Sunday, May 5, 2024

Number 6' Lotus Seven


While drinks and guns may not be the standard trappings of Number 6’s preferred lifestyle, we do know that he has an affinity for automobiles, particularly his custom Lotus Seven that Patrick McGoohan drives around London during the famous opening credits.

The Prisoner lore tells that the original choice for Number 6’s car was a Lotus Elan. However, when Lotus marketing director Graham Arnold provided both an Elan and a Seven, McGoohan’s preference for the Seven made it his character’s signature set of wheels, painted in British racing green with a bright yellow nose and registered “KAR 120C”. McGoohan’s character proves to be just as invested in the car as the actor himself, explaining to Mrs. Butterworth in “Many Happy Returns” that he had assembled his Lotus himself from a kit and reciting the engine serial number: 461043TZ. (Curiously, McGoohan does drive an Elan in the episode “The Girl Who Was Death”.)

During the production gap before the finale was filmed, the screen-used Lotus had already been sold so Caterham reportedly converted an earlier Lotus to resemble Number Six’s green-and-yellow Seven for its appearance at the end of “Fall Out”, where it was driven by Caterham founder Graham Nearn.

A half-decade after The Prisoner concluded, Caterham Cars was officially founded and took over the reigns from Lotus as official producers of the Seven, continuing to offer both kits and fully assembled versions of the design. Among the thousands of the Caterham 7 cars manufactured in the nearly 50 years since production began, Caterham Cars did introduce a Prisoner-branded trim package in 1989 painted in Number 6’s preferred green-and-yellow livery.

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