Ton Dumans writes: Petrolheads, Porsche and Police

Ton Dumans is back, so that can only mean two things. First of all, this post is going to be about Porsches. Second of all, despite the previous claim, this post won’t be very much about cars at all. Remember, you can follow Ton on twitter @Tonsty.

Everyone who knows me even just a little bit, knows that I am into Porsches and that I have been for as long as they can remember. Most people accept this as a fact (hey, we all have our limitations, right?), whilst others tend to wonder why. Of all the cars in the world, why Porsche, and how come I already loved them when I was barely out of nappies?

While all this might sound a bit too much autobiographical for a petrolhead’s blog, I promise I will get to cars in a minute. Bear with me for a moment.

Truth speaking, they were two separate incidents that helped me to become a Porsche-o-phile at an early age. First of all, there was my grandad. He didn’t know or care about cars at all, but as a traditional and conservative man, he must have thought something along the lines of ‘It’s my grandson’s birthday, I shall give him a present. Since he is a boy, he shall like cars. So I shall buy him one!’. And after a visit to the nearest toy store, that’s exactly what he did. Most likely unknowingly, he gave me my first Porsche. A toy 911. I must have been about six or seven at the time.

Several years later, (the 911 by this time had lost its rear wing and door mirrors due to extensive usage), my interest for real Porsches developed. I must have been nine or ten years old, when I was looking forward to those little trips across the country to visit family. Not because I was so keen on my aunts and uncles, (I probably won’t give them the link to this post!), but because that meant spending some time on the highways and byways of The Netherlands.

Hard as it is to imagine today, this was quite an event back then. Watching out the side window of dad’s Peugeot, observing all that was happening on this big, sometimes intimidating mass of tarmac. On a lucky day, so I had learnt, I could see that model car my grandad had given me in actual size. And hear its peculiar sounds.

A pair of 1977 Porsche 911 2.7
A pair of 1977 Porsche 911 2.7

And on an even luckier day, I would not only see a Porsche 911, but I would see a white Porsche 911 with orange and black decals on it. That’s right, back in the sixties until early nineties, the Dutch ‘highway police’ had a fleet of Porsches. Their high price was politically justified by various arguments. Most amusing of which perhaps being that the rear-mounted air-cooled engine wouldn’t overheat when reversing at high speed on the emergency lane to ‘guard the tail of a traffic jam’. I’m not here to argue, and I applaud whoever thought of this to actually get the Dutch government to buy Porsches for the law enforcement.

Yes, from the first moment I saw a Porsche in police livery, I wanted to be a cop. How else would I ever afford one? As I grew up, I changed my mind about joining the law enforcement, but the love for Porsche stayed.

Stories and anecdotes from (former) police officers who were privileged enough to have driven the Porsches are virtually endless. Especially interesting are stories from before 1973, the year in which speed limits were introduced in The Netherlands. Before this, cops were often seen taking on civilians in a top speed run. There were no tickets issued, just shiny happy people.

It was also in 1973 that the ‘POLICE STOP’ signs on the back of these Porsches were replaced with ‘POLICE FOLLOW, because some law-abiding citizens had taken the first sign a bit too literally and had slammed the brakes until a full stop, on the motorway. Blimey.

Even after speed limits were introduced, the Police Porsche squadron was still something to be admired for bringing a bit of glory to the Dutch police force. Another anecdote worth sharing, would be that of a father and son testing dad’s new Saab 900 Turbo. They were reaching speeds up to 200 km/h, before they were pulled over by one of the Police Porsches. A costly encounter, one might think, but you would be wrong. The police officers declared that since they had fun while chasing the Saab, a sincere warning would suffice ‘for this time only!’. This particular event had enriched the world with another Porsche fan, who told this story in his ‘Want to buy’ advertisement on a Dutch Porsche forum.

After some years of looking out for Police Porsches to spot on our roads, I realised I had to think of another scheme to help me realise my dream of owning a Porsche. This sad event was caused by the fact that, due to cost savings, the Police Porsche was discontinued in 1994. Bummer.

But even if I had been born many, many years earlier, I probably wouldn’t have ended up as a Porsche-driving cop. Because driving a Porsche in the special section of the Dutch police force was a highly prestigious and responsible job. Only married men with at least one child were allowed to do it. Clearly, married men with children are more responsible! Or so someone had decided.

Porsche 911 Dutch Police
Men with moustaches. And a Porsche.

