- Bought new by GKN for development of FF system.
- Four year restoration by Rejen, over £140,000 spent.
- Copies of original build sheets and order forms on file.
- Restoration overseen by marques expert Ulrich Woodhams and documented with over 800 pictures.
First shown at the London Motor Show in 1966 the Jensen FF was the first time an all-wheel drive system had been fitted to a non all-terrain production car. Using a system designed by Harry Ferguson, part owner of Massey Ferguson tractors and known as “the father of the modern farm tractor”, Jensen stretched the wheelbase of their Interceptor platform and fitted the ‘Ferguson Formula’, hence the model being called the FF. Another first for the FF was the fact that it was also the first production car to be fitted with ABS.
Powered by the same 6,276cc Chrysler V8 engine as the Interceptor but on a longer wheelbase, in fact the entire car was 5 inches longer than the Interceptor. Although cosmetically similar there were a few subtle differences the main one being the twin diagonal air vents behind the front wheel arches. Another big difference was the price, which was 30% more than an Interceptor at a whopping £6,017 in 1968. To put that into perspective, in the same year a Ferrari 365 GTC, of which just 150 were built, was £7,900 and an Aston Martin DB6 was £4,500! So the FF was squarely aimed at only the most discerning and wealthy of clients.
To justify this price the car had to impress on the performance front and be well finished. In the performance department, the FF did not disappoint; power output was a heady 325bhp which allowed, a top speed of over 140mph with 100 arriving in just 19 seconds, pretty impressive for a car that weighs 1,750 kg. The interior was very well appointed with reclining leather seats, a walnut dashboard and an automatic transmission, all directed very much at the gentleman who needed a sporting GT car.
THIS MOTOR CAR
This particular Jensen FF for sale at the Classic Motor Hub is chassis number 119/189. According to the build sheets on file, the car was completed in September 1969 finished in California Sage with Black leather and sold through Jensen’s sales division to GKN Birfield Developments.
GKN had recently acquired Birfield and its subsidiaries including Laycock Engineering, who are best known for their Laycock de Normanville overdrives, and Hardy Spicer, market leaders in Constant Velocity Joints (CVJ’s). GKN was keen to develop the driveline side of the business especially the exciting and innovative new world of All Wheel Drive (AWD) systems. With this in mind, they ordered this exact Jensen FF as a development car. Eventually, GKN would buy the rights to the Ferguson Formula AWD system that was used on the Jensen FF and from here GKN Driveline has grown to become the largest supplier of driveline products to the automotive industry with more than half of all new cars worldwide containing GKN technology and parts.
The history file of this car not only contains copies of the build records, which includes all the signed off checklists and adjustments made by the works during the cars production, but correspondence negotiating the purchase of 119/189. Further correspondence shows the car coming back for service work in June 1971, still owned by GKN and showing an impressive 34,474 miles.
From here the trail goes a little cold until 1984 when the car is registered in Billinghurst to a Mr. Iliffe, 119/189 is listed as being White and passes through a couple of owners before being bought by a Mr. Cohen based in Marylebone, London. Mr. Cohen kept the car until 2011 when the car, now showing 54,647 miles was bought by a Mr. G. Delf, an hotelier in Manchester. At this point we are confident the car hasn’t been used for many years and is in a sad state of repair as it is only a couple of years later, in 2013, when the car is spotted by the current owner outside the workshop of Jensen restorers, Rejen.
Being a huge Jensen Interceptor fan from childhood, the current owner saw the appeal of the rarer FF model but more importantly, appreciated the history and significance of this particular example. A deal was struck with Rejen and so began one of the most exhaustive and accurate restorations ever carried out on any motor car, let alone a Jensen. Marque historian Ulric Woodhams oversaw the process to make sure everything was done correctly. The brief was quite simple, return this car to exactly how it would have been in 1969. To go into the detail of the restoration would leave the reader sat at their computer for far too long but suffice to say that no stone was left unturned right down to restoring the original Voxson 8 Track player.
The restoration was covered in Classic Car magazine under their ‘Epic Restoration’ series, a digital copy of which can be provided. There are over 800 photographs covering the entire process as well as a detailed write up by Rejen along with their invoices, which total an eye watering £140,000 GBP.
This stunning Jensen FF for sale at the Classic Motor Hub is a unique opportunity for the next owner to acquire a ‘brand new’ Jensen FF, not only exactly as it would have been delivered new (if not better) but an example that was the development car for a company that now leads the way in driveline technology. We all know of car models that change the automotive landscape but one could argue that this particular car has done so in it’s own right.
Accompanied by a lovely history file, original tools and jack, original handbooks and even first aid kit. 119/189 is available for immediate inspection, in the Hangar at the Classic Motor Hub.