It’s always an eye catcher!
The authentic Holden HZ Police Car of our Cleve member Phil Butterworth, not only catches your eye wherever it goes, it also is a great conversation starter. Read on to learn more about this unique vehicle.
My name is Phil Butterworth and I moved to Cleve about two years ago.. I have family members in Port Lincoln, with one owning a farm near Cowell, which I assist in maintaining. I retired after 43 years service with SA Police (SAPOL), spending a total of 18 years in Port Augusta, mainly on Highway Patrol duties.
Whilst in SAPOL, I had driven the HZ Holden 5.0 litre traffic cars, at the Para Hills and Holden Hill patrol bases. I had always liked these particular cars, so went on a mission to track one down. Luckily, I eventually did.
I purchased my 1979 HZ Holden ex-Police car in 2010, having discovered it on Gumtree for a princely sum of $1,400. The car was in an unmolested condition, with rust in the normal places for such a vehicle. The car is fitted with the 4.2 litre V8 engine, which indicated that it had been a country patrol vehicle, location unknown at this stage.
I had the car restored in Port Augusta and sourced the ‘candy stripes’ through a local signwriter. The stripes were cut from the original material I found in the Novar Gardens SAPOL workshop’s ‘sticker bin’, and saved from destruction. (I am a bit of a scrounger, I might add).
As I am a member of the SA Police Historical Society, this was instrumental in me obtaining the correct dome light and other authentic internal fittings, in order to bring the vehicle back to its original specifications. The SA Police radio workshops also provided the original type radio equipment which was installed in the vehicle.
Power steering or air conditioning was not an option for SAPOL ‘fleets’ as they were called. Power steering was considered to be dangerous in high-speed pursuits, due to the sensitivity of same, which could result in over-correction at critical moments. Pursuits in the ‘olden days’ were rarely terminated, as occurs in modern times. The usual outcomes were that the:
- Crook crashed.
- Police crashed.
- Both (or all) vehicles crashed.
- Crook got away.
The offending vehicle rarely escaped, as more Police vehicles were involved in the pursuits than were needed….
It was fortunate that my car was retrofitted with an under dash air conditioning unit, which works well, thanks very much!
In 2012, the ‘ol Kingswood was driven to Canberra for the ‘Wall to Wall’ Police Memorial Parade and performed faultlessly. The car has been to a number of shows and taken out a couple of trophies here and there. It is certainly not in concourse condition, as it still has the original seats and interior trim.
I am often asked if I have permission to display the blue dome light and Police livery. As a member of the SA Police Historical Society, I was able to get authority from the Department of Transport to display the blue light. The POLICE decals form part of the car’s historical credibility and if not abused, should not present any problems.
I also have another ex-SAPOL vehicle, a 1987 VL Commodore, which is in a semi-restored condition. That one is fitted with the 5.0 litre V8 engine and an experience to drive! Watch this space …………………..
Article and photos submitted by Phil Butterworth.
(Thanks Phil. The last paragraph indicates there could be a sequel to this story!)