So responsible in fact, that years later agent X and Y (names have been changed to protect the, er… innocent) confessed to the following story. It must have been the early eighties when, while out on patrol with their 2.7 Targa they spotted what they thought had to be a beefed up Porsche 924. Curious as they were, they decided to show the STOP, I mean, FOLLOW, sign to the person driving this fat looking 924. When they found out it was in fact a motoring journalist, testing the new Porsche 944, things got interesting. Impressed by the authoritative moustaches of X and Y, the motoring journalist let the officers drive in consecutive turns, himself taking place in the passenger seat. Soon after taking off, Mr. Journalist’s face turned a whiter shade of pale. Clearly, he was not used to driving at 200 km/h on Dutch roads…

After the demise of the Police Porsche in 1994, it would take almost nine years before the words Police and Porsche would once again come together in my life. Sadly, not in a very glorious way. With a very limited budget, I had just bought myself a Porsche 924. I was young and I was inexperienced. The car on the other hand was all but young. Or inexperienced. We all know where this story is going.

Within a month of ownership, I wrapped the Porsche around a tree. It was thanks to this tree that only two wheels were in the nearby water. The others were still resting on soil. I crawled out the wreck unharmed, (apart from a massively bruised ego and a bleeding ear caused by glass from the smashed side window), and decided to walk back in the direction were I came from. Because there were dry clothes where I came from…

When police arrived at the scene of the accident, the 924 was half in the water and the driver was nowhere to be found. Panic! To cut a long story short, they found me and threatened to make me live on a diet of bread, water and spiders for the rest of my life for my wrongdoing. I had learnt my lesson and it would take another seven years before I ran into the police again…

A trio of Porsche police cars on the Dutch motorway
Like hunters, waiting for prey.

Fast-forward to last spring. I had attended an anniversary of one of Holland’s finest official Porsche Centres. They celebrated with an exhibition of 50 special Porsches. One of which was a beautifully restored original Police Porsche. I admired the car for a while and thought of all of the above. Because this exhibition was so near the German border, and I was there with my in-the-meantime-acquired 968, I decided to do a few high-speed runs on the Autobahn. Just for the hell of it! How nice it must have been to be able, (er, I mean, be allowed), to do this on Dutch roads…

It was on this very day that I wished more so than ever, that we still had the famous Police Porsche patrolling our roads. As I was nearing my destination on the way home, a black VW Golf Plus overtook me. Annoying enough in itself, but when the sign “POLICE FOLLOW” appeared, I knew I just ran out of luck. Yes, I was speeding. I had no idea by how much, because everything felt slow after a day on the Autobahn. My brain was still on Jeremy Clarkson mode: POWEERRRRR!!!!

I wish that day I was pulled over by two men with moustaches, driving a white Porsche 911, being married and having lots of kids, being proud of their line of work. And they would have told me:

Son.. Even though you have a very lovely car indeed, and we honestly believe you know what you are doing, unfortunately we have some speed laws here. For this time, we think a sincere warning will suffice, but next time…”.

VW Golf
Where’s the fun in being pulled over by this?

Even if they had given me a 286 Euro fine, like the young, unmarried and childless man driving the Golf Plus was about to do, it would have been worth it.

Recently I decided it’s about time to take the guesswork out of driving fast, and so will be taking a track-driving course with my 968. This training, ironically, will be held at the Police Academy’s track. I sincerely hope this will be the only combination of Porsche and Police for me in 2012.

I fear that Petrolheads and police officers will never be the best of friends, even though I was recently lucky enough to discover that lovely exceptions are possible…

All images courtesy of Ton Dumans.

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ABOUT AUTHOR
Ton Dumans
Being a huge fan of waffle and HobNobs, Ton felt right at home at PetrolBlog after reading his first post here. The first post he saw was ‘Purple Days: Porsche 968 Sport’, brought to his attention by a fellow Dutch 968 owner. Being a Porsche enthusiast since the early age of 7, Ton then needed another 21 years to realise other car manufacturers weren’t necessarily rubbish. Most are, though. While his job unfortunately isn’t in any way, shape or form related to cars, his spare time and money is mostly being eaten up by anything related to cars, photography or video. Ideally, a combination of all. Since the before mentioned 7 and 21 years add up to Ton’s current age, he is now in the middle of discovering new car brands every day. Who would’ve known the British made cars? Or, perhaps more shockingly, the Italians? Blimey!

42 comments

  1. January 9, 2012
    abauerporsche

    Reblogged this on The Porsche Independent Repair.

    Reply
    • January 9, 2012
      MajorGav

      Thank you!

      Reply
    • January 9, 2012
      Ton

      Thanks from my part as well. Didn’t even know the term “reblogging” (and neither does my Mac, it changed it into “reflagging”), but I’m glad you did 🙂

      Reply
  2. January 9, 2012
    Darren Leslie

    That made excellent reading Ton. Thanks.

    Reply
    • January 9, 2012
      Ton

      Thank you for reading and the nice words, Darren!

