White Lady

Brothers Alan and Richard Jensen entered the motor trade via apprenticeships in their home city of Birmingham in the late 1920s. In 1931, they joined the established coach-building firm of W J Smith & Sons at West Bromwich in what was intended by the controlling interests as a revitalization of Smith’s operations. Smiths were commercial coachbuilders whose bread and butter jobs were the bodying of trucks, vans and buses. To this, the Jensens added a line in coach-building on passenger car chassis and from this the Jensen brand was born. The brothers soon became directors of W J Smith & Sons and eventually took it over, turning it into Jensen Motors Ltd in 1936. By then, they had already built the prototype of what would become the first Jensen production car, the 3½ Litre. Dubbed White Lady, the prototype was built on a different chassis to the later production cars but was powered by the same Ford V8 engine. It served briefly as a runabout for the brothers before being sold to one of their racing minded colleagues, Ron Horton. White Lady survives in Germany where it is undergoing restoration.