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Police Spec' P6... What made it so?!

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by grifterkid, Nov 25, 2013.

  1. grifterkid

    grifterkid Member

    Hello all...

    On my never ending quest for information on Police Rover P6's I just wonder if any of you good people could enlighten me with regards to what went into (or what was taken out of!) a Police Spec' P6...

    I have heard many things but what was the definitive specification? Did it vary depending on what the specific force who was ordering the car (or cars) had actually requested from the options list?

    If anyone out there could help me out that would be great :wink:
  2. harveyp6

    harveyp6 Well-Known Member

    On the MetPol ones I was involved with:

    "1" on the autobox was locked out.
    "S" wheeltrims fitted.
    Zips in the headlining.
    Manual boxes had uprated internals. (For all the good that did....)
    They were all manual steering.

    I can't remember any more ATM but something may come back to me.
  3. quattro

    quattro Well-Known Member

    Blue flashing lights and sirens :)
  4. harveyp6

    harveyp6 Well-Known Member

    All the cars I did were late ones "P", "R" & even a couple of "S" reg, by which time all the civilian cars had a vinyl roof, but they never did.
  5. grifterkid

    grifterkid Member

    Well I never... :lol:

    Sounds like you had some interesting involvement with Police spec' P6's HarveyP6, do let us know anything else you can remember. I'm especially intrigued by the fact that '1' was locked out on the gearbox! Did this mean that first gear could not be manually engaged?!

    Did any forces specify other wheels like Minilites as per the later SD1...?! I've seen a picture of one Police P6 on Avon Safety Wheels that looked pretty purposeful!

  6. harveyp6

    harveyp6 Well-Known Member

    Yes, "1" was locked out insomuch as there was a special plate under the gearlever that physically stopped you getting the lever back into "1".

    Part number 594316 below:

  7. quattro

    quattro Well-Known Member

    The spoilers were developed for the Police cars I believe.

    I did have a look around one at Coughton and there was quite a lot of switchgear inside, but to be honest it all looked rather home made.

  8. harveyp6

    harveyp6 Well-Known Member

    I think you're right, but I never saw any fitted to the Met cars I dealt with.

    None of that is factory fitted though, which I think was the OP's idea. (That said i mentioned the zippy headlining which wasn't factory either).

    I only ever saw SD1's with Minilites, never a P6.
  9. richj

    richj Member

    Not sure about other forces but the Met certainly had the wheel trims removed on many early P6B area cars due to cases where the Schrader valves had been severed due to high spin forces acting upon them during prolonged high speed pursuit etc..
  10. Mikep

    Mikep Active Member

    My dad was a Met Police Area car driver at the end of the seventies and you can imagine the countless stories I've heard over the years of his exploits. They mainly drove Triumph 2.5 PI's from his station at Hackney but on occasion, depending on vehicle availability, would drive 3500 autos and remembers very clearly the plate on the gearstick to prevent him engaging first. When on a call they wouldn't leave the box in 'Drive' but continually shift between 'Drive' and '2nd' giving them better control of the car. Prior to the plate being added he did inadvertantly shift into '1st' on a couple of occasions at the wrong time! He tells me that some cars had been damaged by doing this hence the addition of the plate.

    He prefered the PI Triumph as an area car in inner London (the 3500 Auto was used more in the outer Met stations and by the Taffic Department) as it was easier to chuck about and with very controllable oversteer. Remember that this was the seventies and he tells me that a 180 degree spin in the street was more than acceptable if the 'shout' was in the other direction :D He tells me that many a quiet night shift was spent on Hackney Marshes doing doughnuts and in the early hours of one morning he broke the diff on a P6 doing a doughnut in a empty T-Junction leaving a pool of oil on the road, a fellow collegue towed him with the Transit van back to Rigg Approach garage whereby the garage Sergeant was told that the diff just gave up whillst pootling along :lol:

    His memories of the P6 were that it was very much more refined than the Triumph which was a bonus as you spent at least eight hours per shift sat in them. The Rover had better brakes but it needed to be treated with respect when cornering; you had to know your roads and what speed you could carry into the corners and junctions as the Rover had a tendancy to 'dig in' rather than the Triumph hanging its tail out. Again, I'm told that some drivers who got thier conering wrong did roll the car!
    His other fond memory was that this was the time before the high visability 'Jam Sandwich' police cars. The area cars were blue and other than the single blue lamp and 'Micky Mouse' lamps you could almost blend in with the other cars. Especially handy when creeping up on villians :D
  11. harveyp6

    harveyp6 Well-Known Member

    I was down there today...... No Met garage there now though...
  12. grifterkid

    grifterkid Member

    Thanks for that little bit of insight MikeP, what a truly fascinating bit of history...

