Just had a phone call from a producer at BBC Five Live - he got my number via Malc at VVOC and another member.
Basically they are looking for owners of the Vectra C 3.0 CDTi to talk to on a phone-in this evening on BBC Five Live. It's a serious topic of conversation, but will be dealt with in a light-hearted way i.e. it's not a technical show.
Basically the Police appear to be giving very negative reviews of this particular model (the pre-facelift in particular), so they are looking for owners of this particular model to champion it and say that they think they're great kinda thing.
Here's a copy of the e-mail he subsequently sent.....
We'd like to talk about the Vectra issue from about 1130 onwards, and I'd like to find someone who's passionate about the Vectra 3.0 CDTi to talk to our presenter for about 10-15 minutes on the phone air as part of a light-hearted phone-in. The Vectra 3.0CDTi has been criticised by police patrol drivers for being too slow, having poor brakes and handling badly, so we'd like someone with one of these cars to give their opinion.
My number at Five Live is 0161 244 4290, and I'd appreciate hearing from a couple of potential Vectra champions.
Many thanks for your help - the original story is pasted below for your information.
Producer, BBC Radio Five Live
The Stephen Nolan Show
0161 244 4290
POLICE DRIVERS WANT A FASTER CAR
By Chris Greenwood, PA Crime Correspondent
Police patrol drivers unhappy with a "slow" saloon model on their fleet want it replaced with a more expensive rival.
The director of transport at the Metropolitan Police said officers were evaluating alternative cars after complaints about the Vauxhall Vectra 3.0 CDTi.
Stuart Middleton admitted that the Vectra was struggling with the severity of "operational use" on London's busy roads.
One experienced police driver said the car was too slow, did not stop quickly enough and had the worst handling of any police vehicle he has ever used.
Officers apparently prefer more expensive BMW 5 Series cars, which are also used as armed response vehicles.
The large Vauxhall saloon is used as an area patrol car across the capital and carries a large quantity of equipment.
Writing in The Job, an in-house police magazine, the officer said: "Could it please be explained to me who does the testing for such vehicles as the new Vectra is totally unfit for purpose?
"The acceleration and speed are not good enough, the braking distance is twice that of the BMW, and the handling is the worst I have ever experienced in a police vehicle.
"I have spoken with a large number of advanced drivers and they agree with my assessment of the vehicle. Is anything to be done about this?"
The Metropolitan Police uses a huge range of vehicles from ordinary saloons, to four-wheel drive cars, lorries and even mechanical diggers.
All vehicles undergo a battery of tests before being used on the frontline, including checks on braking, handling and performance.
Mr Middleton said the force had endured "unacceptable" problems with the vehicle, including reliability and the supply of spares.
Tom Barnard, of Vauxhall, said the company was aware the Vectra model was not as popular with officers as the "considerably more expensive" BMW 5 Series models.
He said: "Most of the Met Vectras are the pre-facelift models. We believe that drivers would notice a significant improvement in the newer car, which has a chassis set up specially for British road conditions."
Mr Barnard added that Vauxhall now has a vehicle development facility dedicated to emergency service vehicles at Millbrook, Bedfordshire.
He added: "These are all developed to the same quality and safety standards as our production cars.
"We hope officers in the Met and other forces will be able to experience the significant improvements this facility will bring to the vehicles they drive every day."
Comments about the braking in particular seem very odd given that it has exactly the same brakes as the GSi that they currently use - although the front end of the 3.0 is a good bit heavier than the GSi. Also comments about availability of spares seem odd too.
Anyway, if anyone is interested in being on the radio at around 11:30 this evening, please give Vince a ring ASAP to have an initial chat. They will then ring you back when the program is on to get your views.
Could you please just add your names to a list below so that I know who's contacted him. If you manage to mention the club and the domain name on air then there's some free stickers in it for you!!
Ta very much