In a decade that produced some of the finest cars in UK motoring history, the Jensen Interceptor stands up there with the best.

The small, family-owned plant had been showing their potential to produce powerful and technically advanced sports coupes throughout the Fifties and early Sixties, but it all came to together for Jensen with the Interceptor.

While, its predecessor, the GRP-bodied C-V8 had simply been big and impressive, the Jensen Brothers made the brave and unprecedented move in appointing the Carrozzeria Touring of Milan to design the Interceptor.

Carrozzeria Touring, who had worked with all of the leading Italian sports coupe producers, did their usual excellent job in producing a model that seemed to cross Italian flair with British solidity.

The Jensen Interceptor had a body that was brawny but very attractive, with an almost-four-seater cabin set off by a huge rounded lift-up hatchback rear window.

Jensen continued the Italian theme by initially farming out production of the car's body to Vignale to Turin before transferring the entire manufacturing process to the company plant in West Bromwich.

The early Jensen Interceptors were powered by a 6276 cc 383 cubic inch V8 engine matched up to Chrysler's TorqueFlite automatic transmissions with manual transmission being an optional extra.

With its rich wood and leather interior, from the inside looking out, the Jensen Interceptor was undoubtedly British.

Riding a massive wave of success in the Sixties, in 1966 the Jensen Brothers made a somewhat unexpected but very audacious decision to enter into a joint development and production agreement with Ferguson Formula (FF) of Coventry to evolve a four-wheel-drive version of the new Interceptor.

FF was the brainchild of Harry Ferguson who had made his fortune as a partner in the Massey-Ferguson tractor company.

The innovative Irish-born engineer was intent on producing an effective four-wheel-drive system for race and road cars and soon convinced the Jensen to come in with him on the project.

To be known as the Jensen FF, this was the world's first ever series-production four-wheel drive private car.

The production car was launched alongside the Interceptor.

Apart from the fact that it had a four-inch longer wheelbase to accept the front-end transmission fixtures, the FF looked almost the same as the Interceptor.

In fact, the only way that even the most practiced of eyes could differentiate between the two was that there were two cooling vents inset on the front wings of the FF rather than one on the Interceptor.

Functionally and technically the FF was a great car, fast and powerful, and its four-wheel-drive system was very efficient.

The Jensen FF was powered by the same 6.3 litres V8 Chrysler engine and Torque Flite transmission fitted in the Interceptor, also offering Dunlop Maxaret anti-lock braking, traction control, and power steering.

To those who enjoyed the opportunity to test and compare both these Jensen's, the FF was judged to be technically well ahead and better to drive than the Interceptor, thanks to its tremendous road holding and other qualities.

On the downside the FF was very expensive, almost fifty per cent more than the Interceptor, thanks to it's  not fully anticipated mechanical complexity that made it difficult — and costly — to produce.

Jensen FFs were always intended to be built to order only,and carrying such a high price ticket; relatively few were sold — some 320 in six years.

When Jensen began to slip closer to a financial abyss in the early
Seventies painful cuts had to be made.

One of the first and possibly the least  painful  was that the innovative FF collaboration was reluctantly discontinued — a classic example of a great car and a great idea that was ahead of its time.

Let down only by the expense of manufacture and the need to assemble each car individually before shipping.

The Mk II Interceptor (October 1969) had style changes, particularly on the fascia, while the Mk III and final version released in October 1971 had yet more styling updates, the most fundamental being fitted with highly attractive alloy road wheels.

Despite intense competition in the luxury GT market, the Interceptor sold well throughout the Sixties and well into the mid-Seventies, till Jensen sadly went into receivership in the mid-Seventies.

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