We’re used to the flashing lights and the wail of a police vehicle on its way to an emergency – but what do you if you spot a black cop car straight out of a video game on your local school run?
That’s what’s been perplexing Rachel Sims’ fellow mums and dads at Galley Hill Primary School, where she drops her little ones off in a replica of the police car used in the cult videogame Need For Speed.
Since her car was picked up by news agencies and websites across the UK and around the world, Rachel has gained star status in Hemel Hempstead and says she hopes her unusual mode of transport has put the town on the map for a good reason.
The mum of six, who lives in Warners End, said: “The amount of publicity the car has received has shocked me – it’s gone on to an international level now as I have seen it on American gaming sites and even reported in China.
“I did expect a reaction because it looks so different, but I never expected this amateur fame that’s come with it!”
Rachel has been reassured by police that the car – which was originally bought by her partner Simon Alexander after being created to promote a Need For Speed computer game release – is perfectly legal to drive on UK roads.
Though it bears little resemblance to the typical British panda, it is emblazoned with the words ‘police’ and ‘emergency response’.
The number plate – PS03 NFS – stands for PlayStation and Need For Speed and was put on especially by Simon.
Rachel says it is making her youngest children the talk of their school, with other parents asking to take photos and telling her their children love the car. She has also done four radio interviews talking about her unconvetional mode of transport.
Rachel said: “My children love it and people tell me their little boys – and even girls - love it too.
“People do look, but to me it was just a car to drive. When you’re driving it on the motorway, it does turn heads. Then it went all over Facebook and I’ve seen it on websites around the world.”
One of the mum’s older children is desperate to get behind the wheel of the car, but Rachel says she is hoping his insurance doesn’t change to allow him to drive it – though it is one his dream cars.
The irony in Rachel’s story ‘gone viral’ is that she doesn’t even like the videogame on which the car is based.
She said: “I hate the game! But I have to sit and endure hours of it. Simon used to play and even though I don’t know the age limit, I’m sure it’s something my boys will have played!”