By on December 18, 2013

EcoBoost-Police-Interceptor

It’s the kind of thing that makes you want to join the dark (blue) side. Every year, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department runs the newest crop of donut-holders around Fontana Speedway. With no significantly new entries available, it’s no surprise that the results are fundamentally the same as they were last year.

I’m not exactly sure what the justification is for using lap times to rank police vehicles, but we live in an era where police get to do pretty much whatever they want. Why not run ‘em around a track? Some of the significant laptimes:

  • Ford (Taurus) Police Interceptor: 81.25 seconds
  • Chevrolet Caprice PPV 6.0 (355hp tune): 81.97 seconds
  • Dodge Charger HEMI AWD: 82.19 seconds
  • Ford (Explorer) Police Interceptor: 85.58 seconds
  • Chevrolet Tahoe PPV: 91.71 seconds

Looking at the tests of previous years, for which various police officers have posted full results on officer-oriented discussion forums, there’s a gap of a few seconds between the turbo/V-8 cars and the normally-aspirated sixes, then a couple of seconds back to the FWD Impala, which is still available for police fleet orders. Then, of course, you have the Tahoe, which is noticeably slower than everything but the Impala. Some ten to fifteen seconds behind that is the Harley Davidson Road King.

Other tidbits I picked up trolling through cop discussion boards:

  • The Taurus Interceptor cannot “meet CHP minimum load”, whatever that means. Presumably it involves more than the 400 pounds that the LASD loads the vehicles with for acceleration testing (but not track times).
  • Ford delivers PI orders in sixty days or less. GM is quoting six month lead times for the made-in-Australia Caprice.
  • Spares for the Caprice are difficult to get and, anecdotally speaking, Caprices are often idled for months waiting for body parts.
  • Even female officers report that the Caprice feels cramped. The Taurus Interceptor isn’t as good in that regard as the Crown Vic, but it’s not unlivable.
  • Cops love the Charger but hate the trunk space, and have a perception that it’s in for service more than competitive vehicles.
  • Ford specifically removed both keyless entry and “chip keys” from both Interceptor vehicles. As a result, the same blank keys can be cut for an entire fleet of Ford cop cars. Good news if you want to steal one, and also good news if you’re a fleet manager for a police department.

A solid comparison between the Ford Taurus SHO and “Police Interceptor” can be found at Hooniverse. When it comes to sales, however, the departments are voting with their wallets for the Explorer-based Police Interceptor. It’s outstripped the Taurus sedan Interceptor and sales are increasing steadily as departments grudgingly give up parking lots full of worn-out Crown Vics.

While the newest generation of police vehicles is almost certainly the fastest in history, it’s hard to shake the suspicion that they are the worst tools for the job since the Sixties. Cramped, complex, and expensive, the current Ford, Chevrolet, and Dodge vehicles succeed primarily in making cops homesick for the old Panthers and Bubble Caprices.

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137 Comments on “Turbos Beat Displacement In Police Testing...”


  • avatar
    CoastieLenn

    “Ford Tahoe PPV: 91.71 seconds”

    Que?

    Also, correct me if I’m wrong but that Police Interceptor in the lead pic isn’t an interceptor… its a normal Taurus in Police livery, right? The front bumper is completely different and the Interceptor comes with steel wheel covers, as ugly as they can be.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Beat me to it.

    • 0 avatar
      IndianaDriver

      That is indeed a Taurus Police Interceptor in the picture. The suspension, brakes, seats and just about everything else is much beefier than you would find on a standard Taurus. Also, Ford will customize the cars based on the the orders from the Police Department that is purchasing them. That includes the wheels – so you won’t see all of them with basic steel ones. I’ve seen several different customized versions of this vehicle.

    • 0 avatar

      Put that piece of sh!t Taurus up against me and then we’ll see. I could walk up and down a Taurus All day long, back when I only had the 6.1, and BEFORE I blew the engine.

      • 0 avatar
        luvmyv8

        The car pictured is indeed a Ford Police Interceptor; this one was a prototype though, hence the differing bumper and wheel trim. This one was from roughly 2 years ago. This one even made it into Need for Speed Hot Pursuit along with the P71 Crown Vic. I much prefer the Vickie in the game….

      • 0 avatar
        BlueEr03

        Wow, you are so cool. It’s a shame cops have radios, or you could just do whatever you wanted. You are so awesome.

    • 0 avatar
      billfrombuckhead

      When are the diesel Charger and Durango police cars coming that Ron Burgundy promised?

  • avatar
    E46M3_333

    With the advent of two way radios, helicopters and other tech, does it really matter how fast a cop car can go?

    • 0 avatar
      CoastieLenn

      Yes, when you consider that a radio could only help communicate that the officer has (potentially) lost the subject’s stock Honda Odyssey minivan that happens to be much quicker than the Crown Vic he’s currently driving. Plus, a helo is only introduced into a pursuit WELL after its initiation.

      You need the police vehicles to be at least slightly better than the average car on the road… which the average is pretty impressive these days.

    • 0 avatar
      jimbobjoe

      No, and to a certain extant US agencies don’t buy police cars based on speed anyway. There are lots of faster cars.

      But they aren’t as big and sturdy. On that note US agencies are the odd ones, agencies in other countries of the world make do with smaller vehicles. It’s a cultural preference, not a necessity.

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    Turbo power FTW!

    So the hip area is narrow in the Caprice?

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    The Taurus Interceptor cannot “meet CHP minimum load”,

    Jack this probably has something to do with the equipment they load as you point out, but I would suggest the car’s ergonomics can’t meet with the equipment’s dimensions. Minimum load might not be a measure of weight or mass but simply a list of equipment.

  • avatar

    Modern cars in general are cramped, regardless of how large they seem to be on the outside. My biggest complaint with a lot of new vehicles is that I can not get the damn seat down low enough to prevent my head from touching the roof when sitting up correctly (ie: not leaning the chair all the way back and leaning over the center console, urban white-guy gangsta style). And there’s no width in these things anymore.

    Did I mention I’m 6’2″ @ 175lbs? The cocoon feel in modern vehicles is ridiculous.

