Auctions

Is the long arm of the law reaching for you with this 1970 Mini Cooper S police car?

by James Mills
24 February 2023 2 min read
Is the long arm of the law reaching for you with this 1970 Mini Cooper S police car?
Photos: Broad Arrow

Ello, ello, ello, what’s all this then? If you’re looking for a quirky classic to patrol your beat, few cars are likely to enjoy as warm a welcome from the local community as this Mini Cooper S police car.

The life that this 1970, 1275cc MkII model has lived is clear for all to see. And now it’s up for (smash and) grabs, at The Amelia Auction, on 4 March.

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Recorded as having been ordered by Liverpool and Bootle Constabulary – presumably between numerous tea and biscuit breaks – as a new panda car in March, the supplying dealer was Lookers of Warrington, and it made up the fleet of 27 Mini Cooper patrol cars that the force would rotate annually.

And for the benefit of those that aren’t old enough to remember, these little panda cars were feared by the villains. In 1275cc S tune, the 76bhp motor was able to power the patrol car to 100mph, and slowing for any twists and turns wasn’t entirely necessary as the Mini’s roadholding was – and remains – the stuff of legend. We rather suspect that the officers who got behind the wheel of these would have enjoyed any rapid response or fast pursuit moments…

The Cooper S remains the most sought-after of all Austin Minis in the eyes of those who covet them. Yet this car’s history adds an extra dimension to its rarity; the Mini Cooper Register has reported that of the 27 police cars used by Liverpool and Bootle bobbies in 1970, only eight survive and just five of those remain in their original police specification, including the Glacier White paint.

Last sold in April, 2019, during the Bonhams auction at the Goodwood Members’ Meeting, a buyer handed over £31,050 of (legitimately-earned) loot for the Cooper S. It had been the subject of an extensive restoration, said to total more than £30,000. It then departed to the US, after being snapped up by a Mini collector.

Today, it shows 86,410 miles on the clock and comes complete with all the ‘blues and twos’ kit used by the boys in blue. That includes a Pye radio pack with a repeater set in the cab, roof lights pack with chrome horns, and a calibrated speedometer for those “Who do you think you are? Graham Hill?!” roadside ticking-offs. However, the police signwriting on the bodywork is no longer hand-painted onto the panels as it would have been back in the day, giving the owner the opportunity to, er, drive undercover.

The price? Well, we hesitate to say it, but it could just be a steal. Despite having an estimate of $40,000 to $50,000 (roughly £33,000 to £42,000) attached to it, there is no reserve set against the Cooper S cop car. However, it will (presumably) need to imported back to the UK, so it would be worth allowing for all shipment costs when browsing the values of standard Cooper S models using the Hagerty Price Guide.

If you feel the long arm of the law is reaching for you, then be sure to click here to register to bid at the The Amelia Auction, hosted by Broad Arrow.

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Comments

  • Roger+Blaxall says:

    Great YouTube of policing Liverpool in the 70’s here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j5KGabyaXzk

    I knew a few Merseyside bobbies who spoke warmly of the Marina 1.8 TC’s they ran and the unique Talbot Tagora police demonstrator they borrowed – the Chief Constable was not amused seeing a French police car on patrol…

  • J.wentworth says:

    Which is worth the most a non police cooper S or ex cop car , would love an early mini of any type something special about the sliding window and been so very basic.

    I never liked Minis until I bought my partner an R50 Cooper then for some reason started to like the original when you get a reasonable mini for under £1000. Typical a reasonable cars start from £5000.

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