For anyone, like me, who was a kid during the fierce competition to conquer space through the 1960’s part of the vision for the future included mandatory white jump suits, jet packs and incredibly cool cars like the Adams Probe 16 seen here at the Goodwood Festival of Speed earlier this year.
This design came about as a result of an investigation into the extremes of styling by Dennis and Peter Adams who are credited as having introducing a number of modifications to the Marcos GT which became the Marcos Fastback GT.
With a roof line at just 34″ above the ground, that is a full 6″ shorter than the Le Mans winning Ford GT 40 which took it’s name from it’s 40″ height, access to the Probe 16 is effected through a slide back glass roof panel.
It would appear that the three Probe 16’s were manufactured at the the old Marcos factory at Bradford on Avon in Wiltshire, power came from a mid mounted 4 cylinder motor sourced from, an at the time very common, front wheel drive Austin 1800.
Winning the award for the best British Styling Exercise at the London Motor Show in 1969 did not raise the public profile of this vehicle enough for it to go into volume production. Though four similar Probe 2001’s were manufactured by the Probe Motor Company and WT Nugent Engineering between 1970 and 1972. Up to 48 further vehicles which used some of the Probe 16 body moulds are thought to have been built under the Centaur brand.
Of the three original Probe 16’s one went to Wichita Lineman singer song writer Jim Webb, by way of complete contrast another Probe 16 went to Sunshine Of Your Love singer song writer Jack Bruce. Jack passed his Probe 16 on to Mountain drummer on the Nantucket Sleigh Ride Cody Laing.
However AB/4 seen here is arguably the most famous of the trio of Probe 16’s having played the role of Durango 95 in the Stanley Kubric ultra violence shock flic A Clockwork Orange. After its flirtation with the silver screen AB/4 spent many years in the Pollock Auto Showcase.
AB/4 still painted it’s original yellow, was repatriated in 1987 and featured in the pseudo comedy television series Top Gear at the beginning of the century.
More detailed information about all of the Probe 16 related cars can be found on the probe2001.com website, on the linked page some photos of AB/4 can be seen of the car being driven around Brands Hatch. Thanks to The Nostalgia Forum reader MCS the driver of the car at Brands Hatch has been identified as most likely being Ray Allen who immortalised his place in the annals of motor racing history for winning the worlds very first Formula Ford race.
My thanks to MCS and everyone else who contributed to the Adams Probe 16 thread at The Nostalgia Forum.
Thanks for joining me on this A Clockwork Orange edition of ‘Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres’, I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !