The aim of this site is to build a comprehensive library of information on the Adams Probe series of cars, especially the Probe 2001 model. Including history of the marque, current whereabouts of surviving cars, parts and moulds. Any help gratefully received.  


Many thanks to Colin Feyerabend, Richard Cooke, Terry Smith, Christian Fey, Carsten Bussman, Richard Harris, Mark Brittain, David Coles, Ian Tompsett, Mark Thompson, Simon Benoy, Steve Groves, Robert & Norman Gourlay, Marc Geach, Tony Fahey, Pierre L, David Farmer and Phil Karam for their own contributions, comments and corrections to date.


From the “Unofficial Marcos” Web Site:

Alongside and following their work on the Marcos brand, Dennis and Peter Adams produced a number of 'Probe' cars. These caused a great stir with their ultra-futuristic, if not totally practical, styling.

The Adams Design Probe Number 15 (More commonly known as the Probe 15) was initially a design study in 1969 and created significant interest. It was of ultra low build being only 29 inches high but was impractical. Access was through the sliding roof. The 875cc engine and transmission were Hillman Imp based, but it was really not practical for production and only one was ever built (although it seems a second bodyshell was later modified to fit a VW Bettle floorpan).... (Website editor note: It was a Probe 16 that was modified to take a VW floorpan)

All the Probes continued the Marcos wood monocoque and GRP body construction.

The Probe 16 was exhibited at the 1969 London Motor Show and was taller at 34 inches making it slightly more practical. It used an Austin 1800cc engine mounted amidships and access was now by an electrically operated sliding roof.
The Probe 16 is also famous at the Durango from cult film, A Clockwork Orange. Only 4 (or 5...) cars
(website editor update - only 3 were made ) were made (at £3650 each - Almost £50,000 in today's money) to this design before the 1970 Probe 2001 was announced. This model retained the Austin 1800cc engine but the height was again raised to 37 inches. The body was revised and incorporated a roll-over cage and an aerodynamic rear spoiler. A total of about 20 Probes are believed to have been made before production ceased in 1972. (website editor update - we believe that there was only one Probe 15, three Probe 16’s and five , possibly six, Probe 2001’s were ever completed, a total of nine or ten cars including the mysterious 2001, MUT 273L)

A Probe 7001 was shown as a mock up (looking not unlike a Scimitar GTE and supposedly to feature a 7 litre Oldsmobile engine), but none were made.

The Centaur was developed (as a kitcar) from the original Probe 15 design and  featured Imp mechanicals and engine.


From the “Imps for ever” website

Probe 15

In 1968 the very low Probe 15 saw the light, a 29" high plastic-fantastic. This example of Dennis Adams' remarkable ideas on kit cars never saw production, but it was noted.Two were made, (the second had a VW chassis...(Webmaster note .. It was actually a Probe 16 that was modified for a VW floor pan, the second 15 shell was modified to form the pattern for the Probe 16 moulds and ended up with Peter Timpson of Centaur ). It was manufactured in Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire by Dennis and Peter Adams to test out ideas on shape and styling. It was first seen by the public at the 1969 Racing Car Show, on the Marcos stand, and (again on the Marcos stand) at Olympia by courtesy of Jem Marsh of Marcos Cars ltd.  When the car got so much interest at the shows, production was planned, but it never happened.

 It has 10" wheels up front and 13" wheels on the back. Entry was gained via a sliding glass roof. On sunny days this had better be left open to combat the greenhouse effect. The front screen was perfectly flat, swept by a single double bladed wiper. All the other transparent material wasn't glass but perspex. Inside the car the driver's legs straddled the steering column support.

It had standard Imp Sport running gear throughout.Few cars have ever caused such a media storm as the Probes. Dennis Adams, stylist of the Marcos 1800 decided to build the lowest car he could: his Design Probe Number 15 (shortened to Probe 15 by the press) was just 29 inches high, with passenger access via a sliding roof. An 875cc Imp engine provided the power.

When it appeared at the 1969 Racing Car Show, press agencies went berserk. The Probe 15 appeared on the front pages of newspapers from Sydney to Baghdad, and there was no shortage of rich and famous potential punters either. However, despite plans to productionise it, the Probe 15 was simply too impractical and only one was made..

The Probe 15  project passed to Peter Timpson’s Concept cars who marketed is as the Centaur GT. The name 'Probe' was retained by the Adams Bros.  Peter Timpson subsequently sold the moulds onto John Smith and Derek Green, but kept the Centaur name. John & Derek marketed the car as the Pulsar

Probe 16

The Probe 16, instigated by the Daily Telegraph for it's stand at the 1969 Motor Show, made some concessions to practicallity, having an electric roof/door and five inches more height. It also had a mid-mounted BMC 1800 engine. Once again production targets were set, but only three 16s were made.

