The Truth About Cars » police cars http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Fri, 12 Sep 2014 23:54:53 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » police cars http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Michigan State Police Release Annual Police Vehicle Evaluation Results, Chrysler Introduces Police Package Durango http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/michigan-state-police-release-annual-police-vehicle-evaluation-results-chrysler-introduces-police-package-durango/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/michigan-state-police-release-annual-police-vehicle-evaluation-results-chrysler-introduces-police-package-durango/#comments Tue, 22 Oct 2013 16:08:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=630826 Every year the Michigan State Police conduct comparison performance tests of police package vehicles offered by the domestic automakers. The results influence millions of dollars worth of purchasing decisions by police agencies around the country and they’re also the source of bragging rights. It’s tempting to compare the way automakers tout the MSP Police Vehicle […]

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Every year the Michigan State Police conduct comparison performance tests of police package vehicles offered by the domestic automakers. The results influence millions of dollars worth of purchasing decisions by police agencies around the country and they’re also the source of bragging rights. It’s tempting to compare the way automakers tout the MSP Police Vehicle Evaluation results to the way car makers brag about times on the Nurburgring circuit, but the police car testing is undoubtedly more consistent and reliable than ‘Ring results. This year, Chrysler made a big deal about the 2014 Dodge Charger Pursuit AWD with the 370 horsepower 5.7 liter Hemi V8 posting the fastest lap time, 1:33.85, on the Grattan Raceway road course, along with the best braking performance from 60 to 0 mph, 126.5 feet. Ford countered by publicizing the fact that the latest Taurus based AWD Police Interceptor with the 3.5 liter Ecoboost twin turbo V6 had the best acceleration to 60 and 100 mph, 5.66 seconds and 13.5 seconds respectively. Chevrolet gets to brag as well, since the 9C1 Caprice with a 6.0 liter V8 from the LS family had the highest top speed, 155 miles per hour. While Chrysler was boasting about the Charger getting under the 1:34 mark, it should be noted that was achieved on only one of the 24 laps the car was run. The average times for all three of the automakers’ fastest police cars were all within 0.30 seconds a lap, with the Charger indeed being fastest at 1:34.75, just ahead of the Caprice’s 1:34.98 and the Ford’s 1:35.05.

Vehicle Acceleration and Top Speed Results

Vehicle Braking Results

Vehicle Dynamics (Road Course) Results

Meanwhile, Chrysler has introduced the Special Service Dodge Durango SUV for police and fire departments. It will be competing with police package Tahoes from Chevy and Explorers from Ford. Chrysler is hoping that the Durango’s eight speed automatic transmission will give it an edge with departments looking to save on fuel costs, saying that the new transmission improves fuel economy by 15% over the previous model. Special Service features include a heavy-duty brake package, more powerful battery, larger-output 220-amp alternator, more robust water pump and engine oil cooler and a load leveling suspension.

2014-dodge-durango-special-service-announced-69227-7

 

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There Were Police Cars Before the Crown Vic, You Know? 2013 Emergency Vehicle Show (w/ Firetrucks and Ambulances and Plenty of Crown Vics Too!) http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/there-were-police-cars-before-the-crown-vic-you-know-2013-emergency-vehicle-show-w-firetrucks-and-ambulances-and-plenty-of-crown-vics-too/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/there-were-police-cars-before-the-crown-vic-you-know-2013-emergency-vehicle-show-w-firetrucks-and-ambulances-and-plenty-of-crown-vics-too/#comments Mon, 21 Oct 2013 15:31:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=505505 My brother got picked up at Parker’s, got him a ride in a new Crown Vic. They said that he was movin’ on a federal level but they couldn’t really make it stick. Never Gonna Change – Drive By Truckers At a site where Panther love reigns, it should come as no surprise to the […]

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One of these is the last Crown Victoria Police Interceptor made by Ford, now owned by the Kansas Highway Patrol

One of these is the last Crown Victoria Police Interceptor made by Ford, now owned by the Kansas Highway Patrol

My brother got picked up at Parker’s, got him a ride in a new Crown Vic.
They said that he was movin’ on a federal level but they couldn’t really make it stick.
Never Gonna ChangeDrive By Truckers

