When William Bodie, CI5’s most dapper agent, was issued with his Ford Capri Mk3 3.0S he probably smirked with delight but it is unlikely that he would have imagined that 38 years later it would sell at auction for £55,000 – a new world record for a 3.0-litre Capri. Nor would "Arfur"Daley have ever envisaged that his Daimler Sovereign 4.2 Series 3 could ever go under the hammer for £32,083 and that it would out-priced by Terry’s Capri 2.0S Mk.2 – a mere £52,083.
But these results from the H&H Auction on April 20 is a demonstration of how, at least in part, televisual fame can play a significant role in enhancing values.
Ian Berg, the former owner of Terry’s Capri and Arfur’s Daimler, and the current owner of the Inspector Morse Jaguar 2.4 Mk.2, believes that any refurbishment of a screen car "needs to be carried out with integrity; the vehicle has to be as authentic and original as possible. Basically, I believe that it is essential that they are returned to the state that people remember them".
The Ford, Berg says, "needed at a lot of work. It had received a renovation about 20 years before I bought it but age inevitably takes its toll on any car, and so I undertook a bare metal restoration. The bodywork was repainted, and I carried out a lot of electrical and mechanical work, including the brakes and suspension".
The Capri’s interior was also refurbished and as for the Daimler, "that needed quite a lot doing to it as well. There were the body issues, ones that anyone who has owned a Series 3 model will be familiar with, and the Portland Beige paint finish was refreshed".
As the Sovereign had been stored for 16 years "the springs and exhaust needed renewing". The switches and electrical system required work although "at least the interior was not too bad" and as "the car had been stored for 16 years the suspension and exhaust needed renewing."
The result with the Minder cars were TV icons that were "enjoyed and recognised at shows", but one crucial element of a screen vehicle’s restoration that cannot ever be predicted is the public’s reaction - and how this may be reflected in resale values.
Resale values - not always what you'd expect
In 2013, the Capri 2.0S Mk3 that featured as Derek Trotter’s ‘Pratmobile’ failed to reach its price at the Coys’ Autosport International show. One might argue that one possible reason was that it debuted when Only Fools and Horses was long past its peak, but it might also be the case that it was as not nearly as central to the show’s success as the Reliant Regal van.
In 1981, when the show first aired, it was not unusual for a market trader to use a three-wheeled van; if any Ford product suited “Del Boy”, it was the Cortina Mk2 Crayford that guested in the first season. Similarly, Arthur Daley drove several cars over 15 years of Minder, but the Sovereign Series 3 would have precisely reflected his self-image as a patriotic and respectable businessman. It was a 4.2-litre (Daley was far too cheap to run a Double Six, with its thirsty V12 engine), only a few years old and most importantly it carried the Daimler grille ("it’s not a Jaguar, Dave").
When the actor and car are perfectly attuned the latter often virtually become stars in their own right, as with the Ford Consul GT NHK 295M (believed to be in retirement somewhere in Bedfordshire) that will forever be associated with The Sweeney or Morris Minor 1000 Convertible from Nuts in May.
In themselves, they may have been standard production models sourced from a scrapyard or loaned by press officers to a hard-pressed production crew. But television roles, however brief, became a part of so many viewers’ recollections and childhood memories.
As well as the Inspector Morse Jaguar, cars such as the 1949 Triumph Roadster driven by John Nettles in Bergerac became as famous as their human co-stars.
If it is impossible to place an actual value on nostalgia, the auction on April 20 – especially The Professionals’ Capri – demonstrates that it can be an essential element in a classic car’s sale price.
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