Saintly motor restored to former glory

By Dave GooderhamTHE sight of Roger Moore in hair-raising adventures and high-speed chases in The Saint thrilled millions of viewers who religiously tuned in to watch the cult television show.

By Dave Gooderham

THE sight of Roger Moore in hair-raising adventures and high-speed chases in The Saint thrilled millions of viewers who religiously tuned in to watch the cult television show.

But like Moore's subsequent outings as James Bond, it was not just the actor nor his escapades that made the show essential viewing.

For many, it was his Volvo P1800S, better known as ST1, which epitomised the show's panache and style.

A classic example of a sleek and sexy automobile befitting the lifestyle of the Simon Templar character, the sporty Volvo became an important part of the show during the 1960s.

But now a classic car enthusiast is hoping to return the vehicle to its formal glory - thanks to the help of a specialist mechanic from Suffolk.

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Tony Davey, 52, has been entrusted with the job of restoring the prized collector's piece after the car was bought by U.S. high school teacher, Bill Krzastek.

Mr Davey, who has a workshop near Bury St Edmunds, was asked to return the vehicle to its former glory because of the reputation he has built up in the USA for restoring classic cars.

“I am very pleased to be working on it as it obviously has a lot of history. It has got rust in places, but in terms of bodywork I have seen a lot worse cars. I am confident that when I finish with it, the car will be in mint condition,” he said.

Mr Davey follows in the footsteps of another Suffolk man whose path has crossed the car after Douglas Coles, former owner of the Stanton Caravan Site, near Bury St Edmunds, bought it for £985 in 1973.

Mr Coles, 86, who now lives in Great Barton, said: “It was very exciting driving in the same car as in the series. I was always a big fan of The Saint and I had the car for 12 years.

“I only sold it because my wife is small and couldn't reach the pedals. I loved the car and I would never have sold it had she been 6ft tall.”

Mr Krzastek, 52, bought the car for an undisclosed sum earlier this year and, speaking from his home in Virginia, he said: “I have always been a huge fan of the series from back when I was young and I would watch them regularly with my father.

“The programme had a certain amount of style, panache and adventure. It was a classic series with a classic automobile.

“It is a usable vintage car - it can keep up with today's traffic with ease. This is one of the most historical Volvos ever.”

He added: “This car needs to be seen not confined to deterioration in some museum's storage area. I feel that I have rescued it.

“The car has had a bit of a tough life, but it is still intact and it still has all the items which makes it such a historical item like the wooden steering wheel and fog lights.

“The car restores such fantastic memories for people. I now want it to be restored into its original running and condition order so I can take it around the United States and have it displayed.”

The car, believed to be one of three from the classic series, was actually registered by Moore, whose name appears in the logbook.

First seen in 1967, the car, and indeed the programme, was given a fitting send-off when in the final episode two years later, ST1 helped the Saint race to an airport to catch a helicopter and then was used to search for the villain's hideout in the country - all in a day's work.

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