The White Lady
The Jensen brothers, Alan and Richard, 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 Jensens became directors of W J Smith & Sons and eventually took over with the aid of George Mason, son of a grocery chain magnate. In 1936, Jensen Motors Ltd was registered, based out of the old Smiths premises. The brothers had already built the prototype of what would become the first Jensen car, the 3½ Litre, released in production form that year. Powered by the Ford V8 motor in a modified Ford chassis, the cars were offered as dropheads, tourers and saloons. They continued to be made until the outbreak of war in 1939 and then occasionally during the war and afterwards.