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1956 Jensen 541

A Very Special Roof

The history of the Jensen 541 is an interesting story that goes all the way back to 1953. Before the release of the 541, Jensen Motors predominantly used aluminium to make the bodywork of their Interceptors. Interestingly, the boot lid of the Jensen Interceptor though was made from fibreglass.

Fibreglass was not commonly used in car manufacturing at the time, so when Jensen released the 541 with a fibreglass body, it was actually the first European production car to be made in this way.

At Bridge Classic Cars, we have a wealth of experience in restoring classic Jensens. Considering only a few hundred 541s were made, we have had several come through our workshop and undergone restoration work with us.

Our classic car technicians work hard to make sure the restored cars are as close to the original specifications as possible. That’s why Alan has been doing some very special work to repair the fibreglass roof of our 1956 Jensen 541.

This type of work may not be seen in many other workshops so we had to take some photos of Alan at work as the restoration of this classic Jensen continues.

The Next Phase – 1956 Jensen 541 Moves into Body Prep

The 1956 Jensen 541 has been moved from the Bridge Classic Cars workshop to begin its bodywork journey. As part of its restoration, the team will go through every panel and gap to make sure everything is absolutely perfect before it is painted.

Before then, our restoration workshop have worked on every aspect of the body and frame of the classic 541. This 541, being a very early car noted by the very thin body contour that extends from the rear arch, sits on top of a brand new handmade frame made especially for this particular car and incorporates the early style front suspension. The final finishing touch the workshop had finished was the stunning aluminium sill caps which were capped and fitted to the car along with the new lower front wing and door skins.

All of these identifiable pieces will be worked on and perfected by the in-house body shop team.

Fine Touch – Working on the 1956 Jensen 541

The 1956 Jensen 541 has been worked on in the Bridge Classic Workshop at our Suffolk HQ to have several parts on the car adjusted and refined.

Our technician Rob first fabricated the new handbrake bracket/mount. This was bent up and shaped before the original piece was cut off the frame and the new piece welded on after having its hole and mounts put in.

Then it was time to move to the outside of the car and finesse the one-piece fibreglass bonnet. Rob has worked on adjusting the panel in every axis possible to get the unit to sit properly on the car. Once roughly in shape, Rob made new strengthening brackets which mount inside the fibreglass clamshell.

The final piece was to adjust and finesse the flange on the gearbox tunnel to perfectly meet up with the large single-piece gearbox cover that mounts up to the firewall.

Fitted – Mount, Panels and Hinges Fitted to the 1956 Jensen 541

The restoration workshop at the Bridge Classic Cars HQ have been working on getting the various mounts, brackets and hinges into place on the 1956 Jensen 541.

To begin with, our technician Rob made new arch filler panels which bridge the gap between the frame and the fibreglass body, blending the two together for strength and alignment.

Then, he could turn his attention to the various hinges around the classic GT car. At the front, Rob made a new strengthening bracket which sits behind the fibreglass for the bonnet hinges. The brackets are welded into the firewall and chassis for rigidity and to take the load of the one-piece clamshell bonnet.

At the rear, the workshop team mounted the boot hinges in place and use the boot lid for mock-up to adjust the placement of hinges to make sure the panel fitment is just right for the car.

Progress – New Seat Mounts and Panel Adjustments on the 1956 Jensen 541

The workshop at Bridge Classic Cars have been making good progress on the 1956 Jensen 541 at our Suffolk HQ for restoration.

To begin with, our technician Rob, has made and welded in the new seat mounts into the specially made chassis of the classic GT car and ground them smooth to blend them into the cross member.

After that, Rob could begin to adjustment refine the fitment of the doors by carefully reshaping the front and rear wings to achieve a uniform door gap on both sides of the car.

Update – Progress on the 1956 Jensen 541

The Bridge Classic Cars workshop have made great progress on the 1956 Jensen 541.

Our technician, Rob, has been working on the front end of the classic Jensen. To begin with, he fully welded in the suspension towers onto the new chassis. This is a crucial stage as it also acts as a tie-in for the front wing braces and forms part of the core support.

