Police Vehicles in the 1950s and 1960s
John Molyneux: when I was at Dorking the CID took delivery of a Hillman Minx possibly 1956. I do not remember there being any other cars on division. Alan Osment, who was the skipper at Buckland, bought a Morris Minor Traveller for his own use to supervise his section. Hillman introduced the Husky in October 1954, but I don't know when we started using them.
At the traffic centre at Spital Heath the patrol cars were Sunbeam Talbot 80 saloons and the supervisory car was a Sunbeam Talbot 90 convertible. In the late 1950s, when I joined as a PC, Godstone Traffic Centre had black Austin Westminster; reputedly with Austin Healey close ratio gearboxes. There was a Lotus Cortina on trial; I believe this was fitted with a Ford Cosworth engine. Oxted CID had a Ford possibly E93 van as did the Lingfield Sergeant.
Dave Spratt: My father was on Traffic in the 1950's and 1960's and the vehicles used were Sunbeam Talbots, Austin Westminster, Ford Lotus Cortina and Ford Zephyrs.
Pip Kerridge: Woking Division early 1950s: a brown van Morris Commer for general conveyance i.e. prisoners, stores, personnel. The sergeants/inspector’s vehicle was a Hillman Minx. Motor cycles: Triumph 5T 500cc; radios fitted about 1956. Large "breadbins" over rear mudguard, triangular control box on tank for the handset.
Hillman Huskies were used as general purpose vehicles. Traffic cars early 1950s: Austin A70's later A90's. Motor cycles Triumph 5Ts, late 1950s Triumph Thunderbirds 650cc. followed by a miscellany of Norton Atlas 650, Triumph Saints 650cc, Matchless 750, and then Norton Commando 650.
Later Traffic cars were the Austin 99. 101; Ford Zephyrs, Ford Cortina GT Mk 1, Ford Cortina GT Mk2, Triumph 2000 At Burpham between 1972 and 1974 another big Matchless was tried out.
Jim Rankin: Redhill utilised part of the old Fire Station and I recall CID used Ford Anglia/Popular around 1959/60 which were stored in the old fire station awaiting disposal. Division used Hillman Husky and CID had Morris Minor.
Motor cycles: My first machine at Woking early 1963 was a Triumph 350. I believe the Force had just started buying this smaller engine because at Woking we still had a 500cc and the difference in power pick-up was awesome, even with a high mileage on it. In those days "HQ Garage" was on the Guildford By-pass run by Gordon Everingham and a certain "Reg" dealt with the 'bikes.
Mervyn Saunders: 1950s divisional cars were black Austin A50s and the divisional bikes were Triumph 650cc Thunderbirds. In the 1960s the only four wheel drive vehicles in use were the long wheel base Land Rovers. One based at each Traffic Centre. They were the only vehicles that move around in the bad winter of 1963.
We were running Ford Zephyrs on Traffic then, later replaced by the GT Cortina which ticked us off no end because Sussex had equipped their guys with Lotus Cortinas! They were serious motors! While we were running the Zephyrs, they were running 2.6 Jags. We were always the poor relation to Sussex in those days, when it came to cars.
Cliff Blackford: I started on the motor bikes in 1952. This was a Triumph Twin 500 c.c. which I thought was a super bike. At the time 'Jacko' also had the same machine but his was one of the only two in the county with twin carburettors. Neither of us had radios at the time and I am sorry I cannot remember when radios were fitted. I know I had one when the Hawthorne incident started. My machine eventually gave up the ghost at 76,000 miles. I was issued with a Triumph 650 c.c. Twin which in my opinion was not such a good machine.