    • 0 avatar
      CoastieLenn

      They build cars to averages. You sir, are about 4-5″ taller than average (or moreso if you factor global averages) so you might want to get used to opting for “no sunroof” or stick to SUV’s and pickups.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        They build cars to an average range, not a specific height. I’m 6’1″ and well within that range, and have enough headroom in all but the smallest cars, though the clearance has been shrinking for some time. What I miss is the foot room that existed in 1960s – 1980s cars, even the ones with consoles. My 13-triple Es had no problem with cars mid-size and up until about 1998. Even my ’05 LeSabre seems to have an especially wide transmission tunnel and especially small accelerator pedal.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Modern cars are quite wide these days. It’s just that consumers like to feel that they are cocooned inside of vehicles, which results in thick door panels, long dashboards, and wide center consoles that rob space. The Ford D3/D4 platform utilized by the Taurus and Explorer PPVs is particularly bad in this regard…

      • 0 avatar

        The wide center-console trend also eludes me. I remember my old ’04 Explorer that had the shifter on the steerig stem, and a useful center console for storage and space. Now, a useless automatic-shifter lever is in the center, robbing of useful storage and space. I don’t get it.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          This. The only time I’ve ever seen a column-mounted gear selector impede anything is the instance in which my buddy wanted to install one of those motorized head-unit screens in his 2001 Tahoe…

          • 0 avatar
            CarnotCycle

            One thing driving car interiors into feeling cramped etc. are the airbags. I’ve got a 2008 Kia Rio daily beater, and I’ve got at least eight airbags in it. I’ve got wheel airbags, column airbags, b & c pillar airbags; if I hit a telephone pole at ten MPH the car I think will turn into Stay Puff Marshmellow Man on the inside.

            All those airbags need space, hence the pillars are thick and wide all around – on a tin ecobox no less. You lose that volume on the interior; it doesn’t show up in legroom or headroom inches but the volume is less and people ‘feel’ it, and notice when they do things like get out of the car or put equipment (like, say, a scattergun for cops) in the interior.

            Plus airbags are heavy, dense things and altogether I’ve got several hundred pounds of weight above the center of gravity in my Kia Rio eco-box. Any car sold has to have those airbags – along with myriad other mandated things about the interior alone – before designers and engineers can, you know, make the interior.

            We inadvertently detect the trades we’ve made pining about spacious interiors of cars that to make today would violate Federal safety law.

    • 0 avatar
      imag

      Wow – just rented a Challenger and “cramped” was the last word that would have come to mind. I’m 6’2″ and ~180 lbs and I felt like it was designed for someone who weighed three times as much.

      I think a big part of the cocoon feeling comes from the high beltlines and high dashes. Airbags everywhere probably don’t help.

      Anyway, the GT86 is one of the few modern cars that feels “right” to me, so I suspect I’m in a completely different category from you.

      • 0 avatar

        I love small, roadster like cars. In fact, the FRS is a high contender for my replacement daily-driver. My other car, an ’89 325is, is perfect for me; I have head-clearance, I can see out of any direction easily and i’m not squeezed in.

        I just find it funny that I also get that same amount of room and visibility in BMW’s Cooper as opposed to a modern E class or RX350.

        • 0 avatar

          I know why this happens to you: Mini and FRS permit the seat go very low, compared to other cars. When your butt drops that low, your headroom increases by the same amount.

          In most cars, I have to flip the rear view mirror upside down. That’s the only way to raise it high enough so I can look under it without tiresome craning.

          • 0 avatar
            Lawyer Applegate

            Yeah, I do that mirror trick too – when I leave the inside mirror attached at all. In the Grand Marquis it was impossible to position it where it didn’t block my view of pedestrians entering intersections from the right, so I 86′d it.

    • 0 avatar
      JimC2

      “(ie: not leaning the chair all the way back and leaning over the center console, urban white-guy gangsta style)”

      Yo, why you be all hatin’ on whitey like that?

    • 0 avatar

      I face the same acute problem with the headroom and I identified a few cars that are more bearable than others. The list includes such oddities as BMW 5xx, Ford F-150, and Subaru BR-Z. Among the sensible cars, it’s just Hyundai Elantra and Ford Focus (the latter failing miserably on visibility, which is fairly unusual with my height!).

    • 0 avatar
      Lawyer Applegate

      100% agreed. I’m 6’6″ and weigh between 240 pounds (ripped and buff) and 280 pounds (holiday bloat). I have a 36″ inseam and a size 15 shoe and most modern cars are just hideously small inside.

      2012 Taurus? Shins in under-dash panel, hips compressed.

      My wife’s 2005 Honda CRV? Shins in under-dash panel, hips compressed.

      Mom’s 2008 Subaru Forester? Shin/knee region brutalized by center console’s tunnel-to-dash-top design.

      My last car was a 2004 Ford Focus ZX-3 5-speed. Leg room was OK, but the high dash and unobtrusive center console allowed me to flop my right leg out and go spraddle-legged, which helped. Still, after an hour or two my knees would start to ache from being too bent for too long, and after 140,000 miles I sold it.

      Now I drive a 2001 Grand Marquis. With the power seat all the way back, the seat-back fully erect, and the seat cushion lowered fully in the back and tipped slightly up in the front I’m pretty comfortable. Still, if I wore a hat or a cheesy Ryan Seacrest-style ‘faux-hawk’ hairdo, I’d need to go full gangsta. It’s frigging pathetic. I assume this is one reason that people buy trucks; they still have decent headroom, don’t they?

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    I would be more interested to hear how these vehicles are doing in the field vs on the track.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      Read the article. The Caprice has parts supply issues that sidelines it for months. The Charger breaks the most. The Taurus can’t carry the required payload. Damned glad I don’t have to buy UAW-three.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Tidbits in the article are nice but in the field as in the perspective of officers and fleet managers.

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        “The Caprice has parts supply issues that sidelines it for months. The Charger breaks the most.”

        I wonder how that happened. You do not wait 3 Months for Holden Parts here?

        • 0 avatar
          luvmyv8

          This becomes interesting now with Holden’s future…. what’ll become of the Caprice? I don’t see a bright future here for it. Maybe they’ll be a police fleet version of the new Impala coming to replace it?

