The Persuaders: Aston v Ferrari

The Persuaders was a wildly popular British television series, filmed between May 1971 and June 1972, starring Roger Moore and Tony Curtis. Moore played the aristocratic adventurer Lord Brett Sinclair, and Curtis took the role of Danny Wilde - a rough diamond from the Bronx who'd made a fortune on Wall Street.


The Persuaders opening credits

As an impressionable young boy, I vividly recall watching in wide-eyed wonder, as the pair of playboys cavorted around the Côte d'Azur, drinking, gambling and romancing, and fighting crime along the way. At the beginning of each episode, the opening credits played to John Barry's haunting theme tune, which sent shivers down my spine - it still does!


Roger as Brett, and Tony as Danny

I was in awe. Brett was suave and sophisticated, and Danny was so cool (I absolutely loved his biker jackets). To top it all, they both drove very nice motorcars. Brett had an Aston Martin. I was familiar with the Aston marque, as it had been made popular by another British fictional character a few years earlier, but I don't think I'd ever seen a Ferrari prior to Danny's 'Dino' appearing on our black and white television screen.


The Ferrari Dino in black and white

In 1972, my family invested in a colour television, and I saw The Persuaders in a new light. Roger Moore's flamboyant finery looked even more fabulous, and the cars shone like jewels against the Mediterranean backdrop - the Ferrari Dino 246 GT in Rosso, and the Aston Martin DBS in Bahama Yellow.


Dino and DBS meet in Monaco

Ferrari and Aston Martin were delighted to have their cars featured in the big budget television series, recognising that the glamorous setting, charismatic drivers and huge audience would be good for business. The Dino was Ferrari's first car to be manufactured in high volume, with 3,569 produced across the 246 GT and GTS (Spyder variant) between 1969 and 1974. The model was named after Enzo Ferrari's son, Alfredo, affectionately known as Dino to his family, who had tragically died at the age of 24 having suffered from Muscular Dystrophy.


The Ferrari Dino - a lasting legacy

The Aston Martin team were so thrilled to have their DBS starring in the show, they sent a mechanic from Newport Pagnell to look after the car, both throughout filming and off-set during publicity tours. Aston had recently unveiled their upgraded V8 version of the DBS, but the new model was not ready in time for the start of filming. A standard six-cylinder car was therefore disguised with V8-type hubs and wheels and V8 badging in order to take advantage of promoting the new vehicle's arrival.


The Aston gets the thumbs-up

The two cars were perfectly cast in the supporting roles to the main characters. The red Ferrari suited the fiery temperament of Curtis, whereas the yellow Aston matched Moore's mellow nature. One was compact and energetic, the other stately and powerful (even more so if it had received the V8 engine - the addition of which made the DBS V8 the faster four-seater car in the world at the time).  


Moore had more room for passengers

It was challenging as a 9 year old boy to consider whose style I should try to emulate, and which car I should drive. The Persuaders had spoilt me for choice. I knew that I would have to save all of my pocket money, but when the opportunity arrived to acquire one of the cars that I'd fallen for, I realised I was a few shillings short. The Persuaders Bahama Yellow Aston Martin DBS sold at Bonhams auction on 17th May 2014 for £533,500; a record price for the model.


The record-breaking Brett Sinclair DBS

A total of 24 episodes were filmed for the first series of The Persuaders, with plans to shoot a second, but the project was shelved when Roger Moore was offered the role of James Bond in "Live and Let Die" which began filming in October 1972. Moore played the part of 007 in seven Bond movies over a 13 year period, but ironically, he didn't get to drive an Aston Martin. Perhaps the DBS was much too difficult an act to follow. 

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