When it was built in 1973, our Austin Morris 250 JU was originally a military bus before being retired. Later in its life it featured in many episodes of the popular TV series Heartbeat and was always seen ‘when the backup police came to help’. One notable appearance was in Season 12, Episode 17 – The Third Man, where it featured for most of the episode and had an amazing chase and even some handbrake action!
We had started by restoring a Volkswagen split screen panel van, but soon become bored of the VW scene as every idea we thought up had been done several times. So when this totally unique van came along, we jumped straight into it and snapped it up.
Since buying it at the beginning of 2013 the Austin Morris 250 JU has undergone a lot of work with a lot of help from a local company, Trade Vans UK, based in Gateshead, and is now being driven every week no matter what the weather, it covers a lot of miles as we just love to drive it.
When we got it we soon realised that spare parts were a real headache to find but we weren’t afraid to get our hands dirty and started by fabricating our own new floor panels and welding them in place. The underside has also been fully under sealed and stone chipped for added protection. The entire cooling system has also been replaced with a brand new up-to date-one from an Austin Mini, which was fitted using custom brackets. This means that in modern day traffic it doesn’t overheat or even go one little bit over the middle of the temperature gauge. The top end of the engine has been rebuilt with new seals and cleaned up along with fully refurbishing the carburettor. It runs great and starts first time every time
Our plans are to take it off the road in the winter and fit new piston rings to the engine and fit hardened valve seats so it can be run on unleaded fuel, as lead fuel additives aren’t as good quality as the leaded fuel back in the day. We also want to fit new running gear so it can cruise better and get above 35mph!
It is a total one off vehicle and you hardly ever see a 250 JU for sale, let alone one with as much history and heritage as this. I don’t think we will ever get rid of the van as we never get tired of going out in it and there is always someone who wants to climb in it for a photo in the cells. Or make videos of us driving past. It is just a happy moment every time we drive it.
We hire it out, chauffeur driven, for events, hen and stag parties, weddings, birthdays, all kinds of events. We also offer chauffeur driven rides for 1 hour/2 hours etc. Prices start from just Â£75 for a one hour chauffeur driven ride.
For more information, pictures, videos of the siren and police lights in action, or for booking enquiries please visit www.facebook.com/heartbeatpolicevaneventhire or call Jo on 07591 369495.