At a site where Panther love reigns, it should come as no surprise to the Best & Brightest that now that Ford’s  Crown Victoria Police Interceptor, out of production since 2011, is gradually being taken out of service, law enforcement officers are wistful about the Crown Vic’s impending demise. A while back, the New York Times took a look at the last Crown Vic bought by the Washington State Patrol, assigned to Trooper Randy Elkins. “It’s kind of the end of an era. My goal is to keep it to the end, right to the last mile,” Elkins told the NYT. With about 1,000 miles put on the cruiser in a typical week and the WSP’s designated retirement mileage of 140,000, that last mile will come within three years.

adam 12 1 img_0267_r

Adam 12 replica #1 – Full Gallery Here

The Crown Victoria assigned to Trooper Elkins is the last Panther purchased by the Washington State Patrol, but the very last Crown Victoria Police Interceptor that Ford built two years ago now is on duty in Kansas. The Kansas Highway Patrol made a point of finding and buying that car, which is being preserved with duty restricted to parades, recruitment drives and other public relations use.

adam 12 2 img_0219_r

Adam 12 replica #2 – Full Gallery Here

The big body on frame Ford isn’t the first vehicle to be etched in the public’s mind as a cop car. Television has a role in shaping that consciousness, with Joe Friday and Bill Gannon’s Ford Fairlane from Dragnet, the ’55 Buick that Broderick Crawford drove in Highway Patrol, Adam-12′s Plymouth Belvedere, and Sheriff Andy Taylor’s Ford Galaxie continuing to be what many people think of when “police car” comes to mind.

cadillac 1968 ambulance img_0435_r

1968 Cadillac ambulance – Full Gallery Here

Maybe that’s why there were replicas of some of those television cars, along with a few genuine vintage police cars, ambulances and firetrucks on display at the 13th annual Ferndale Emergency Vehicle Show held just east of Woodward Ave on the Friday immediately before the gargantuan Woodward Dream Cruise. Parked along the south side of Nine Mile Road were police cars and on the north side of the street were ambulances and fire trucks. In addition to vintage (and replica) police cars, there were also a number of new cruisers on display representing various police agencies operating in the Detroit area.

For those of you who don't know southeastern Michigan, Washtenaw County is immediately west of Detroit's Wayne County and it's the home of the University of Michigan in oh-so-green-and-politically-correct Ann Arbor.

For those of you who don’t know southeastern Michigan, Washtenaw County is immediately west of Detroit’s Wayne County and it’s the home of the University of Michigan in oh-so-green-and-politically-correct Ann Arbor. Full Gallery Here.

There was a Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Dept. Chevy Volt, appropriate for the home of the EPA lab in Ann Arbor, along with at least a half dozen other police departments participating in the car show. Some of the late model police cars were accompanied by volunteer auxiliary members of their respective departments, but there were also some fully fledged LEOs in attendance like the bunch of burly, ballistic vest clad United States Customs and Border Patrol agents who trundled out of their official SUV after they parked it with the other cars in the show. I asked them what they were doing there and if they were on the clock. They told me “PR”, and yes, they were getting paid to be there. Detroit is one of our busiest international borders, with Windsor, Ontario, Canada just across the Detroit River and it’s good to see those agents vigilantly protecting our border at a car show.

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1977 Cadillac ambulance, Full Gallery Here

Cars from police agencies weren’t the only new vehicles at the show. In addition to cruisers and SUVs representing police departments, there were brand new and late model police vehicles from a number of companies in the police equipment industry trying to sell stuff to to the police personnel doing the representing. For the same reason there was a display of Ford police vehicles like the Taurus SHO based car that currently carries the Police Interceptor name.

Some professional car makers offered dual use vehicles, often used in smaller communities, that functioned as both ambulances and hearses. Mid to late 1960s Cadillac based.

Some professional car makers offered dual use vehicles, often used in smaller communities, that functioned as both ambulances and hearses. I believe that the Cadillac that it’s based upon is a 1971 model. Full Gallery Here.

