Car has police history

By Country News

John Casey did not think he would drive away with the 1979 powder-blue HZ Kingswood sedan when he saw the vehicle three years ago.

‘‘I thought ‘this is everything I don’t want’,’’ he said.

But some advice from his panel beater brother spurred a change of heart and Mr Casey purchased the vehicle from a family in Tatura.

After pulling it apart and cleaning it up, Mr Casey discovered he had purchased a historical vehicle in fantastic condition.

‘‘I had a nice Kingswood,’’ he said, but Mr Casey wanted more so he decided to transform the former South Australian Highway Patrol car back to its glory days.

In just three months, with the help of a former policeman, the vehicle was complete with sirens, a radar, radio and highway patrol car specs.

‘‘It gets a lot of attention wherever it goes,’’ he said, and added he was regularly stopped for photographs.

He said the vehicle went on the market after it was decommissioned and pulled out of the South Australian fleet.

‘‘It was purchased at Shepparton Automotive when it came out of the fleet,’’ he said.

At almost 40 years old and having passed through three different owners, the vehicle remains unrestored with its factory paint.

With three finished cars and a restored Holden Sandman, Mr Casey said he had loved Holdens since he was a child, particularly the HQ through to HZ models.

‘‘As a little kid I went to the release of the HQ Holdens at Ormond’s (in Shepparton),’’ he said.

‘‘It was in the early 70s and I was about eight or nine. Ever since then I’ve grown up with them and worked on them; they’re my favourite Holden model.’’

Since the Kingswood was completed two years ago, Mr Casey has worked alongside the police at a number of events including some for the Blue Ribbon Foundation.

‘‘The police don’t really have any historical vehicles so they appreciate this one,’’ he said.

The vehicle will be among the many historical emergency services vehicles at this month’s Historic Winton at Winton Motor Raceway.

Old ambulances, fire engines and others will be among the special feature display on Sunday, May 27.

■Historic Winton will be held on Saturday and Sunday, May 26 and 27, run by the Austin 7 club.

Historic Winton is Australia’s longest running all-historic motor race meeting run over two days.

The event will feature more than 400 historic racing cars and motorbikes from the 1920s to the 1980s plus a huge heritage display of veteran and vintage vehicles; more than 2000 display vehicles are expected to surround the Winton Motor Raceway track at the weekend.

The long weekend of historic motoring will start on Friday, May 25 with the Benalla & District Classic Car & Motorbike Tour.

—Tara Whitsed