Next, Rob could fit the new wheel arches and begin to make the new brackets now that the towers were firmly in place, and accurate measurements could be taken to ensure the inner arches/wings sat squarely in the car and to the frame.

With all of these pieces firmly in place, Rob could begin to test fit the lower part of the front wing. This could then be adjusted for the right fitment and alignment to the body to act as one of the datum points with the fibreglass front end is fitted.

Fitting Up – Final Welding of the Door Supports and Mocking Up the Suspension on the 1956 Jensen 541

The restoration workshop at the Bridge Classic Cars Suffolk HQ have been working on the 1956 Jensen 541.

This time, our technician Rob has been finishing up adjusting and finish welding the door supports for the car. With all of the supports and brackets perfectly in place to get the door gaps and alignment right, Rob could then finish welding all of the pieces into place including the all-important A pillar post.

With that now complete, the team could get the front suspension mocked up and into place. To begin with, the team worked on aligning the front tower in just the right place to then be spot-welded to the new frame and the controls arms mocked up into place to check measurements.

Check – Checking Door Clearance on the 1956 Jensen 541

The workshop at Bridge Classic Cars are in the process of getting the doors aligned and adjusted to the body of the 1956 Jensen 541.

To begin with, our technician Rob welded in the A-pillar bracing fully before offering up the door frame. Once in place, he could then begin to check throughout the opening and the door for any interference or clearance issues which needed to be adjusted out before the door skin is test fit and the process done again to double-check.

All of these parts of the build are crucial to the final fit and finish of the car.

Crossing Over – New Door Skin and More Roof Framework on the 1956 Jensen 541

The 1956 Jensen 541 has had some new parts and pieces fitted during its build-up in the Bridge Classic Cars workshop at our Suffolk HQ.#

The team have test fit a new door skin to the frame to make sure everything lines up and fits as it should before then fitting the door to the frame to check for any interference from the door to the bodywork or the various pieces of the framework on the classic 1950s GT car.

Once the door had been checked, Rob, could begin working on the roof frame on the other side of the car. This was offered up and any adjustments needed to make sure it had a correct tight fit up to the roof panel while still being squared and aligned to the other side of the car.

Stronger Together – Roof and A Post Brackets for the 1956 Jensen 541

The workshop team have made new strengthening brackets for the roof and A-Pillar of the 1956 Jensen 541 which is in for restoration.

Rob, one of our restoration technicians, has handmade the brackets which are done specifically for each area of the car to tie the various pieces together. After shaping and test fitting, the A-Pillar support could be welded into the car and then the rear roof bracket was welded into the frame after being bolted to the roof.

All of this is part of the process of getting the classic Jensen body into perfect alignment before it is handed over to our in-house body and paint team.

Come Together – Bolting the Roof and Rear Bodywork to the 1956 Jensen 541

The restoration workshop at the Bridge Classic Cars Suffolk HQ have bolted the roof and rear bodywork to the new frame of the 1956 Jensen 541 for the first time!

After making the careful and delicate adjustments to the framework and chassis of the classic Jensen, the team could begin the process of mocking up the full rear bodywork onto the car to check for any interference or binding.

Smallest of Changes – Adjusting the Body Framework on the 1956 Jensen 541

The workshop team at Bridge Classic Cars have worked on the fine alterations to the framework of the 1956 Jensen 541 in for restoration at our Suffolk HQ.

The team have test fit the rear fibreglass clamshell and with that, they could make small changes to the framework which gives the body panels structure and helps to align them. These were carefully cut, trimmed and reframed to get each section of the rear bodywork line up just right onto the new chassis.

Fine Adjustments – Adjusting the Framework of the 1956 Jensen 541

The workshop team at Bridge Classic Cars has been making the fine adjustments to the inner framework of the 1956 Jensen 541 in with us at our Suffolk HQ for restoration.

Rob, one of our technicians, has carefully had the fibreglass body panels placed around the framework and on top of the chassis of the classic Jensen to check for any adjustments needed to get the bodywork fit and square on the 541. Bit by bit, he has made adjustments to the steel pieces to allow the body to sit correctly on top of the chassis.

Not only was this for the rear clamshell but for the all-important fibreglass roof and windscreen panel.

