A famous toy manufacturer has made a miniature replica of a legendary north-east police car, which has become a top attraction since being brought back to the region.
Grampian Transport Museum, near Alford, spent £9,750 to bring the 1985 Rover SD1 Vitesse back home in 2015 and it has been on permanent display since.
The 190bhp, 3.5-litre V8 machine was used to chase speeders on the region’s busiest roads, such as the freshly opened Stonehaven bypass, during its heyday and the “jam sandwich” vehicle was a favourite of the old Grampian Police force’s traffic officers.
The rare car fell into disrepair after being sold by the force in May 1988, with 90,000 miles on the clock and 1,200 convictions recorded, and was only restored as part of Channel 4 TV series For The Love Of Cars in 2014.
It went under the hammer in Birmingham the following January, and the “part of local folklore” was gleefully snapped up by Grampian Transport Museum curator Mike Ward.
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The C356 YST vehicle has now been immortalised by die cast model car makers Corgi, and included for sale in its spring catalogue.
The manufacturer’s guide explains the significance of the cherished police car to the north-east.
It states: “With supercar looks and V8 muscle the SD1 is many people’s favourite police car, the livery suited the profile and it typified a new breed of high-visibility, high-speed, police traffic car.
We are delighted to finally announce that Corgi Die-Cast has produced a 1:43 scale model of our Rover SD1 Vitesse Police…
“Early 1980s Aberdeen was rich with oil-money and local dealer, John Clark Specialist Cars, sold many rapid Audis and BMWs which owners ‘tested’ on the Stonehaven bypass after it opened in 1984.
“Grampian Police needed to deal with this and commissioned a police specification Vitesse 5-speed manual that sat slightly higher to aid pursuits over obstructions.
“It led a hard life, suffering several crashes and breaking three back axles, so definitely earned its retirement in the museum.”
Former traffic officer, Ian Slorach, was the main driver of the Vitesse during its pomp and celebrated its return to the region in 2015 by taking it for a few laps on the Grampian Transport Museum tracks.
Mr Slorach, who was with the force from 1975 to 2006, said the 135mph – a conservative estimate – hatchback had “stuck in his mind” as one of his favourites for the decades since he last saw it.
The museum, which reopens at the end of March, expects to have a stock of the toys on sale at that time.