The ex-Jim Bergerac/BBC TV Series,1949 Triumph Roadster 2000 Convertible  Chassis no. TRA 339 Engine no. V365361E
Lot 425
1949 Triumph Roadster 2000 Convertible
Registration no. 1610 J Chassis no. TRA 339 Engine no. V365361E
Sold for £23,000 (US$ 38,265) inc. premium
Lot Details
The ex-Jim Bergerac/BBC TV Series
1949 Triumph Roadster 2000 Convertible
Registration no. 1610 J
Chassis no. TRA 339
Engine no. V365361E


  • Thanks to its use by TV's fictional Jersey detective Jim Bergerac, few post-war classics are as instantly recognisable as the Triumph Roadster. A landmark model in the history of the Coventry firm, the 1800 Roadster was one of the first post-war designs - the other being its sister car the 1800 Saloon - to bear the Triumph name.

    Standard's wartime purchase of Triumph, whose pre-war cars had been much admired for their performance and quality, was seen as the first step towards establishing an up-market range to complement the more workaday Standards. Design work begun in 1944 envisaged a car built in two body styles - saloon and sports roadster - using a common engine and gearbox, and similar running gear. Standard was already supplying Jaguar with a 1,776cc overhead-valve engine and four-speed gearbox for the latter's 1½-Litre saloon, and these, along with the existing Flying Standard rear axle, were chosen for the new car.

    The chassis - an all-new design featuring independent front suspension - comprised two large-diameter steel tubes joined by cross-braces. A predicted shortage of sheet steel had ruled out a totally fabricated chassis frame, and also determined the choice of aluminium-alloy for the main body panels. Styled by Standard's Frank Callaby, the Roadster's elegantly body was unusual in retaining the dickey seat which had been a feature of the pre-war Triumph Dolomite Roadster Coupé.

    Launched along with the 'razor edge'-styled 1800 Saloon in March 1946, the Roadster was not revised until 1948, when it received the 2.1-litre engine, three-speed gearbox, and rear axle of the newly introduced Standard Vanguard. Power went up from 65 to 68bhp, and the top speed increased from 70 to 77mph. When Roadster production ceased the following year a total of 4,501 cars had been built.

    Manufactured in May 1949, this Roadster 2000 was used by the BBC from 1985 to 1991 in making the television series Bergerac. According to the DVLA, the Triumph has had five owners including the current vendor. The car appears to have been owned from new by a Mr Brook Fowler, who refurbished and sold it to the BBC with an option to repurchase it once they had finished filming Bergerac. At this point the registration was changed from the original 'KLX 322' to the Jersey mark '1610 J'. Another Triumph Roadster carrying the latter registration had previously been used during the filming.

    Once they had finished filming Bergerac, the BBC auctioned the Roadster for its 'Children in Need' charity, raising £37,000. From circa November 1991 the car belonged to Mr Iain McNab. Dated 20th January 1991, a letter from Mr Fowler to Mr McNab states that he is unable to find the original log book for 'KLX 322' and believes he gave it to the BBC with the car. However, he does include some old tax discs showing the original registration. There is a further note from Mr Fowler stating that he is very pleased that Mr McNab has got the DVLA to agree to reinstate 'KLX 322' as the registration.

    In January 1994, '1610 J' was sold to Graham Eades, who was still the owner when it was offered for sale at Brooks' Olympia auction in April 1997 (Lot 547). At that time it was noted that modifications from original factory specification included a four-speed gearbox and an auxiliary water temperature gauge. Acquired at that sale by the current vendor, the Triumph has been kept in dry storage with the rest of their private collection since then. The intention was to display the vehicles as a collection but sadly this never happened. All cars have been serviced regularly and until five years ago were MoT'd annually. They have continued to be driven on private land and are in good running order.

    A comprehensive history file containing bills and photographs detailing past restoration and maintenance work comes with the car, which is offered with current MoT certificate and Swansea V5 document. Interestingly, in April of this year articles appeared in the Telegraph, Daily Mail, etc suggesting that there are plans afoot to bring Bergerac back in light of the success of the Inspector Morse spin-off, Endeavour.

Saleroom notices

  • The original registration number for the TV series was Jersey registration J1610. The vendor acquired the UK registration 1610 J - being the reverse of the Jersey registration - the nearest they could get to it in order to use it on the roads in the UK. This vehicle is MoT exempt and does not come with a current MoT.
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