Jensen One by Max René

0112_jensen_one_2.jpg

Oh yes. We're getting serious today. 

But don't worry, we're going to take it slow. No surprises. Today's will be a little bit shorter, too, because there just aren't many photos of the car.

Let's begin with its donor car, figure out what a "Jensen" is, and scrape a few features from the information that's out there.

The first part is easy: a Citroën XM. The innovative French carmaker had, stretching back through CX, SM, and DS models, a reputation for big grand touring machines that put engineering prowess at the heart of each design.

By the time the XM was introduced, however, Citroën's tradition of creating advanced vehicles that would stay on sale for a decade or more was outdated. Customers started wanting newer features, leasing gave some a reason to try different marques as they swapped cars more frequently, and the German automakers' year-over-year changes were hard to match.

Under Peugeot rule, the big Citroëns got progressively more bland—to the point where a Danish product designer could make it look far more futuristic.

insta.gif

The Jensen one was based off of its top trim, the 24 valve 3.0-litre V6 with 177 horsepower, which was, in the words of a reviewer in the standard Citroën XM, "formidable." In reality, it was more competitive with others in its class than formidable.

The new big Citroen has the finest suspension of any car yet made, as well as the most advanced […] in soft mode, the car rides just as deftly as a Rolls-Royce […] In sports setting the XM handles beautifully, far less body roll and pitch than that which betrayed the CX. Only the car’s bulk prevents you from staying with the GTis.
— Gavin Green, CAR Magazine


The only big problem with the XM, especially early on, were electrical gremlins.

So why Danish designer Jacob Jensen would choose the XM as a platform for a new sporty car is beyond me. Jensen had previously been involved with the built-from-scratch Logicar, something I'll eventually get around to writing about! 

Jensen is an industrial designer, best known for his two decades spent as chief designer for the stereo manufacturer Bang & Olufsen. Who's Max René? Another designer—his website proudly displays a number of watches. (If anyone knows what he's best known for, let me know and I'll update the article.)

What was the nature of their collaboration? Well, the Jacob Jensen website has this quote to go along with the one photo of the car…

When Max Rene suggested re-designing an existing automobile into a unique automobile I couldn’t resist the temptation to give it a shot.
— Jacob Jensen

The Jacob Jensen website also explains what was different from the standard XM:

A revolutionary detail in the design of Jensen One was the hidden wheels. The body was made in keviar and carbon fibre, making the construction five times stronger than steel without increasing the weight. The dashboard was equipped with a computer controlled distance meter front and back and an electronic memory, which remembered as many as four individual seat positions.

There you go. Carbon fibre body kit and really complicated seats. Anything else? No, not really.

Amazingly, even at a price nearly double that of a standard XM, the one prototype still exists and recently a second, nearly complete copy—in white—has been unearthed, sadly missing its wheel skirts.

It is at this point I bid you farewell, making mention of the car's four minute YouTube video…

JENSEN ONE (CITROEN XM) By Max René

Sources / Recommended reading