Emma Peel was the best part of “The Avengers” and I am not referring to the Marvel Universe but rather the British TV series. Diana Rigg was perfectly cast for Emma Peel and, starting in Series 5, she rolled in an early production 1966 Lotus Elan S3 Drophead Coupé (registration number SJH 499D). For classic TV fans and automotive enthusiasts alike, it’s available for sale by Silverstone Auctions at its Race Retro Classic and Competition Car Sale 2023.
“The car is often described as an S3-SE but is, in fact, a high-spec standard pre-airflow car with the four bolt-crank, rope seal and blue cam-cover engine,” the listing states. “It was, however, fitted with knock-on wheels and polished sill trims similar to the SE. It was finished from new in Jaguar Opalescent Blue and has been faithfully repainted in the correct shade during its recent restoration. SJH 499D featured in 19 episodes and at the end of Series 6 the car was gifted to Diana Rigg by the TV production company, ABC Television.”
For raising Lotus’ international profile with strong product placement, Riggs was gifted SJH 499D, though she had only learned to drive for the TV show and wasn’t savvy behind the wheel. Riggs gifted the Lotus to a friend, who eventually sold it to her sister who lived in the United States.
The Lotus was eventually bought by Peter Nelson’s Cars of the Stars Museum in Keswick, U.K. and triumphantly returned to its birthplace. In 2011, it was acquired by Michael Dezer for his collection at the Miami Auto Museum and, by 2013, it was purchased by the current consignor, with the ‘Emma Peel’ Lotus headed back home to the U.K.
Ken and Neil Myers were commissioned to give the Lotus Elan S3 a full, body-off, long-term restoration, and the car retains its original chassis, body, engine and black leather seats. A Westminster radio transceiver was installed in the glovebox as an homage to those moments in “The Avengers” when Peel would contact her partner, John Steed.
The 1966 Lotus Elan S3 Drophead Coupé ‘Emma Peel’ has 2,552 miles and Silverstone Auctions’ estimated hammer price is £80,000 to £120,000 ($97,000 to $145,000).
Silverstone Auctions’ Race Retro Classic and Competition Car Sale 2023 is scheduled for Saturday, February 25, 2023.