The Professionals Capris are offered as a pair and as one Lot in recognition of their cultural significance and historical importance.
By the mid-1970s, most of the flamboyant British spy shows had been decommissioned in favour of grittier crime-action dramas filmed on location with live action car chases. The Sweeney’s debut in 1975 set the standard for “real life” action-dramas, pubs replaced casinos, gone were exaggerated karate chops and rep-mobile saloons screeched around grimy street corners. British police departments didn’t issue Aston Martins and few blue-collar sports coupés were affordable or reliable enough to be featured regularly. The producer and screen writer, Brian Clemens, who was behind the definitive British spy series ,The Avengers, back in 1961, had just seen his 1975 re-launch end after two years. Although The New Avengers had live action scenes to rival American imports, audiences failed to connect with the outlandish plots, but did appreciate the cars. The deal with British Leyland to supply the cars for the series was ground-breaking, a marketing masterstroke, but reliability issues caused problems and the continuity department had to deal with replacement cars, often in different colours.
Ever the innovator, Brian Clemens could see that audiences were tiring of the “cops and robbers” formula and, with the realities of domestic terrorism a daily threat and foreign atrocities widely reported, The Professionals was launched in 1977 against the backdrop of the Cold War. The two heroes, who were neither police officers or members of the security services, were instructed by the Home Secretary to use any means to deal with crimes of a serious nature. The fictional department, Criminal Intelligence-5 was headed by George Cowley and our heroes, Ray Doyle and William Bodie, were his best operatives. Doyle, an ex-detective constable who worked the seedier parts of London, partnered with Bodie, a former member of the SAS.
Their regional accents and high-street style connected with audiences and, for the first time on British TV, there were heroes that were both relatable and inspirational. The conversation in the typing pool (this was 1980) discussed who was the sexiest out of the two and lads in pubs admired the cars and the driving. Having learned the importance of a motor manufacturer as an important partner in supplying the cast with specific, character-oriented cars, Ford of Britain were approached and were happy to supply a Ford Granada for George Cowley and, later in the process, this pair of rather special Ford Capris.
Designed to be the Ford Mustang of Europe, the mind boggling array of options meant that the Capri could be whatever you wanted it to be; just like the Mustang. The Capri was in fact a far more varied animal with engines ranging from 1300cc to 3100cc as well as a myriad of trim specifications. The most popular engine was the 1600cc unit, but the object of most desire was the three-litre version, which was available from the 1969 Mk 1 through to 1981 as the 3.0S. Over time, the 3.0 S became synonymous with our action duo and undoubtedly inspired a generation of car enthusiasts whilst coincidentally giving a bit of a boost to Ford's performance car market.
We are therefore privileged to offer these fabulously presented cars on behalf of our vendor from his sixteen-year ownership. Most people seem to agree that these two cars should always be garaged together and consequently they are to be offered as a pair and sold as one Lot with an auction estimate of £200,000 to £230,000.
1980 Ford Capri 3.0 S - as driven by Doyle
This, Solar Gold 3.0 S was first registered on the 4th June 1980 to the Ford Motor Company, Essex as OAR 576V and loaned to Mark 1 Productions Ltd. for the filming of Series 4. As with the Stratos Silver Capri, Ford stipulated that the car was to wear the false registration plate “OAR 576W” on screen so that the vehicle appeared "new" on the first TV transmission date of Series 4 on 19th October 1980. So when the first episode 'Blackout' went out the "W" suffix had already been released by the DVLA on the 1st August 1980. Ford therefore received free advertising of a 'new' Ford Capri 3.0S on a "W" plate. Production notes and filming schedules confirm the car’s original “V” registration as does the definitive book of the TV series, “The Professionals” by Bob Roca and Julian Vogt.
OAR 576V was allocated to Martin Shaw who acted the part of Ray Doyle and the car went on to feature in 10 episodes of the Series: Blackout, It's only a Beautiful Picture, Blood Sports, Hijack, You'll be All Right, Kickback, Discovered in a Graveyard, Foxhole on the Roof, Operation Susie and The Untouchables.
It was lightly restored in 2021 by the current owner with meticulous attention to detail and with the focus on originality. The interior is simply fabulous with original Fishnet Recaro seats and even the original parcel shelf is still in place. The original engine and gearbox have been fully reconditioned and the original alloy wheels are shod with period correct Goodyear Grand Prix 185 x 70 x 13 tyres. The speedometer reading, at the time of cataloguing, was 43,222 miles and the car is presented with a detailed history file, receipts, V5C and memorabilia.