VW Beetle Police car

The controversial use of flaccid Vauxhall Corsa police panda cars minus the necessary sirens for fast response duties has hit the headlines recently, but just imagine the press scrum that would have ensued back in 1970 when Volkswagen tried to convince various UK forces to buy Beetles…

Yes, that’s right – in an ingenious plot to sell thousands of new cars to police forces across the country, Volkswagen provided a VW Beetle police car to be trialled by several forces, including the Hampshire Constabulary as in this 1970 photograph (courtesy of Hampshire Constabulary).

Beetle police car

You can see VW’s method in this seeming madness – the Beetle at that time had a loyal but still somewhat limited market here in the UK compared to more common offerings from British manufacturers such as Austin, Vauxhall and Ford and by having one patrolling every housing estate in the country it would instantly become more accepted. From a practical point of view, its strong reliability must have been a convincing selling point, even if space in the back for felons perhaps wasn’t.

The bumper mounted spotlights were obviously an addition, and we presume holes were drilled in the roof to mount the light box – and there may, we suspect, be a few more holes in the dash where the radio gear would have been mounted. Alas, despite having a totally appropriate number plate (AYM 999H), for reasons unknown it was never taken on…


The opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of the author and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of VW Heritage.

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