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The New Avengers’ big cat

25 October, 2015

 

The 1976 XJ12-C Broadspeed driven by John Steed in the 1970s TV series The New Avengers, fetched £62,000 (NZ$141,079) at a recent H&H Classics’ auction in the UK, some £50,000 (NZ$113,773) more than its initially estimated worth.

‘NWK 60P’ — wearing chassis #2G1008BW — began life as a pre-production prototype vehicle for the marque. Bought by a private collector at the H&H Classics’ auction at the Imperial War Museum in Duxford, Cambridge, the XJ12-C completed its early development and testing work with Jaguar before being sent to Broadspeed Engineering Ltd to be fitted with upgraded bodykit, including wider bumpers and wheel arches, plus bigger wheels and tyres in preparation for filming.

Following the series finale in 1977, the Jaguar was sold and passed through the hands of multiple owners before being sold at the NEC Classic Car Show in the early 1990s. After the sale, this famous Jaguar disappeared from public view and remained in hibernation for the next two decades.

Fear and loathing the blue oval – part one

The slogan went something like ‘There’s a Ford in your future’. ‘Bugger off!’ were always the words that sprung to my mind. Ford and I have never really got on in the manner of many of my friends, so I’d say my relationship to the brand was distant. The accelerating blur of passing time has helpfully blanketed memories of a few Ford encounters which I probably wanted to forget but I have to admit, now I look at them, they are re-appearing through the mists of time. What comes to mind more readily, to quote some uncharitable wit, is that the letters Ford could stand for ‘fix or repair daily’. Still, I have to ’fess up, there were several Fords in my past.

Class struggle

For a British car, it is huge; for those sitting inside, the bonnet seems to extend past the horizon. The front seats are very comfortable rather than body hugging. The dashboard and centre console cluster are beautifully laid out, reminiscent of a fighter plane cockpit, with acres of red leather all around. Its V8 burble is on show. It is not a car to sneak about in, and it gets attention wherever it goes.
The large back window, possibly the best-known feature of the Interceptor and one that sets it apart, has very good functionality, allowing greater access to the boot. It would not be an easy job to replace it, so Interceptor owners are careful about reversing and not hitting anything.