          It sure hasn’t taken off here. I see one, the El Cajon police have at least one, Carlsbad has at least another. That’s pretty much it. Mostly still Crown Vics in San Diego, though the new Explorer Interceptor is starting to filter into the CHP’s rotation.

      • 0 avatar
        Drewlssix

        I don’t know of any non domestic vehicles that would be suitable for the task. European sedans and utility vehicles will certainly be to expensive and probably beat the Charger out in break down frequency.

        Japanese sedans will suffer the same issue the Taurus has and that’s only counting the largest available, Avalon? M35/45? possibly the Maxima.

        SUVs and pickups might fit some niches but with Nissan trucks being fairly poor all around and Toyotas holding serious premiums over volume sellers from Detroit.

  • avatar
    raph

    Lap times aside, it seems to me that the ecoboost engine would be a good fit for city cruisers at least since they spend a lot of time in slow moving traffic and just idling where they might be better able to take advantage of the small displacement engine off boost and have the power when they need it.

    Unlike say state police who are out on the highway and operating in a range where the engine was creeping up on or in boost.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Operating it at a point where the intake manifold is as 0 PSI/0″vacuum is perfect for MPG. If the engine is making vacuum then some of the power it is generating is consumed to suck in air.

  • avatar
    TybeeJim

    No mention of VW Passat TDI? it’s a turbo!!!!!

    • 0 avatar
      luvmyv8

      Not a cop car here in ‘Murica. Not a bad idea really but if you read yesterday’s post on VW America, no fleet manager will dare try it. Sure, a big deal is made about police car power figures and such, but the main thing a police car must be is dependable. For the most part a police officer will tolerate is a slow car (OK, most cases…) but no cop will ever tolerate a unreliable car under any circumstance. Nor will a fleet manager.

  • avatar
    NMGOM

    Maybe cops should just use black Chevy Suburbans or Tahoe’s, to provide the good space and comfort they need, and let the real pursuit stuff defer to radio contacts up the road. It would be a lot safer for everybody. I’d sure hate to see a race-inexpereinced cop trying chase down a wily teenage at 100+ mph in a Taurus, for God’s sake.

    ————-

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      There is a company in VA developing a tracking device that the cops would shot at a speeder trying to evade them.

      Not a bad idea as they can terminate the chase and just track the vehicle to where it stops.

      Then again on the slippery slope of privacy state and federal governments could always just force cell phone companies and companies like EZ-Pass to divulge their list of subscribers and match them to license plates.

      Either install individual receivers or use cell phone towers to track the vehicles as they are trying to evade the police.

      States sorta do this now with cell phones and tracking the flow of traffic, the use cell towers or individual receivers to monitor cell phones in vehicles as they flow past and measure the speed of traffic. Supposedly no individual information is collected or acted upon which I guess is true or I would be sending this from the prison library.

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        Shooting things at speeding cars that make them easier to catch? Cops have watched 2 Fast 2 Furious too many times.

        • 0 avatar
          raph

          Better than throwing out the nail strip when somebody is flying down the highway. Its technology worth exploring.

          Well unless your this one guy over at Jalopnik who thinks a high speed pursuit should end in an automatic death penalty.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            No really, the cops in 2F2F have these claw things that can somehow slow a car down despite hitting nowhere near the actual driveline. It’s the kind of thing highway patrol guys probably dream of every night.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            That ‘claw thing’ you’re talking about supposedly sends an electrical surge into the body of the car–like an EMP pulse. The idea is to kill the computers and kill the car.

            Now, whether or not it works…?

          • 0 avatar
            redmondjp

            Vulpine,
            You’re getting confused here.

            There is actually a spear-like device attached to a steel cable that can be shot at the back of a car – the tip pierces the sheet metal and then pops open forming a claw, and braking force can be applied from the pursuit vehicle via the cable to slow the car down. I’ve never seen one used other than in test videos.

            The other device is a focused EMP-type ‘beam’ weapon which fries the microelectronic circuits on the fleeing vehicle (as well as everybody’s cell phone within a ?? ft. radius!).

            Personally I like the OnStar option the best: “Yeah, I’ve got a stolen ‘sclade on the run, can you kill it for me?”

          • 0 avatar
            Drewlssix

            Nail strips are very effective. They dis able a vehicle quickly but in a controlled manner. The down side is that it requires atleast one officer down stream of the suspect and a reasonable idea of where they will be minutes from now.

    • 0 avatar
      bomberpete

      Really. Back in the late Seventies and Eighties the highway cops started using Mustangs and Camaros. They’re available now, along with the Challenger. Outside of the driving training, wouldn’t that solve the “pursuit” problem?

      • 0 avatar
        luvmyv8

        They did, but only because they needed the Camaro B4C and Mustang 5.0 SSP back then. In the 70′s cops had big block cruisers when they needed them. Dodge and Plymouth had the 440 Magnum as an available option. In ’69, this 375 hp brute pushed the gigantic fullsize Mopar squads up to a amazing 147 MPH. Of course as the 70′s progressed, smog equipment took it’s toll on the 440, but even so, even smogger 440′s could still run decently. In ’78, the fastest American built car wasn’t the Trans Am or Corvette, it was the Plymouth Fury with a 440 and 128 MPH top speed. Not bad for a smogger engine.

        The only problem problem was after ’79, you couldn’t get a 440 or a fullsize car. The biggest was the Dodge St. Regis. At least in ’79 (in California) you could get a decent 360 and it was an OK cop car. It had enough power, not a road burner, but not entirely a pathetic slug either. The problem was in ’81 (again, in California) the 360 wasn’t certified for use in California, so all you could get was a wheezy 318 that had all of 155 hp…. and the CHP wasn’t excluded. It was too slow, it couldn’t push stalled vehicles off the road, it couldn’t effectively keep pace with traffic, it couldn’t maintain speed up hills and it couldn’t intercept speeders; they mostly got away. I’ve heard stories of the St. Regis’ top speed of being JUST 95 MPH on FLAT roads (also the big brick like lightbar on the roof probably didn’t help either) it wasn’t only Dodge, pretty much all of the available police cars sucked. The CHP went to Ford for a solution and they cooked up the 5.0 SSP Mustang in ’82. Thus was born the “Ford that chases Porsches for a living”. It quickly became the darling for the CHP and other agencies adopted them. I remember growing up as a kid being in awe of the CHP Mustangs and my dad being terrified by them (so pops had a lead foot!)