Progress – Framework Fit on the 1956 Jensen 541 Chassis

The workshop at Bridge Classic Cars is working on the chassis of the 1956 Jensen 541 currently in for its full restoration by us here in Suffolk.

Recently the team have been working on adjusting and refining the brand new chassis for the classic GT car. Now with the majority of the reinforcements and adjustments in place, the team can begin to fit up the various framework pieces which create the substructure for the body.

A network of cross-linked metal channels combine to create the skeleton of the car. The team had to make sure the chassis was perfect before this could be done to ensure the framework sits exactly where it should do at this key stage.

Fine Adjustments – Bracing the 1956 Jensen 541 Chassis

The workshop at Bridge Classic Cars have been working on the fine adjustments to the chassis of the 1956 Jensen 541 in for restoration.

The team are beginning to weld in the necessary braces and panels as the sides and roof structure begin to be put onto the brand-new frame. For a job such as this, the team are having to make sure that each dimension and axis of the chassis is square when it is welded in. Carefully, the team have moved around the frame to allow for this and gently push and pull certain places in order to bring them into line before welding them in permanently to tie the whole piece together.

Perfect Finish – Wheel Wells on the 1956 Jensen 541 in Primer

The Bridge Classic Cars paint and body team have been working on perfecting the wheel wells of the 1956 Jensen 541.

After the team had finished with the careful resin and fibreglass filler work, the team brought them into our in-house paint booth/oven to have their first coats of primer.

The team have carefully blended aluminium and fibreglass to remake and repair the wheel wells so the primer has covered these seamlessly blends. The wells will be now put into storage for the reassembly stage of the restoration.

The First Steps – Work Begins on the 1956 Jensen 541 Chassis

The 1956 Jensen 541 chassis which arrived back at the Bridge Classic Cars HQ recently has been moved into our restoration workshops for the team to begin work on the brand-new frame.

At this stage, Rob is preparing the blank bulkhead to be fitted onto the car in preparation for its left-hand drive conversion. Carefully he has set the pieces into place along the bulkhead before using another 541 chassis next to it in the workshop as reference. This will be used as a guide for hole diameters and orientation purposes for the brand new, hand-made chassis for the 1956 Jensen 541 undergoing its restoration journey.

Keep a look out on the Bridge Classic Cars news page for more updates on the 1956 Jensen 541 restoration very soon.

Stronger – Fibreglass Repairs on the Boot of the 1956 Jensen 541

The body team at Bridge Classic Cars have been performing some fibreglass repairs on the boot lid of the 1956 Jensen 541 in with us for restoration.

Mauro has carefully reglassed certain areas of the bootlid to strengthen key places as well as refit the stripped-back boot latch. All of these were then built up over several layers before the resin was left to harden and cure.

Secured – Roof Supports Glued into the 1956 Jensen 541 Rear Window

The trim team at Bridge Classic Cars have been continuing work on the roof supports of the 1956 Jensen 541.

Previously, our trimmer Brian handmade the roof supports for the rear window of the classic Jensen which have been specifically profiled to fit the recess perfectly. With the pieces now test fit, the team could prepare the area and the pieces before applying the adhesives and clamping them securely down to let cure.

Coming Together – Wheel Wells and Front Arches of the 1956 Jensen 541

The paint and body shop at Bridge Classic Cars have been continuing with the fibreglass work on the 1956 Jensen 541 in at our Suffolk workshop for restoration.

Previously, the team remade the aluminium wheel wells which were then refinished in hardwearing black before being put into storage. Now, they can be pulled out and the team begin the process of making them into one complete unit.

The aluminium wheel wells have been bonded onto the fibreglass inner wings of the classic 541 before then have layers of fibreglass resined over the edge in order to create a uniform piece. From there, the team began work on the fibreglass filler used to perfect and refine the shapes which make up the pieces.

Piece by Piece – Fibre Glass Repairs on the 1956 Jensen 541

The paint and body team at Bridge Classic Cars have been carrying out a series of delicate fibreglass repairs to the bodyshell of the 1956 Jensen 541.

The team have been working on the joins between the front pillars and the windscreen surround which over time had cracked. The team carefully strapped the piece into place to make sure the piece was in alignment once the resin had set.

