Police cars : Wolseley

The Police’s loyalty to the Wolseley marque was remarkably strong right up to the mid-1960s. In fact, watch any British black & white crime film, and you’ll probably see one of these before too long.

Wolseley 6/80

A mid-1950s Wolseley 6/80 used for police publicity work.

Wolseley 6/90

A 1956 Wolseley 6/90 in service with London’s Metropolitan Police Force.

Wolseley 6/110 Automatic

Another Metropolitan Police Force car, this time 1965 Wolseley 6/110 MkII automatic photographed in Trafalgar Square.

Additional information from Ciaran Cavanagh

Keith Adams


  1. In 1967, I picked up a very nice Wolseley 6/90 for £75. It served me very well for two or three years, the best £75 worth I ever had, for sure. I noticed that whenever I came up behind anyone at night, they always slowed down to the speed limit. The power of that illuminated Wolseley badge, and its strong association with the Police!

  2. I was thinking about old police cars just the other day.

    After the mid 1960s Police forces seemed to move away from Wolseleys towards Rover P6’s the big Triumphs, Ford Zephyrs / Zodiacs, & Mk2 Jaguars.

  3. I read on a biking site that some police forces made sure their old BMW tourers were repainted from white before being auctioned off.

  4. Lothian & Border Police have silver cars now for the same reason. Remove the decals and off to auctions they go.

  5. My first police driving instructor in 1975 told me that when Wolsey included a heater as a standard fitting the metropolitan police thought that if coppers were given a warm car they would be reluctant to get out of it. So the heaters were removed. this left a hole in the bulkhead allowing a gale to whistle through the car.The drivers had the last laugh however when the reduction in coolant led to the cars boiling over and heaters were refitted

  6. Always remember the bell ringing in old films when the police wanted to pull someone over. I suppose a six cylinder Wolseley would have been one of the most powerful cars available to the police in the 1950s and someone trying to get away in a Ford Popular would stand no chance. By the mid sixties, though, these cars were becoming too slow as villains could quite easily get hold of cars that could beat the Wolseleys and Rovers and Triumphs took over.

    • The Met Bomb Squad still had bells in their maroon Hunters in 1981. Apparently they tried fitting them them under the bonnets of some SD1s, but you couldn’t hear them outside because of the sound deadening!

  7. Those Wolseley 6/110 cars were always imposing looking to me. Fast forward to the 1970s and the Granada MK1 & 2 filled that spot.

    Nowadays many Police forces are using BMW & Audi for traffic duty and in my area a mix of Toyota Corolla & Peugeot Estates for local work

  8. In my area (Nottingham) the Police use a lot of Skodas – Octavia Saloons and Estates – for traffic work; Corollas and Astras for local work; and Aygos for extremely local work.

  9. Round here the police are now heavily into Peugeot and Skoda estates for the mundane stuff, with BMW and Audi for the unmarked cars. Even a couple of the little electric BMW things!! The rural policing team have a mix of things like Vivaros, Hiluxes and Ford Rangers. They still have a ten year old Land Rover Defender 110 too.

    The more I look at a Wolseley 6/110 the more I think of the Volvo 164.

  10. Essex seem to have a right mixture. It use to be always Ford (SVO at Aveley back in the day usecto modify them), but now days we have a right mixture of Ford, Toyota, Peugeot for squad cars, Volvos and BMWs for traffic and unmarked is a right mix.

  11. Cumbria Constabulary were major customers for diesel Maestros after the Fiestas they used previously were deemed too small. These were ideal as a panda car as they were very ecomomical, the engines could take a lot of punishment, and the cars were far more spacious. Also traffic used either Sierra Cosworths or 24 valve Senators at the time.

  12. Were the Wolseley versions of the landcrab ever used by police forces, or wouldn’t they consider FWD vehicles at the time for their performance vehicles?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.