Phillip Karam (Ottawa, Canada) contacted me November 2003, writing that he actually has a Probe 16 which has been his for the last 30 years. He met with Dennis and Peter Adams in 1999, as well as with Colin Feyerabend. One of only two such cars in the world (Webmaster note .. There are actually 3 in existence)  this pristine, museum-quality Probe 16, designed and built by the Adams Brothers, represents 'An investigation into extremes of styling'.

Dennis (designer) and Peter (engineer) Adams were, prior to Probe 16, well established with respect to 'futuristic' car construction, based on their contributions to the design and racing success of the Marcos car series.

Of the three Probe 16s built, the first was sold to famous American songwriter Jim Webb and is believed to have been burnt quite early (webmaster note .. This car still exists in  unrestored state). The second Probe 16 (AB/3) was completed in 1969 and exhibited in the 1969 London Motor Show. With the intention to initiate a British Styling showpiece stand at the '69 Motor Show, the Daily Telegraph Magazine cooperated with the Institute of British Carriage and Automobile Manufacturers to show the Probe 16 on the IBCAM stand – where it obtained a tremendous reception and won the design award as the best British styling exercise. This second Probe was originally sold to bassist Jack Bruce.  Corky Laing was the second owner of one of the cars. He got it from Bruce for a birthday present. Mr. Laing was and is the drummer for the band 'Mountain', and was in a band called 'West, Bruce and Laing' when the gift was given, hence the link. He wrote a book called 'Stick it', with photos. There is an audio version that just came out on 'Voiceprint', a UK label. The car  later became the property of a Canadian collector and car designer Dr. Clyde Kwok until 1983. Since then it has been in the private collection of Phil Karam.


The third (and only other) Probe 16 (AB/4) had been displayed at the 'Pollock Auto Showcase' in USA until returned to the U.K. around 1990, by Colin Feyerabend, where it is undergoing a complete rebuild and restoration. (webmaster note, this car is now fully restored) He told Phil Karam in 2001 that his Probe was on a hoist, improperly, and it broke in half. (webmaster note it didn’t actually break in half , somebody tried to jack it up from underneath and it caused a localised crack, only a couple of inches long which has been long since repaired.) This Probe 16 also starred in the film A Clockwork Orange, by the late filmmaker Stanley Kubrick.


Probe 2001

1970 - 1972

The 2001 had a BMC 1800, mounted midships, like the 16. It had been redesigned, gaining eight inches. It's 37" height included an aero-foil, which would also give some protection and strength to the mainly perspex roof. To admit passengers, the roof would (electrically-operated) slide forwards, the seats back- and upwards.

The Probe 2001 did actually make it into production. Arriving in 1970, it was now 37 inches high and sported a distinctive roof aerofoil. Four were built by Adams himself. But after eight months and four cars, Adam's firm was on shaky ground. (webmaster note: we believe the Adams  produced three or four finished cars, two body shells and the mock up prototype) Then the project moved in 1971 to Scotland, to two concerns. The 2001 project was bought by a Scottish firm who had another dozen bodyshells made up to 1972. (webmaster note: despite employing Peter adams to manufacture additional shells, these were never delivered) Caledonian Probe Motor Co., Irvine, Ayshire (webmaster note: this company did not actually produce any finished cars)

The Probe 2001 was to be sold as a kit car based on BMC running gear and 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. (webmaster note: The Adams did in fact produce  either 5 or 6 shells . Also, despite the Caledonian Probe Motor Company employing Peter Adams to manufacture additional shells, these were never delivered to Scotland and it’s believed they were never actually produced)

The last Probe (the 7000: an Oldsmobile-engined show car with a central driving position) was also dragged down when the firm collapsed.
Ironically, the most successful Probe variants were kit car derivatives called the Centaur and, later, the modified Pulsar made from 1974 to 1982. About 50 Centaurs and Pulsars were built, all with Imp engines.