      Reply
  3. January 9, 2012
    #Project924

    Excellent work. I love the anecdotes about the 911 police squad shenanigans, but I think the best was the justification of a 911’s performance in high speed reversing.

    I wonder what the total cost of one of these patrols is compared to a GATSO? They could do chargeable passenger rides to help try and match the revenue streams!

    Reply
    • January 9, 2012
      Ton

      Let’s do some guestimations..

      I don’t know how much X and Y earned, but a quick search on Google told me that nowadays it’s not really a well paid job. Let’s assume a Joe Average salary here…

      Joe Avg. earned 7941 Euro a year in 1973. In today’s money that’s about 28900 a year. Times two for we have officer X and Y, so that’s 60k.

      A 1973 911, before modifications, must’ve cost about 55k euro. Let’s assume that on average they were either crashed or otherwise destroyed within 3 years. So that’s 18k a year.

      Agent X claimed that they smoked a set of tyres every 3000 kilometer. Which, frankly, sounds like bragging because smoking tyres with ‘just’ 200 horses takes a real moron.. Wait… I didn’t say that! Since we’re just guestimating anyway, let’s just say a new set of tyres every month. That’s 12 times 500 euro, for a grand total of 6k.

      So that’s 84k a year, not counting fuel, oil, maintenance (and believe me, police cars need maintenance! It’s basically start the engine, open gate, full throttle on cold engine).

      Now, planting a fixed GATSO presumably costs anywhere from 30k to 60k. Let’s say they get vandalized every 3 years on average. That’s 10 to 20k a year.

      All of the above becomes moot, really, when you consider the officers did more than just issuing speed tickets (in fact, I think they hardly ever did that!).

      Reply
  4. January 10, 2012
    nella32000

    Very cool blog. Congratulations on being Fresh Pressed.
    Had to smile when I read the comment/ reply about “reblogging”, I didn’t really know till recent.

    Reply
    • January 10, 2012
      MajorGav

      Ha, well I’m the chap behind PetrolBlog and I didn’t even know Freshly Pressed existed until this evening! Looks like it’s quite a big deal, so I have to thank my Dutch correspondent, Ton!

      Thanks for dropping by.

      Reply
  5. January 10, 2012
    The Hook

    “I fear that Petrolheads and police officers will never be the best of friends,”
    I have to agree with you!

    Reply
    • January 10, 2012
      MajorGav

      Wise words from Ton! 😉

      Reply
      • January 10, 2012
        Ton

        I have my moments… 🙂

        Reply
  6. January 10, 2012
    adrian

    Oh those 911 look superb. I had an air cool police car as a lad but it was a green and white beetle. (That’s the bad news , the good news was that you could twist the blue light on the roof and steer it. – can still imagine it now! Was it then a Belgium police car if it’s green white?
    If so then the 1996 Porsche 993 that I saw in the porsche museum stuttgart must be one of the last.
    Incidentaly they also used 356s, though I don’t reckon a well driven 924 would have any problem pulling away from one of those. Had a dynamo the size of a small lawn mower to power the radio and lights.
    Your two pics I reckon the first is actually a 3.0sc with the flared rear arches and the other three on the vege are 1990 964.
    I will post the others from the museum on my site . Great post thanks

    Reply
    • January 10, 2012
      Ton

      Thanks for your comment Adrian. You are absolutely right about the 3.0 SC and the 964’s! But green and white would be German police cars, probably. Ah now that I click on your website, I realize you’re not just any old Adrian, but the man who sold that superb purple 968 🙂

      Reply
  7. January 10, 2012
    Ryan

    Awesome blog and great cars to boot! You’re freshly pressed!

    Reply
  8. January 10, 2012
    djronstar

    I remember being a young one and loving Porsche’s. They seemed so mystical when you would see one on the road. I guess that’s because you don’t see too m any exotic cars in the suburbs of Toronto.

    Then I took a little trip to Dubai, and every other car is a Porsche. And then it became…
    “wow look at that Rolls Royce, look at that Diablo, look at that …well you get the point.
    Funny how we get desensitized so quickly.

    But all in all, the Porsche is still on the top of my books, and it still ROCKS!

    Cheers
    -Ron

    How To Be A DJ
    http://www.beadj.ca

    Reply
    • January 10, 2012
      Ton

      You are absolutely right, I’ve had that happening to myself too, in certain places. But I’ve heard even Dubai is hit by current economical struggles so perhaps it’s only 1 in 4 now 😉

      Reply
  9. January 10, 2012
    shil

    Have never heard the Police driving a Porsche before. Porsches and mustaches sounds even better. I was laughing my head off.(no offense to anyone who has it.)

