In December 1998 I found this GT (the first I had seen in over 20 years)advertised in Hemmings Motor News on the next page as the ad for the XJ12Coupe I bought for Camellia. It was near Richmond, Virginia. So I made a trip down to see it. It started, ran pretty well, and so I negotiated what I thought was a fair price. A few weeks later, between snow and ice storms, I retrieved it. My friend Mike E.Sturges, Aircraft Inspector and E-Jag aficianado, helped me with the logistics. It was a frigid 15^ windy day, and the heater didn't work. I thought it was a 4 speed car like my '75 Jensen-Healey Roadster (it had a 4 speed shift knob), as the tranny was so sloppy to shift. Other than those two items, it made the 180 mile trip to Maryland without incident. I sooned learned it was in fact a 5 speed Getrag unit tranny (all GT's had the 5 speeds), and it needed 'a trunion kit'. I installed the broken shift linkage bushings, and secured the rattly shift level mount, and found the transmission was indeed in fine shape. I then spent the winter of 1999 renewing the wood dash in Redwood Burl, the electrics, & fixed the AC system. I drove it for 3 years. In April of 2001 I began a complete restoration by pulling the engine, which was dependable, but getting noisier and more smokey. I discovered the valves were way out of spec, and some were deformed. By this time several Jensen Owners in the Chesapeake Area had begun mutual support, Don Pritchard and Chuck Moreland, and also my friend David Young, in who's Barn we pulled the engine. Then we moved the GTto Chuck Moreland's, as he was retoring a JH and also bought a GT. The plan was to have the shop do the three cars in sequence.Here the GT served as a 'Lounge' for Frankenstein at Chuck Moreland's Halloween Party in 2001. By January 2003, the shop had not even finished painting Chuck's JH, so I brought the Gt home to its own 'GT workshop'.
In the Fall of 2003 I was still working on the interior finishing of the Garage and the Vintage Flagstone Driveway. While I enjoyed driving the Interceptor, the Jags and the TR4, I missed the GT and found this One, which I thought could be ' a driver'. The body was pretty good, and the interior was fair. The drivers seat had a seam tear and had oil spots, but the rest was intact. I closed the deal on the car in July of 2004, and I spent the rest of the summer working on the brakes, fixing LUCAS electrics, installing a new exhaust system, tuning & detailing the engine, cleaning & repainting the engine bay, refurbishing the wire wheels, and took it to the Jaguar Concours De Elegance in September 2004. It was well received. Sadly on the way home, I realized the engine had a bad head gasket and bad oil control rings.
I had started the teardown of the engine from the Burgundy GT (above), and although not what I planned, I figured I'd install this engine, when rebuilt, into this Gold GT, as the Body restoration of #30485 is still a year or two into the future..
While looking for 'Green Top' Fuel Injector Cores for Camellia's XJ12C Engine restoration at Octagon Spares in Pennsylvania, I was surprised to see this GT, which I instantly recognized as the 'Show GT' I saw in Sante Fe, New Mexico at the 1st Jensen meet we participated in (August 1999). This car has an interesting history of it's own. The asking price was 'not cheap', but was a fair one given the condition of the car. SO we now have these three Jensen GT's.
This is a Unique car, even among the 511 originally built, and the survivors today. Only 6 cars were made with the Black theme interior and Tan Leather interior trim. 53 were painted 'Pine Green'. Richard Calver has confirmed to me that this one, GT # 30213, is the only survivor of those rare cars ever made with this configuration. It's interior is still in 'almost showroom' condition.
Most of the 260 GT's that came into the US entered either through the Ports of Baltimore or San Francisco. Not this one. The car was delivered through the Port of Houston. The original owner of the car was Jay Rockefeller, of the famous family. Around the early 1990's, the car suffered an engine bay fire, from the cracking of the now infamous plastic fuel T. The insurance company paid for a complete repaint, and while the engine was out, it had some upgrades:reportedly 'European Camshafts', + the visible Piranna Electronic ignition, and Weber DCOE45 Carburetors. It then was bought by the man in New Mexico, who organized the Sante Fe event, and then it passed to a man in Kentucky, who worked for FEMA and was often away. He decided it needed to be owned by someone who would drive it and enjoy it. So it was bought by Octagon Auto Sales. SO it has found me.
The irony is when I bought the Burgundy GT in '98, I soon learned that the GT 'Estates' had several production modifications from the last generation Jensen-Healey roadsters, in addition to the fixed metal roof and rear glass door hatch. Among these were the exquisite Jaguar like real wood dash, more door padding, electric roll up windows, velour or leather interiors, and Air Conditioning. But there were also modifications to the Lotus 907 engine: a different water pump and viscous fan blade, and a different radiator. I saw these differences on this exact GT in Sante Fe in 1999. This GT also has improved suspension bushings and the Weber Carburetors. These modifications add even more value to the car. Today, a set of DCOE45 Weber Carburetors bring no less than $1,800 on E-Bay. So this car is at the highest market value, about $12,000 US. As fine as the car is, I still had some 'items' to attend to:
As fine as the car is, I still had some 'items' to attend to: