Tributes and reviews — The Jensen Genome


Richard Calver’s keenly awaited new Chassis Data Book, The Jensen Genome, the culmination of a lifetime’s work, was unveiled at the Elgin on Wednesday 7th August 2019. This was a night not to be missed and it was terrific to have Phil Barker flying in especially from NZ (accompanied by a few bumper bars!), Vice President Tony Cope and Mark Donohoe making the trek from NSW and prospective new members Malcolm and Judy Bandy dropping everything to come down from Ballarat with a few hours notice. It was a great turnout for the Elgin, with 29 people enjoying Richard’s incredible story about how the Iraqi Secret Police, and later the evacuation of the Australian embassy in Iraq, nearly destroyed all his precious work. Amidst the laughs and spellbinding tale of survival, it was a sobering thought this beautifully hand bound, enormous book of incredible detail and photos, was a labour of love over 33 years! Also sobering was the realisation that few of us have the ability to stay true to such a huge project for so long and actually finish it to such a high standard. There was a steady stream of eager punters who quickly snapped up the supply of books, replete with the legendary Dickie’s inscription and special number, only to find that their 5kg book was feeling decidedly heavier after the long trek back to the car.”


“Jensen Vademecum

Australian WHSC member Richard Calver may not own a Hornet, but he is a leading authority on Jensens — coachwork, pre-war models, light commercials and the post-war cars from the PW through the Interceptors, 541 series, C-V8s and FFs to the Jensen-Healeys. Having written and published four books on Jensens over the years, he has recently come up with what may well be the last word on the subject. The Jensen Genome is aimed at the diehard enthusiast who loves facts and figures. You can’t resist picking it up but it’s hard to put down because of its size (270x380mm) and weight (5kg). It’s far from being a coffee-table book but you’ll need one to rest it on. It’s available direct from Richard in Canberra or from the Jensen Owners’ Club in the UK. If you are seriously interested in Jensens, you won’t be put off by the £320 price tag – you will not find all this information anywhere else.”

THE AUTOMOBILE, December 2019

“It is much more than a replacement for his original 1991 book, as is suggested by its title, which is based on the premise that the information it contains represents the DNA of the Jensen company, and the entries the building blocks of its now extinct ‘organism’. Once upon a time, like this reviewer, you may have paid a high price for an old-car book and regretted it, feeling perhaps that it was either an ego-trip by the author or did not do justice to the subject. But if you are a genuine Jensen devotee with a love of facts and figures, you are unlikely to be disappointed with the Genome. A word of warning, though — its size and weight may mean you’ll have to construct a stout bookshelf to house it.”

OCTANE, December 2019

“This Australian-produced magnum opus has been rumoured for a while, but is far more than the updated chassis register and data book many expected. Nice touches include decent-sized, squint-free text, colour-coded page edges for easy navigation, and a set of bookmarks for favourite pages. Non-Jensenistas be warned: this may be essential info for owners and nerds, but it is not a bit of light bedtime reading for the casually interested. In terms of the blood, sweat and tears that went into The Jensen Genome and the quantity of information that flows so freely out of it, this behemoth would be a shoo-in for Book of the Month if it weren’t such a niche title and subject.”


... and some comments from readers, Jensen fans and former factory employees:

“Very much looking forward to the revised edition of the Chassis Book. Over the past years I’ve witnessed many times how Richard has been able to help someone with the history of their newly purchased car, it never ceases to amaze me how he can keep track of so many cars, worldwide. Where would our Marque be without him?”

“It was great to have met you again last night and to have purchased a beautiful work of art, masquerading as a book.”

“It has arrived. Absolutely fabulous. It really is the last word and I completely understand now why it costs what it does.”

“Seen it. Got it. Absolutely fabulous. This must be his magnum opus. Forget about it being simply an update of the previous book - it is so much more than that and every owner should have one. I know it is a lot of money - an awful lot of money - but it really is cheap for what you get. AND, whilst waiting for it to arrive I was ready to sarcastically ask when will he do the same for commercial vehicles, but they are in it too - every one listed! Fantastic.”

