Car Of The Week – Jensen C-V8 Drophead Coupé Factory Prototype

Jensen CV-8 Drophead Coupe Prototype
Jensen CV-8 Drophead Coupe Prototype

This 1965 Jensen C-V8 Drophead Coupé Factory Prototype has an interesting backstory being the only factory-built convertible and it’s coming up for sale on October 4th…

A car that never reached the dizzy heights of full production, the convertible C-V8 was the brainchild of the Jensen brothers, Richard and Alan who decided to dip their toes into the British convertible market. Fast forward to 1964 and chief designer Eric Neale set about creating the prototype for London’s main agent, Charles Follett who after much toing and froing, took delivery of the Jensen four-seater GT a year later in May 1965.

A matter of months later, Lord Carrington paid top dollar for the CV-8 albeit without realising the car was in fact a ‘one off’, which could account for his roof leaking at the slightest hint of a shower. Niggles rectified, the car was driven a further 21,000 miles until being part-exchanged for a new Interceptor in 1967 with the very man he’d previously bought it off, Charles Follet.

Jensen CV-8 Drophead Coupe Prototype

The scene was set for a certain Mr Philip Southall who’d been following the CV-8’s track record for some time and decided to offload his Aston Martin DB2/4 and re-allocate LPP 766C. The rare Jensen stayed in the family until son-in-law, Martin Bryant acquired it in 1987. The Jensen was then locked away for a number of years until it was recently re-commissioned and treated to a cosmetic restoration.


CV-8 Interior

As you’d expect from Jensen the four seated interior includes its original grey leather, burr-walnut dashboard (specified by Lord Carrington), a set of glorious Jaeger clocks, and the all-important unmolested patina.

Jensen CV-8 Drophead Coupe Prototype

Quirky features onboard include the original ‘selectaride’ adjustable suspension that never works but does, and other useable features such as map reading light, petrol filler opening switch and that must-have Motorola push-button sound system we all loved fiddling with in our younger days.


While glass fibre can be a nightmare, the body looks in good fettle without a ripple or crack. Aluminium door panels are also in great condition and the recently repainted original Smoke Green coachwork is excellent without looking over-restored.

Jensen CV-8 Drophead Coupe Prototype

Once you’ve managed to overcome the most difficult bonnet locking system ever, there’s a Chrysler 6.3 litre 383 V8 engine lurking capable of delivering around 330bhp making it one of the sharpest and bizarre machines on the road back in the 60s.

This is a quirky slice of unique history that’s rarer than a first edition of the Beano and is being sold by Car and Classic. The online-only auction for the Jensen C-V8 Drophead Coupé Factory Prototype begins on 4th October at 17:45hrs (BST).

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