From Phill Fenton’s book “The Nova, Sterling, Eureka Kit Car”

I also suspect 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. Phill’s book is available to purchase and preview at this link:


Extract From Peter Filmby’s Book “Specialist Sports Cars”

Moving into the old Marcos premises at the Wharf in Bradford on Avon, the Adams brothers production of the Probe 2001 went ahead on their own accord, without the funding from a businessman who had promised financial backing. The Probe 2001 had sharper bodywork than the Probe 16 and was heightened to 37 inches and gained 4 inches in length overall with greater boot space. The glassfibre and plywood monocoque body/chassis unit was still used and most cars completed had independent suspension all round and standard BMC 1800 cc engines (webmaster note: only one of the completed cars, had independent front suspension). Just above the seats was an external aerofoil that encased a full roll bar, an attention to detail that should have made the 18cwt Probe 2001 a most successful car. Eight months after going into production, and after four cars had been completed, liquidation reared it’s ugly head. Production rights for the Probe 2001 were sold to WT Nugent (engineering) Ltd of Ayrshire, Scotland. Setting up another workshop in Bradford on Avon with old Probe Motor Company employees early in 1971, this company proceeded to build a further six body/chassis units there before taking the moulds back to Scotland. (webmaster note: despite employing Peter Adams to manufacture additional shells, these were never delivered to Scotland and it’s believed they were never actually produced. The moulds themselves never actually passed into Nugents’ hands either)

During 1972, additional cars were built before the project was again sold, (webmaster note: Nugent’s did not complete any cars) this time to an Edinburgh concern (website editorial addition: This buyer believed to be to the son of a director of the Bank of Scotland... when WT Nugent Ltd into liquidation.). It is estimated that as many as sixteen Probe 2001’s have been completed. (webmaster note: we believe that no more cars were completed after the Adams Bros ended their involvement - ie only 3 or 4 cars were finished, by the Adams and two additional body shells produced)


Extract from “Specialist Sports Cars” by Richard Hesletine

In the rarefied world of British Specialist car designers, one name continues to garner praise from all quarters - Dennis Adams. Famed for creating the Marcos 1800, he has created more than 20 hugely original machines in a 40 year career, ranging from sports-racing cars to luxury off-roaders; micro cars to ‘30’s style roadsters. After splitting with Marcos  Dennis, along with his younger brother and long-time cohort Peter, set up a design consultancy. They were responsible for a raft of distinctive and highly unusual projects, which included a single seater commuter car that could be parked on its tail, and a low slung sports-car intended for production in Israel. But., far and away the most notorious of their creations was the short-lived Probe series. Unveiled to a shell-shocked audience on the Marcos stand at the ‘69 Racing Car Show, the Adams designed Probe 15 (so named as it was Dennis’s fifteenth car design ) was the undoubted star, the motoring press launched into hyperbole overload over the outlandish newcomer. And it wasn’t difficult to see why. Intended as a “an investigation into the extremes of styling”. It was the lowers car in the world, the top of it’s domed roof sitting just 29 inches above the ground. The Probe 15 was so low that doors were neither necessary nor possible. To gain entry to the avant garde cockpit you simply slid back the roof over the rear deck and stepped aboard,. The roof could then be left back for open motoring. Other unusual features included electric pop up headlights, adjustable pedals, a steering wheel with a two-inch dish and a massive near-flat windscreen that visibly shimmied in the centre through being so close to the horizontal. However, beneath the science-fiction facade was nothing more exotic than Hillman Imp running gear mounted aboard the plywood and glassfibre monocoque. With a top speed of around 80mph (and not the originally stated 120mph), it lacked the performance to back up it’s supercar looks, and the mooted production run was dropped as the Adams brothers turned their attentions to creating a more powerful variant - the Probe 16.

A development of the 15, this new model sported a new upper body section with a glass roof that slid back on runners at the press of a button. A lofty 34 inches high, it was marginally more practical (all things being relative ), and with its mildly tuned Austin 1800 engine mounted amidships, was considerable faster than its predecessor. Hideously expensive at £3650, the first Probe 16 went to singer Jim Webb, the second to bass player Jack Bruce, who were typical of the clientele that the car attracted. Its fame spread still further following an appearance in Stanley Kubrick's seminal movie,  A Clockwork Orange ( A spooky coincidence as Dennis Adams later designed a clockwork apple for Corgi that sprouted plastic maggots! )

