Pursuit or enforcement cars of the two-seater variety were slowly gaining in popularity
with constabularies in the early 1970s and probably the majority of cars of this
type in service with Police Forces were MGBGTs. This car combined a businesslike
appearance with a reasonable performance, and was capable of carrying a surprising
amount of equipment. When the launch of the MGBGTV8 was announced in August 1973,
it was clear the substantially upgraded performance would make it one of the finest
enforcement cars available and at a reasonable cost too. The late Geoff Allen,
the V8 Register Historian and Archivist, noted "there were five MGBGTV8 police
cars - two used as demonstrators and later three were purchased by the Thames
Valley force for enforcement work".
demonstration police cars |
White 0112 - GOF 88L |
Mounted on the assembly line as GD2D1-112G on 30th
January 1973, this car is not recorded as passing through paint finishing until
21st September 1973 with despatch from the Factory on 28th September to BLMC Austin/Morris
UK Home Sales at Longbridge as a Pre-production UK Fleet Sales car. However prior
to formal despatch, Geoff's records show the car was finished in Police White
with Navy trim and used as a show car for a while and then sent out to various
police forces for evaluation. The car was reviewed by the specialist journal Police
Review in their 17th August 1973 issue.
White was used for many years on various models supplied to the Bradford Police
and the colour was more correctly known as "Bradford Police White" even
when used by other forces.|
The car had been owned for many years by Gerry
Hiorns, a longstanding V8 enthusiast in Scotland, who has kept the car in its
original colour. He enjoyed the V8 a great deal, particularly researching and
collecting the 1970s period police equipment. Gerry feels that "as far as
historical/interesting provenance is concerned, I don't think there is another
like this one". In August 2009 the car was acquired by a longstanding V8
enthusiast Malcolm Bailey.
White 0800 - NOX 8M|
Mounted on the assembly line on 1st October 1973,
this V8 was one of three cars prepared for the Earl's Court Show for 1973 and
was displayed by Hoffman Balancing Techniques. It received an award in the bodywork
section for cars in its price range. In show form it it had two 18 inch strip
lights fitted inside - one each side of the cant rails over the doors as they
were more of less standard on MGBGT show cars at that time.
Austin Morris Publicity, it was transferred to the police, probably at the date
of invoicing in mid November that year. In Geoff's records it is marked as a "Pre-production"
car and a "1974" model too. Geoff adds that "at one time it had
a triangular roof illuminated "POLICE" sign fitted on the centre of
the roof with a rotating blue light at the apex, but this appears to have been
removed shortly afterwards". It may have only been tried at the Factory as
many force at the time liked the car as an unmarked "Q" car.
Subsequently the car was sold off and had a respray in blue together with fitting
a sunroof. The car is presently owned by a V8 Register member in Lancashire.
MGBGTV8 police cars |
three operational Police Cars" were known as "Q" cars at the time,
were used by the Thames Valley Police during 1974 and possibly 1975. They were
fitted with standard Police two-tone horns and carried no external markings. On
the rear compartment platform a retractable "STOP - POLICE" sign was
fitted, operated by the crew pulling a cord which rotated the sign out of its
box and at the same time illuminating it. Fairly early in the life of the cars
one lost several teeth from third gear, in turn splitting the gearbox casing.
After fitting a new gearbox all three cars had the overdrive wiring disconnected.
One local show-biz personality wrote to "Motor Sport" magazine at the
time complaining that he had been chased by an MGBGTV8 which overtook him and
raised the "STOP - POLICE" sign; he warned other road users to beware
of this car. The Factory grapevine at the time of the demise of the V8 suggested
that the Police had asked BL to build three more V8s to replace theirs. However
it was too late as the build was about to finish. All three cars were eventually
sold off after covering 80,000 miles, sold at auction for £2,150.96, £2,159.96
and £2,243.53 respectively. The two Factory produced demonstration police
cars had the Smiths' police calibrated speedometers fitted at the Abingdon plant.
In the case of the three operation cars used by the Thames Valley Police, which
were purchased through the normal dealer network, these speedometers were probably
fitted at the Police Vehicle Workshops at Kidlington.|
1006 - TBH 355M
Mounted on the line on 14th November 1973 as GD2D1 1006G
and finished in Blaze with Black trim and invoiced to the Stevenage Motor Co Limited
on 19th November 1973, the present owner reported it was first registered on 17th
June 1974. The car was purchased by the Thames Valley Police.
- PPP 99M
Mounted on the line on 28th November 1973 as GD2D1 1036G and invoiced
to Lex Garages in Gloucester on 4th December 1973. The car was purchased by the
Thames Valley Police.
Bracken 1378 - VBH 920M
Mounted on the line
14th February 1974 and invoiced to Kennings of Norwich on 18th March 1973. The
car was purchased by the Thames Valley Police.
Estate of the late Geoff Allen
Register - MG Car Club -- the leading group for MG
V8 enthusiasts at www.v8register.net