Admittedly one of the least inspiring so-called sports car of the 70s, the 1972 Jensen Jensen-Healey was the result of cooperation between Jensen and Donald Healey, no longer joined at the hip with BMC (British Motor Corporation). Both parties saw the advantages of developing a joint project, but few could have envisioned the result. It’s not that the Jensen-Healey was a terrible car; it wasn’t. It was, simply, bland and boring, lacking verve and character, and haunted by the perceived (and sometimes all too real) unreliability of its engine, supplied by Lotus. The Jensen-Healey was eventualy offered with basic luxuries such as air conditioning and power windows, but it was too little, too late.
The Jensen-Healey was powered by a 2-liter, four-cylinder engine from Lotus, with double overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder, that produced an underwhelming 144 horsepower. It was enough, however to allow for a 119 miles per hour top speed, and a 0-60 time of 8.7 seconds, barely enough – in my opinion – to qualify as a sports car. As mentioned previously, the Lotus engine was reputed to be prone to problems, which did not help, but any problems it had were sorted by 1975-76; by that time, it was too late, the company closed up shop in 1976 after a last-ditch effort to keep the model alive.
The 1972 Jensen Jensen-Healey represents a lot of what was wrong, or perceived to be so, in the 1970s; the design was boring and bland (no doubt thought ‘modern’ by its creators), the performance was barely adequate and the reliability, questionable.