“Depending what car you own, the raw data may be unchanged, unless there were errors. But most have updates and a great many have footnotes. In fact for the less common types (including 541 and C-V8s) there are footnotes for almost every single car, giving additional information. For the more unusual cars such as S and H types the original book, a great leap forward though it was at the time, includes maybe 5% of what is in this one.”

“We received the data book today. We wanted to say thank you so much for sending us a copy and for your kind words. We are very very impressed with the detail included and with the high quality of the book and we will keep it with our other prized Jensen memorabilia. Thank you again.”

“Hi Richard, received the book yesterday- am overwhelmed by it. Thank you so much (incredible book!). Take care amigo..”

“Thank you for the latest book – it really is fantastic – I cannot imagine the hours you must have put into this project – it truly is a monumental work, and you must be very proud of it. Taken as a whole your books cover every aspect of the Jensen story, and factory products – I can’t think of anything you have not covered, and in such detail – bet you’ll think of something more! I’m assuming the layout and design of the books is down to yourself – very top notch and your printers have done you proud. I found the notes for individual chassis numbers particularly interesting – both the good stuff, and the not so good – I guess a car company can’t please all the people all the time. Anyway, thanks again.”

“You have really out done yourself this time !! Great Title !! all Jensen DNA in one place. Nice that you honoured Ian with writing the foreword."

“Soo many things to still learn about all the work you have done over the years, almost losing it all in Iraq. I remember well seeing you a few years in a row sitting at that board room table, (maybe even in that red shirt). I now regret not spending more time with you at that time and with Ian after he sold the company and completely bowed out of Jensen.

“I can not thank you enough for your book, it is amazing I love it. It is so detailed and so many memories came flooding back when I glanced through it.”

“Many, many thanks for your work which is beyond compare!”

“Just letting you know that I have safely received my Genome book today - thank you. It really is an impressive and detailed reference work, which is also a delight to handle. Thank you for the enormous amount of work you have obviously put into this.”

“Got mine a few days ago and heartily endorse all the comments thanks Richard.  ... is it too soon to ask what's next ?”

“Congratulations on the latest book. Your dedication and hard work is greatly appreciated.”

“What a great surprise to receive your latest book, what a book, it must have cost a fortune to print, it’s fantastic and took years of hard work it’s beautiful, thank you don’t know what to say.”

“The Genome book is fascinating, thanks very much for all your efforts.”

“What an amazing achievement this book is."

“Got mine today (one week via airmail from down under). I’m very very impressed by the amount of detailed information. Thank you very much for all your efforts!”

“Received and viewed in utter awe! Can’t wait to get stuck into it.”

“Got it! WOW!!! I am so much impressed. You've been tracking down all the cars... changes of ownership, countries of residence... This must have been enormous amount of work. I've checked 10 cars which I've got in my hands and they have changed ownership recently. And you got 8 correct! Amazing! Probably you would have 10/10 if it weren't for that these 2 cars have been off the road/market for some time. And it's only one tiny aspect of the whole book. I have great respect for your work, Richard. That's certainly the opus magnum.”

I've just got my copy. 1st impression: it's f....n' huge! … 2nd impression: it's bloody impressive! Apparently, for the last years Ric acted like a big brother watching carefully our whole Jensen world and tracking movements of individual cars. Everything is there. It's a must-have for all die-hard Jensenites.”

Extraordinary! There are very very few motoring books as good as this. Huge congratulations!”

“Thank you so much for sending us a copy of this beautiful book, it really is very much appreciated.”

The Stud Book arrived today. It's very well put together.  Great work, much appreciated.”

“Wow. Incredible. Book arrived and I’ve chosen my bag to carry it around and to keep safe.”

“Your new book arrived a couple of days ago. What a tour de force the book is, you must have spent an inordinate amount of time compiling it all.  Many thanks for your new book which will take up its rightful place amongst our increasing Jensen library!”

“Just in time for weekend reading! Richard has informed that this is the first one ordered directly from America. To my fellow natives and ex-pats living here - you don't know what you're missing!”

