Earlier today, there was a convoy of police cars threading its way through London. But this wasn't the usual procession of Astras, Merc Sprinters and 5-series striped up with blues-and-twos ablaze.
The pace was more sedate and few drivers would be nervous about them looming in the rear-view mirror.
The cavalcade was the Metropolitan Police’s Historic Vehicle Collection moving from the closing Hampton traffic garage to its new home near the police training college in Hendon, north London.
The collection reads like a British car enthusiasts dream, with models from Austin, Morris, Wolseley, Triumph, Rover and Land Rover. All were operational police cars when they were newer. Today their duties are more relaxed, making their ways from exhibition to exhibition.
Two years ago, Colin Goodwin visited the team. Here is his feature…
I feel like Eric ‘Winkle’ Brown, the legendary test pilot who flew many of the Luftwaffe’s warplanes at the end of the war. Today I too am piloting an old foe. It’s a 1983 Rover SD1 in full ‘jam sandwich’ livery complete with sirens and blue lights.
And what’s more, it’s still an official Met police traffic car. It’s even got its original VASCAR speed computer installed, a device that calculates average speed between two points and that was a much feared weapon in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. VASCAR was responsible for a fair bit of ink on young Goodwin’s licence.
The Rover is part of a small collection of historic police vehicles kept at the Met’s Hampton traffic garage. It includes the three cars we've come to see: a Rover P6 3500S, Morris Minor panda car and a Wolseley 18/85 in a unexpectedly stripped-down state.