30 March 2012

A Frosty Reception: Jensen FF Meets Ferrari FF

Not a duel as you may have expected, but a tip of the hat to the mighty Jensen FF, a car that as the worlds first production 4WD car undoubtedly paved the way for Ur Quattro and ultimately the 'other' FF, by Ferrari.
We'll be coming back to the Jensen FF story in detail at a later date, but for the uninitiated the Jensen FF (short for Ferguson Formula) was based on the more familiar Interceptor coupĂ©, but stretched 5 inches between the front wheel arch and door. As well as the usual 383ci (6.2 litre) Chrysler V8 and Torqueflite 727 transmission, the FF had two 'firsts' on a production road car; Ferguson Research Ltd's groundbreaking 4WD system was utilised, in which a transfer case behind the gearbox split drive to the front and rear wheels. The other first was also way ahead of its time - the Dunlop Maxaret anti-lock braking system, a mechanical system used up to that point only on aircraft, trucks, or racing cars.
Although a technological tour de force, the FF was a flop; list price was 30% dearer than the already-pricey Interceptor and the 4WD system was set up exclusively for RHD with no provision for a LHD market. Only 320 were made.
The cars importance to motoring history wasn't fully reliased until that Audi was released to a  surprised public in Geneva on 3rd March 1980.

No doubt a few onlookers sagely nodded and reminisced about the car from West Bromwich that helped make it possible.


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