    Reply
    • January 10, 2012
      Ton

      A laugh is what we’re all about here at PetrolBlog, so mission accomplished I’d say! Thanks for your comment.

      Reply
  10. January 10, 2012
    Eve Redwater

    Porsche 911’s = Phwoar!

    Reply
  11. January 10, 2012
    beyondanomie

    Great blog you have here.

    Loved this part of the post: “Especially interesting are stories from before 1973, the year in which speed limits were introduced in The Netherlands. Before this, cops were often seen taking on civilians in a top speed run. There were no tickets issued, just shiny happy people.”

    Those must have been fun days. 🙂

    Reply
    • January 10, 2012
      Ton

      Thank you! I wish I actually lived those days myself 😉

      Reply
  12. January 10, 2012
    youmeusandabeautifullife

    I would have liked to join the police fleet too! Nice 🙂

    Reply
  13. January 10, 2012
    gaycarboys

    love and old porsche or two

    Reply
  14. January 11, 2012
    New York Birthday

    I enjoy reading freshly pressed blogs, and I have to say that I am glad that I stumbled across this one. I have never even heard of the Police Porsche Squadron, and your blog post sent me searching Google for an hour or so as I sought to learn more.

    Your post was well-written, and I couldn’t help but laugh at the thought of you thinking you wanted to be a cop in order to get a porsche – reminds me of why I wanted to join the Air Force after watching Top Gun – I wanted an F-14! Keep up the great work, and I look forward to reading more of your work in the future.

    Reply
    • January 13, 2012
      MajorGav

      Thanks for the comment.

      It’s the curse of the petrolhead – you spot a car in a movie or someone mentions a certain model in passing and the next thing you know, you’re off searching Google or trawling the classifieds. It’s easy for an hour to pass without you knowing it.

      Just got to be careful if you’re browsing the cars on eBay late at night. The ‘Buy it Now’ button seems far more tempting then!

      Reply
  15. January 11, 2012
    shah

    my friend this good page…..!!!

    Reply
  16. January 11, 2012
    Riddhi siddhi

    Very well written. I am in love with and would have liked to join the police fleet too! 🙂

    Reply
  17. January 11, 2012
    supma

    No words to say anything. simply awesome, awesome and awesome <3

    Reply
  18. January 11, 2012
    Bloggus Medicus

    Love the blog. I wonder where I was all these days. Subscribing. STAT!

    Reply
  19. January 11, 2012
    Chaks

    Very cool blog and i liked this post. awesome

    Reply
  20. January 11, 2012
    rawmultimedia

    oh my GOSH, I love this post…lol. Porsches are you favorite cars….the images remind me of herby, one of my classic favorite movies…KUDOS on making it on the main stage, Freshly Pressed. 🙂

    Richardo

    Reply
  21. January 11, 2012
    Im Dating A One-Percenter

    Yay for fast cars and an open road.

    Reply
  22. January 13, 2012
    mázlista zsaruk: porsche 911 « bandirepublic

    […] főleg a 70-es évek végi szériák mozgatják meg a fantáziám. rábukkantam egy holland rajongó remek írására, ahol feleleveníti gyermekkori emlékeit, melyeket jelentősen átszőnek a családlátogatások […]

    Reply
  23. January 13, 2012
    septic tank emptying shropshire

    Cool blog! It’s something I wouldn’t normally think to read but I’m glad I did as I seriously enjoyed it. Thanks 🙂

    Reply
  24. January 13, 2012
    flexi stirrup irons

    Awesome cars!

    Reply
  25. January 14, 2012
    Matthew Lange

    Great post. Does anyone remember the Met ran a white Porsche 968 as a pursuit / interceptor vehicle on the M25 for a while in the mid 90s. It was only marked up as a police car on the sides and rear and the blues and twos were integrated into the lights and wing mirrors.

    Reply
  26. January 14, 2012
    Matthew Lange

    And here is is http://www.flickr.com/photos/uncleebenezer/5371344754/ very interesting collection of Police cars in the picture.

    Reply
    • January 14, 2012
      MajorGav

      Wow! I never knew that existed. Great find, Matthew.

      Some cars just look great as police cars. Have you seen the Greater Manchester Police Ford Capri 2.8i? Looks superb!

      Reply
      • January 18, 2012
        Matthew Lange

        I remember that being on Quentin Wilson’s The Car’s the Star

        Reply
  27. January 17, 2012
    Patricia Trepanier

    beautiful cars!

    Reply
  28. August 31, 2017
    Autoworld Brussels: Porsche 911 SC Targa of the Belgian Police « supernaut

    […] and German — police ran Porsches from the ’60s to the ’90s, because … something something air-cooled, rear engines don’t overheat when reversing at speed in the emergency lane? Fuck I love […]

    Reply

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