de-Normanville overdrive are very fast cars indeed. They would have earned a much better reputation from a road test than the one they have from the automatic version.


Our Jensen 541S Manual Drive and luggage John Neville Cohen



Extra Design Features

The 541S has certain unusual design features, adjustable front seat arm rests fitted to each door, the Bevelift jack, kept in the boot, was designed for use through the floor of the car in front of each front seat. So it was possible to lift front and rear wheels together whilst protected from the rain.

When the boot lid is open the driver can still see, without any restriction, out of the rear window. Very sensibly the spare wheel valve is accessible, through a fitting in the rear of the boot floor, thus allowing the air pressure to be checked easily without having to remove the wheel.


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