The Jensen Genome

The Jensen Genome was launched in Melbourne on 7 August 2019. It is the successor to the original volume of car data published in 1991 as A History of Jensen: The Chassis Data.

People have known for a while that this has been coming. The old Chassis Data book went out of print in 2016 and there have been calls for a replacement ever since. I have been calling this the "new databook" but it is in reality much more than that. In fact, it has a new name. The title The Jensen Genome is based on the premise that the information it contains is basically the DNA of Jensen. The entries are the building blocks of Jensen as an entity, albeit one which is now extinct.

The Genome is my biggest book yet. It weighs 5kg, has 730 pages and is in large landscape format, 270x380mm. The print is big for old eyes, the text is new, there are about 100 photos and the page edges are colour coded to help you know where you are in the book. The size and weight mean that it had to be bound by hand, adding to the cost and time to produce. However, I want it to endure as a cornerstone of Jensen, so hang the expense.

Each book is serially numbered and signed and comes with five colour coded bookmarks, numbered to the book. They allow the reader to leave a bookmark at a frequently consulted page or section, for convenience. In addition, there is a fabric bookmark bound into the book. The covers are heavyweight faux leather in black with gold embossing and there are marbled endpapers. The foreword is by Ian Orford who, as many would know, started on the floor with Jensen Motors in 1969 and went on to run the business in the 1980s. It was Ian who opened the door to my research in 1986.

The print run is limited to 500 copies so I suggest people don't hang about. Each of my previous books has been a ground-breaker in some particular way but I think this one will eclipse them to a certain extent. It is for the die-hard fanatics. Derived from (rather than based on) the 1991 databook, it includes completely revised tables for the pre-war cars, PWs and 6-cylinder Interceptors. There are brand new tables for the JLCs, JLPs, Tugs, Tempos and S-V8s. The tables for the mainstream cars the 541s, C-V8s, Interceptors, FFs, Healeys and GTs have all been revised and updated. Fates are given as I know them to the end of 2018. There are roughly 20,000 one line entries covering the entire spectrum of Jensen vehicle production from 1935 to 2005. The Genome is the old Chassis Data on steroids. It is probably as good as this kind of stuff will ever get.

The book is dedicated to all who worked at Jensen, a testament to their efforts in giving us what remains today. From my side, the presentation of the information in this form has taken more than 30 years' work. I hope people will respect that effort and enjoy the book, knowing what went into it.

Like most good things, you can't get it just anywhere. If you want one, check with your local Jensen club because they might be stocking it. Failing that, contact me for a specific serial number or endorsement if required. Happy reading!


Richard Calver 2019-2020