        Eventually though, Chevrolet hurt the Mustang, but not how you think; true Chevrolet did eventually counter with the B4C Camaro and on paper it was better then the Mustang, but what really hurt the Mustang and ended it’s reign of being to go to chase car was the ’94 Caprice 9C1 with the LT1, it could do everything the Mustang did, but it was a fullsize 4 door sedan with 4 wheel disc brakes and a 140+ MPH top speed. Plus it was safer and more comfortable, the Mustang always had awful brakes and it’s police package Fairmount rear drum brakes didn’t help, plus they were extremely skittish in the rain.

        bomberpete, the reason why police don’t use pony cars is they aren’t needed, plus there are draw backs, only 2 doors, not enough room for mounted guns, MDT modules, LoJack scanners, equipment and such. Also unlike the 80′s and 90′s, the big three don’t offer these as police cars. They don’t have the police packages or “special service” packages that are required of modern patrol cars. I asked a few CHP officers back when Ford introduced the ’11 Coyote 5.0 Mustang about using them as patrol cars. They were rather lukewarm on the subject, many citing the above listed issues and the harsh ride (very true, I had an ’06 Mustang GT and it’s ride was horrible, loved the car but it really kicked my ass, my ’12 Wrangler, of all things rides noticeably better, even with 2 solid axles!)plus I wouldn’t want to be in a Mustang for a 12 hour shift….. they did however like the idea of it being a community relations tool…. but not a rank and file patrol car.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          Maine State Police still use a crapload of Mustang GTs, all in various civilian colors with very tinted windows. They park them in the winter for the most part though. Had one blow by me at about Mach 2 on the Turnpike last summer – pretty impressive.

          They bought some Taurii and Chargers, but seem to also have settled on the Explorer, as have the wealthier towns. The poor towns are buying Impalas, or just keeping their Crown Vics. I have seen one Caprice so far in Maine.

        • 0 avatar
          Joe McKinney

          In the late 1980′s I was a member of the Florida Highway Patrol Auxiliary. I got to ride in all of the FHP vehicles in service at the time (LTD Crown Vic, Fox Body LTD, Special Service Mustang, Caprice and Diplomat).

          The LTD Crown Vic, Caprice and Diplomat were roomy and reliable, but not very fast. The leisurely acceleration was a bigger problem than the modest top speeds.

          The Fox Body LTD was fast, but spent a lot of time in the shop. The Troopers who had these cars absolutely hated them. I don’t know why the LTD was so unreliable compared to the Special Service Mustang which was based on the same platform and used the same 5.0 High Output engine.

          The Special Service Mustang was reliable and very fast by 1980′s standards, but the interior and trunk were small. Also, the Mustangs used by the FHP only had five speed manual transmissions. Between the tight interiors and constant gear shifting, these were not the most comfortable cars to work in for 40+ hours a week.

          During the five years I was in the FHPA I knew quite a few Troopers who couldn’t wait to get a Special Service Mustang, but who later traded the Mustang for a Caprice or LTD Crown Vic because they found they prefered the comfort of a big sedan to the speed of the Mustang. The LT1 Caprice all but eliminated the niche market for police package pony cars by combining the speed of the pony car with the room and comfort of a full-size sedan.

          • 0 avatar
            luvmyv8

            The fox body LTD, aka the “Baby” LTD.

            The Florida State Highway Patrol were famous for using these, but there’s a reason why it didn’t last so long and are extremely rare today; the brakes.

            They were absolutely horrible, especially given that the car was pretty much a 4 door Mustang and had it’s same 5.0 HO engine. The brakes were good for only 1 panic stop and after that you were out of luck. The Mustang had a bad reputation for braking, but the LTD hands down beat it. Funny since these brakes were sourced from the police package Fairmount (see the movie ET to see them, they’re pale blue and yes there really was a police Fairmount, complete with your choice of 2.3 (!), I-6 or a 129 hp 5.0! Whee!)The Fairmounts did stop well, but they weighed as much as a beer can and with 129 hp in your best case scenario, I guess it worked well enough.

            I think it was Santa Monica or some Southern California agency used these LTD’s for a few months, but promptly sod them off for their poor braking characteristics.

            As far as police cars went, Fords historically had terrible brakes in their police cars up until the 4 wheel disc Crown Victoria was introduced in ’92. They tried though, in the mid to late 70′s, they offered rear discs on their fullsize cars as an option with differing brake pad options, probably sourced from the Nimitz class Lincoln Town Car. Very rare, since Ford was roughly #3 in police cars and Mopars were king back then….. the 440 squads were just that good for the times.

          • 0 avatar
            Joe McKinney

            Ford actually advertised the police package Fox Body LTD as the “Four-Door Mustang”. This was a bit of an exageration as the LTD was bigger, heavier and slower the Mustang.

            The Fox Body LTD was the reason I got to ride in a couple of FHP Diplomats. By the time I joined the FHPA in 1986 the few remaining Diplomats had been placed in reserve status. There were two Diplomats parked behind the FHP station in my hometown. One of the Troopers I often rode along with had a Fox Body LTD. When his LTD was in the shop he sometimes drove the old Diplomats. He liked the Diplomats, but I can still hear him cursing that LTD.

            The Diplomat’s shortcoming was that it was a mid-sized car, but its performance and fuel economy were no better than the full-size LTD Crown Vic and Caprice. It does say something that Diplomats were kept in reserve after they had been replaced by newer cars. When the Fox Body LTDs were replaced they bypassed the reserve lot and went straight to auction.

          • 0 avatar
            sgeffe

            Interesting, as basically, the Fairmont and LTD were the same car. (Could have sworn that the 5.0L was available in some form or fashion in the Fairmont.)

            Pity that Ford didn’t have a rear disk conversion kit for cop-spec cars.

    • 0 avatar
      Lawyer Applegate

      FINNISH CAR HARPOON!

      http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=2199&dat=19960821&id=cagyAAAAIBAJ&sjid=O-cFAAAAIBAJ&pg=5151,3389195

  • avatar
    Pch101

    “The Taurus Interceptor cannot ‘meet CHP minimum load’, whatever that means.”

