The History of your Vehicle -

Clues on the Car

Remember that the last Police Minor (except any still on active service!) retired around 1971-2, so after 40+ years of private ownership it is possible that some clues on the vehicle may have been lost during restoration. Other clues may simply be hidden, and can be revealed with care. Have a look at some of these…

A Zip in the Headlining

This is almost 100% certain to be an ex Police car.  The zip was essential to gain access to the fixing bolts and wiring for roof signs and lights. As anyone who has ever removed and refitted a headlining will confirm, it is not something that you want to be doing on a regular basis for servicing! It is possible that a zip would also have been fitted to other vehicles such as Water Board Vans with signs on the cab roof, but so far the only examples that we have found have been Police vehicles.

Registration Number

Fleets of cars were usually purchased and registered en-bloc, and so have sequential index number. If you find a photograph or other record of a known Police vehicle and yours is within 30 – 40 either side, then it’s a good starting point.

The registration number will also give the location of first registration. If this is an area where it is known that the Police used Minors, it is again a starting point.  Conversely, if there is no record of Police use in that area, then the chances of the car being a Police vehicle diminish – but never rule anything out:  For example, Essex Police had no record of having Minors in their fleet.  Then whilst we were visiting their Head Quarters, a more elderly officer spotted our Panda and said:  “I remember when we had two Minors. They were our first radio cars”.


Holes in the Roof and Body

Some roof signs, aerials, and blue lights were bolted to the roof – hence the zip discussed above. Bolts required holes to be drilled, so if you find neat round holes repaired with filler then there is a possible link to the police – but remember that other vehicles had roof signs as well. Another place for aerials was on the rear offside quarter panel, between the wing and window. Although some private owners fitted conventional aerials here, it was easier, and hence more common, for private owners to use the front wing for radio aerials.

A magnet is a useful tool for locating holes – it won’t stick to filler!

Signs might also be fitted to the front and back of the car, so it really is a question of hunting round to see what you can find.  Inside, there might be extra holes for radio mounting (the passenger glove box was a favourite area) and switches for lights. Unfortunately, as there was no standard layout, any holes could have been made by subsequent owners for any accessory switch.


Colour of Paint

On the surface, this is not a good indicator.  The colours most often associated with Panda Cars are Bermuda Blue and Police White.  However, Minors used by the Police could also be found in Dark Blue, Black, Old English White, and probably a few other shades as well. Moreover, when Police cars were sold on, they were frequently given a coat of paint to cover any markings – in at least one case, a Bermuda Blue car had turned to green by the time it was sold on. Also, not every Bermuda Blue car was a Police vehicle, and plenty were sold to members of the public as their first owners.  Finally, consider what colours previous owners might have used during restoration.

However, if you are lucky enough to have a car that has not previously been stripped to bare metal, then careful rubbing down may reveal underlying paint, which, particularly if it’s Blue and White, will be a good clue. When rubbing down paint, please do take photographs of any colours that you find. This information is invaluable for historical record and essential if you want to restore the car to its Police colours – there is no precise specification for where colours began and ended, each workshop had its own ideas.


Colour of Interior Trim

As with the colour of the body, this can be unreliable - a previous owner may have fitted replacement trim of a different colour.  Black and Cherokee Red are the two trim colours that we have been able to find, but there could have been others.  The production record may say “black”, but we know of cases where red was fitted. This may be a mistake, or perhaps the factory was running short of black, did not want to stop the assembly process, and just used whatever was available.


It is rumoured that some Police Minors were fitted with strengthened front seats, typically with a flat rubber base rather then the normal webbing straps.