my dream car #1 – The Saint’s Jaguar XJS

The Saint’s Jaguar XJS

The Saint’s Jaguar XJS

Jaguar and Ian Ogilvy as The Saint

The Saint Ian Ogilvy with JaguarIn the late 1970’s Robert S. Baker starting gathering a production team for The Son of The Saint in which a young and up-and-coming star would play Simon Templar’s son. The idea would be to have Roger Moore introduce the series, and then occasionally have a small reoccurring role from time to time as was needed. There were a couple of issues with the idea, including the fact that Roger Moore was now tied up doing James Bond films most of the time. So the series transformed in The Return of The Saint with Ian Ogilvy playing the lead role of Leslie Charteris’ Simon Templar.

This time, when the producers approached Jaguar they were immediately given the latest Jaguar XJS sports car to have in the new TV series. Jaguar had by this time learned their lesson, and did not want a repeat of the Volvo 1800 taking what should have been a Jaguar E-Type’s role as The Saint’s car.

The Return of The Saint TV series with Ian Ogilvy only lasted two short years, and it turned out that was plenty of time to get a large amount of Jaguar Saint merchandise out on the market.

Jaguar supplied only one car to ITC for filming, although at least two other cars loaned from dealers local to the international locations were used in various shots. You can see some of the difference between the cars in ‘The Saint and the Brave Goose’ where in one shot the Jaguar has a sunroof, and in the very next shot the sunroof is missing. The original Saint’s Jaguar supplied directly from the factory was originally registered as PWK 530R and was marked as a XJ27 (aka XJS) test vehicle that British Leyland had borrowed previously to modify the engine and suspension. The chassis number was 2W 1138, with an engine number of 3S 1166 SA, and a gearbox numbered KM 1004 (the fourth manual gearbox fitted) A metal sunroof option was added, and the car features a rare V-12 with manual gearbox drive-train (99% of all V-12 XJS’ were equipped with automatic transmissions). The car was listed as number 138 on the right-hand drive list. The body number was 1409 with white exterior and a tan “cinnamon” leather interior. The car was built on August 22, 1975 and given to the television series, The Return of The Saint, on April 15, 1977.

The primary Jaguar XJS used in the shooting of Return of the Saint was found in 1993 by Saint fans David Cleary and Alisdair Stewart. The car was purchased by Alisdair and moved to Aberdeen. Alisdair sold the car a couple years later (around 1995) at a classic car auction to a car dealer named Ivor Bleaney of IB Classic Cars. It was then sold on to an owner in the Scottish (Shetland) Islands, where it was stored in a shed for a few years before the owner tried to sell the car in 2003.

The XJ-S was sold in 2003 to the current owner, who returned it to London at that time. In 2008 it was moved to the Northwest part of the UK. The car continues to be restored and driven, having passed MOT on first attempt after those years of storage. As of April 2008, the registration has been changed from PWK 530R to something a little more personalized.

Here are a few more notes from the current owner:

  • No, the car is not for sale at this time. He has thought about it from time to time, and at this point wants to keep it.
  • The car was featured in Classic Cars magazine sometime around 2003/2004, with photos taken outside The Saint’s house in Eaton Mews.
  • The car has not been shown in public for a long time, and there are some plans shaping up for a few UK car shows in 2008.
  • The car is owned by a private individual, so make the most of any public showings.
  • The condition is mechanically sound, with the full restoration still in process. The car needs a bit more daily driving to identify any flaws in the drive-train.
  • It will be repainted at some point to get a better finish on it — the car wants stripping to bare metal and repainting.
  • The interior is in excellent condition and will be kept original.
  • The Saint’s Jaguar is quicker than most old XJS’s and hit 133mph on a private track recently with more to offer. It handles well and doesn’t roll as much as normal XJS’s.
  • It has a little Saint stickman on the bonnet that obviously wasn’t in the series. People do stop and ask about the car.
  • The car came with a big info folder with pics/receipts for work done etc and a certificate from Jaguar confirming it was the main car used.

