The first new Jensen model for 1954 was called, appropriately enough, the 541. Styled by Eric Neale, whose son Peter still owns a 541 today, the 541 saw the first use of fibreglass by Jensen Motors Ltd, partly as a way to overcome restrictive post war regulations on the use of steel but also as an economical solution to the problems of forming a complex body shape for a limited production car. John Webb who ran Brands Hatch for many years claimed his racing 541 the most fun.
This particular car was manufactured in 1958 to the new Deluxe specification which included all the optional extras as standard. This featured the latest Dunlop calliper disc brakes, as raced by Jaguars at Le Mans, on all wheels as; the first British saloon car to be so equipped.
The present owner bought this car in 2012 when it seems to have been stored in dry conditions for about 20 years. The car was soon a bare shell until all parts had been checked, replaced when necessary, repaired where possible and eventually re assembled in a correct fashion while the engine was completely rebuilt and tuned. A new, Maserati-sourced, leather interior is enhanced by a non-standard wood dash. The glass fibre body on a tubular steel chassis is in excellent condition and sports an un-restored paint exterior professionally done by a previous owner.
The drivetrain is a Austin 3993cc , 6 cylinder engine with 4-speed manual gearbox with Laycock de Normanville overdrive and using 3 SU carburettors and twin s/s exhausts. The engine gives about 165 bhp at 3800rpm and plenty of torque and about 120mph.
53 known examples of the 541 Deluxe model were manufactured between 1957 and 1959 out of a total of 226 541s built. There were 320 later models – 541R and 541S. Richard Calver, JOC historian, has assessed less than 150 of all these cars survive across the world. This particular 541 is the current holder of the JOC’s “Best in Class” Cup.