With proposed funding from an enthusiastic businessman, work then commenced on what would would be the definitive production Probe - the 2001. Though originally intended for V8 power, this latest variant ultimately retained the hefty BMC 1800 motor, enlarged to 2 litres. The 16’s body was further revised with a steeper windscreen helping to raise the overall height up to a heady 37 inches.  The rear styling of the 2001 aped that of an earlier sports-racer that Dennis Adams had styled for the Anglia Racing Organisation in conjunction with John Tojiero. Originally planned to have gull wing doors, the 2001 ended up retaining the sliding roof entry system of the earlier probes. Taking electrical gimmickry one step further the 2001 added electric seats that slid backwards and upwards to allow occupants to step onto the floor on entry , rather than the seat. An aerofoil was another new addition to the 2001, which enclosed a roll over bar. The first 2001 was produced in April 1970. The original backer disappeared and the Adams Bros. went it alone while simultaneously designing yet another Probe, this time a five seater sporting estate dubbed the 7000 in deference to its 7-litre Oldsmobile V8 engine. Unlike its smaller siblings, this new model sported conventional doors on its timber monocoque, with Jaguar E-type front and rear suspension (Webmaster note: we believe it had S-type, rather than  e-type front & rear suspension.) Sponsored by the Daily Telegraph Magazine design scheme, a mock-up was displayed at the 1970 Motor Show. (Webmaster note: we dont believe the car was displayed at the 1970 motorshow, indeed we dont believe a finshed prototype was ever produced)  Sadly, without the necessary funding to continue developing both cars, the firm soon slipped into liquidation.   The production tally was pitiful with a lone Probe 15, three 16’s and three to five 2001’s , giving a grand total of just eight to ten genuine Probes. The 7000 was apparently scrapped almost as soon as the mock-up was completed. The brothers turned to creating bespoke wrought ironwork, but that wasn’t the end of the story. A Dutch Volkswagen dealer had approached the Adams brothers in 1970 with a view to selling Probes with Beetle running gear I Holland. A 15 body was widened and lengthened by six inches for the new application, but the project was swiftly abandoned, the unfinished project passing into the hands of Jonathon Wilde. (Webmaster note: this was actually based on a Probe 16 body, not a Probe 15 one) The Wiltshire enthusiast completed the car, modifying the roof with perspex gullwing doors, and incorporating faired-in headlights, along with a prominent bonnet bulge to house two spare wheels, which did nothing for the car’s looks. Powered by an asthmatic 1.2 litre flat four, the Wilde-Probe proved painfully slow and was ultimately scrapped. (Website editor note - we think this car may in fact still be in existence - see known cars page)

Meanwhile, the manufacturing rights for the Probe 2001 were bought by Ayrshire engineering firm, WT Nugent (Engineering) Ltd.   This firm commissioned Peter Adams to produce a further dozen monocoques.  It appears that none of these 12 monocoques  were ever completed into full cars. Around the same time the moulds for the widened Probe 15  acquired by Peter Timpson (webmaster note : it was actually the second Probe 15 body shell, modified to form the pattern for the Probe 16 moulds that Peter Timpson got)  who used them as the basis for a much modified new kit car , the Centaur which was launched in 1974, which ironically outsold all the probes, around 25 being made up till 1977. Timpson also produced a one-off space framed version of the 2001, dubbed the Timire and a radically altered Probe 16, dubbed the Pulsar. ( webmaster note: Peter Timpson’s car was called the centaur .. Based on the Probe 15 using the Probe 16 mould pattern, The Pulsar was the name used by Mirage developments who acquired the centaur moulds etc from Peter Timpson)

With the benefit of hindsight, it seems almost inevitable that the Probe series seemed doomed from the outset, as they were perhaps too adventurous for British

tastes. Even so, the deigns still look outlandish, which is a testament to the Adams’ brothers artistic talents


Correspondence between Terry Smith and Dennis Adams (August 2010)

Dennis confirmed the following:

1.  Two Probe 15 shells were made. One is Goran Mitevski’s car (LJO 948 J) , the second was remodelled to form the pattern for the Probe 16 moulds

2. The very first Probe 16 shell was the one that was then adapted for VW mechanicals and  was sold on to Jonathon Wilde when the VW project fell through. It went on to be the “Wilde Probe”

2. The remodelled 15 that formed the pattern for the Probe 16 moulds was passed onto Peter Timpson who used it to produce the prototype Concept Centaur car (PNV 372M)





































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































Adams Probe 15 Adams Probe 16 Adams Probe 2001

The Biagi 701

Paul Biagi Karting

The fastest time of day at the Rest-and-be-Thankful hill climb in Scotland was put up by Paul Biagi using a Buckler Bultaco GoKart. He was two seconds quicker than the fastest car, a 3.8 litre Jaguar. ... Karting magazine August 1961

Often, these early karts were developed by enthusiastic amateurs. The Biagi 701 (so called because it took 701 hours to build) developed in 1962 by Scottish engineer Paul Biagi is typical of these early pioneers of the sport. This amazingly sophisticated looking machine incorporated independent suspension at all four corners. These days, most kart racers must rely on the tyres and their own backsides for any sort of ride comfort!......   


