History of the 1966 - 1971 Jensen FF
The Jensen FF is a two-door, four-seat grand tourer built by Jensen Motors between 1966 and 1971. It has a 6276cc V8 OHV engine and permanent four-wheel drive driven by a three-speed TorqueFlite automatic gearbox.
The ‘FF’ designation came from ‘Ferguson Formula’, the 4-wheel drive system pioneered by Harry Ferguson Research Ltd. Jensen first investigated the use of this system on their cars in 1965, fitting it to a modified C-V8 which also featured anti-lock braking, but this did not progress beyond the prototype stage. The final design of the Jensen FF was based on the Interceptor chassis, but extended to 15’ 11”, featuring a bonnet scoop and ‘FF’ badge on the grille, and two distinctive vertical air intakes behind the front wheel arch. It was first sold in the UK in October 1966, starting from chassis number 119/001. A very small number of the first Jensen FFs had their bodywork built by Vignale in Italy, the remainder at the West Bromwich Jensen factory.
In 1967, Jensen FF 119/025 was loaned by Jensen Motors to Autocar for a winter test and driven to Switzerland by Michael Scarlett and Stuart Blaydon. Impressed with the car’s handling on snowy roads they reached Gstaad and finding the nursery ski slopes almost deserted decided to push the car to its limit. The car made short work of the hill, even stopping and starting again on a 1-in-4 gradient. The story made front page news.
In 1968, one Jensen FF had a 7-litre (426cid) Chrysler Hemi engine fitted, but the option was not deemed financially viable.
In 1970, Kjell Qvale, a major US- based importer and dealer of European cars, took a majority stake in Jensen Motors. The Jensen FF didn’t fit with his view of the company’s future, as its mechanical layout made it very difficult for conversion to left-hand drive, and it was not officially imported into the US. Instead, he diverted funds to the Jensen Interceptor SP programme. The following year, the last of the FFs left the production line.
Today the FF is considered a very collectable and rare grand tourer. Like the Interceptor, the cabins are spacious and luxurious, the ride comfortable and there’s more than enough power from the engine and extremely reliable FF system. Rust is the biggest problem. Bodies were hand-built and must be repaired accordingly.
Comparable grand tourers from the period include the Jensen Interceptor, the Maserati Ghibli and the Ferrari 365 GTB/4.