Cars with Royal and TV connections in the spotlight at Harrogate sale

Collectors' Motor Cars, Motorcycles and Related Automobilia
13 Nov 2013
Harrogate, Great Yorkshire Showground

Bonhams offer car lovers a treat at their Harrogate sale on November 13 listing cars with fascinating histories and celebrity former owners.

The 1949 ex-Jim Bergerac convertible Triumph Roadster 2000 from the BBC TV Series of the same name, registration no. 1610 J, is estimated to sell for £25,000-30,000.

Thanks to its use by TV's fictional Jersey detective Jim Bergerac (actor John Nettles) few post-war classics are as instantly recognisable as the Triumph Roadster. A landmark model in the history of the Coventry firm, the Roadster was one of the first post-war designs to bear the Triumph name.

Launched 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 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. In April articles appeared in the national press suggesting that there are plans afoot to bring Bergerac back in light of the success of the Inspector Morse spin-off, Endeavour.

Royal Connection:

The car with a royal connection at this Bonhams sale is the ex-Sophie Rhys-Jones' 1968 Morris Minor 1000 Saloon, registration no. NHW 564F, estimated to sell for £5,000-7,000.

It was purchased for Sophie Rhys-Jones by her then boyfriend Jeremy Barkley in 1988. The car - her first - was used as personal transport before being sold later that same year.

Following the royal wedding of Prince Edward and Sophie, the Duke and Duchess of Wessex, which took place on 19th June 1999 at Windsor Castle, the Minor was the subject of an exclusive article in The Sunday Mirror of 27th June. A copy of the newspaper is offered with the car.

A humble 'Moggy', albeit one with royal connections, 'NHW 564F' is finished in maroon with red interior and described as in generally good-to-excellent condition. The car comes with old-style logbook, current MoT, Swansea V5 registration document and photographic evidence of Sophie Rhys-Jones' past ownership.

By January 1961 the Minor had sold one million units to become the UK's most successful post-war car to date. Despite the many changes this final Minor remained much the same car as the original that had debuted at the 1948 Motor Show.

The brainchild of Alec Issigonis, and the first post-war Morris design, the unitary-construction Minor boasted torsion bar independent front suspension, rack-and-pinion steering, and a four-speed synchromesh gearbox. Production of this fondly regarded post-war British saloon eventually ceased in 1971.

John Polson, of Bonhams Car Department comments: "We are delighted to be back at Harrogate once again for our annual sale, with a selection of cars to suit every taste and in the case of the Triumph and Morris Minor cars which reach beyond the normal motoring world to have connections with royalty and popular culture"

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