Budgie Models No.246-2
Police Patrol Car (Series 2)
Issued in 1983 Length 113mm
In 1983, working on the theme of updating old models, Modern Products gave the Budgie Police Car - originally a Morestone Series model first issued in 1955 - a new look and colour. Changes were made to the casting and it was fitted with different attachments and put into a new blue & white box.
It had been hoped to persuade H Seener Ltd to add it to the range of models already manufactured under their exclusive contract but Mr Seener was not impressed by the model and decided not to proceed with it. However, a trial batch of them had been produced and these were put into storage. A year later, following the death of Len Berkitt one of the owners of Modern Products, the business was sold to Starcourt Ltd. who decided to issue the Police Car models to collectors in their original boxes but with 'for H Seener Ltd' deleted in black felt pen (although un-deleted boxes exist).
Perhaps one reason why the Police Car was revived stems from the introduction by the British Police of a new-style patrol car painted blue to make it clearly visible and recognisable. Many of these vehicles were Morris Minors, a design which originated in the same era as the Wolseley 6/90 on which the Morestone Police Car was based so there was a rough similarity in appearance.
The new version had a number of casting changes. First the central windscreen pillar was removed and the rear side window pillars similarly deleted. Second, the roof was altered to remove the loudspeaker housing and provide two sockets for spotlights, and the bell at the front was removed. Thirdly, the base was given extra detail on both axles with 'OIL' cast in the centre and arrows pointing to the wheels. The 'Budgie Toys' name remained but the model description was changed to 'Police Patrol Car'. There was no mention of H Seener Ltd.
The Series 2 Police Car was coloured blue similar to the real Police vehicles. The painting included the front grille which was pre-assembled and there was no silver trim added. On the roof two silver-painted spotlights were attached and a rectangular sign inserted where the original aerial socket was. The base, which included the front bumper, was also silver-painted.
The metal wheels were fitted directly onto the base without axles and were painted in a silver finish and completed with black tyres.
Large square 'Police' labels were attached to each side of the model and smaller 'Police' labels put on the front and rear panels and both sides of the roof sign.
When Starcourt was clearing out the Modern Products storerooms, they must have found some unpainted castings of the Series 2 Police Car because there was a final issue of them painted in black. These did not have a roof sign but an unpainted metal 'light' instead and they were less adorned with labels, having only small 'Police' ones (of a different style) on the front silver-painted grille and the rear panel.
For the Police Car re-issue in 1983, Modern Products devised a completely new box in white card with blue lettering without an illustration. Perhaps this was an attempt to distance the model from its predessessor which of course had been sold in the usual yellow Budgie box. However, the Budgie name (but not the logo) and the original model number of 246 were still used.
Because Starcourt released the Series 2 Police Cars primarily to collectors, many good examples have been preserved and they are not too hard to find although the black version is more scarce.
Budgie No.246-2: Variation 1 (blue)
Budgie No.246-2 Police Patrol Car (Series 2)
1) BLUE, SILVER base (with 'OIL'), 'POLICE' roof SIGN, side labels, blue/white box ('H Seener' deleted)
2) BLACK, SILVER base (with 'OIL'), um roof LIGHT, NO side labels, blue/white box ('H Seener' deleted)
Budgie No.246-2: Variation 2 (black), box without deletion