    I would assume that it means that it doesn’t ride high enough and doesn’t have enough space on the dash for a license plate reader to operate effectively.

    • 0 avatar
      SC5door

      No, it means:

      The sedan can only carry 1200 lbs of extra gear. They need to be able to carry up to 1700 lbs. The Gross Vehicle Weight Ratings of the sedans were too low to get the job done.

      • 0 avatar
        86er

        Not to belabour this, but nothing about the Taurus says “getting the job done”. It does say “placeholder” though. The real star of the Ford lineup, if you can call it that, is the Explorer, and even that’s a stretch. I wonder how many F-150s get decked out with police trim and equipment vs. an Explorer.

        • 0 avatar
          IHateCars

          When I’ve been down in Mexico it seems every other police vehicle is a decked out F-150.

        • 0 avatar
          bomberpete

          I read the “Hooniverse” article comparing the Taurus SHO and PI. The writer made the point that Ford discontinued the Panther without having a real replacement ready.

          I agree. The D3 platform is just wrong for this application. Ford would have done better to upgrade the Expedition to go head on with the Tahoe until they had a better police package ready.

          To me, that package is an extended sedan based on the 2015 Mustang. They have to amortize the development costs anyway, so why not go full circle with the Taurus and make it into an RWD sedan for $30K?

          While they’re at it, for $45K offer a Lincoln Continental with rear-hinged doors. The Coyote V-8 would only be available in the Mustang, police version Taurus and the Lincoln. That would clean up a few messes in their product lineup, wouldn’t it?

          This should be obvious to everyone except Mark Fields, who’s probably preening in the mirror.

          As for the Dodge Charger, I wonder if the cops are just burning up all that motor? They say power corrupts absolutely.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        My point was that I presume that the minimum load requirement was set at such a level so that SUVs would become the default choice, because they want to justify having taller vehicles.

        I’d be curious to know whether that extra gear actually weighs about 700 lbs.

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        1,700 pounds?

        I assume that must include the officer and perhaps one or two arrestees, at maybe 300 pounds each?

        Because otherwise *what in God’s name are they carrying* in those things?

        • 0 avatar
          luvmyv8

          Mobile Data Terminals, computers for the MDT’s, scanners, radios, partition between the front and rear seats, emergency lighting, lightbars, dashcams, various sensors and antennae, some have ballistic panels (an option on the P71 Crown Vic and likely the new Tauri-ceptor, weapons- shotguns, carbines… riot gear, road safety equipment, emergency supplies, code books, relief items (the CHP gives out a “Chippie” stuffed animal to young and distraught children in situations) foul weather clothes, chains for snow (for snowy areas) also the police package equipment adds weight too; the auxillary coolers for the oil and transmissions, heavy duty electrical systems, heavy duty suspensions and wheels, upgraded cooling system, push bars (if so equipped) extra reinforcement in the chassis and body, heavy duty driveline and sometimes higher output in terms of power. Also officers themselves have to carry equipment on their person, kevlar vests, batons, pistols, ticket books, tactical belts, mace, cuffs…… this stuff adds up and why a fully outfitted Crown Victoria isn’t the fastest thing out there, but it manages.

  • avatar
    MPAVictoria

    I am really surprised to hear that police feel the Caprice is cramped. I drive a G8 and I think it has loads of room. Way more than the Taurus I compared it to when I was car shopping.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      To be fair, they probably do feel more cramped for those who have guns and batons stuck to their belts, and who have shotguns and computer monitors stuck to the dashboards. All of that cop gear takes up space.

    • 0 avatar
      360joules

      I sat in a Caprice the other week because I always have officers parked at my work. 6’4″, 250, only wearing light weight clothing, I felt snug but not crowded in the seat. 5′ 9″ -ish state patroller hopped back in wearing a snug fitting retention holster on a duty belt with 2 gun mags, small led light, one set of cuffs, his ASP, radio holster (but not the radio, and a small pouch that hold some nitrile gloves with a breathing valve for CPR. He said he felt ok for about 20-30 minutes. His pistol was pushed up torward his flank and if he forgot his radio it would have jabbed his other flank. He said it would be a great car for an officer working in plain clothes. For him the discomfort wasn’t worth it even though he said the handling and performance of the Caprice was “Fantastic!”

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      I sort of thought the same thing – I had the chance to check out all three at a fleet expo a few years back, and the Caprice struck me at the roomiest, especially against the Taurus with its high sills and the Charger with that wrap-around dashboard. Admittedly, I had nothing near the full gear, which might’ve changed things.

      • 0 avatar
        360joules

        The newer Chargers & Explorers by my ambulance bay have a lot of interior wear/scratches where gear is rubbing at hip level. What pushes out on the interior pushes back in on the officers and causes them discomfort. Even shorter officers don’t like exiting the newer Chargers compared to last gen. The Police Explorer may have narrow hip space but the step-in/step-out feels easy for anyone over 5’8″. All officers I chat with love the Tahoes but in my area few officers get them regardless of agency.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    Meanwhile, I wonder how police officers cope with blind spots. I’m not sure how good the Crown Victoria was, but rear visibility in the Taurus is exceptionally poor, and the Charger isn’t much better…and it’s not like they give you blind-spot monitoring or anything.

    • 0 avatar
      86er

      Exceptional. The 92-97 models were even better. 8 window design (and a low beltine) for an almost uninterrupted panoramic view.

      Mind you, now everybody seems to be in a truck or SUV/CUV so the ability for an officer to see anything past a Dodge Dually would be a priority.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    State police here in NM seem to be dividing their fleet between Explorers and Chargers. Explorers for full livery and Chargers for unmarked duty. Local Sheriffs department has ordered a few Taurus PI models. Gallup PD is switching over to almost completely Charger based. Everyone still has lots of Tahoes and Expeditions but those were all ordered 2 to 5 years ago.

    I have yet to see a Caprice in anyone’s fleet in the Land of Enchantment.

  • avatar
    86er

    Saw my first RCMP Taurus PI pull over a speeder last month. What a strange sight, after all the Vics, Tahoes, and now F-150s.

