Police have warned a West Auckland man he can't drive his replica South Australian police car in public - but he thinks they're just jealous because his car is better than theirs.
Rodney Roper spent almost $3000 buying custom-made reflective vinyl markings from a sign-maker to put on the former New Zealand police car he bought at auction two months ago for $7000.
The security guard, who was previously turned down for Police College because of a long injury list including a broken back aged 5, has long had a fascination with all things police, most especially their wheels.
"I loved cop cars when I was growing up. It's something I've always wanted."
But the long arm of the law appear less impressed with Roper's passion.
A day after he proudly posted photos of the car, a 2011 Holden Commodore Omega, on the New Zealand Emergency Vehicle Collectors Facebook page, police officers arrived at his Riverhead home.
The officers, who said police had received complaints from members of the public who had seen Roper driving the car, took photos and told Roper the car could only be driven in public if he covered the word police.
If he didn't comply he could be charged with impersonating a police officer, punishable by a maximum penalty of 12 months in prison and a fine of $15,000.
He would follow the police directive, albeit grudgingly, Roper said.
"I've got to play the game, but it's gutting I can't drive it around as it is. I do not want to change it - it's absolutely stunning."
He also wasn't too impressed with the car the officers were driving when they parked up next to his own.
The 37-year-old had abandoned his original plan to cover his car in New Zealand police markings because others in the emergency vehicle fan community derided them as "clown cars".
"I think the police are jealous that my car is better than theirs."
The replica markings were stuck on hard and he wasn't sure how he would cover the word police on the car, but he'll have to do it soon - he needs the car to drive to work tomorrow. The only other car in the household is his wife's, but he couldn't use it - "she wouldn't like that".
And while his replica South Australian police car was his "pride and joy", it was not the ultimate prize.
If he won Lotto he'd be heading straight for the United States and finding a replica of the car used in hit 1980 comedy The Blues Brothers.
"I'd want my Bluesmobile, definitely."
The Herald on Sunday contacted police about Roper's car, but they were unable to respond before deadline.
A South Australian Police spokesman said Roper had not committed an offence "given this has occurred in New Zealand".
"In this day and age it would be relatively easy to replicate decals [markings]."