The Garage

Endurance racing

The Family


1965 Jensen C-V8 Mk III


Update:  The C-V8 has gone to a new home, as I would never find the time to rebuild it! I hope the new owner can!


I have always wanted to own one of these rare and exclusive cars, hand built by Jensen for, let us say, “Gentlemen of Quality” in the 50’s and 60’s. With a 6.2 litre Mopar V8, all round discs, a limited slip differential and 330 BHP, quite a machine in 1965. Only about 200 Mk III’s were ever built, so when one came up, I had to buy it, even though it’s a total wreck.


So I now own a 1965 Jensen C-V8 Mk III, actually chassis 112/2316, the second pre-production prototype Mk III built by Jensen, which needs SERIOUS work to restore it. You can find out about C-V8’s on the Web, but briefly it’s a 4 seat sports saloon, expensively hand-built by Jensen in the 60’s. Only about 500 were ever built, of which only something like 180 were Mk III’s. The car has a leather and wood interior, and a V8 Chrysler 383ci (about 6.2 litre) HP (meaning High Performance) engine, plus Chrysler’s famous Torqueflite (auto) gearbox, plus a limited slip differential and all round disk brakes, making it a very impressive performance machine in the 60’s, and 330 BHP is not to be sneezed at today either…!   Here are some images showing the state the car was in when I bought it.

   Rear end.


  Front view. Previous owner had removed some paint.


Here are some pictures of the chassis rebuild. The plan is to have the suspension and rear end also done, and this is ongoing. Front suspension is now Interceptor style, i.e. balljoints and vented discs.  You can click on some of the images for a larger view.

   Boot floor before replacements.

   Rear main chassis tube - floor gone, tube bad...

   Rebuilt rear floor area.

  Boot floor after rebuild.

   Main floor during replacement.

   Entire chassis front end was too rusty, replaced with ex-interceptor setup.


It’s still ongoing… the chassis is now rebuilt back in the UK, and hopefully I’ll be able to retrieve it soon….


God, I haven’t written anything here for a while! Latest news is that the chassis has been totally stripped, and then after cutting off a few parts, ready for rebuild, but other personal issues have forced me to pass it to a CV8 expert to rebuild for me, and it will be with him for many months I think. I may be able to post some pictures eventually though. I have also purchased a complete modified jaguar IRS with LSD and outboard disks, which I hope eventually to fit to the rebuilt chassis….


Dismantled the rear suspension and removed it and the rear axle, split the rear springs etc. Again, it was quite easy to dismantle despite being apparently rusted solid. Removed a lot of small parts (brackets etc.) and odd self-tappers etc. from the chassis. Measured some of the chassis so that I can make some parts.  Dismantled most of the front suspension, removed the springs etc. again, no special difficulty there.


Removed various odd bits still bolted to the rear area including: the panhard rod, both rear shocks, the handbrake lever, handbrake linkages and cable, loosened and freed the rear leaf spring shackles etc. I was very surprised that almost all the major bolts were ok to undo despite looking like they were seized, although a few small ones had to be cut. It’s clear that a lot of the structure around the rear spring front shackles will have to be rebuilt, although at the moment I don’t know much about how. I was also astonished that the 2 rear Armstrong shocks seem to have full damping, good movement and no leaks at all (now or in the past it appears). I’ll probably be able to re-use them!  I’ve also resolved to buy a reasonable grit blaster and clean up the chassis myself, although that might mean getting a bigger compressor as well.


Removed the passenger side bulkhead side plate and cleaned the area up. Cut away some more rusty floor areas, just for access. Remembered to take a picture of the first weld (drivers side box section under floor).


Removed the front part of the drivers side sill (for access) and cleaned up the drivers side front box section outrigger, I had assumed it was not too rusty….. I was wrong, so that also had to be cut out, luckily my collection of replacement parts includes the outrigger. Trimmed my new section and welded it back in,  having anti-rusted and zinc primed the inside of the various bits. The next step is the drivers side front floor (which is also the top of the outrigger) but I don’t have one of those yet…  Also cleaned a lot of rust and general grot from the drivers side area, up underneath the dash etc. Anti-rusted the inside of the bulkhead, ready for when I put the side plate back.


Began the chassis rebuild by cutting off the drivers side bulkhead side plate (the one that has the 1 round and 1 oval holes in it, it’s in a picture below, from 12/2). Removal was a pain because the rust hides the location of all the spot welds, but eventually it came out ok. Next part is to clean up/sort out steel for the box section under the pedals, as the inner surface is rusted out, although the main outer part is ok.


Cleaned up the block and rolling chassis via jetwash. Finally removed the very rusty fuel tank, it was definitely a good investment to buy Joerg’s custom-built alloy one! Even the tin float for the fuel sender has rusted out.


Hoisted out the engine and gearbox in a lump. Since the engine is seized solid I had to remove the Torqueflight whilst leaving the converter on the engine, then use thin spanners to get the converter off… luckily enough it still all came apart ok. After that I could get the engine onto the engine stand and start stripping it.. when the sump came off it revealed the following, not a pretty sight, with a good inch of sludge in it!!