Along with this piece the team also had to carry out some repairs on the rear body section in places around the wheel wells to repair some small cracks and thin areas.

Closer Look – Fibreglass Repairs on the 1956 Jensen 541

The paint and body team at Bridge Classic Cars have given us a closer look at the fibreglass repairs on the 1956 Jensen 541 in for restoration.

In these photos, you can see the thinness of the material in areas which had developed some severe checking and in some areas, cracks had begun to appear. So, the team not only strengthened the outside face of the panel but also reset the inside of the piece with modern hard-lasting resins and glass sheets. Carefully, these were built up in specific areas before being left to cure and harden.

Full Glass – Fibreglass Repairs on the 1956 Jensen 541

The Bridge Classic Cars body team have turned their attention to some all-important fibreglass repairs to the rear section of the 1956 Jensen 541.

The entire rear clamshell of the classic Jensen had developed a few issues with the material, so the body team carefully re-glassed the area in order to strengthen the piece and add material in for correcting the shape of the piece.

With fibreglass, its important the layers are built up flat and evenly to make sure it perfectly followed the shape of the panel underneath but also around the area.

Piece by Piece – Trim Panels on the 1956 Jensen 541

The trim shop at Bridge Classic Cars has been working on building and finishing some of the interior trim pieces for the 1956 Jensen 541.

Lydia, one of our in-house trimmers, had worked on the ceiling pad and window surrounds as part of the restoration of the classic Jensen. These have been specially made, padded and trimmed to match the rest of the interior being made specifically for this 1956 Jensen 541.

Each piece of the Jensen is bespoke to the car to ensure the best fit and finish for all of our interiors as no two cars are the same. So, these pieces will be safely wrapped and catalogued to be put into storage for the reassembly of the car.

Freshly Made – The Fresh Chassis for the 1956 Jensen 541 Back at the Workshop

Bridge Classic Cars are pleased to unveil the newly completed chassis for the 1956 Jensen 541 has arrived back at our Suffolk restoration workshop.

The newly completed chassis has been made especially for this project as the car will be converted to a left-hand drive. The custom-made bulkhead has not been drilled or cut for the conversion so our workshop team can make sure that all the necessary systems can be worked into the car in real space.

It’s amazing to see this key piece of the project returning to our restoration workshop.

Better than New – New Chassis and Bulkhead for the 1956 Jensen 541

A brand new chassis for the 1956 Jensen 541 is under construction. Part of this also involves a very special bulkhead to covert the car to left-hand drive.

The estimated completion of the chassis is about 4 weeks. We will then be into reassembly. The car will be finished Deep Carriage Green with Burgundy upholstery.

After completing numerous restorations and recommissions of the Jensen 541, this will be the first left-hand drive car to be completed by our workshop.

In-Place – New Wheel Arches for the 1956 Jensen 541

The handmade wheel arches for the 1956 Jensen 541 have been into the Bridge Classic Cars to be finished in shiny new black epoxy.

The paint team prepared and painted the arches for when the car is ready to be reassembled.

Remade – New Aluminium Wheel Arches and Boot Lid Stripped for the 1956 Jensen 541

The Bridge Classic Cars body shop have the wheels arches of the 1956 Jensen 541 on the workbench currently.

Our body shop have been forming the new aluminium wheel arch lines by hand for the classic sports car. All of these pieces have to be made by hand for the car due to each arch being slightly different to one another, so for the best fit, our team have made them individually for the car.

Along with that, our teams have finished stripping back the boot lid of the 541 ready for primer and filler work to be completed and ready for paint.

The Smallest Details – Repainting Parts for the 1956 Jensen 541

The paint team at Bridge Classic Cars have had some of the parts and pieces from the 1956 Jensen 541 in the paint booth.

With the restoration of the 1956 Jensen 541 moving ahead with the body panels and pieces being worked on by our paint and body teams, it was the turn of some of the parts to go into our in-house paint booth to be refinished in heavy-duty black and looking as good as new.

The pieces for this restoration will be going into the booth in various stages in preparation for the final assembly of the car but until then they will be wrapped up and put into storage after being catalogued.