Durango 95… Proper Horrorshow

Cars Culture

There’s a bit of an accidental filmic mini theme emerging this week. So for Friday’s offering meet the The Probe, star of Stanley Kubrick’s epoch making film “A Clockwork Orange” .

This special low slung piece of period imagineering was built by engineers Dennis and Peter Adams. Launched at the London Car Show of 1969, it shared a stand with manufacturer Marcos. The Adams brothers had worked for Marcos – and with this pet project wanted to see how far they could push design under their own brand.

The original issue, the Probe 15, stood just 29 inches tall. Such a ridiculously low profile meant that their couldn’t be doors fitted, so drivers were expected to climb into the cockpit via the siding roof, a bit like the setup in the Pininfarina’s Modulo concept.

The body was made of a mixture of plywood and resin and the mechanical underpinnings were pure Hilmann Imp. The 900 cc unit and running gear would have given the Probe a terminal velocity of a very unspectacular 85 MPH.

The Probe 16, which came next, was a full five inches taller than the original and rocked a more powerful Austin 1800 engine. The package retained the ethereal feeling of science fiction and make-do-and-mendthat fitted the early seventies era perfectly.

Only three Probe 16s were ever completed – one apparently bought by American composer Jimmy Webb, one by Jack Bruce of Cream. The third was, of course, used by Kubrick, though no one seems to know where this car ended up.

Rumour has it that there are a number of Probe shells still kicking around in people’s back yards – and a version was apparently pieced together last year. Any word to where this iconic oddity might be would be greatfully appreciated.