A Policeman's Lot Can Be A Happy One
by Doug Breithaupt
Every so often a minor diecast theme catches my attention.
As a fan of Jaguar motorcars, my collection of small-scale diecast reflects
that interest with a wide variety of Jaguar models. One of the more interesting
themes is that of Jaguar cars carrying police markings.
In the UK it is not uncommon to see Jaguar cars used by local police. While
this might seem an excessive use of tax funds in other parts of the world,
the tradition of luxury cruisers for local constabulary is one that dates
back to the 1950's in Britain. Jaguar has certainly produced fast sedans,
or saloons as the Baits say, for catching the crooks. Perhaps if policeman
in other countries were offered a Jaguar to replace their plain-jane patrol
car, recruiting would be easier.
Three diecast companies have produced 1:64 scale police cars
over the last 15 years. Corgi did two, the XJ-S, first offered in 1976 and
the XJ40 (also called the XJ6) of 1988. The XJ-S is a less-likely subject
for police use but the XJ6 has been used since first offered in series one
form in 1968. Light bars have been added to both models along with police
Matchbox and Majorette also offered the 1988 XJ40/XJ6 in stock form and
then followed with police versions. The Matchbox model was not offered in
the U.S. but could be found in Canada and elsewhere. The markings are very
well done with the shield representing Hertfordshire Constabulary. The Majorette
model is not as detailed.
It is worth noting that Corgi also offered a Fire Chief version of their
Jaguar Mark X of the 1960's. In larger scale, both Corgi and Matchbox have
done Police Jags and Corgi currently offers the Jaguar Mark II made famous
be Inspector Morse of TV fame.
To paraphrase Gilbert and Sullivan, When constabulary duty's to be done,
driving in a Jag would be more fun.