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The Jensen 541S was Jensen Motors luxury GT model of the Jensen 541 series, being 4" wider than the 541R, which had the advantages of making the interior roomier and improving the roadholding. The 541S had a conventional radiator grill (as opposed to the flap of the 541) to allow for the extra heat given by a proposed new V8 engine, and a Salisbury limited slip differential for the extra torque demanded.

The Jensen brothers initially wanted to use Chrysler Hemi V8 as tried in Richard Jensen's Jensen 541delux, but none were used because of supply difficulties. One was fitted with a Chevrolet 327 V8 at Donald Healey's request, the rest having Jensen's powerful version of the Austin DS5 4 litre straight-six, featuring triple SU carburetors, a high compression Weslake head with custom made twin exhaust manifolds and an alloy baffled sump/oil cooler. 127 cars were hand built between 1960 and 1962 at Jensen's West Bromwichmarker factory, most having Rolls-Royce hydramatic gearboxes. This was innovative at the time as cars mainly had manual gearboxes. It also suited the easy driving criteria Jensen wanted in their new car, although twenty two were fitted with Moss manual gear boxes at the request of their prospective owners.

The Jensen 541S is also notable for being the first British car to have seat belts fitted as standard equipment. Other safety equipment included a padded windscreen surround, fire extinguisher and first-aid kit. Dunlop disc brakes were used on all four wheels and a rack and pinion steering system was employed, giving the car very positive steering. Each car was also fitted with a Motorola radio.

The 541 S was superseded by the Chrysler V8 powered Jensen CV8 model, which inherited from the 541 S the same wheelbase and track dimensions, as well as the Jensen ethos of effortless speed and luxurious long distance travel, while the groundbreaking 1966 Jensen FF used a perimeter tube style chassis first tried on the 541 series of cars.



References

  • Peter Garnier, Brian Healey (1989), Donald Healey : my world of cars ISBN 1-85260-212-0
  • Brooklands Books (2002), Jensen Road Test Book: Jensen Cars 1946-67 ISBN 0 906 589 86X
  • Richard Calver (1991), A history of Jensen : the chassis data ISBN 0 646 03563 0



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