26 - 31 October 2020
Lot 178

1965 Jensen CV8 Drophead Coupé Prototype


Estimate Available Upon Request | Not Sold

United Kingdom Flag | Chobham, United Kingdom



Chassis No.
  • The only C-V8 Convertible built by Jensen; a true one-off
  • Originally owned by Lord Carrington, the former Foreign Secretary; only three caretakers since new
  • Sympathetically restored, with its original interior

Please note that this lot will need to be collected in Chobham, U.K.

One of the most famous of the sophisticated grand tourers built by Jensen, the C-V8 boasted a distinctive fiberglass body with aluminum door panels and a large twin-tube frame, and was stunningly fast for its era. It could reach a top speed of 219 km/h, cross the quarter-mile in 14.6 seconds, and accelerate to 100 km/h in 6.7 seconds, the latter quicker off the line than even many European sports cars of its period.

While 500 C-V8s were produced, the example offered here was the only factory-built Convertible. Based upon an experimental MK.II chassis lengthened by some nine inches, it was completed in June 1965, finished in Smoke Green with grey leather upholstery and hood. Originally, even the dashboard was finished in grey leather. The car was sold new to Lord Carrington, then the U.K. Foreign Secretary, for whom the car was registered as XYU 7. During Lord Carrington’s ownership, the Convertible underwent extensive testing and sorting by the Jensen factory and was fitted with an improved MK.III braking system. It was also refinished in the original color, the distinguished owner having been unhappy with the quality of the original paintwork, and fitted with a darker-color top and burr walnut dashboard.

In February 1967 the car was traded back to dealer Charles Follett on an early Interceptor, and was assigned a new registration number, LPP 766C. It was then sold to Phillip Southall of Birmingham, who had attempted to buy the one-off Jensen when it was new. Lord Carrington beat him to the punch, but two years later Mr. Follett remembered Mr. Southall’s interest and offered him the car second-hand. A deal was quickly arranged and Mr. Southall would use the car daily until 1973, having it serviced and repaired by the Jensen factory during that time. Afterward it was set aside for ‘occasional use’ until 1987, then given to Mr. Southall’s son-in-law, Martin Bryant, who continued to enthusiastically use it until 2017.

This fascinating car today retains its original leather interior, while the walnut dashboard and top are all those installed for Lord Carrington; all has a wonderful, consistent patina. More recently, this Jensen was treated to a complete respray and various mechanical works to make sure it is presented in the condition such a historic car deserves.

Accompanied by a remarkable history file (including notes made on NATO-headed paper by Lord Carrington and invoices from new), this unique Convertible has been well-maintained and remains a fascinating vision of the open-top C-V8 – the only example ever built, and arguably among the most historically significant Jensens in existence.

Please note that this lot is currently on display at CARS in Chobham at Alpha 319 Chobham Business Centre, Chertsey Road, Chobham, Surrey, GU24 8JB and can be viewed on appointment on Thursday October 29th and Friday October 30th between 9am and 5pm. Please contact our office at +44 (0) 20 7851 7070 or email Britta Buchmann at bbuchmann@rmsothebys.com to secure your appointment. Should you want more information on this lot, feel free to email jlittle@rmsothebys.com