  • avatar
    Carzzi

    Turbos, essentially, are displacement on demand.

  • avatar

    I’m surprised at how many Explorers the Kansas Highway Patrol and local municipalities have bought already. But I guess given the complaints about the space in Taurus, I can see why. I doubt the KHP will buy many Caprices, given the limited availability of parts.

  • avatar
    suspekt

    I look after one of the largest fleets of First Responder vehicles in North America from a financial-cost management perspective.

    I can tell you, hands down, the Tahoe PPV (SSV available with 4wd) is the vehicle these guys need. It is a true BOF unit and can handle all of the gear and associated duty cycle these units are put through. The GM 5.3 has been bullet proof and the downtime due to unexpected maintenance events has been quite low. The interior room alone allows for much better ergonomic layouts when you factor in computer hardware, radio equipment, etc.

    My only gripe with these units is fuel consumption but I really wonder; an ecoboost 3.5 operating at high-load vs pushrod 5.3 operating at high load; which will eat more fuel. Of course GVW will play a big role in the consumption differential.

    I could be wrong, but I am pretty sure a Tahoe PPV could outrun a Crown Vic so there really is no basis to claim that a Crown Vic is superior to it in anyway. Probably not even on a fuel consumption basis.

    • 0 avatar
      CoastieLenn

      “I could be wrong, but I am pretty sure a Tahoe PPV could outrun a Crown Vic…”

      It’s been proven that a new Honda Odyssey minivan (driven by The Stig) can outrun the latest Crown Vic (driven by Tanner Faust).

      When you consider that the Crown Vic only peaked at 250hp and weighed as much as a Panzer tank, most anything on the road these days will outrun it.

      • 0 avatar
        86er

        I don’t think a Crown Vic, even a loaded up Police Interceptor, weighed more than 4500 lbs. I think a civilian Explorer is right in that neighbourhood.

      • 0 avatar
        tedward

        Meant to respond to you below. Sorry about that. Interesting to hear that the tahoe is easier from the fleet managers point of view. It’s sudden appearance everywhere makes sense now.

        It should be a Wagon. That ride height and weight will contribute to and outright cause avoidable accidents in rural areas. I say this not as an enthusiast Wagon lover. Having a few suvs around makes sense of course.

        • 0 avatar
          carrya1911

          The problem with cop vehicles is that cops need to haul a whole bunch of stuff all the time, while occasionally needing to go fast. Oh, and be able to hop a curb without damage and do some minor off-roading, too.

          As soon as somebody gets a Unimog to make love to a Corvette and a cargo van in an unholy three-way we’ll have the perfect cop car.

          Short of that, a wagon capable of 4 wheel drive and able to get a little extra ground clearance on demand would be a very good thing. I’m not saying Mercedes E63 AMG wagon, necessarily…but something along those lines that’s a lot cheaper.

      • 0 avatar
        mankyman

        Yes, a crown vic can be beaten by a lot of cars these days, even base Camcords and the like. That’s not really the point though. Given the crowded streets and highways these days, I doubt it makes that much difference anyway. In many of these youtube pursuit videos you see the bad guy pulling away only to be slowed by traffic. And I believe many police departments have to break off a high speed chase in the interest of the public. Here in Memphis the cops are always doing idiotic things with their Impalas and Chargers. They’re always running into innocent drivers and the like. The cops great advantage comes from their organization, greater access to information, better (hopefully!) driving skills, etc. Not everything can be gauged by a 0-60 time.

        And the crown vics were great for chasing suspects on bumpy terrain. Obviously it’s no pickup truck, but again, check out the youtube videos of cops crashing over curbs, driving through fields, etc. The Vic just took a licking and kept on ticking. I’m sure the Tahoes will beat them over rough ground but they do have a tendency to turn over. It happened three times in the last 6 months to cops in my Memphis suburb. What’s the mileage of those Tahoes? They’re big beasts. I doubt you’d get more than 11 or 12 mpg in the city. My Vic consistently gets 17-18.

        I grant you they are not the most agile vehicle, although they are much more agile than Grandpa’s Panther. That might be their weakness in an urban environment.

        I recently drove one 1200 miles hauling a 2000 pound boat, two kids, a wife, a dog and a mother in law and it went like a champ. Got 15 mpg, but what the hell? it’s roomy as fu*k, handles better than it ought to, has the 3.55 differential so it’s responsive, and parts are dirt-cheap when they (rarely) break. I’ve put 60,000 miles on the thing and haven’t replaced anything at all except the oil and the diff fluid.

        I know there are a lot of Panther haters out there so go ahead and blast away. It’s not the car for everyone but if I had to distill what I like about it, it’s the value you get for your money.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          “it’s the value you get for your money.”

          That’s a tall order in today’s world.

        • 0 avatar
          DC Bruce

          I think for most police highway work, fast acceleration is more important that ultimate top speed. Given the classic police radar setup, where the patrol car is parked by the side of the road in some inconspicuous place, the cop car has to go from a dead stop to a substantially illegal speed in order to intercept and close the violator. Let’s say the typical cop speed trap bait is going at least 75 through the trap; the police car has to exceed that speed and quickly to catch up to him. Otherwise, he may not see the emergency lights somewhere behind him and either not know the he’s the target, or, if he sees them, rabbit and dive for the nearest exit and disappear.

          So, that means the police need a vehicle that will accelerate to 90 mph PDQ.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      Does the cop-spec 5.3 have the DOD?

      My locality is replacing their CVPIs with Tahoe PPVs, while the Ohio Highway Patrol seems to be going equal parts Tahoes and Chargers.

      Toledo, OH, OTOH is going all Fords after having cycled some Chargers through, half Taurus and half Explorer.

  • avatar
    tedward

    I was talking to a state trooper the other day at a gas station and he had a tahoe. I asked him if he really felt safe about the idea of taking it on a back road pursuit. He was kind of puzzled by the question and said it hadn’t happened yet. I started explaining the reasons that might be dangerous and he was shocked. Also by my prediction that basically anything could outrun him on a challenging road.

