Guide Price: £5,500 - £8,500
∙Ex-Cheshire Police then used as a training car
∙Built to order by Land Rover Special Vehicles
∙Used as a training car subsequently
∙Full service history since decommissioning
There was a time where seeing this car loom large in your rear view mirror would have filled you with dread…
You see, N390 ARW isn’t just any old Range Rover P38a. No. This is a genuine ex-Police P38a that in its heyday was part of the fleet operated by Cheshire Police, mostly up and down the M6. It will have seen some action in its time, with high speed pursuits, pulling stranded vehicles out of live carriageways and no doubt nailing a few bad guys along the way.
Supplied in 1996, the Range Rover was built by Land Rover Special Vehicles and was registered by Rover Group at its headquarters in Canley – the ‘ARW’ sequence of registrations being reserved for cars used for marketing, press or other special purposes.
It was supplied new to Cheshire Police, and after it was decommissioned it remained liveried for a while, being used as a training vehicle for new driving recruits.
Given its action-packed start in life, it’s amazing that this 27-year old Range Rover has survived at all, but here it is looking for a new home, and it’ll sell faster than you can say “you’re nicked, sonny…”
After its 1996 debut on the M6, the Range Rover served on the frontline for three years before a life of semi-retirement as a training vehicle for new officers.
It was subsequently acquired and sold on by Land Rover main agents Evans Halshaw with most but not all of its Police equipment removed – we’ll come to that shortly. It then spent several years as part of a private collection of Land Rovers before reappearing for sale in the hands of the existing owner, who has had it for several months and is happy to help with delivery from Scotland.
Like many ex-Police cars the early service history is missing – most constabularies do all their servicing and maintenance in-house, so it’s no surprise that there aren’t any stamps in the book. That said, a Police car needs to be absolutely 100% perfect in use, so it’s highly likely that the Range Rover was many more times than it needed in that period.
Since it was sold on by Evans Halshaw, it is supplied with a stack of paperwork detailing its maintenance ever since and it also comes with two keys. It has currently covered 101,577 miles, which the history file backs up.
It’s white – unsurprisingly – but the only other giveaways that this is more than a standard Range Rover are the Special Vehicles logos on the bottom of both front wings and the blanked-out holes on the roof where the roof bars and siren would originally have been installed. It does, however, still have sequentially flashing headlights operated from a switch inside the cab, which would have been part of the original Police kit.
Overall, it presents pretty well though the paint is flat in places and would respond well to a polish.
There are quite a few differences between this and a non-Police Range Rover, not least that the interior is more about functionality than it is about comfort.
It’s trimmed in grey velour rather than the usual leather while there are holes drilled in the fascia either side of the aftermarket radio cassette, which would have incorporated a Police radio system back in the day.
The headlining has been replaced, no doubt to replace whatever had holes and wiring running through it for the roof beacons, and is in excellent order with no sagging.
And then there’s the gear lever – a manual gear lever. For unlike most V8 P38s, this one does not change gear itself.
And that manual shift is a big part of this car’s appeal, as it makes it extremely rare for a P38a as well as evidently being the best choice of transmission for dragging stranded 38-tonne trucks onto the hard shoulder – we’ve seen that one done, and the P38a is more than up to the job.
In addition, it has an uprated alternator which feeds two batteries, presumably so it could be switched off at a traffic incident but still start after the flashing lights and radio equipment had been left working.
It starts on the button and sounds great, like all V8 Land Rovers do. The vendor reports that it drives as it should.
Whether you want a P38 with a curious history or to put it back to being a Police car [albeit a replica, of course], this Range Rover has plenty of appeal. It could very easily be put back to road policing spec, or if not then at least the unusual velour trim, manual transmission and roof blanking plates back up its history. The fact it can easily be put back to a Police car in appearance would also make it popular as a period film or TV prop.
It also has a Special Vehicles chassis plate proving it to be more than your ordinary P38a. It’s a fascinating piece of Land Rover history, but also an eminently usable modern classic.
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