Car that helped save

comic's life

Jensen Interceptor, once owned by Eric Morecambe

A CLASSIC British luxury GT of the 1960s that helped save the life of comedian Eric Morecambe is expected to make up to £110,000 at auction later this month.

The now fully restored Jensen Interceptor was bought by Morecambe in 1968, just as he was starting on his path to superstardom as half of the Morecambe and Wise television comedy duo.

Costing double that of a Jaguar E-Type and more than the equivalent Aston Martin, the Interceptor was one of the most expensive cars in the world at the time.

After Morecambe's first heart attack just two months after he bought the car, the Jensen became famous in its own right as the comedian recounted the story of how Yorkshireman Walter Butterworth jumped into the driving seat late one evening to drive him to Leeds Infirmary, saving his life.

It was during a television interview with Michael Parkinson in 1973 when Eric was telling the story of his rescue in the Jensen that the current owner, a then young Nick Whale, heard his father note: "That Jensen would be a great car to own one day."

Nick's father died while he was still young, but his words prompted a decades-long search for the car that once belonged to his comedy hero.

Now managing director of Silverstone Auctions, Nick would often scour classified ads and make frequent enquiries until he finally tracked down the famous Jensen to a garage in Belgium in 2014.

"It was in a rather sad state when I found it, so we embarked on a two year restoration with one of the world's leading Jensen restorers, Cropredy Bridge Garage," reports Nick. "I wanted it to be thorough yet totally original. I wanted it to be exactly the way it was when Eric Morecambe was driving it."

When the six-figure restoration was completed, Nick arranged for the Jensen to be re-united with Morecambe's loyal chauffeur Mike Fountain, his son Gary, and live-saver Walter Butterworth as part of an ITV documentary on Morecambe and Wise.

It will be offered for sale by Silverstone Auctions at the Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show auction, to be held at the NEC, Birmingham, on November 11 and 12 and is expected to sell for between £90,000 and £110,000.

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