News : Arthur Daley Daimler on offer in Birmingham

Minder 1981 Daimler Sovereign Saloon large

Not seen in public for nearly 12 years, Arthur Daley’s 1981 Daimler Sovereign from hit ITV show Minder is going under the hammer at Silverstone Auctions’ classic car sale during the Restoration Show at the NEC in Birmingham on 12 April.

The car was driven extensively by both Arthur (George Cole) and Terry (Dennis Waterman) from Series Four through to Six of the show, as well as featuring in two Christmas specials ‘Around The Corner‘ in 1984 and ‘Minder on The Orient Express‘ in 1985. For anyone with a love of this programme, the sale of this car is something of an opportunity to own an important part of its history.

MinderAccording to the seller, George Cole nearly bought the car himself back in 1985 but it was eventually decided to give the car away in a TV Times competition. However, this wasn’t exactly what George Cole wanted at the time.

He said in a Minder DVD commentary: ‘I was sitting in the Minder Jaguar and talking to the location manager and I said I must get myself a new car, because I was driving a rather battered Capri at the time.

‘He said, “Well why don’t you put an offer in for this Jag?” So I said, “Yes, I might do that.” So he got on to Jaguar and said would they give it a good service and make me an offer I couldn’t refuse. So they said “Yes” and that was that.

‘A couple of days later the phone rings, it was TV Times, they said “I understand you’re going to buy the Minder Jaguar?” and I said “Yes”. They said “Well, we want it, because we want to give it away as a prize in a competition”. So I said, “Well I’m sorry, I want it”.

‘So a few days later they ring up again, “If we get Jaguar to get you a very hefty discount on a new Jaguar, will you let us have the Minder Jaguar?”. So I sobbed a bit and said “Yes, alright”. So then I went down to present it someone who’d won in the raffle.’

After the TV Times giveaway, it remained in the same hands until 2003, when it was initially raffled, and then auctioned on eBay and bought by the current seller. The Portland beige paintwork is in superb order throughout and the car was subject to a restoration in 1986 and 1987. It is now being sold with a new MoT and six months’ tax.

The Daimler Sovereign is estimated at between £10,500 and £15,000 and presents the opportunity to own a piece of TV history.

The Managing Director of Silverstone Auctions, Nick Whale, said: ‘We’ve sold our fair share of famous vehicles in the past and it’s wonderful to be able to this lot to the list. This is a fantastic opportunity for collectors of television memorabilia as well as classic car fans.’

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Keith Adams


  1. I remember entering the TVTimes competition to try and win it, although had to put it in my Mother’s name as I was five years too young to get a provisional driving licence!

  2. “Large VAT please Dave and go easy on the tonic, I’ve had a most fractious day”.

    Trilby off in salute to the great George Cole. He still drives a Jag too in real life – a black X type.

  3. “…the car was subject to a restoration in 1986 and 1987.”

    Eh?? The ruddy thing was only built in ’81. Typical auctioneer’s blarney. Arfur would be proud.

  4. Interesting that the one on the front of the TV Times has a different registration from the real one!

  5. Yes.’the car was subject to sympathetic bodywork restoration 1986/1987′. More likely that dents and scratches during the filming of the series were ironed out and the rust spots treated.

  6. Odd that the producers chose a Daimler rather than the more common and obvious choice of a Jaguar. Waterman drove a blue Mk2 Capri if memory serves.

  7. Here’s a question- what would Arfur drive today? Plus who would play him? Frankly a BMW meets the bill….

  8. I think Arfur would still drive a Jaaaag Possibly XJ350 Or even a latest one
    Terry Im thinking more Focus ST?

  9. @Pedro

    I suggested an old 7 series in the other article but was shot down in flames, doused, buried and danced upon for even mentioning those 3 letters.

    As much as I am not a fan of the marque myself, (though have driven a 7, a comfortable big cruiser) I’d see (and have seen!) a wheeler dealer type driving one.

  10. I quite like the eighties 7 series as these were a formidable set of wheels and in this class rwd probably makes sense, it’s just rwd on Focus size cars is just so seventies now and makes BMWs dangerous in the wet and unpredictable for drivers who’ve only ever owned fwd cars.
    However, had fwd never really caught on and most cars were still rwd, we’d probably not notice the difference and the BMW would be no different to any other car.

  11. I think Jaguar would rather do without Arthur’s endorsement… thats why I consider BMW the best choice if you get where I’m heading.

  12. @Pedro

    Good call, but thinking from the character perspective…

    Arthur has seen the X type come and go. “Mondeo” based he heard from Clarkson-spouting ‘experts’ down the Winchester. He has seen the designs appeal to young professionals, the XF and the new XJ. He feels a bit left behind.

    The pre-Bangle 7 series is a nice safe design, still has presence, comfortable and a good boot for whatever the modern equivalent of knock off VCRs would be (knockoff netflix set top boxes?).
    The A8 is too much like a big A4, the S-class, well he’s seen too many Mercs back at the yard looking warranty work for his liking.
    Lexus LS – as a mindset of the 70s/80s he still hasn’t quite got his head around Japanese cars.

  13. @ Comment 9 – Tony Evans:

    VDU 342X looks suspiciously like a factory registered example, so I am not sure what its relevance is. The example featuring DYO 979V is definitely Arfur’s Daimler.

    I wonder whether any of the other examples he drove such as the Jaguar XJ Series 2 and the D/E registered Jaguar XJ12 Series 3 when his nephew Ray featured in place of Terry McCann, are still in existence?

  14. I reckon Arfur would be driving a Chrysler 300 C, a car that looks like a Bentley from a distance and is rather flash like its owner.

  15. VDU342X was a Jaguar factory test car, that was loaned to Euston films for the production of the series.Being a development vehicle, the car had a few features that were yet to be seen at the time on the XJ6.

    DYO979V was a fake number put on by Euston Films, as is nearly always the case. In saying that, it is a testament to the quality of the researchers that “DYO” was a London plate at the time.
    The best car of them all IMHO, and quite possibly the best TV show of all time.

  16. If Arfur was still on the manor today, I recon he would be smoking around in a Lexus LS 400, If not a 4/5 year old XJ.

  17. I reckon Terry, being a bit of a hard man, would probably want a butch four wheel drive.
    Chisholm would most likely be driving an unmarked Vauxhall Astra.

  18. I sometimes catch Minder when I’m at the gym as one of the TV’s on the wall has ITV3 on.

    It’s good fun to see what cars in the yard & in street shots.

  19. I suspect the modern equivalent of Arfur’s wheels would be a blacked out Range Rover. Terry would probably be in an E46 3-series with blingy wheels, that’s what bouncers drive these days.

    Up until a couple of years ago there were some heavy looking characters cruising the mean streets of Leith in Jag X300s, but current Jags seem to have lost the payment in used notes crowd. There was also a very scary looking Polish bouncer who drove an E38 7-series, who according to the Polish guys at work had a sideline as the man who made you pay your dodgy debts….

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