    My take away is that cops are not automatically any more knowledgeable than regular people about cars. They just know their cars really well. For what its worth he seemed grateful for the input and it seemed to really give him pause that his equipment might be poorly chosen.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    An SUV makes better sense as a Responder vehicle rather than a Pursuit (Interceptor) vehicle. As such, the SUV really makes sense in more urban environments where relative speed is less important than safety. The SUV also makes sense in the most rural environments where dirt and gravel roads and less-maintained pavement is the rule. In suburban and open-highway environments, that’s where the faster vehicles have the advantage and that’s where you shouldn’t worry too much about carrying more than critical life-saving hardware. Use a Camaro or Mustang or Challenger for pursuit and let them radio ahead for the heavier vehicles to block and contain the fugitive. You really don’t need 10 or 12 cars chasing one down the road when that many trucks could flat block the road.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    For my money, the Charger is the most badass cop car in the realm.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    Since the Crown Vic is on its way out I am seeing the RCMP use more and more Tahoe’s. I’m also seeing them using various 1/2 ton crew cab pickups as “ghost cars”. I have yet to see a Dodge Charger or Taurus.

  • avatar
    bikegoesbaa

    Serious question for those in the know:

    What’s special about policing in North America that we need ruggedized fullsize cars or BOF trucks in our workaday police vehicles? It appears as though other places successfully use stock FWD midsize or compact cars for the same application.

    I assume there’s a good reason for it, but don’t know what it is. Presumably the guys writing the checks for the vehicles need to be convinced that a Focus or Malibu class car wouldn’t be up for the job like they are elsewhere.

    Is it just a function of what was available in America through the 70s and 80s? Since smaller domestic FWD cars were largely garbage, did fleet operators go with big RWD vehicles because they were generally better executed rather than inherent benefits as a result of their size?

    If the X-car and the J-body etc had been better would we have more small FWD police cars around today?

    • 0 avatar
      Sam Hell Jr

      I’m sure non US LEOs would prefer larger, more capable cruisers, just as lots of non US utility workers and tradesmen would prefer full size trucks. Those vehicles tend not to exist in the rest of the world for any number of reasons – fuel cost, parking, regulatory environment. Cross over with the civilian market matters for sales, service, parts availability and the like.

      That, and my fat cops joke above was only partly tongue in cheek. Americans are just big folks. Try cramming three American males into a Rover hatch like they do in the UK.

      • 0 avatar
        bikegoesbaa

        I’m sure they would prefer lots of things, but generally occupational equipment is selected based on “what’s the most cost-effective thing that will do the job” rather than “what would the user prefer”.

        Is there any evidence that the cars used elsewhere in the world negatively impact police effectiveness or officer safety? If small FWD cop cars get the job done in Seoul and Berlin and London then why not New York and Chicago?

        • 0 avatar
          RobertRyan

          @bikegoesbaa,
          None whatsoever. Interceptors are sedans
          not unstable SUV’s. Hate to throw a SUV with a high COG around a roundabout at speed.

        • 0 avatar
          Sam Hell Jr

          If you’re looking for evidence of systemic automotive waste by American police, you may find it. I’m just pointing out that you’ll never get a good international comparison since full size vehicles like we use in the States would never be available in cost-effective quantities in Europe or Asia.

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        No that is not true. They do exist and unlike the US you do have exotica as interceptors. Still Police like smaller cars in Europe as they are more nimble on their roads.
        Australian Cruisers have been Caprice or Pontiac G8 sized.They use “paddy Wagons” which do not exist in the US. These are very large and are “Cruisers” as well.

        • 0 avatar
          Sam Hell Jr

          Okay. “Do not exist” was an exaggeration which I qualified in my next comment: “Do not exist in cost effective quantities.” Obviously there are full size cars in Europe and Asia. There were not, that I noticed, full size car fleet sales in the massive quantities necessary to support police purposes. It takes a lot of parts to service a fleet.

          Australia does not have Old World space constraints to deal with and probably isn’t relevant to the question.

          Could American big city cops get by with mid-size or compact cruisers? Maybe. Do they use full size cars because they want to or because of professional need or because of economies of scale? Yes.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            Differences in Usage, so it is difficult to compare. They use Vans and trucks as Police Cruisers in some countries. Something that does not happen in the US.
            https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRrj49YTvJppusjICM102wTDcssL7gOX27RPJr_Ueo0SsIUdfu3
            Station Wagons
            https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSUVjPLQd8WpHsba2OamCwwAKumxg0Mb__fFlSDzd8Hb6l5h3aI

            https://encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcR5nMxu6nbC72RWx9RBAoxGrEsng_Ve1ueeIJeGu6IKTf50sA1s

            Plus exotica
            http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-dUmit6uLRK4/ToOdb54eotI/AAAAAAAAAAw/RmVZYMPa1tk/s1600/Lamborghini+Police+Car+side.jpg

            http://www.seriouswheels.com/pics-2005/2005-Techart-911-Carrera-Police-Car-Porsche-SA-1280×960.jpg

  • avatar
    suspekt

    - The Taurus can’t meet load requirements
    - The Charger breaks alot (can’t wait for that 8 speed eh?)
    - The Caprice has too much downtime

    Sersioulsy folks, the Tahoe is a no-brainer for most heavy duty cycle operations.

    I won’t quote prices, but the Wholesale Fleet prices for volume buyers of the PPV-SSV units is remarkbly cost effective. Do a full life cycle cost analysis (factoring in fuel, maintenace, spare unit pool to account for expected/unexpected downtime, etc) and the Tahoe makes a lot of sense.

    It can tow utility trailers (making it a useful “support unit” once it’s code 3 capable useful life has ended), carry significantly more gear, and has a massive inventory of spare parts avalaible at a moments notice.

    Lastly, I would rather be t-boned in a Tahoe with room inside to absorb intrusion versus these cars that are “tight” to begin with.

  • avatar
    Onus

    I actually looked over the order book for the Explorer and Taurus police version.

    When i worked at my town in IT the DPW Fleet Manager / Shop Manager had them sitting on my Desk. Really cool guy to talk cars with.

    But they are buying explorers. They carry a ton of stuff and the sedan just doesn’t have the room they need.

