The Jensen Hemiceptor is real and it’s magnificent

Back in 2009, former Hooniverse-now Autoblog scrib Alex Kierstein wrote a short post. He asked for some brave person to find a clean Jensen Interceptor, a 6.1-liter Hemi, and the gumption to put them both together. Now just shy of exactly ten years later, that vision is realized. Say hello to the Jensen Hemiceptor!

This one has a crazy story, and it actually stems from that initial Hooniverse post. It caught someone’s eye and they set out to build the car we’d imagined. A customer of a Montana fabrication shop wanted to make the Hemiceptor a real thing. This person already owned a clean Jensen Interceptor. The car had spent its life in Arizona before moving to Montana. The fabricators at Butch’s Custom Fabrication started the process of melding a Hemi between the fenders of this British classic.

Life doesn’t always work the way you hope though… the person who started this process got cancer. They fought, but cancer is a dirty fighter and won this round. The build was purchased by the shop, which continued the work. And now the job is done and the car is complete. Here’s the breakdown of everything that’s gone into this build:

The Breakdown

The donor Jensen had lived most of its life in Arizona so was essentially rust-free.  Tear-down of the car included magnetic induction heater removal of a dumpster-load of undercoat which had been slathered everywhere (including the complete engine compartment) from the factory.

Once that was done, we got to work building the car which features:

  • 1970 Jensen Interceptor Mk. ii, sandblasted, modifications made, ultimately Lizard Skin coated inside and out
  • Chrysler 6.1 L. Gen. III Hemi engine blueprinted with Wiseco forged pistons.  March Engineering serpentine belt drive, Milodan oil pan, custom built stainless steel headers
  • Chrysler/Mercedes NAG 1 5 spd. automatic trans built by Southern Hotrod managed by PCS 2000 controller adapted by Russell Drake of Sound German Engineering.  Mercedes W-125 shifter wired by Russell Drake
  • March Engineering serpentine belt drive with Sanden AC compressor and an alternator rebuilt locally to replace the Chinese bearings that came in the March unit
  • FAST XFI 2.0 fuel injection with 85 mm. Big Mouth throttle body, direct linkage control (not fly by wire).
  • FAST XIM ignition firing MSD coils
  • Griffin alloy radiator with electric fans, separate auto trans cooler with Chrysler thermostat in the cooler lines
  • Art Morrison Sport IFS complete front suspension with Detroit Speed Engineering steering and Strange coilovers
  • Factory Five IRS rear suspension, Ford Racing 8.8 diff, 3:55 TractionLok center section, Factory Five axles, Strange coilovers
  • Ididit adjustable steering column, MotoLita steering wheel
  • Rick’s Tanks stainless steel fuel tank with pump, stainless AN fuel lines
  • Wilwood brakes, 6 piston in front, single piston in rear, powered by ABS Electric master cylinder and booster
  • Vintage Air AC/Heat
  • Pairing of Ron Francis chassis wiring and FAST XFI ECU wiring harnesses
  • AutoMeter electronic guages backing rescreened Jensen Smiths guage faces
  • Dakota Digital solenoid door and hatchback locks, new window motors
  • New leather interior, fully re covered dash
  • Interior and exterior frame are completely Lizard Skin coated with ceramic and sound deadener.

  • The car is just finished, every component of this car is new or rebuilt, body completely restored in Lamborghini Champagne Grigio paint

Full history of the build

Hemi in the bay

The builder says the car is “terribly fast” and that they’re still dialing in the suspension. But the bulk of the build is clearly done. Now the car can be driven and celebrated in the manner in which the original customer intended. It’s certainly a bit sad they’re not around to see it, but this story and their idea will live on while barking out a sonorous Mopar song from beneath the skin of a classic British beauty.

Much more info can be found here: https://hemiceptor.com/

19 Comments

  1. Your brain has hundreds of thousands of Hemiceptors in each hemisphere. Almost all of them* are responsible for bypassing your frontal lobes and connecting your amygdalae to your feet. It is suspected the left amygdala controls the throttle foot and the right amygdala the clutch foot, but there’s much heated discussion about which one controls the brake.

    * A few are related to the giggle response.

  2. That’s an amazing amount of work to fit that engine. Since Interceptors used the 383 and 440 V8 I expected there to be enough room without completely remaking the engine bay.

      1. We haven’t experienced any heating problems so far. I think the Griffin alloy radiator (which was designed specifically for this car) is doing its job. The fact that the transmission cooler is a separate unit (not built into the radiator) helps, too. I was worried about the footboxes getting hot due to the headers being so close, but the Lizard Skin inside and out seems to be working. Then again, this is Montana, not downtown LA. The car probably hasn’t been driven in temps much over 50 degrees yet.

    1. Haven’t watched the video yet, but the original would use factory manifolds not wide-set extractors. It’s hard to tell but I suspect the engine sits a bit further forward here.

        1. Since it’s kind of a seventies version of futurism, I *DO* hope the floor and all interior panels are covered in silver-colored shag carpeting.

  3. Your brain has hundreds of thousands of Hemiceptors in each hemisphere. Almost all of them* are responsible for bypassing your frontal lobes and connecting your amygdalae to your feet. It is suspected the left amygdala controls the throttle foot and the right amygdala the clutch foot, but there’s much heated discussion about which one controls the brake.

    * A few are related to the giggle response.

  4. @SlowJoeCrow:disqus Joe, the 6.1 Hemi is a lot wider than the 383/440 so fender well interference is a big issue in the adaptation. We were going to have to make custom headers no matter what, and it became obvious that access to the headers would be impossible unless the fender wells were removable. So we decided to just cut out the stock Jensen fender wells and build everything from scratch. Plus the workmanship on the stock engine compartment sheet metal was atrocious, a testimony to the technology of welders available at that point in time. Stick welders, with splatter everywhere and crappy, inconsistent weld penetration, that’s what they had to work with. All that sheetmetal is gone now, and that Champagne Grigio paint is most nice over and above the layer of undercoat the engine compartment came with originally.

      1. I would put good money on a 70s Lada having better welds than something British from the era. Ladas weren’t actually that bad, less rot than the Fiats they were based on, Main problem was that as the production dragged on, the tooling was worn out leading to atrocious tolerances, but you can’t really fault the guys in Togliatti for that.

    1. Six, the car is for sale but if it doesn’t sell it will definitely be in the Glacier Rod Run and the Bigfork show.

      1. Six, if you end up coming to Whitefish to ski (or whatever) track me down, I’ll meet up with you and show you the car. If the roads are dry, perhaps a ride as well.

  5. Many years ago I was in search of a car I could acquire for a four digit sum and use as a daily driver. I had considered a 440 Interceptor, but back then the advice was to only consider cars with perfect interiors, or be prepared to spend $10k replacing it. Needless to say, I found a couple of driver quality Interceptors within the budget, but those all needed new leather.

    I wonder how a new driveline compares to a refreshed interior these days.

  6. Kudos to the build team. It’s amazing to me that outstanding custom car fabricating skills can be found all across the USA in the most unlikely places. This is an example of the great American hot rod tradition. That’s a beautiful car.

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