TV Saint Car ‘ST 1’ aka 71 DXC returns to where it all started – The Ferry Inn, Cookham Going back over 50 years to the very first episode of The Saint – ‘The Talented Husband’ a white gleaming Volvo sports car made its debut on our TV Screens with the handsome Roger Moore at the wheel, alias Simon Templar – ‘The Saint’. Read the whole story here >>>>>
The Saint crime fighting in 71 DXC How it all came about in 1962
In the Spring of 1962 Lew Grade of ATV Television held a Press Conference where he launched ‘The Saint’ Series with actor Roger Moore, who would play the famous Simon Templar in a series of 26 one hour shows (news to Roger Moore who had been contracted, as he believed, for only half hour episodes).
The famous Simon Templar, like other dashing TV/Film hero’s e.g. Batman, James Bond etc, required a recognisable form of transport and ATV’s first choice was a white ‘E’ type Jaguar - which had been launched at the Geneva Motor Show the previous year. Jaguar were approached to lend the TV company a car in lieu of advertising but in view of the already high demand for the model in the USA and being unable to keep up with current production requirements they declined the offer, suggesting that they did not require the publicity the series would provide. It is rumoured that Roger Moore even offered to personally purchase a MK10 Jaguar to use in the series, as the best supply date for an ‘E’ type was over 2 months.
Search for an alternative car was on and again it was Roger Moore who came to the rescue suggesting that the company look at the new Volvo P1800, which had only just been launched in RHD form on the UK market.
Within a week a white Volvo P1800 was delivered to ITC from a London Dealership – Reg: No: 71 DXC (Plate ‘ST 1’ was placed over the cars ordinary number plate only while filming) and it is believed that they were invoiced full price for the car. As no white P1800 was available (unbelievable as the cars were being produced at Jensen Motors Ltd, West Bromwich in England) it is said that a car had to be air freighted back from Sweden to fill the order at such short notice.
The Jensen built P1800 - 71 DXC appeared in the opening sequences of the very first episode “The Talented Husband” and was used in many of the original 26 episodes where its owner, The Saint, could be seen visiting places as far afield as Germany, France and even the Bahamas (how the car got there was not explained). In fact due to financial constants the car never left the British Isles, it was all tricks of the camera.
With production of the 1800 moving to Sweden in 1963 Volvo, in 1964, provided ITC with a new replacement car, an 1800S – Reg. No: 77 GYL. In order to provide continuity in the series the later ‘V’ Red Hub Caps were replaced with the original ‘Jensen Caps’ from 71 DXC. Both cars can be seen in early 1964 episodes but if you look carefully there are some scenes where the car was still fitted with its original Red ‘V’ caps.
71 DXC was finally fully replaced by 77 GYL in late 1964, but the original car was used for publicity of the Series and driven by Roger Moore as everyday transport.