Blog: Police cars

policemg_05Is it me or are all of the country’s police cars now produced by foreign manufacturers? I spend quite a bit of time pounding the country’s motorways, and have managed to build up a feel for what our county’s constabularies like to drive. Certainly, within the past five years, Rover, Ford and Vauxhall’s once dominant stranglehold on the market seems to have been buried for good.

When did things change? It has been achieved by a process of stealth, for sure. I remember when I was still quite a way away from my teens, I had my first trip to London. In terms of landmarks with impact, right up there with Tower Bridge and the Houses of Parliament, was my first sighting of BMW 5-Series police car. ‘They must be loaded, those London folk’, I thought to myself.

Anyway, that was a long time ago, and times have changed irrevocably. The “Big Three” as they used to known as, have long since relinquished their grip of the police market, and our forces now seem to operate a very cosmopolitan purchasing policy. On my travels, I have seen Peugeots, Nissans, Volkswagens, Volvos (a long-time favourite, admittedly), BMWs, Hondas (Swindon, of course) even Skodas.

Such is the completeness of this change that it now registers as a shock to see a Rover or MG police car (are there any?) One of the reasons I fell in love with the Rover SD1 was because it looked so cool (read, mean and menacing) as a police car. Heck, even the 1980s Rover 825s and 827s they used locally to me looked the dog’s danglies…

Such is the completeness of this change
that it now registers as a shock to see a
Rover or MG police car.

And this got me thinking. In France, they have French police cars, in Germany, they have German police cars, so why so few British police cars in Britain? And is MG Rover missing a marketing opportunity here? How about wheeling and dealing with the counties in order to get some of those pretty ZT-T police cars out there patrolling our motorways?

After all, like it or not, patrol cars are mobile advertising for whatever company’s product the police chose to strap their blue lights to. Perhaps MGR are trying, and the police are playing shy, the spectre of blown head gaskets foremost in the minds of transport managers. Either way, I would say that MGR is not trying hard enough – the ZT-T 190 makes the ideal police car: quick and planted on the motorway, with room in the back for lots and lots of cones… and motorists notice. And hopefully the seed is planted: maybe Rovers aren’t that bad after all…

Who knows, but perception is always a million miles from the truth…

Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
Created in 2001 and built it up to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007.

Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...

Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.
Keith Adams

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