I could then make a start on trying to get the pistons and rods out. Since the engine didn’t rotate, this was no fun, I had to remove them from the bottom upward and pick the ones that would come out, given the engine’s position. 4 came out with very little difficulty, despite the crud and muck in the bores etc. Once 4 were gone I found that I could carefully partially rotate the crank, just enough to get a couple more out. There was one final piston which was quite stuck and I had to clean up the bore, but in the end even that came out. The pistons showed next to no blow-by or scoring, and the bores show little wear, and although there’s some rust damage I think it will clean up. The ends were also very good, with only some scores from garbage in the oil, not wear. I also removed the oil pump, the drive gear, then the front damper, which was very tight (both the nut and to pull off), I could then remove the front cover, the silent chain seemed good as new, once that was off the cam came out, again there is no wear, only some minor water damage. The crank also looks good as new, see below – you can see that the journals are like new, the slight banding effect you see is actually mostly caused by the phone I used for the picture. You can see at extreme LH how areas more ‘exposed’ have some corrosion. Amazing to me it could be this good when the sump looked like that. The bearing shells also all look like new except for a few scores caused by individual pieces of muck.


   Crank as removed.


   Head as removed.



Trailered the engine/rolling chassis back to my ‘proper’ garage where I can begin it’s restoration. Also bought a HD engine stand and load leveler for getting the engine/box out. Also, by a strange coincidence, I came across about 80% of the steelwork that I will need, being sold by a fellow enthusiast (thanks Tim!) which gives me a very good and unexpected start! I hope to remove the engine next weekend.


Minimal work this week. Loosened most of the front suspension bolts, which I expected to be seized/very difficult – in fact they are all so far ok and no problems have surfaced.


Drained the last oil, disconnected the transmission cooler and removed the radiator and it’s supports (the rad seems in astonishingly good order). Removed the remote oil filter. Removed the front antiroll bar. Removed the starter motor. I also got the very first replacement parts needed for the restoration (Ta Dave, if you read this!) – which are a pair of the circular rear reflectors.


Removed the heater casing and the heater itself, which seems in reasonable order. Finally managed to remove the seized brake pedal pivot and that allowed me to remove the complete pedal box. Drained the engine oil, hopefully all the oil ON TOP of the pistons will now drain past them, otherwise it’ll be really messy cleaning that out. Removed the steering UJ shaft from the rack. Removed the temperature-controlled heater valve (Ranco valve??) on the bulkhead. Made a start to remove the remote oil filter assembly. Removed the throttle linkage bolted to the engine rear bellhousing. I also cut some more of the rusty floor away as it was getting in the way, but I don’t want to cut too much away until I can start replacing some steelwork. Checked the transmission fluid level/quality, which looks good as new, next week I will probably drain the transmission fluid as well, so that I can disconnect the pipework and remove the radiator.


Finally removed the rear bumper irons, then the rear body section and roof, plus the LH side frame. Removed the brake servo assembly, throttle cable and pedal. Removed the engine’s water pump assembly. Removed the RH front support strut to the crossmember, which also supports the steering column. (LH strut was removed a while ago).


Turned round the car and and finally removed the last few bolts. Freed the RH (drivers) side, side frame and front of the body area, followed by the rest of the body area, and then I could lift the body at front and I found that in fact you could remove the whole side frame by pulling it outward at the bottom and sliding it forward. A couple of pictures from my mobile below:


   Airbox and drivers door area during dismantling.

   Rear chassis tube area from below.

   Drivers side floor.

   Original front suspension during dismantling.



Was hoping to remove the rear body this weekend, but this wasn’t possible because I needed to turn the car around to get at some parts and that meant moving other cars etc.. just not possible, still never mind, I managed to remove the rain gutter on one side and to free the body at the front on that side also. I also removed the 2nd RH bonnet hinge (not easy) and a few other minor parts. It still remains to remove the rain gutter on the RH side and also to cut through a couple of bolts on the same side, then finally the body should be free. Hopefully I will be able to rearrange the cars next weekend and sweep up the rust from the floor!


Finally managed to remove the whole steering column + column change mechanism in one piece as it was impossible to get the wheel off in situ, and you can’t get the dash out with it there, even though the 2 are not connected. After that it was relatively easy to get the dash facia out and then to remove the entire wiring harness from the car (it is in 3 main sections: dash area, engine bay, and the run to the rear). Removing all this then gave me access to the last few bolts holding the body to the car, and I have now managed to remove about half of the previously hidden ones. With luck, next week the roof/rear body may come off!

During initial dismantling   Cockpit during dismantling.