    I'd have loved to have been able to drive one of these bog old brutes when they were new but to have driven one in anger as a serving Police Officer must have been really very special indeed :wink:
  13. pat180269

    pat180269 Active Member

    Found the information below about Greater Manchester P6's.

    Actually my dad was a traffic officer in GMP in the 1970's and called home infrequently on his break if he was nearby. It was fantastic , all my mates would be drooling over the cars. I remember one time vividly when a 'shout' came in whilst on break. He shot off all four headlights ablaze, blue light and two tones on with v8 at full chat; brilliant! As a small boy it made a big impression on me in a way that I don't think an Astra Diesel would these days!

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/gmpolice1/ ... /lightbox/

    "Just before the big amalgamation in 74, Manchester and Salford trialled the Rover 3500S buying VNB258L and VNB259L, that trial was successful and the following year XVU610M was bought. It arrived at the traffic unit based at Salford and I drove it regularly, unobrow noted that the car didn't have the little airdams behind the spots, they came on the following years intake. What is noticeable is the tyres, they were Avon turbospeed, the following year the force bought 60 Rover 3500S and they came with Dunlop Denovo tyres. The new registrations were in the GRJ 600N + series. A very good car of the day, but notorious for the understrength manual gearbox which had been designed for the much lesser powered Rover 2000. Hence the bigger power being delivered to the main shaft caused gearbox failure. This was sorted by having a gearbox always available at the workshops where one man rebuilt frequently. Such was the weakness of the main shaft in the box, that GMP provided a replacement gearbox service to other forces that didn't have the capacity to refurbish the box themselves. When the SD1 version was introduced the main shaft in the box went from 44 mm to 77mm, mucho stronger."
  14. grifterkid

    grifterkid Member

    I can only imagine how many gearboxes were 'lunched' before this mod' was introduced...?!

    I'd love to see some snaps of the Police car pools and Police mechanics workshops from way back when (specifically the 1970's). I bet there was some superb machinery lurking around...!!!
  15. catboy

    catboy Member


    You need to get a book called "metropolitan police images, motor vehicles" if you haven't already got it I know you will love it.

    Anyway I read an article by ex traffic cop who used to drive an unmarked Cameron green 3500s on a P reg

    This chap loved the p6 for police work, particularly with it being unmarked as joe public had no idea it was the law until the rear POLICE STOP sign flipped up!.

    One summers day in 1977 he was on a shout on the M20 and he claims he hit 142mph!!!! (Before anyone says it I know they should only be good for around 125mph but the car had a calibrated speedo and he has no reason too lie.)
    This was the fastest her ever went during his career, and this was made all the more amusing for the fact that as he went under a bridge he was spotted by a stationary police panda car, which resulted in the officer screaming over the radio " is there any traffic patrols in the area as a nutter has just screamed past me flat out in a green Rover!!.

    Made me smile :D
  16. harveyp6

    harveyp6 Well-Known Member

    5750rpm in top, downhill with a following wind, should be good theoretically for just under 142mph if you have a long enough hill to go down and an engine that doesn't blow itself to bits....
  17. grifterkid

    grifterkid Member

    Ruddy heck, 142mph...?!?!?!?! That engine must have had a few tweaks and then some...!

    Were any Police P6's 'breathed on' in the engine department as it were...?!
  18. catboy

    catboy Member

    Don't think the engines were generally touched, remember when the 3500s was new they were already very fast cars for the day.

    Did hear on anther forum that some forces may have had high compression engines, not sure the force did that or factory or if indeed its true.

    I wouldn't have wanted to be in that car that speed.
  19. pat180269

    pat180269 Active Member

    The calibrated speedo would only be accurate over a fixed range which probably didn't include 142mph !
    Also I can't imagine what horsepower you'd need to make a P6 do 142mph. He could of course have been slip streaming someone in a ferrari!
  20. grifterkid

    grifterkid Member

    There must have been a few forces out there that thought they would tweak the P6B a little bit to further its performance...?!

    As we all know that wonderful V8 was/is such a tunable engine I'd be surprised if certain people didn't 'experiment' just a tad to pep things up just a little bit :wink:

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