Additional facts about The Saint’s Jaguar:

  • The car supplied to the TV studio was an early prototype XJS built in 1975.
  • The car was numbered 138 of the right-hand drive models (left-hand drive models were numbered on a separate sheet)
  • The power-train was a V-12 engine with a four-speed manual transmission. The gearbox was number 4 of the manual versions.
  • The Saint’s Jaguar was used in 20 of the 24 episodes of Return of The Saint, starring Ian Ogilvy.
  • The original 1977 registration was PWK 530R and had false ST 1 plates when shooting the television show.
  • Simon Templar has a mobile car phone added to his Jaguar XJS — quite a rarity for 1978.
  • The Saint’s Jaguar was unique due to special features of a sunroof and a manual gearbox.
  • The car used in the series still exists, having been stored for a few years in a car museum on the Shetland islands.
  • The original car was offered for sale on eBay in 2003, and is one of only 352 XJS’ with a manual gearbox.
  • The first car was replaced with a second XJS for the last four episodes after Ogilvy reportedly burned out the clutch.
  • There were actually three different cars used in the filming of Return of The Saint, and the differences are as listed:

    Primary Car (PWK 530R): Tan Interior / Factory steel sunroof / Manual Gearbox / Silver B-posts / Bullet type mirrors; used in 13 episodes: 2,4,6,7,8,10,12,14,15,16,20, & 24
    Alternate 1: Black Interior / Jaguar “Leaper” ornament fitted to rear of bonnet (not a factory installation on any XJS) / Automatic transmission / Black B-posts / Bullet mirrors / “Supercover” Warranty services window sticker; used in 6 episodes: 1,5,13,19,21, & 22
    Alternate 2: Tan Interior / Automatic transmission / Black B-posts / Non adjustable mirrors; used in 7 episodes: 6,7,8,10,15,16, & 24

    1. The Judas Game – Car seen in opening and closing shot only
    2. The Nightmare Man
    3. Duel In Venice – Car not used
    4. One Black September
    5. The Village that sold it’s Soul – Italian location used in a few shots
    6. Assault Force
    7. Yesterdays Heroes
    8. The Poppy Chain
    9. The Arrangement
    10. The Armageddon Alternative – Mainly seen on the M4 and in underground car park.
    11. The Imprudent Professor – Car not used
    12. Signal Stop
    13. The Roman Touch
    14. Tower Bridge is Falling Down – Open shot only.
    15. The Debt Collectors – Bit of a car chase around the Wembley Gasworks
    16. Collision Course Part 1
    17. Collision Course Part 2 – Car not used
    18. Hot Run – Car not used
    19. Murder Cartel
    20. The Obono Affair
    21. Vicious Circle
    22. Dragonseed – Car not used
    23. Appointment in Florance
    24. The Diplomat’s Daughter – The Saint chases his own car on his motorbike (ST2 of course)

    The black interior car was used for the episodes filmed in Europe, and the alternate tan interior car was used for second unit shooting in the UK. There is one exception to the rule as during the filming of the the two-part “Brave Goose” episodes the continuity was all over the place due to the fact that the primary car (PWK 530R) was also used in France.

    According to Ian Ogilvy he requested to use the car to drive back from Italy to England with his family when filming had been completed but he managed to burn the clutch out after only a few miles. This differs from reports that the only car used in European location shooting was the black interior automatic transmission version, so burning out a clutch would have been difficult to do.

    Corgi Toys

    The Saint's Jaguar by Corgi with Sonic ControlCorgi Toys (Great Britain) #M5310, The Saint’s Jaguar XJS Sonic Control

    With the new hit TV series Return of The Saint starring Ian Ogilvy making its debut in 1978, the Corgi toy company release a number of new toy cars with permission of Leslie Charteris. The most novel of all these was the sonic controlled Jaguar XJS. It featured a 3-control gun for stop, backwards turn, and forward. It was battery operated and featured a giant Saint logo on the hood of the car.

    This car was also the largest of all the Saint cars that Corgi released, measuring in at ten inches long from bumper to bumper.

    Corgi Return of The Saint's Jaguar XJSCorgi Toys (Great Britain) #320, The Saint’s Jaguar XJS

    This finely detailed model was larger than the small Hot Wheels, Matchbox, or Corgi Jr sized cars. It featured opening doors and The Saint logo again plastered on the hood of the car.

    This car was re-released recently in a new box with a little Ian Ogilvy Simon Templar figure.

    The Saint: Jaguar XJS with Simon Templar figure

    This collector’s set from Corgi Classics features a die-cast metal Jaguar XJ-S and a Simon Templar figurine.

    Jaguar XJS with Simon Templar figureWhen The Saint returned to television in the late ’70s, Ian Ogilvy had replaced Roger Moore as the enigmatic hero and a slinky Jaguar XJ-S took the place of the beloved Volvo P-1800. This collector’s set from Corgi Classics, the legendary British toy-maker, captures this era in Saint history. Reproduced in die-cast metal at a 1:36 scale, the white Jag has a host of working features and impressive detail, and its driver looks suitably snazzy in his sport jacket and black turtleneck. A must for true fans of The Saint.

