Rare Dutch Porsche 356 Police Car Comes Up For Auction
At the beginning of the 1960s, many Dutch motorways had no speed limit and no guardrails. Predictably, then, the accidents that did happen were often fatal.
To combat the problem, the Rijkspolitie (the national police in the Netherlands) contacted their neighbors in Germany to see how they handled things on the Autobahn. The German police had adopted a system in 1956 of using Porsche patrol cars to follow and stop drivers traveling at a dangerous speed. It was a simple solution that worked. The Dutch decided to give it a go.
After a successful trial run beginning in 1960 with a single Porsche 356 Cabriolet, in 1962 the Dutch police set up the Surveillancegroep Autosnelwegen (Motorway Surveillance Group), or SAS, with a dozen 356Bs to patrol Holland's 500-kilometer motorway network. This 356B Cabriolet is one of those original 12. The selection process for the SAS was quite rigorous. Members had to be very fit, have excellent driving skills, be at least 25 years old and be married, presumably to keep them from taking the unnecessary risks that young, tough guys in dangerous professions like to take.
This car spent four years in service with a pair of officers and covered 190,000 kilometers (118,000 miles) during that time. It then received a replacement engine before having its police equipment removed and being sold as a standard used Porsche. It wasn't until about four decades later that the Dutch police contacted the unsuspecting owners of what seemed to be a bog standard 356B to verify that it was indeed one of their old police cars. It was then restored over the next six or seven years, the hardest part being the tracking down of all that original police equipment, including the blue light, 'STOP' sign, radio telephone, radio antenna, Pye amplifier, dual internal rear view mirrors, control buttons, ammeter, rear-mounted speaker and Rijkspolitie clothing including helmets. The engine, meanwhile, was replaced with a 1964-spec 95-horsepower 1600 dating.
The Dutch police have since made extensive use of Porsches but it was these little 356s that started a tradition of some of the very coolest police vehicles in the world. This car is one of only about 40 such 356s delivered to the SAS, and after being tracked down and restored it is one of just three that are known to exist that is so-equipped. While you can grab a beat up old Crown Vic from the American police for a few hundred bucks, this car is a bit of a different story. The Porsche 356 police car will cross the block on Oct. 10 at Bonhams' Zoute sale in Belgium. It carries a pre-sale estimate of of €140,000-200,000 ($110,000-$160,000).