Jensen FF Chassis 130/322 | Earl of Verulam’s Last FF
The 6th Earl of Verulam had purchased Rolls Royce and Bentley cars from after World War II, but a business colleague, Norman Moore, had enthused about the new four-wheel-drive Jensen FF.
This led to the Earl buying a MK.I Jensen FF, then a MK.II, and finally a MK.III, which he kept until his death in 1973. This is the story of the 6th Earl of Verulam’s last Jensen FF
CHASSIS NUMBER: 130/322
REGISTRATION NUMBER: HGN 114K
ENGINE NUMBER: 3537/130E
GEARBOX NUMBER: 35107329
FOUR-WHEEL-DRIVE UNIT: T119-323 & 102-323
FRONT DIFFERENTIAL TYPE: 2.88:1 K71/107
REAR AXLE TYPE: 2.88:1 K71/82
RADIO/RADIO TAPE PLAYER: 903232
PAINT COLOUR: Royal blue
TRIM COLOUR: Blue leather
OPTIONS: SD / AC / TC / RSB / QFS
COMMENTS: Distributor, Charles Follett, London
Jensen FF Chassis 130/322 | Earl of Verulam’s Last FF | Background to the Earl of Verulam
The title of the Earl of Verulam dates back to 1815, when the 1st Earl of Verulam was given the title. The family seat was Gorhambury House near St.Albans.
The original house dated from the 1600s, but a much finer Palladian-style building, designed by Robert Taylor, was erected in the late 1700s.
Much of the surrounding estate includes the Roman site of Verulamium, to which the Verulam title was taken from.
The 6th Earl of Verulam was born John Grimston on 17 July 1912 in St Albans, Hertfordshire. The future Lord Verulam was the second son of James Grimston, 4th Earl of Verulam and Lady Violet Constance Maitland Brabazon.
Education took place at Oundle School, and Christ Church, Oxford. After leaving Oxford, the Earl ran the family’s tobacco estate in Southern Rhodesia, later becoming director and general manager of Enfield Rolling Mills in 1938.
Back in 1930, the Earl had joined the Royal Air Force Reserve of Officers as a pilot. In 1937 he joined the Auxiliary Air Force and served in Coastal Command during World War II as a pilot. After World War II, the Earl ventured into politics.
The political career of the Earl actually started during the war, when he was elected to the House of Commons as Conservative MP for St Albans at the by-election in 1943. However, he was defeated at the 1945 general election by the Labour candidate Cyril Dumpleton.
In the general election of 1950, the Earl managed to oust Dumpleton from the seat, and held it until he retired from the House of Commons at the 1959 general election.
By 1960 the Earl succeeded his elder brother, and entered the House of Lords. The Earl founded two charities, The Friends of St Michael’s Church, and The West Herts Environmental Foundation.
The 6th Earl became Chairman of Enfield Rolling Mills in the 1950s, and by the beginning of the 1960s, was made president of the Institute of Metals. Other honours included being made President of the London Chamber of Commerce, and being made the Deputy Lieutenant of Hertfordshire.
Jensen FF Chassis 130/322 | Earl of Verulam’s Last FF | A love of Jensens
After World War II, the Earl of Verulam purchased Rolls Royce and Bentley cars, but by the later 1960s he was excited to hear about the new four-wheel-drive Jensen FF.
It was a business associate of the Earl, Norman Moore, that initially brought Jensen cars to his attention. Moore had previously owned a Jensen Interceptor , and then purchased a MK.I FF.
In fact both men followed suit, first buying a MK.I FF, then a MK.II, and finally a coveted MK.III FF.
During a telephone conversation with Museum curator, Ulric Woodhams, in 2004, Moore stated, the MK.III FF was truly the Company’s ‘Piece de Resistance’. Commenting, that back in the day, the MK.III FF was the most beautiful – and certainly the safest – car in the world.
The 6th Earl of Verulam purchased his first Jensen FF car in the autumn of 1968. The MK. I was used from September 1968 until June 1970, by which time the Earl’s new FF MK. II was ready for collection.
The MK. II was driven between June 1970 and 1st May 1972, when the Earl’s new MK.III was made ready for collection from Charles Follett in Mayfair. The Earl’s chauffeur, Mr Pearce travelled down to London to pick up the car.
On the 15 April 1973, the 6th Earl died, at the relatively young age of 60. 130/322 was disposed of two years later. It is believed the Verulam family had the London Jensen distributors, Charles Follett, collect and sell the car. This rare and sought after MK.III FF wasn’t to remain in the showrooms for very long.
Jensen FF Chassis 130/322 | Earl of Verulam’s Last FF | New Ownership
In June 1975, was purchased from Charles Follett’s Mayfair showroom by Mr W. G. Pocock, living in Southall, south London – but he wouldn’t keep the car for long.
Just over a year later in September 1976, 130/322 was purchased by Mr G. A. Newell living close by, in Hounslow, Middlesex.
A Mr J. A. Blackbourn from east London purchased 130/322 a couple of years later, in August 1978.
By early 1984, Blackbourn gave the car to the Oxfordshire-based Jensen specialists, Cropredy Bridge Garage, to sell on commission. There advertisement of the time stated,
“ …1972 Jensen FF III in dark blue with blue trim, one of only 15 ever made. £8,000.”
130/322 eventually sold in May 1985 to a Mr C. D. Penny kept the car until February 1989, and sold it at the peak of price escalation to Mr John Ridgeway living in St. Albans.
Ridgeway, an accountant by profession, had purchased a Jensen Healey back in 1975. Over the years, his collection of cars escalated, and included a couple of Interceptors.
Although Ridgeway owned various other classic cars, it was undoubtedly Jensen cars where his true enthusiasm lay, and out of his growing collection of Jensen cars, the four-wheel-drive FF had definitely become his favourite.
130/322 was used by Ridgeway initially, but after using the car at the Silverstone race track at the beginning of the 1990s, the car developed an engine problem.
Typically, Ridgeway simply put the FF into storage with the idea of undertaking a restoration of the car once he was retired. Unfortunately, this was not the only car which required work, most of his cars had ended up as ‘projects’ for his retirement.
By 2006, Ridgeway celebrated his 55th birthday and decided to semi-retire. At long last he could start work on some of his ‘projects’, however, his health had not been marvellous so work on the FF was put off.
Ridgeway died of a heart attack at the beginning of March 2007. After Ridgeway’s estate was sorted out, 130/322 was purchased by the London-based classic car dealer, Andrew Cassar, in 2008.
The Museum acquired 130/322 from Cassar in the following year.
Jensen FF Chassis 130/322 | Lord Verulam’s Last FF
MUSEUM REQUEST: If you were a previous owner of 130/322, the Museum would be very interested to hear any recollections you may have of the car.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: The 7th Earl of Verulam | Mr John Cox, Archivist to the Verulam Estate
COPYRIGHTS: Jensen Museum |The 7th Earl of Verulam | Mr John Cox, Archivist to the Verulam Estate
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: If you have any additional information about this feature, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone on: +1694-781354