West Mercia Police (Panda)
The Mini Van was a really useful vehicle in its day and highly popular following its launch in the 1960s. With a ¼ ton load capacity, it had been built on the longer Mini Traveller chassis and came without rear side windows. Providing a cheap alternative to a car, its load capacity made it a favourite for private owners in need of a bigger boot and being classed as a small commercial vehicle, it carried no sales tax which was another attraction. Compromises to the van versus car also included a simplified steel grille which kept the costs down.
Our latest 1:76 scale Mini Van appears in the guise of a pale blue and white Panda Police Car with the addition of a Police roof bar topped with a blue beacon. The Police used it extensively and period TV dramas have often featured the robust little Mini Van chasing the villains. Our model features a white roof and white doors which have the black printed Police graphics on both sides. The rear double doors each have a small window too, while to the front, the Austin badge sits proudly on the edge of the bonnet. Registered HWP 355K, our model dates from 1971 and represents a marque that lasted many years after that with a couple of upgrades but with well over half a million coming off the production line.