1974 Jensen Interceptor III

Walking around the SEMA show last year, I happened upon this cool ride in a parking lot near the convention center. It’s a 1974 Jensen Interceptor III, a rare British car that you don’t often see.

Between 1966 and 1976, just 6,400 of these cars were builtĀ  – which is an extremely small number for a production car. I have to wonder how many of them were left-hand drive and how many are in the United States? Probably not very many, which makes this car all the more special.

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1966 Lotus Cortina MkI

Bentley. Aston Martin. Jaguar. Lotus.

They’re all British car companies, but more importanly, they all have factory-sponsored racing teams. For decades, these companies have battled it out on the racetrack in everything from Formula 1 racing to grand touring to group racing.

What these companies would typically do is take one of their production cars and modify it to compete in a specific class of racing. There is one catch, though. Auto manufacturers are required to build a minimum number of vehicles and sell them to the public in order to classify as a production car. This practice, known as homologation, means that a small number of factory-built race cars will make it out into the real world – completely road legal. This is exactly what happened in the 1960s with the Lotus Cortina.

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1989-91 Sterling 827 Vitesse Fastback (Acura Legend)

Back in the 1980’s Honda determined that if they were going to have a luxury division (Acura) they would need a ‘full size’ car to compete. With the midsized Accord as their only option for badge engineering they looked elsewhere. They ended up collaborating with the British company Rover. This resulted in two cars that were very similar, one for each company. Continue reading