Jensen FF

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Jensen FF
Jensen FF Mark II.jpg
Overview
Manufacturer Jensen
Production 1966–1971
320 produced[1]
Body and chassis
Class Grand Tourer
Body style 2-door 4-seat saloon
Related Jensen Interceptor
Powertrain
Engine 6,276 cc (6.276 L; 383.0 cu in) V8
Transmission 3-speed TorqueFlite A727 automatic[2]
Dimensions
Wheelbase 109 in (2,769 mm)[3]
Length 191 in (4,851 mm)[3]
Width 69 in (1,753 mm)[3]
Height 55 in (1,397 mm)[3][4]
Curb weight 3,808 lb (1,727 kg)

The Jensen FF was a four-wheel drive (4WD) Grand Tourer (GT) car produced by the British manufacturer Jensen Motors between 1966 and 1971. It was the first non all-terrain production car equipped with 4WD[1] and an anti-lock braking system — the Dunlop Maxaret mechanical system used hitherto only on aircraft, trucks, and racing cars. An experimental system was first fitted to a CV-8, based on the chassis of the Jensen 541S, but this did not go into production. The use of four-wheel drive in a passenger car preceded the successful Audi Quattro by many years, and the Subaru by five years.

The letters FF stand for Ferguson Formula, after Ferguson Research Ltd., who invented the car's four-wheel drive system. The FF is related to the similar-looking, rear-wheel drive Jensen Interceptor, but is 127 mm (5.0 in) longer, and mechanically very different.

Reception and sales[edit]

Although it was a highly innovative vehicle in a technical sense, the FF was not commercially successful. Its price was high — about 30% higher than the Jensen Interceptor, and more than that of luxury GTs from much more prestigious makers.

The FF also suffered from a design problem, and not one easily cured: the system was set up for a driver in the right hand seat, and no considerations had been made to making it left-hand drive. In particular, the central transfer case and both propeller shafts protruded into the left-hand seat space. The steering gear and brake servo were fitted on the right-hand side, and there was no space for them on the left.[1] By the early 1970s, Jensen's primary markets were in overseas markets where cars were driven on the right hand side of the road (particularly the United States), and the FF could not be sold there.

Appearance[edit]

The FF may be distinguished from the Interceptor by a few styling cues, the most obvious being the twin (rather than single) diagonal air vents on the front wing, just rear of the wheel-arches. The frontal appearance was revised in September 1968.

Only saloon cars were made; there were no convertibles.[1]

Jensen FF mk11 in snow.jpg Jensen FF mk 11 1969.jpg

Derivatives[edit]

One experimental Ferguson FF was built in 1968 with a 7 litre (426 cubic inch) Hemi engine imported from Chrysler in the U.S. Further Hemi engine equipped models were not built, due to the limits of the suspension at extremely high speeds, and the cost of importing the Hemi engine into Britain, which was deemed too great.

An "SP FF" version is rumoured to have been made at some point in the production run.[citation needed] This version was equipped with a 7.2 litre (440 cubic inch) engine with a "Six Pack" induction system (three 2-barrel carburettors) as well as four-wheel drive. Less than ten are thought to have been built.

Appearances in media[edit]

Modesty Blaise comic strips regularly featured her driving an FF, until a story where two villains push it over a cliff - while mentioning to each other that it is "a shame to do such a thing to a hand-built car".

The 1969 Alan Caillou novel Assault on Loveless prominently features the protagonist, Cabot Cain, driving an FF at very high speed throughout parts of Portugal.

Ginger Baker used to own an FF, which he drove over a cliff into a tree.

Robbie Williams and his friends drove one of the cars in the music video for his 2001 single "Eternity/The Road to Mandalay".

British singer James Blunt drives an FF on a forest road at night in the videoclip of his song "Wisemen".

A series 1 Jensen FF, registration no. 76D, appeared in the BBC 2 series Luther (series 3, episode 4) driven by character Alice Morgan.

The James Bond novel Solo (2013) has him test driving one in the second chapter describing the sweeping curve of the dashboard as he is flying.

Models[edit]

Dinky Toys produced a die-cast model of the FF, available in both ready-constructed and kit form. Playart also produced a 1:64 scale FF, possibly scaled down from the Dinky model.

The Dinky car had opening doors and both the Playart and Dinky models featured an opening bonnet (hood).

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Robson, Graham (2006). A to Z British cars 1945–1980. Devon, UK: Herridge. ISBN 0-9541063-9-3. 
  2. ^ "Jensen FF Mk1 119/134". home.online.no. Retrieved 2008-02-11. 
  3. ^ a b c d Culshaw; Horrobin (1974). Complete Catalogue of British Cars. London: Macmillan. ISBN 0-333-16689-2. 
  4. ^ Cardew, Basil (1966). Daily Express Review of the 1966 Motor Show. London: Beaverbrook Newspapers Ltd. 

External links[edit]