Ad Hoc Notes


1.   3 yellow 2001’s (one with Independent front suspension) and 1 lime green (LHD, auto) came out of Bradford in Avon (DC Nov 2010)


2.  Nugent's employed Peter Adams for a short while to produce up to 12 2001 monocoques


3.  The 2001 moulds passed onto Peter Timpson of centaur . Peter Timpson also had at least one 2001 monocoque, their moulds passed onto RC who still has the   main parts


4. The second 15 was used to make the form for the 16 moulds.


5. RH had a set of Probe 16 moulds that he bought from a motor trader in Swanley via an Exchange & Mart advert. He sold the remaining mould parts onto CF in 1996


6. From DC (Jan 2010): When Probe was sold to Nugent’s the plan was to produce and supply in advance parts to produce 5 cars along with the moulds and jigs I know for sure that the listed items below were ready when I departed Adams 2 weeks before the final handover.



         2 PROBE 2001 CARS CHASSIS NUMBERS  P2 AND P2001

         2 PROBE 2001 CHASSIS COMPLETE (including chassis number P3 ?)


7. From Bill Nugent of WT Nugent (engineering) Ltd . Bill first saw TMR 222J at the back of a garage in London, it was green at this point. At first he intended to just buy that individual car. He did of course end up buying the production rights to the Probe 2001, intending to start producing the car with business partner Paul Biagi. Along with TMR 222J, the Scottish concern acquired a 2nd complete car, PCS 314J. This second car was still in primer when they got it. In addition to the two complete cars, they also acquired two body shells. The actual moulds however never made it to Scotland nor into the hands of Bill and Paul .. A strange fact given that they had bought the production rights. Despite employing Peter Adams for six months or so to produce additional monocoques from Bradford on Avon, nothing was ever delivered. One of the original body shells supplied to Nugents appears to have been sold off at auction along with TMR 222J and ended up in the hands of Dougie Hodgins who sold the parts of the shell onto “someone” in England. John Mouat in Edinburgh eventually acquired the two monocoque chassis and all the metalwork parts after Nugents went into liquidation. Nugents did not produce any finished Probes prior to the company being wound up in May 1973 ....and according to Bill it was just as well that no firm orders were received as he thinks that they did not have the skills to do the job justice.


8. John Mouat eventually ended up with 1 complete car, 2 shells (one trimmed and one untrimmed) and all the spare metalwork parts including 15 wheels. Both shells were left outside for so long that the plywood rotted and one was subsequently cut up with a chainsaw. John is still believed to have most of the acquired parts. John may have acquired the complete car prior to securing the two shells and the metalwork parts.


9. From DC (Oct 2011) no Probe was ever built using NEW engines or running gear it all came from Chatfield's scrap yard in Southwick, the engines were stripped new (exchange) heads were supplied by Beal's of Bath reconditioned dynamos and starter motors were used (new plugs and points were fitted however) and the whole block was re-sprayed in Mowog Engine Green, and a new rocker cover was used. (It is also said that it was the Gold Seal motor Co. supplied the reconditioned engines).  The suspension and brakes all second hand too, just serviced and painted Obviously the master cylinders and hydraulic pipes were new every thing else was built/made in house of or the shelf from Trowbridge Motor Supplies who were happy to let us wander around their stores looking for bits that would be useful, another example of why recreation of a 2001 would be particularly difficult.


10. Liquidation and wind-up notices





At an Extraordinary General Meeting of the above named Company, duly convened, and held at Dominions House, St. Augustines Parade, Bristol BS1 4TH on the 23rd August 1971, the subjoined Extraordinary Resolution was duly passed: " That it has been proved to the satisfaction of thisMeeting that the Company cannot by reason of its liabilities continue its business, and that it is.advisable to wind up the same, and accordingly that the Company be wound up voluntarily, and that John Neil Bradley of Dominions House, St. Augustines Parade, Bristol 1, be and he is hereby appointed Liquidator for the purposes of such winding-up."

(194) D. F. Adams, Chairman.




Kyle Road, Irvine Industrial Estate, Ayrshire, Scotland NOTICE is hereby given that, in pursuance of Section 293 of the Companies Act 1948, a Meeting of Creditors of the above Company will be held within the offices of Fraser, Lawson & Laing, Chartered Accountants, 53 Bothwell Street, Glasgow, G2 6TQ, on Friday, 4th May 1973 at 12 o'clock noon, for the purposes mentioned in Sections 293, 294 and 295 of the said Act.

For and on behalf of W. T. Nugent (Engineering) Limited.

13th April 1973. W. T. NUGENT, Director

Probe Links:


YouTube video clip of the Probe 16 (Durango 95) from the film “A Clockwork Orange”






Durango 95 Paul Biagi  Peter Adams Dennis Adams brothers Adams Probe 15 Adams Probe 16 Adams Probe 2001 WT Nugent (Engineering) Ltd Caledonian Probe Motor Company