Thanks to advances in precision machining, casting, electronics, 3D printing, and digital design in general, retrofitting old vehicles with modern drivetrains has never been easier. Specializing in the maintenance and extensive restoration of Jensen Interceptors and FFs from the ’60s and ’70s, Jensen International Automotive’s range-topping product is the FF R, a car that gave up its experimental four-wheel-drive system made by Ferguson Research and Chrysler big block for GM’s reliable all-wheel-drive setup and modern 6.2-liter LSA supercharged V8 engine.
The V8 from the 2009-2015 Cadillac CTS-V may come with the smaller-volume blower, yet with its fairly narrow 17-inch tires, no 1969 Jensen FF should have more juice than 556 horsepower and 551 pound-feet of torque. Not even with the automatic.
While the original FF’s engine bay was pretty dense thanks to Chrysler’s 383 V8, the LSA is a smaller, fuel-injected engine leaving more room under the hood even with its supercharger on top. The GM block also sits well behind the front axle, giving the longer FF better balance than from the factory. To complete the handling package, the British company adds an independent suspension to the rear and beefy AP Racing brakes all around, keeping in mind that this fairly heavy all-wheel drive can out-accelerate most new cars on the road, topping out at 180 mph.
In its day, the FF failed to catch enough buyers, mostly because Jensen’s Interceptor was just as sexy and luxurious and came with a 25-percent discount. Only 320 were made, and so for each FF R, Jensen International Automotive has to first find a suitable donor car.
After that, it’s all up to the customer. Options range from custom wheels up to 19 inches to an interior wrapped in the softest of leathers, with modern instrumentation, climate control, LED lighting, and a touch of infotainment. The FF R can also come with a six-speed manual gearbox paired with a limited-slip differential, with the tires kept at bay by an 11-stage traction control system.
All that and more if you’re willing to spend nearly half a million dollars on your dream Jensen. What’s for sure is that mine would come without the oversized power mirrors and the rather inefficient single-blade wiper. Then again, I would also choose a rear-drive Interceptor R instead. That has to come in at around a 25-percent discount.
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