Lancashire

Eric Morecambe's Jensen Interceptor sells for £96k

Eric Morecambe and his car Image copyright BBC/Silverstone Auctions
Image caption After his heart attack, Morecambe would travel in the two-seater with his wife and his driver

The car that comedian Eric Morecambe was driving when he had a heart attack has sold for £95,625 at auction.

The comic was at the wheel of the Jensen Interceptor after a show in 1968 when he suffered the non-fatal attack.

He then employed driver Mike Fountain, who said that - whenever the comic's wife was also a passenger - the star squeezed into the back and had to be "hoisted out... with a shoe-horn".

The car was sold at Warwickshire-based Silverstone Auctions.

Image caption The Morecambe and Wise shows drew millions of viewers, along with special guests like Des O'Connor

Born John Eric Bartholomew, the Lancashire-born comedian formed a much-loved double act with Ernie Wise on stage and television.

Their Christmas specials were a highlight of the festive period, attracting more than 27 million viewers in 1977.

The car's previous owner Nick Whale said he was inspired to find the vehicle after watching the comedian describe his heart attack to chat show host Michael Parkinson in 1972.

"My father turned to me and said 'that'd be a good car to own one day'," he said.

"I was nine or 10 at the time and it just stuck in my mind.

"As I got into the motor industry, I kept my eyes and ears open for that car."

Image copyright Silverstone Auctions
Image caption Morecambe suffered a heart attack while driving it just two months after he bought it

He said he found the car in Belgium in 2014 and brought it to the UK for restoration, but added that it was "time to let somebody else have some pleasure from it".

"For me, the fascination and the appeal was finding it and getting it back to its former glory," he said.

Mr Fountain said he had amusing memories of driving the star and his wife to events, where Joan Morecambe would "get out of the front in her ball gown" while Eric had to be "hoisted out of the back with a shoe-horn".

"It wasn't very elegant."

Morecambe died in 1984 when he suffered a second heart attack on stage shortly after his 58th birthday.

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