    Buy The Saint’s Jaguar XJ-S from A&E

    Revell Scale Models

    The Saint's Jaguar Model by RevellRevell Models (USA) #6402, The Saint’s Jaguar XJS

    This model kit in 1/25 scale from Revell featured an easy to assemble snap-together construction technique that didn’t require any gluing. Molded in two colors, there was also no need to paint.


    • The same car driven by Ian Ogilvy as Simon Templar in the TV series, “The Return of the Saint”
    • Easy-To-Assemble, snap-together construction
    • No painting or gluing required
    • Detailed instrument panel and interior
    • Opening bonnet
    • Mobile telephone
    • One-piece body
    • Detailed 5.3 liter V-12 overhead cam engine
    • Detailed undercarriage
    • Low profile Dunlop SP Sport tires on five-spoke Jaguar wheels

    This car was The Saint’s primary mode of transportation, and the registration number was the unique ST1 on the Jaguar’s license plates.

    Photos of the primary Jaguar XJS used In The Return of The Saint

    Side of Jaguar XJS in 2008 Here is the most recent photo of the original XJ-S that Jaguar supplied to The Return of The Saint. As you can see, it looks great and is driving around the British countryside. Keep your eyes open! This is the first of four pictures the new owner took for us in May 2008.
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    Front of Jaguar XJS in 2008 Beautiful car. This is the second of four pictures the new owner took for us in May 2008.
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    Rear shot of Jaguar XJS in 2008 Here is a great shot of the interior; all orginal, as supplied from Jaguar. Yes, these are the very seats that Ian Ogilvy once graced. Note also the Saint’s mobile phone, as seen on the TV show. This is third of four pictures the new owner took for us in May 2008.
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    Rear of Jaguar XJS in 2008 Somewhat of an action shot, and as you can sort of tell… the car is no longer registered as PWK 530R. This is fourth of four pictures the new owner took for us in May 2008.
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    Rear shot of Jaguar XJS PWK 530R This picture is of the Jaguar XJ-S, still registered as PWK 530R, circa 2008 — as you can see, it is still alive and well and roaming the roads of the Northwest United Kingdom. The tan seats and sunroof are visible in this photo.
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    Rear shot of Jaguar XJS PWK 530R Rear shot of the Jaguar XJS registered as PWK 530R, which was supplied to The Return of The Saint TV show for primary shooting. This photo is circa 1995/6, just after it was sold by Dealer Ivor Bleaney (note his dealer sticker in rear window). You can see that the car has had the 1975 rear tail lamps (with the black infills) replaced by the later silver infilled units — these same silver units can be seen in several shots in the TV series. The exhaust tail pipes have also been changed as the originals were a different shape and somewhat shorter.
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    Interior of The Saint's Jaguar Interior of The Saint’s Jaguar during the time Alisdair Stewart owned the car. Circa 1994.
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    Photo of the back of the Saint's Jaguar The Saint’s Jaguar XJS as seen from the back. This photo was taken in Scotland around 1994.
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    Side shot of the white Jaguar XJS used in The Return of The Saint Side shot of the white Jaguar XJS used in The Return of The Saint. Photo circa 1994, courtesy of David Cleary.
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    The Saint's White Jaguar XJS on the film set The Saint’s white Jaguar XJS on the set of The Return of The Saint during the filming of the episode, “Vanishing Point” in May 1977. This episode was renamed as “Collision Course: Part 1” and then later released as the movie, “The Saint and the Brave Goose”. This is the second alternate car as there is no sunroof and the B-posts are black. It is hard to see, but the interior appears to be tan.
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    Photos of Ian Ogilvy and The Return of The Saint’s Jaguar XJS

    Ian Ogilvy with The Return of The Saint Jaguar XJS Ian Ogilvy, the star of The Return of The Saint, sitting on the bumper of his white Jaguar XJS.
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    Ian Ogilvy Hiding Behind his white Jaguar XJS Action shot of Simon Templar, played by Ian Ogilvy, hiding behind his Jaguar XJS in an episode of the TV show The Return of The Saint. This is the first alternate car due to the black interior and black B-posts.
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    The Saint Ian Ogilvy with his Jaguar XJS Ian Ogilvy standing in front of The Saint’s Jaguar XJS.
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