Ok, things are speeding up a bit now. Removed the headlining, removed all the roof to side frame fixing bolts, removed <most> of the side frame fixings and boot area bolts. Still have the RH bonnet hinge and under scuttle bolts (4) to get off, then I should be more-or-less able to remove the main body moulding. The rear boot area seems fairly free already, which is a good sign. Also I removed a few minor parts such as the fuse box. I <still> can’t get the steering wheel off, so have made a start on removing the column complete, which looks hopeful. Scary to discover that the C-V8’s roof is not reinforced in any way, no rollover bars etc. I might look at adding my own. I also cut away most of the rear footwells as they were so weak it was difficult to move round inside the car, now I can just put my foot on the ground!


Removed boot hinges, rear parcel shelf, part of the headlining, one bonnet hinge, some more of the upper rear body bolts and a few other minor interior trim parts. In just about every case I had to cut through the bolts, grind heads off etc. –It’s going to be a looong task…

Also rearranged this list so that the newest entry is at the top.


No opportunity to do much work over xmas, however I did tidy up a few parts and idly checked the engine oil level “out of interest”… hmmm…according to the dipstick, the level is about 1 foot 3 inches…. i.e, the whole lower engine is completely full of oil!! –Someone must have tried the old “oil down the plug holes to free it up” trick a few times too many I guess, still, it’s a good reason why it won’t turn over perhaps. One things for sure: I’ll need a helluva drip tray for it when I drain the sump :).



Removed the boot lid and the various parts of the fuel tank filler. Removed the propshaft, again, looks like it’s never been touched. Tried to remove the damn steering wheel again but no go so far. Cleaned out some of the rusty areas in the sill in order to try and understand where all the fixings are and how they work: there are 3 bolts in the upper sill, but there is also one at the front of the sill(?)…there are 2 bolts at each side at the lower edge of the windscreen also, under the scuttle edge.


Removed wiper mechanism, dashboard instruments and most of dash mountings (but not that actual dash yet). Disconnected all electrics in that area, removed the fan on engine bulkhead side, removed a few other odd mount bolts etc. and made a start at looking at how the front end of the main body moulding is actually held on (not too clear, so far!). Can’t get the steering wheel off as the sliding mechanism is rusted up and the locking sleeve is jammed/rusted, next time I come down I’ll bring my strap wrench, meantime it’s all covered in releasing fluid…


Cut the bolts and removed the (huge!) bonnet and RH head, story is the same as the LH one, but at least no serious damage I’ve spotted so far, and the general state of everything is about consistent with the speedo mileage (about 65k). No rounded off bolt heads or even any evidence the heads have ever been taken off. The heads are the older HP type design, “closed” heads with nice flat top pistons so should be about 10:1 compression. The heads should be re-usable with hardened seats and bigger exhaust valves, no point in bigger inlets if you ask me. The heads appear to have double valve springs which is a bit odd for this engine if it’s standard, I’ll check later.


Removed the whole frontend fiberglass body moulding, had to cut 99% of the bolts off though… I attempted to remove the bonnet but the fixings are both rusted and bloody awkward so for now it’s still there. However I took advantage of the better access and pulled the LH head in order to get some idea of the state of the engine, since it doesn’t rotate! –The pictures below reveal it’s state: someone has filled the bores with oil, probably to try to free it off, however it’s (lightly) rusted it seems. Despite this, at least on this side the actual bores seem pretty good, it does not seem as if the engine actually has much wear. There’s a lot of carbon and general crud, the plugs are actually buried in it! -  but I think it’ll clean up ok…. The valves are all stuck but look like they’ll free. Sizes are 2.0” inlet (jeez!) and 1.6” exhausts, so the exhausts seem a bit small to me.


Removed the LH side fibreglass, the sill on this side is slightly better than the other but still shot, obviously! Plus I removed the LH front seat and the rear seats. Removed the interior transmission tunnel, which just showed that yet more of the car is rusty…  Removed the front and rear glass.


Removed all the calipers, so at least it will roll now. Also removed most fixings for the LH side panel, but not quite all yet. Since it could roll now, I took the opportunity to turn it around in the garage, and took the chance to get a couple of pics whilst outside - here they are;


Ok, the dismantling has begun in earnest! So far, I have removed the front and rear glass, bumpers, one front side panel, one door, and most of the interior, plus a few other minor parts. The front seats are all steel whereas I had read that they were fiberglass based? The rears are 100% good old wood, and a fair bit is still ok. I have had to cut off most of the bolts securing various bits due to the rust. Most of the large front end moulding which contains the headlights and front wheelarches is ready to remove but some bolts are still to be chopped. I have also removed the front and  rear disc calipers ok, and they are in surprisingly good nick, although rusty as hell. Initial pictures are below – if you don’t like rust, look away now.


Made some basic examinations, the floors are all gone and so is most of both sills. Rear spring hangers are crap and so is the Panhard rod mount, ho hum. However the body is good (Fibreglass of course) and so is most trim. The engine has a core plug missing which is not a good sign but at least the whole engine is there! The steering is ok and the suspension seems so also, although the rear springs look like they’ve sagged. Brake pipes all history, but calipers are all there at least, no doubt seized solid as there’s no fluid, which is always BAD.