Classic police cars to farewell Ford versus Holden era at Bathurst 1000

Australia’s largest collection of classic police cars from the 1960s to the present day will be part of this weekend’s Bathurst 1000 Holden-versus-Ford send-off.

A collection of more than 30 rare and iconic classic police cars will help farewell the Ford-versus-Holden era at the Bathurst 1000 motor race this weekend.

While the focus will be on former Holden and Ford police cars – most of which are genuine ex-police vehicles, while some are replicas – the eclectic collection includes a 1960s Mini Cooper highway patrol car, a Holden Torana XU1, and a couple of Valiant Chargers.

The mix of historic police vehicles – which are privately-owned by car collectors – includes general duties sedans, highway patrol cars, and caged vehicles such as an old Ford F-100 and a Ford Falcon panel van, also commonly referred to as “paddy wagons” or “divvy vans”.

The vehicles are often used to farewell police officers after decades of service.

They are rarely seen in public because they can only be transported by truck or trailer – or escorted by real police cars if driven from point-to-point, to avoid confusion among members of the public who might mistake them for operational police cars.

The group of 30-plus ex-police vehicles has been in Bathurst this week for pre-race activities.

The highlight for the weekend will be a parade lap about midday on Saturday, where racegoers will be able to see the historic police vehicles driven slowly around the Mount Panorama circuit.

Some of the cars will also be on display near the spectator area on pit straight throughout the weekend.

Photos in this story have been used here with permission.

Joshua Dowling has been a motoring journalist for more than 20 years, spending most of that time working for The Sydney Morning Herald (as motoring editor and one of the early members of the Drive team) and News Corp Australia. He joined CarAdvice / Drive in 2018, and has been a World Car of the Year judge for more than 10 years.

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