Between the replicas of police cars and replicas of television police cars, it’s possible that real police cars were in the minority at the show. Real police cars get used up and worn out.  Also, what gets more attention, just another Ford Galaxie or something in the livery of the Mayberry PD? There were replicas of the aforementioned Adam-12 and Andy of Mayberry cars, in fact there were two of each. In addition to the replicated versions of Andy Taylor’s own replicated police Galaxie, a Starsky and Hutch Ford Torino, and two almost identical clones of the Adam-12 Plymouth, there was an actual authentic movie cop car, a matte black Ford Taurus used in the filming of the first Robocop movie, the dystopian cop film set in a future Detroit. The owners told me it was the only surviving Robocopcar from the first movie (though, like many things I hear at car shows, I can’t verify that) and it still has the prop guns from the movie’s production. Based on this Taurus fan site, the Robocop car has equipment that identifies it as from the original, not the sequels.

I'm not sure which of the three Robocop movies this was in, but the owners say it's the only surviving Robocopcar. Based on the shape of the lightbar, it could have been in the original. It still has the prop guns from the movie hanging on the divider between the front and back seats. Full Gallery Hear.

I wasn’t sure which of the three Robocop movies this was in, but the owners say it’s the only surviving Robocopcar from the original film with Peter Weller. Based on the shape of the lightbar, the multispoke aluminum wheels and cornering lamps, it must have been in the original. It still has the prop guns from the movie hanging on the divider between the front and back seats. Full Gallery Here.

Over on the other side of the road, there weren’t any replicas, clones or make-believe emergency cars, just real ambulances and firetrucks. Fire departments tend to do meticulous maintenance on their equipment while waiting for fire calls and I’m guessing that ambulance companies maintain their cars better than police departments as well. The ambulances at the show dated back to the 1960s, mostly Cadillac based, but there was also a fuschia colored ambulance based on a mid-1970s Oldsmobile Ninety Eight.

This ambulance is based on either a 1967 or '68 Cadillac. Since the emergency equipment companies have longer product cycles than the auto companies, eventually there are some anachronistic styling touches.

This ambulance is based on either a 1967 or ’68 Cadillac. Since the emergency equipment companies have longer product cycles than the auto companies, eventually there are some anachronistic styling touches… Full Gallery Here

... as you can see, comparing the emergency lights tot he rest of the Cadillac.

… as you can see, comparing the emergency lights to the rest of the Cadillac. Full Gallery Here

I’ll plead guilty to sharing Alfred Hitchcock’s attitude towards the police, so it might have only been my perception, but the folks hanging out on the north side of Nine Mile Road with the ambulances and firetrucks seemed to me to be a bit more laid back and friendly than many of the cops, retired cops and cop wannabes on the other side of the street. One woman was even catching a nap next to her 1939 Ford based Bickle firetruck.

I suspect that may be because it appears to be a dual use professional car, with interior appointments you'd expect on a hearse. Up front, the emergency lights and sirens look like they'd fit better on a 1959 or 1960 Cadillac, not one made more than a decade later.

This may be a dual use car because in back there are interior appointments you’d expect on a hearse. Up front, the emergency lights and sirens look like they’d fit better on a 1959 or 1960 Cadillac, not one made more than a decade later. Full Gallery Here.

professional cadillac high roof_r

Most of the ambulances at the 2013 Emergency Vehicle Show are owned by members of the Motor City chapter of the Professional Car Society. “Professional cars” is the term used for ambulances, hearses and limousines. Full Gallery Here.

This post started out as a suggestion back in August from our managing editor that I do a historical note on the last Panther police cars. When I mentioned to him that there was an emergency vehicle show being held as part of the Woodward Dream Cruise festivities, Derek got very excited and said, “I love police cars, can you cover the show?” Sorry for the delay but there were a lot of photos that had to be formatted and captioned. Enjoy them.

Before the Ford Panther platform was popular with police departments, the Chevy Caprice with the 9C1 police package was widely used after GM downsized its fullsize sedans for the 1977 model year. Full Gallery Here.

Before the Ford Panther platform was popular with police departments, the Chevy Caprice with the 9C1 police package was widely used after GM downsized its fullsize sedans for the 1977 model year. Full gallery here.

Just like alphanumerics like Z06 and Z28, 9C1 is a production code, in this case for Chevy's police package. There is an active 9C1 enthusiast community. A 1976 9C1 Nova is on my lottery list. Effectively it's a four door Z28, only with less body flex.

Just as with alphanumerics like Z06 and Z28, 9C1 started out is a production code, in this case for Chevy’s police package. There is an active 9C1 enthusiast community. A 1976 9C1 Nova is on my lottery list. Effectively it’s a four door Z28, only with less body flex. Full Gallery Here.

