This very special 1968 Jensen Interceptor, chassis number 115/2977 left the Jensen factory on Kelvin Way in West Bromwich on the 23rd September 1968, and was delivered to its first owner, Mr Eric Morecambe, shortly afterwards.
Residing at Morecambe’s house in Harpenden, Hertfordshire, the car was driven personally by Eric as well as used by Morecambe’s chauffeur, Mike Fountain, to ferry him and wife Joan around.
According to Fountain, this Interceptor was Eric’s favourite car. In spite of being fond of it, it seems that Eric, clearly a discerning customer, had a few minor niggles with the car during his ownership.
The substantial history file contains correspondence between Morecambe and the Managing Director of the Jensen Motor Company, A.W. Vickers, in 1970. Morecambe explains that
“…whilst being very pleased with the car, I am indeed very disturbed at its present rate of deterioration.”
Morecambe was dissatisfied with rust to the wheels and bumpers, the badly pitted chrome and some of the paintwork.
“…whilst bearing in mind that even the best chrome does not last for ever, the car has not had much use as the mileage is now only fourteen and a half thousand miles and has always been kept in a garage. As for the paint work, I would refrain from comment, but would say that it is not what I expect of a £4,500 motor car…”
Not wanting to upset such an important customer, Vickers promptly replied and eventually work was undertaken on the car to resolve the problems.
Eric spoke about this car on an episode of Parkinson in 1972 (view a clip here), describing the time when he was driving through Batley in Leeds late one evening. He was appearing with Ernie at the local variety club when he became unwell and decided to drive home. He felt increasingly ill and eventually was forced to ask a passer-by to drive him to the hospital in the Interceptor. He had actually just suffered a mild heart attack. Apparently, the passer-by was so excited to be driving an Interceptor that it took him several minutes to realise who he was helping!
A 2007 interview with Fountain shed more light on Morecambe’s time with the car.
“We started off in 1969, at that time we had the Jensen Interceptor. That was my favourite car, it was really nice. It was marketed as a 2 seater+, which meant it had two seats and what can only be described as a bench in the back. There was no room at all for a third person, it was more of a sports car really. That was the only downside when Eric and Joan went out together and I was driving, someone had to be screwed up in the back. It usually turned out to be Eric.”