Carole Nash
Content Writer
Published: 16th January 2018

There are all kinds of classic cars, ranging from sport to police vehicles. Police cars have a rich history and many were on display at this year’s Ace Cafe meeting in London. Police UK arranged a large display of vehicles that were one of the biggest features of the event. The display covered over 50 years of law enforcement, with a diverse range of cars. They included a trio of Cortina Lotus MK2s and a Range Rover that was used as an escort vehicle at Princess Diana’s funeral.

A reoccuring theme from the display was a lot of the cars were four-door saloons as a chief constable thought that two-door cars were “not fit for purpose.” Another important car in the collection was a 1966 Volvo 121 Amazon Estate, one of five commissioned by Hampshire Constabulary.  The Volvo, considered the oldest foreign-made police vehicle in the UK, was used for rapid response accident situations.

The chief of the Hampshire Constabulary, Sir Douglas Osmond, decided to buy petrol cars based on merit rather than where they were built. This caused a lot of controversy in 1965. Steve Woodward, the custodian of the Amazon, said that it “paved the way for British police forces to use overseas-built cars.”

A 1973 Austin 1100 MK3 was also present. A product of its time, the car lacked a water temperature gauge as standard equipment. Every motor told a story, with good examples being The 1955 Riley RMF, 1969 Jaguar 3.4S Area Car and 266 Jaguar S-Type. The Riley was originally built for the chief of Portsmouth City Police. Current owner Steve Knich enjoyed the fact “it could travel from one end of Portsea Island to the other in under four minutes.”

The ‘Charlie One’ Jaguar 3.4S escorted a Black Maria containing one of the Kray Twins to prison. The Jaguar S-Type featured complex modifications, which meant it was assembled during the weekends at Browns Lane. Each story added to the individual appeal of the cars.

Ace Cafe London 2017 also featured a number of other stunning vehicles, like a 1978 Mini Van that served in North Wales. The event was a major success for the police force and showcased how important their vehicles are to the classic car industry