Jensen Interceptor & FF
Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 4
The Jensen Interceptor FF
The Jensen Interceptor (and FF
) were clearly the most outstanding vehicles built by Jensen. It was both good-looking and quick and displayed a new touring-style body. The FF was the world's first production car to use the four-wheel-drive system developed by Harry Ferguson Research Ltd. The "Ferguson Formula
" (thus FF) split the torque at 67% rear, 37% to front which gave the car unreal handling
Combined with its anti-lock brakes, this car became known as the world's safest, and it would be some 15 years before another manufacturer was able to fit a four wheel drive system to a performance road car, in this instance the Audi Quattro
. The FF's appearance was very similar to the Interceptor and both had much in common. The FF had a slightly altered frontal treatment, with a raised air intake on top of the bonnet and additional intakes on the front wings.
The automatic motor was powered with a 6.3-litre V8, but the FF
had a slightly longer wheel base and nose. The underside of the chassis was markedly different between the cars with the front showing a chassis-mounted differential taking the drive to the front wheels. In 1968
the cars received a mild make-over, which included new door trim panels, wood veneer round the central consile and gear selector, and electronically heated rear windows. The Interceptors were finished in Charcoal Grey or Stratosphere Blue, while the FF's were finished in Metallic Peat, with matching fawn roof.
The performance of the FF
suffered slightly due to extra weight, compared to the two-wheel drive Interceptor. But it could still reach 0-96 km/h in around 8 seconds. Although widely acclaimed, the FF was a third more costly than the Interceptor, which caused sales to suffer. The FF
discontinued production in 1971
, with the Interceptor remaining in production for a further 5 years.
The Chrysler 7.2 Litre V8
Since its introduction, the West Bromwich firm's philosophy had been refinement rather than change. The 6.2 litre Chrysler V8 had come and gone, and the Ferguson Formula four-wheel drive tried and terminated but the Interceptor continued on, almost VW fashion, in the same body-shell. Even when it graduated to Mk III
standing, the changes were there but not at all perceptible to the casual observer.
The engine was upgraded to a monster 7.2 litre Chrysler
V8 which added 60 bhp to the Interceptor's muscles bringing output to 385 bhp (and they always said the Jensen's power was undisclosed). The back bench seat became two individual seats separated by a console running the full length of the cabin. Magnesium wheels, vented discs, variable ratio power steering, bigger capacity air-conditioning
- it all went on under the enduring skin.
cars still used refinement as their central theme. The great expanse of bonnet was relieved by four rows of fluting. The body lines could also be accentuated by a coach line option which was, surprisingly, a stick-on. Vinyl roof, in a variety of colours became an option (at no cost) and sheepskin seat inserts were also optional. The seat leather was also been improved with better quality hide that was less liable to crease. Inertia reel belts were standard in the 1974 car.
The most interesting addition was the new toy for the Jensen jet-set executive - a Philips RN 712 radio/stereo/cassette/recorder/dicta-phone - included in the A$22,500 asking price. The microphone, on a coiled flex, pulled out of the glovebox and could be set on the top of the dashboard as the Jensen owner dictated letters and various memorandum. Or, maybe, listen to various instructions dictated the night before by their secretary. We can laugh at what seemed a silly idea with the benefit of hindsight, but it represented the sort of thing you would expect from the Interceptor, a very ordinary car in terms of its basic concept, but one that rightly rubbed shoulders in the exclusive company of Europe's high-priced and delicate thoroughbreds.