POLICE and students in South Devon have undertaken a drive to restore a police car to its former glory.
The 1999 Ford Escort was retired out of police service in early 2006 and lay unused and deteriorating until 2008 when it was acquired by the police Heritage and Learning Resource (the Historic Collections of Devon & Cornwall Police) based in Okehampton.
In 2011 a sponsorship deal was struck with three local companies who agreed to supply restoration materials and the car was taken to South Devon College in Paignton who had agreed to supply the labour to return the car to pristine condition.
With Martin Brayshaw of Mill Autoquip, Simon Gliddon of Gliddon Ford and Jon Frost of Avon Auto Colours all kindly agreeing to assist supplying parts, paint and other materials it meant that there would be no financial outlay for the police.
During the latter part of 2011 and the whole of 2012, three students at the college bodyshop were involved in the refurbishment project including a strip down of the vehicle, a total re-spray followed along with the application of the period livery, another two students were involved in the replacement of engine parts.
Several second-hand parts were required to complete the restoration including front seats and seat belts which were worn beyond repair.
PCSO Paul Martin, based in Brixham, oversaw the restoration on behalf of the police, from recovering the car to liaising with the students.
He said: “Research reveals it was to be one of the last batch of Escorts delivered to the force, working in the Plymouth and Ivybridge areas most of its working life and may have been purchased with funding purely for use by the special constabulary.
“Although 13 years old it now looks like new and is a credit to the college, apprentices and staff.”
Angela Sutton-Vane, Curator for the police collection said she was delighted to see it returned to its former glory and with the level of help and enthusiasm from all concerned: “The Ford will continue its journey now thanks to enthusiastic local businesses; it will return to Okehampton on display at the garage of I.G. MacCullock & Sons in East Street from the end of January. Stuart MacCullock has generously offered to house it until permanent garaging can be found.”