“Yes, the book is fabulous. As are the book marks. I can't "Thank you" enough for sending this.” 

“I am lost for words to say what an incredible feat you have achieved – I have never seen such an amazing book which will immediately take permanent pride of place on my much-loved bookcase. (I dare not leave it on the coffee table lest anything gets spilt !) The presentation of the book itself is exceptional and I have already spent several hours reading the fascinating “notes” – with many more hours coming up in the next few days. With my sincere congratulations and many many thanks.”

“Now then, your magnificent book arrived today. Wow! is all that I can really say! I cannot thank you enough. This surpasses all that you have produced so far, in my humble opinion, and I am truly very, very grateful!”

Have received book, many thanks. At a glance it’s fabulous! Will spend next couple of nights ploughing through it.”

“Dear Richard, What a wonderful, evocative, quality and informative book you have produced. I am deeply grateful to you. I am sure Richard Jensen who I knew would be really proud of you.”

“The book arrived here today and I must say it is amazing! Thank you very much. Some people aren't turned on by pages and pages of figures but, after my original career in trade journalism and directory editing, they are meat and drink to me. At last I am able to discover the identity of the JNSN light commercial which appears in two photographs I have. My only slight criticism so far is that it is probably too heavy to read in bed.”

“What a masterpiece! The Jensen community is blessed with your work! Thanks for that.”

“I was at the NEC yesterday and of course popped onto the Jensen stand where I saw your latest publication, I couldn’t let it go by without telling you what a fantastic thing you’ve created!”

“What an amazing book! I think you have surpassed yourself with this latest publication. Thank you for signing it, it will be a treasured possession as well as a mine of information.”

“Collected the books today, did not have to pay any taxes on them. Am busy flipping through, stopping here and there, and starting to get ideas : ) Great fun, thank you for writing and producing them!! And indeed, they are produced really lovely, will show them to our graphic design students when it comes to book production : ) All the best, thank you, and cheers!”

“The books are here with me since 10 Minutes. Great work. Really unbelievable.”

I've received "the Jensen Genome" today and I thank you very much. It's a very impressive work on Jensen cars. Congratulations "summa cum laude"!”

“It’s not exactly a book one takes to bed and dozes-off with... however, it is very well composed and in my opinion a masterpiece of quality and presentation.”

“£300 but worth every penny — not so much a book as a beautiful source of information.”

“Yes the Genome arrived safe and sound, thanks. I immediately checked the inscription to make sure there was nothing too offensive there, and flicked through it. I can confirm that it is what I expected, and it maintains the very high standard that you have set through your previous work. It's absolutely worthy of the description of the culmination of a lifetime of research (is that what you said?) but seriously, it's impressive and a must-have.”

“Book has been a great read.  Thanks for putting all of the time and effort into this.“

Books arrived. They are amazing! I don't know what it actually cost you to make all of these but they are worth every penny.”

“I will reserve a special place in my library for this interesting book to keep the Jensen legacy alive. What a tremendous work to bring all this information together in one book. Very impressive…”

“All of the books are terrific by the way and, they should all belong in the libraries of everyone who is even vaguely interested in Jensen.”

“My curiosity got the better of me, so I weighed Genome and Erret Lobban Cord. The latter, in its leather presentation box, weighs 11 pounds according to the wife’s bathroom scale. Genome weighs … wait for it … 11 pounds! A tie! The AQ Cord book is dimensionally wider and longer and comes in a presentation box, which is sort of cheating I suppose. Genome is well over twice as thick. So I think you are safe in claiming to have created the weightiest tome ever on an automotive topic! And given that the original Cord edition went for the equivalent of $1000 today, Genome is a relative bargain. I am happy to say also that both are so visually spectacular they make lesser works disappear. Now I need to find a place for both that will cause visitors to notice and gawk at two rare and wonderful items in my library!”

“Only one man studied the Jensen history in full and that is you.”



So what are you waiting for? Go get a copy!

Looking for the list of suppliers?



© Richard Calver 2019-2022