Does this 1974 Dodge Monaco police car look familiar? I'll give you a hint: " It's got a cop motor, a four hundred and forty cubic inch plant, it's got cop tires, cop suspensions, cop shocks, it's a model made before catalytic converters, so it'll run good on regular gas. What do you say?" Full Gallery Here.

Does this 1974 Dodge Monaco police car look familiar? I’ll give you a hint: ” It’s got a cop motor, a four hundred and forty cubic inch plant, it’s got cop tires, cop suspensions, cop shocks, it’s a model made before catalytic converters, so it’ll run good on regular gas. What do you say?” While tv and movie police cars seemed popular at the Emergency Vehicle Show, I’m not sure that the folks on the south side of Nine Mile Road would have fully appreciated a Bluesmobile replica. I think they identify more with Robocop than with Jake & Elwood. The Dodge Monaco was also used as William Shatner’s ride in television’s T.J. Hooker. Full gallery here.

 

This Dodge Coronet 440 has Tactical Mobile Unit on its flanks and I'm sure what cops then thought was a trunk full of gear, but it's probably a fraction of what a typical police car carries around today, "tactical" unit or not.

This Dodge Coronet 440 has Tactical Mobile Unit on its flanks and I’m sure what cops then thought was a trunk full of gear, but it’s probably a fraction of what a typical police car carries around today, “tactical” unit or not. Full gallery here.

The mid-1980s Dodge Diplomat was a popular choice for police agencies looking to downsize for better fuel economy.

The mid-1980s Dodge Diplomat was a popular choice for police agencies looking to downsize for better fuel economy. Full gallery here.

 

When in service, this 1947 Mack Firetruck served the residents of Clawson, Michigan, just a few miles away from where the Emergency Vehicle Show was held.

When in service, this 1947 Mack Firetruck served the residents of Clawson, Michigan, just a few miles away from where the Emergency Vehicle Show was held. Full gallery here.

 

Firetrucks with the Ahrens Fox brand have been sold for over a century.

Firetrucks with the Ahrens Fox brand have been sold for over a century. The company’s trucks looked great and show signs that attention was paid to styling. Full gallery here.

 

American LaFrance's roots date to 1832. Their first motorized firepumper was made in 1907. The introduced the cab forward firetruck, still used today, in 1947. This open cab 900 Series (1958-1974) firetruck served the people of Stonefort, Illinois. Full gallery here.

American LaFrance’s roots date to 1832. Their first motorized firepumper was made in 1907. They introduced the cab forward layout to firetrucks in 1947 and it’s still the standard layout today. This open cab 900 Series (1958-1974) firetruck served the people of Stonefort, Illinois and it is known as “Old Frankie”. Full gallery here.

Didn't I tell you that the folks with the firetrucks were more laid back than the people hanging out with the cop cars? 1939 Ford based firetruck made by Bickle. Full gallery here.

Did I mention that the folks with the ambulances and firetrucks were more laid back than the people hanging out with the cop cars? 1939 Ford based firetruck made by Bickle. Full gallery here.

 

American March firetruck based on a 1959 Ford truck. Stuffed dalmatians are apparently the firetruck show equivalent to . Full gallery here.

American March firetruck based on a 1959 Ford truck. Stuffed dalmatians are apparently the firetruck show equivalent to time out dolls at car shows. Full gallery here.

This Ford based OWL FD firetruck wears 1948 Michigan license plates but there is no town in Michigan named Owl. There is, however, the Occoquan-Woodbridge-Lorton Volunteer Fire Department in Virginia. Perhaps this is one of their retired trucks. Full gallery here.

This Ford based OWL FD firetruck wears 1948 Michigan license plates but there is no town in Michigan named Owl. There is, however, the Occoquan-Woodbridge-Lorton Volunteer Fire Department in Virginia. Perhaps this is one of their retired trucks. Full gallery here.

 

What's a police car show like without a cop hot rod, a pursuit special? The 1992 Ford Mustang was used by the Michigan State Police. Full gallery here.

What’s a police car show like without a cop hot rod, a pursuit special? The 1992 Ford Mustang was used by the Michigan State Police. Full gallery here.