  • avatar
    TybeeJim

    This discussion amazes me. All the stuff about how fast something goes. Unless you are patrolling an interstate or similar high speed venue, all that HP is basically wasted. In the case of municipalities, when they start looking at the liability issues surrounding the typical end result of high speed pursuit, they usually will adopt a “no pursuit” policy and rely on the radio. Sure, some one may get away once in a while, but that will usually be far less expensive that 1-2 wrecked cruisers and some uninvolved civilian vehicles. Even highly unsafe ambulances rarely exceed 60 mph en route to the hospital, lights and siren, with a heart attack victim. (BTDT) The real issues for anyone charged with the purchase of police vehicles (BTDT) are these. No.1 Is it safe? Look to IIHS and others for this info. No.2 It’s the officers office for 8-10 hours/day, so is it comfortable, warm/cool when needed? No.3 Is it reliable? If it ain’t on the road, it’s worthless regardless of how fast it goes when running. The taxpayer is footing the bill for this, not the officer. No.4 Consider the operating environment. Does it need 4WD? No. 5 Will it hold the NECESSARY gear including 2 prisoners? Now, you can start to weigh the need for pursuit capability versus operating costs. If you have high speed roadway to patrol, then economy of operation (fuel economy) falls behind the need for speed. If not, then these last two criteria change places. My community, a 2.5 mile long island has about 500ft of 55 mph roadway. The PD really wanted more Chargers, but the Mayor and council opted for two new VW Passat TDis (bigger than you think) and so did some places in Virginia and TN. They’re built in the US and parts (unlike those for the Aussie Caprice SS) are available. Will they work out. I don’t know, but we’ll see. For my tax dollars, I could something like Ford Escape-sized SUVs fitting the bill better. The officers out there on the interstates need better handler/brakers than Chevy Tahoes. Speeds over 100 mph are better suited to properly equipped Chargers and Tauruses. The Tahoe is fine for a support vehicle with the supervisor in it but I wouldn’t care for it in a high speed pursuit. Some of you folks need to grow up. This is about people’s lives, not hooning down the road.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      I’m not getting this, some are acting like the Tahoe is a European designed SUV, not at all, this is low to the ground and wide, not tall and narrow.

      It’s not going to flip because of a little wind.

      It stops fast and handles well, try it before you knock it.

      • 0 avatar
        Joe McKinney

        Hummer is correct. The Tahoe PPV has a lowered suspension and is pursuit rated. Don’t let the Tahoe name fool you. These are not top heavy SUVs on stilts made for suburban yuppies.

        The Tohoe PPV is the closest thing to the old Crown Vic Police Interceptor. Both have BOF construction and come standard with a longitudinal V-8 and RWD. They are not the fastest police vehicles, but they are roomy, durable and inexpensive to maintain and operate over the service life of the vehicle.

      • 0 avatar
        TybeeJim

        The laws of physics are what they are. The Tahoe has a high COG and any sharp maneuver at high speed, say 80-110, will be an issue for the most skilled driver. And I have driven a Tahoe, too. Not a bad SUV but still an SUV and not a vehicle for high speed pursuit. Braking at high velocity given the weight of the vehicle is also a concern. Just the way it is.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      And despite what you see on Cops, high speed pursuits are VERY rare in the real world. In my state, you simply will not get chased simply for a traffic violation. It’s just too dangerous.

      In the department with which I am most familiar, you would probably get fired if you hopped curbs or otherwise mis-treated your assigned car. This is not to say that they won’t go fast to respond to a call, but they don’t abuse the cars either. There were a number of towns in Maine that had Volvo 240 police cars back in the day and LOVED them.

      Given the cost of fuel, a Passat TDI seems like a very efficient compromise for your town’s circumstances. Here, the Explorers make a lot of sense. Plenty of room, AWD for the 1/2 the rear when the roads are bad. I’ve seen plenty of Crown Vics stuck in the ditch in winter over the years.

  • avatar
    SaulTigh

    I’ve test driven a Taurus SHO, so I have no doubt the Interceptor version goes like stink. That being said, I have yet to see one around here. The town in live in (about 35,000 people) was Crown Vic exclusive and now seems to be going Chevy Tahoe exclusive. This makes some sense as 99% of their work will be on high traffic surface streets, and some parts of town are hilly so I’d imagine the extra storage space, raised view and 4WD are all more important than pursuit acceleration and handling. The neighboring municipality (60,000 people) does have a couple Explorer Interceptors running around. The State Police seem to be Charger exclusive at the moment.

    • 0 avatar
      Joe McKinney

      I live in a small county seat town in the rural south. Around here many agencies tried the Charger, but most are now buying Tahoes. Our local Sheriff says the Chargers were eating up his maintenance budget and he needs reliable vehicles rather than fast vehicles. He just laughed and shook his head when I asked about the new Caprice and Taurus Interceptor.

      A handful of agencies in the region bought small numbers of Caprices a Taurus Interceptors for evaluation. Most of these (including the Highway Patrol and Capital City P.D.) are now buying Tahoes also.

      Over the past three years I have only seen one Explorer Police Utility. Here in the deep South AWD is not a selling point. Agencies that do require four wheel drive for off-road use will buy a 4×4 F-150 or Silverado.

  • avatar
    bikemobile

    My state agency does only highway patrol. We buy tahoes for the truck inspectors, crash reconstructionists and some supervisors. We have mostly chargers and they work great for us. They bought 10-20 caprices, ford sedan interceptors and ford utility interceptors. They are ok, but not great. The utility interceptor is a goodplatform but an awkward policecar in how it drives and handles. When i had a 2010 crown vic it spent more time in the shop than my charger has.
    Charger for the win out on the highway.
    Explorer utility interceptor for the win in the city.

  • avatar
    Z71_Silvy

    “but we live in an era where police get to do pretty much whatever they want.”

    Ignorance is bliss isn’t it Jack?

    Once again, you couldn’t be more wrong.

  • avatar

    Why there are no Toyota Avalon or Nissan Maxima Interseptors? They have lot of space and made in USA. Would be an ideal Police cars. Also do not see Carbon Interceptor, not ready yet?

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      With regard to your first question I don’t know I imagine it might have something to do with dept policies on foreign owned product but then again Chrysler is an Italian subsidiary (maybe Chryco is grandfathered in?) Concerning your second question, Carbon Motors is gone.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_Motors_Corporation


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