Hooniverse Shooting Brake Friday: The Jensen GT [UPDATED]

Image courtesy www.british-steel.org

How fondly I recall my youth in the country! The baying of the hounds as they chased the fox! The horsemen, resplendent in their hunting finery, bravely leaping creekbed and badgerhole in pursuit of their sly quarry. However, nothing tickles my fancy so much as the thought of those splendid vehicles that carried our rifles and brandy – the storied shooting brake, conveyance of gentlemen, peerless wagonettes! So let’s forget the Queen’s English for a second as we slip into a fond Cockney to ‘ave a butcher’s at this ‘un, love!

Image courtesy www.british-steel.org

In a literal sense, this wagonette has few peers, seeing as how only 500-odd GTs rolled off the West Bromwich assembly lines before Jensen Motors Ltd. closed their doors and went to that big junkyard in the sky. [Ed. – Of course, the GT was no Gordon-Keeble, being relatively common and decidedly pedestrian.] The shooting brake as a class is also relatively peerless, with the Volvo P1800ES, with 8,000 some examples produced, may be the most-produced shooting brake in history. [Ed. – It’s abundantly clear that the GT was an inferior example of the breed when compared to this Vignale-bodied 330GT shooting brake.] Is this surprising? After all, there can only be so many blue-bloods with a penchant for gun-toting wagon-coupes and a brace of scent hounds patrolling the Midlands, wot?
Mechanically, there’s not much – nay, anything – to distinguish the GT from the slightly more prevalent Jensen-Healey convertible. The much-maligned Lotus Type 907 inline four, dubbed the “gutless wonder” by the torque-loving Brit press (whose favorite measure of a car’s competence was to see if it could pull away from a stop in top gear), gave 144 HP and a 0-60 time of 8.7 seconds, but failed to capture anyone’s imagination. And the J-H wasn’t much to look at in convertible form, either, with a work-a-day appearance that made #2 pencils look sexy by comparison. At least the GT spiced up the mix a bit, with a baroque kicked-up rear fenderline, and a Kamm-type blunted tail. [Ed. – And the GT doesn’t hold a whale’s oil lamp to the obscurity of the Lea-Francis-derived Connaught sportscars.] The wall-eyed headlights (“are you a wizard?”) remained, lest you develop an oh-so-not-British lust for the car’s appearance. Mum’s the word, and keep it in your trousers, old boy. Wouldn’t want to make a scene with a sexy car like those filthy Italians, now would we, chap? Right-o!
The Jensen GT. Understated, anachronistic, slightly dodgy-looking. Could it get any more British than this? [Ed. – Yes. Yes it could.]
Of course, it goes without saying that I want one of these more than a TVR wants to incinerate itself. Perhaps with a custom hardwood cabinet in the back to house a large quantity of single malt, a coat rack for several requisite tweed jackets, and a small stove to heat up bangers and mash? The possibilities … endless, really.

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  1. oldcarjunkie Avatar

    Jensen GTs are very cool. I've actually come across one decked out for rallying of all things. I owned a Reliant Scimitar GTE which one of the better known shooting brakes (and inspiration for the P1800ES).

    1. FuzzyPlushroom Avatar

      Indeed – my first thought when I saw this GT was 'hey, a P1800ES built by slovenly Midlanders!' The GTE, though, may be the coolest of the bunch.

  2. tonyola Avatar

    Were any of the GTs actually sold in the US? I know that by the time the GT was released, the Jensen-Healey name had been hopelessly tainted by the problems with the J-H roadsters, and that was a major factor in the death of Jensen as an automaker. Supposedly most of the faults had been fixed by the time the GT was introduced, but the damage was done.

    1. oldcarjunkie Avatar

      Yes they where. They seem to show up on eBay quite often considering their low number made.

  3. Robert Emslie Avatar
    Robert Emslie

    Well, I certainly take umbrage in your claim that the GT is more attractive than the convertible, mine being of the soft top variety.

  4. PowerTryp Avatar

    AHHH now it makes sense, the Hyundai Genesis Coupe has got the reverse Jensen GT quarter window going on.
    <img src="http://www.theautochannel.com/news/2011/01/26/516029.1-lg.jpg&quot; width="600">

  5. Smells_Homeless Avatar

    I don't know who this "Ed" guy is, but he keeps interrupting…

  6. Van Sarockin Avatar
    Van Sarockin

    Someone best fire whoever's responsible for this clumsy pastiche. Posthaste. And fetch my pipe.