 

The same car was on display at the big Mustang Memories show the week before. Note the shotgun rack built into the door panel. Full gallery here.

The same car was on display at the big Mustang Memories show the week before. Note the shotgun rack built into the door panel. Full gallery here.

This Dodge Diplomat was a more typical Michigan State Police car back then. It was just up Woodward at Chrysler's Dream Cruise display. Full gallery here.

This Dodge Diplomat was a more typical Michigan State Police car back then. It was just up Woodward at Chrysler’s Dream Cruise display. Full gallery here.

This 1941 Ford, belonging to Lake Orion, Michigan is still theoretically in service, with municipal plates. I evokes black and white memories of Broderick Crawford, though he actually drove a '55 Buick in Highway Patrol. Full gallery here.

This 1941 Ford, belonging to Lake Orion, Michigan is still theoretically in service, with municipal plates though it’s really just used for PR. It evokes black and white memories of Broderick Crawford, though he actually drove a ’55 Buick in Highway Patrol. Maybe if police departments put less effort into “public relations” and more effort into treating the people they serve with respect, there’d be more respect for law enforcement. Full gallery here.

A more recent Ford, a 1989 LTD Crown Victoria, was used as a pursuit vehicle by Arizona state troopers. With only 180 hp, it needed a 2.73 rear end to reach its 120 mph top speed. Full gallery here.

A more recent Ford, a 1989 LTD Crown Victoria, was used as a pursuit vehicle by Arizona state troopers. With only 180 hp, it needed a 2.73 rear end to reach its 120 mph top speed. Full gallery here.

 

This is a real P71 Ford Police Interceptor but it's never been a police car. It's a demo unit for a company that sells cop gear. Full gallery here.

This is a real P71 Ford Police Interceptor but it’s never been a police car. It’s a demo unit for a company that sells cop gear. Full gallery here.

This isn't just a real P71 Police Interceptor, it's a real police car that may still be in service in Ferndale, Michigan, which hosts the Emergency Vehicle Show every year on the day before the big Woodward Dream Cruise. Full gallery here.

This isn’t just a real P71 Police Interceptor, it’s a real police car that may still be in service in Ferndale, Michigan, which hosts the Emergency Vehicle Show every year on the day before the big Woodward Dream Cruise. Full gallery here.

 

This Crown Vic is in the familiar colors of the California Highway Patrol. Many of the actual police cars, as opposed to replicas, at the Emergency Vehicle Show, the survivors, are former highway patrol and state police vehicles. They probably don't get the abuse that urban or even suburban police cars get. Even with cop cars there is something to "easy highway miles". Full gallery here.

This Crown Vic is in the familiar colors of the California Highway Patrol. Many of the actual police cars, as opposed to replicas, at the Emergency Vehicle Show, the survivors, are former highway patrol and state police vehicles. They probably don’t get the abuse that urban or even suburban police cars get. Even with cop cars there is something to “easy highway miles”. Full gallery here.

 

This 1923 Ford Model TT paddy wagon has a provenance with significance to automotive history. If you note, it belonged to the Highland Park, Michigan police department, not far from where it was likely built at Ford's Highland Park factory. It also probably carried a Ford employee or two on a Saturday night after payday. Full gallery here.

This 1923 Ford Model TT paddy wagon has a provenance with significance to automotive history. If you note, it belonged to the Highland Park, Michigan police department, not far from where it was likely built at Ford’s Highland Park factory. It also probably carried a Ford employee or two on a Saturday night after payday. Full gallery here.

Another replica of a television police car, in this case the unmarked Torino from Starsky and Hutch. Stereo pics here.

Another replica of a television police car, in this case the unmarked Torino from Starsky and Hutch. Stereo pics here.

The may be the only police car that makes people smile when they see it unexpectedly. Sheriff Andy Taylor of the Andy Griffith Show set in fictional Mayberry, and his deputy Barney Fife drove a series of Ford Fairlanes and Galaxies on the show. That may have had something to do with that "vehicles loaned for promotional considerations" during the credit roll. Full gallery here.

The may be the only police car that makes people smile when they see it unexpectedly. Sheriff Andy Taylor of the Andy Griffith Show set in fictional Mayberry, and his deputy Barney Fife drove a series of Ford Fairlanes and Galaxies on the show. That may have had something to do with that “vehicles loaned for promotional considerations” during the credit roll. Full gallery here.

