Jimmy Savile's bubble car and Rolls to be auctioned
As one would expect from Sir Jimmy Savile, his car collection was nothing if not eccentric.
His Range Rover converted to a sort of mini motor-caravan was auctioned recently, and now his Isetta bubble car and Rolls-Royce Corniche are going under the hammer – for charity, naturally.
Savile, who died at the very grand old age of 85, left no fewer than 550 items (not all cars, of course), to be auctioned by Dreweatts for the Sir Jimmy Savile Charitable Trust at Saviles Hall Leeds on July 30.
The Rolls-Royce Corniche is from 2002 and is number 46 of the 56 so-called 'Last of Line' models. These were produced by Rolls-Royce to mark the end of 56 years of production at its historic Crewe plant – a related commemorative plaque is mounted on the centre console. It is one of only nine built in right-hand drive and carries the registration JS 247 – 247 metres medium wave being the frequency on which Radio 1 was broadcast from 1967 to 1978 (medium wave is AM to anyone under 30 years old). It is in silver with a cream leather interior, the car is understood to have covered just 4,420 miles from new and has an estimated value of between £60,000 and £90,000.
The BMW Isetta was bought by Sir Jimmy in 1965 while a resident DJ at the New Elizabethan Ballroom, Belle Vue, Manchester. It has apparently had a full body restoration, and comes complete with the roof-mounted orange warning light fitted by the owner after he and the car had nearly been flattened by a lorry whose driver had failed to see them. Among those to have accompanied Sir Jimmy in the Isetta is the Duke of Edinburgh, who Savile apparently collected from Aylesbury railway station – the Duke's reaction was not recorded.
If you are wondering about the BMW badge, BMW took out a licence to build the Italian Isetta when it was teetering on the verge of bankruptcy in the mid 1950s. BMW stopped production in 1962 when, under new ownership, it introduced its first mid-sized saloon (the distant ancestor of today's 3 Series). It's a nice connection that the people who made the bubble car ended up making the Corniche as well - Rolls-Royce having been under BMW ownership since 1998.
The Isetta carries an estimate of £5,000-8,000.