O N - L I
N E M A
G A Z I N
. . . By Job Drenth
..................... (PART 3) .....................
THE SERIES II XJ
COUPE MODELS (III)
Steed’s XJ12 coupe
from The New Avengers
In 1976 the BBC was
running their new series of The Avengers, and
were looking for a new car for Steed. In the earlier series amongst
others a Bentley and Lotus were used by John Steed and Emma Peel. As
the Bentley was wrecked in the series, they closed a deal with British
Leyland. BL supplied a Broadspeed built dark green XJ coupe that had
the same visual exterior modifications as the race cars
( See Thumbnails 1, 2 and 3 ). In the ‘New Avengers’ series
Purdey (Joanna Lumley) was to use a yellow Triumph TR7 and Gambit
(Gareth Hunt), a Jaguar XJ-S.
The dark green coupe,
a pre- production chassis no. 2G 1008BW built in august 1973, featured
a metal sliding roof and ‘standard’ beige interior and was officially
registered NWK 60P ( Thumbnails 4 and 5 ). The car is used
throughout the series of the new Avengers. Most striking episode is
the ‘Three Handed Game’ where Steed’s Jaguar appears to be capable of
overtaking a red formula racing car ( Thumbnail 6 ). In reality
the car was ‘a pain to drive’ as stated by the crew. As only visual
modifications were adapted, road behaviour was questionable.
After the series
ended, Steed’s Jaguar was put up for sale by the production company
and sold off ( The advert was in Jaguar Driver - January 1982 No. 263
- Thumbnail 7 ).
Apparently, in 1985,
Steed's Jaguar was offered to the former ‘Avengers fan club' by a
dealer in West Bromwich ( West Midlands, UK ). The trader also put the
car on display at the N.E.C in May 1986, and it was duly bought by a
person who however did not collect it. The car still remained with the
then former owner, who had sold his business and needed to clear his
premises. He contacted a transport company that took the car
temporarily away and, having no place to move it to, kept it for four
years. Finally the car was paid for and taken away to presumably
Stockport. That was in 1991. Since then the whereabouts and condition
of the car are unknown.
As can be checked by
the DVLA the car appears to be registered for the first time in May
1976, and has had it’s last V5 issued in 1991. That leaves a guess
about the current condition and whereabouts of the car, which is,
according to the DVLA records, not road legal at this time (no road
New Avengers John Steed Jaguar XJ12 coupe MODELS
Models of the New
Avengers coupe have been issued by Dinky and SMTS.
The 1977 Dinky
catalogue shows Steed’s Jaguar (Dinky 113) having various
features ( Thumbnails 8 and 9 ). The car is strangely featured
in blue metallic with
gold striping as opposed to the one used in the series, which was
definitely a dark
green metallic. In very small printing at the bottom of the page it
can be read that the model will be available later.
In the 1978 catalogue
the same car is shown ( Thumbnails 10 & 11), albeit with less
features than in 1977 and even a gift set (Dinky 307) of the Steed
coupe and Purdeys yellow TR7 was announced ( Thumbnails 12 & 13
Nor the Steed car nor
the gift set is believe to have ever reached production as it appears
that shortly before the factory was closed down, the moulds from which
the XJ coupe were to be produced were destroyed in a fire. Some of the
prototypes however seem to have escaped and were sold by former
employees of Meccano.
The Purdey TR7 (Dinky
no. 112) has been available and features a scene from the New Avengers
on it’s box ( Thumbnail 14 ).
History was written
in 1996 when one of the pre-production Dinky XJ coupes of Steed
surfaced, it was sold by Christie’s, estimated at $2.800 to $3.500.
On 6th October 2004, Michael Tate (
Member 22 ) and Alan Lloyd 'Jaguar Collections' was auctioned. Lot
1240 ( Thumbnail 15 ) included in the sale was a Dinky Toys
pre-production Steed's Jaguar from the television series ‘The New
Avengers’, accompanied by some documentation and a copy of the factory
drawing. This was the same car as was sold in 1996 through Christies’
Auction. The car realised a stunning £1,750 including commission.
As it is such a
desirable car, other pre production cars have surfaced and next to
that a lot of replicas have been made, most of them based on the Dinky
219 car. The ‘originals’ are generally well distinguishable by the
wheel arches: more pronounced compared to the 219-based replica’s.
Some replica’s are shown below ( Thumbnails 16 to 19 ).
In the pictures also
a replica box is shown below ( Thumbnail 20 ). Though being an
earlier Dinky box it is not believed to be the original box as the
red/blue/yellow box shown on the auction pictures is believed to be
Though officially never announced as replica of the New Avengers Steed
Jaguar, perhaps due to legal restrictions, SMTS have also
produced a 1:43 model in white metal (RL43LE). This car is in the
right colour and is a highly detailed model car, even down to the
right replica Kent Avon wheels ( Thumbnails 21 & 22 ).
This concludes the
series of articles on the XJ coupe. If any other models have been
available I’ll happy to add them to the articles.