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Inspector Morse Jaguar sells at auction
After a protracted auction, it has been announced that the iconic Jaguar mark 2 that starred in all the episodes of the epic detective TV series “Inspector Morse” has been sold for an unspecified amount, thought to be more than £100,000.
The auction was carried out under a sealed bid system. It is a 1959 Jaguar Mark II in burgundy red.
The car itself has had an interesting and chequered history over the years. Between 1987 and 2001 it was owned first by Central Television, the show’s producer, and then Carlton Television after Central was taken over. The last Morse episode, named ‘The Remorseful Day’ was broadcast on ITV1 in November 2000, and the eponymous character played by John Thaw died at the end of the episode. In 2001 the car was offered as a star prize in a competition run by Carlton and Woolworths. The car was won by a 25 year-old Lawyer who by coincidence had studied his trade in Oxford, where the series was set.
The Jaguar with stars Kevin Whately (left) and John Thaw
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Royle reported that thought the car was driveable, it was in fact in very poor condition, and had been cosmetically patched with liberal amounts of plastic filler three quarters of an inch thick in parts. It was "tired out with the majority of components in need of replacement or overhaul." The car was systematically stripped down to a bare bodyshell and all the paint stripped off to reveal numerous old repairs, patches and bodges. The damaged and corroded parts of the body were cut out and replaced with new panels. The body was then prepared, primed and painted inside and out in Jaguar Regency red and a new vinyl roof fitted to restore the car to full "Inspector Morse" specification.
John Thaw with Morse creator Colin Dexter
All the mechanical components were reconditioned, replaced or repaired and the engine fully rebuilt and converted to run on unleaded petrol. New parts fitted include stainless steel exhaust, engine mountings, hoses, hydraulics, water pump, heater matrix, clutch, universal joints, shock absorbers, suspension rubbers and ball joints, wheel bearings, brake pads, pipes, cables and hoses, full wiring harness, lights and various switches and relays. The radiator was thoroughly cleaned out and flow tested, the gearbox and rear axle were repaired and new tyres and tubes were fitted. Following the extensive renovation, the car is described as “now in virtually new condition with all the 'Morse' features retained and has been road tested for over 100 miles to bed in the new components and sort out any minor snags.” The car passed its MOT test with "flying colours" in June 2005.
The 1960, burgundy, 2.4 litre car appeared throughout the series and is quoted as being "the most recognisable Mark 2 Jaguar in the world". It was voted, in July 2004, as "the nation's all-time favourite, famous, car" in a commissioned by the Post Office in the UK, beating the Mini Coopers of the Italian Job; Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and the Aston Martin of James Bond. Additionally, the series has recently been voted 4th "Greatest ITV programme" of all time in a poll commissioned to coincide with ITV’s current 50th celebrations. Such is the recognition that the car appears on a set of commemorative stamps currently on issue by the Royal Mail.
Click here for our story on the Morse Jaguar being voted Top TV car
John Thaw, who also had hit series’ with "The Sweeney" and "Kavanagh QC", died from cancer in February 2002. Kevin Whately, who played Morse's sidekick in the series, will return to ITV1 in 2006 with a new series based on the same character.
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