Around about 1970 when I was 13 years old I visited the Kelvin Hall in Glasgow to see a car exhibition called “The Jackie Stewart speed show”. For me the highlight of the day was seeing a fabulous futuristic car called the “Probe 2001”. What astonished me though was that this car was being offered for sale at a price little more than what my father had paid for the brand new white VW Beetle he owned.
The Dennis Adams designed –“ Probe 2001”
The “2001” was only 37” in height and featured an electrical roof assembly that slid forward to allow the occupants to get in and out. The car was a development of an earlier design called the Probe 16. This was even lower than the Probe 2001 with a height of only 34 inches.Entry was also gained by climbing in over the roof .
The Probe 16 went on to be featured in the film “A Clockwork Orange” directed by Stanley Kubrick and starring Malcolm Mcdowell.
The Probe 2001 was to be sold as a kit car based on BMC running gear. The car featured a mid engined transversemounted 1800 BMC engine. Sixteen Body shells of the Probe 2001 were produced between 1970 and 1972 (Four by Dennis Adams himself, and a further twelve by a company based in Irvine (Scotland) called The Caledonian Probe Motor company.
In retrospect, I believe that the Probe was the precursor that sparked my passion for this type of car and led me to eventually build my own Nova which is described later in this book.
I also suspected that the Probe may have influenced the Novas design (though this has never been acknowledged in any of the magazine articles and literature I have read about it’s design history). The unique scalloped wheel arches and opening roof are common features of both cars. Consequently, during my research for this book, when I spoke to Richard Oakes (who designed the Nova) I asked if this car had influenced him. He mulled this over for a few seconds and replied that he had been aware of the “Probe” design exercises (indeed he knew Dennis Adams) and although he had not been conscious of this at the time, perhaps the Probe did indeed have a subliminal effect on his design.
Later descendants of the Probe (called the Pulsar and the Centaur) went on to be sold as kit cars in the early seventies, but to me these variants were never as beautiful as either the Probes or the Nova.
I sold my car in 1986 but still have fond memories of it. In recent years my interest has been re-kindled from looking at websites created by enthusiasts of the marque. However, after searching for a book about the car I was disappointed to discover that as of 2006 it would appear none had ever been written. I therefore resolved to do all the research necessary to write my own book. This would also provide an outlet for a detailed diary and set of photographs I had kept from the time when I built my own car back in 1983/4
What follows is the result:-
(Extract from “The Nova/Sterling/Eureka Kit Car” Copyright © 2006 by P.J.Fenton)
The Nova Kit Car – This is the car I built in 1983 based on a kit from Nova Sports Cars