For the 1962 model year television season, FoMoCo had the producers switch Sheriff Taylor switched to the more upscale Galaxie 500. Full gallery here.

For the 1961-62 model year television season, FoMoCo had the producers switch Sheriff Taylor switched to the more upscale Galaxie 500. Full gallery here.

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I’m not sure if the Oakland County Sheriff’s Dept’s mobile command center was parked at the Emergency Vehicle Show for public relations or if it was being used to coordinate the massive annual police presence at the Woodward Dream Cruise. Officers from around the state are deputized under mutual aid pacts. All that manpower is needed to police the widely distributed million person crowd. That must be why the motorcycle cops travel in packs of up to 20. Full gallery here.

This 1974 Oldsmobile Ninety Eight based ambulance was used by the Reuhle's Ambulance Service in suburban Detroit. My guess is that the Reuhles might have driven their ambulances to the beat of a different drummer. Full gallery here.

This 1974 Oldsmobile Ninety Eight based ambulance was used by the Reuhle’s Ambulance Service in suburban Detroit. My guess is that the Reuhles might have driven their ambulances to the beat of a different drummer. Full gallery here.

My guess is that this 1958 Plymouth Plaza wasn't ever a real police car. I'm not sure exactly why, but it may have something to do with the Donutburg Donut Patrol decal on the door. Also, it's a two-door, which makes it rather difficult to get prisoners in and out of the back seat. Full gallery here.

I’m not sure exactly why I don’t think that this 1958 Plymouth Plaza was ever a real police car, but it may have something to do with the Donutburg Donut Patrol decal on the door. Also, it’s a two-door, which makes it rather difficult to get prisoners in and out of the back seat. Full gallery here.

It has a 440 cubic inch V8 that puts out 375  hp (25 more than non-police cars), a 3.23 limited slip rear end, heavy duty disk brakes up front and bigger drums in the back and a top speed at over 140 mph.

This semi-marked Michigan State Police freeway pursuit car has a 440 cubic inch V8 that puts out 375 hp (25 more than non-police cars), a 3.23 limited slip rear end, heavy duty disk brakes up front and bigger drums in the back, and a top speed between 140 and 150 mph. Few factory cars in the day, even muscle cars, could run it. It’s also a great looking car. Full gallery here.

George Patak is an operations manager for a security company and a retired police officer. He restored his 1963 Plymouth station wagon as it would have been used by the Detroit Police, whose academy is where Patak got his training. Full gallery here.

George Patak is an operations manager for a security company and a retired police officer. He restored his 1963 Plymouth station wagon as it would have been used by the Detroit Police, whose academy is where Patak got his training. Cop car or not, it has great lines. Full gallery here.

 

Before Caprices and Panthers, many police departments favored Mopar products. This 1967 Plymouth Fury I belonged to a township police department and doesn't look like it have very severe usage. Full gallery here.

Before Caprices and Panthers, many police departments favored Mopar products. This 1967 Plymouth Fury I belonged to a township police department and doesn’t look like it had very severe usage. Full gallery here.

The 2013 Emergency Vehicle Show was an international event, with this restored 1957 Pontiac police car brought by the LaSalle, Ontario police department. Full gallery here.

Ferndale’s 2013 Emergency Vehicle Show was an international event, with this restored 1957 Pontiac police car brought by the LaSalle, Ontario police department. Full gallery here.

 

This 1970 AMC Rebel The Machine was not at the Emergency Vehicle Show. I spotted it at the American Motors Owners meet a week later. The sign on the dashboard says that it's a barn fresh unmarked police car from Havre, Montana. It makes more sense than a Mustang. Who is going to suspect an AMC, an AMC with a hood mounted tach at that, of being a cop car? Full gallery here.

This 1970 AMC Rebel The Machine was not at the Emergency Vehicle Show. I spotted it at the American Motors Owners meet a week later. The sign on the dashboard says that it’s a barn fresh unmarked police car from Havre, Montana. That makes more sense than a Mustang pursuit car. Who is going to suspect an AMC, an AMC with a hood mounted tach at that, of being a cop car? It even has 4 speed on the floor. Full gallery here.

 

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When I was a child,  behind the building where I went to school there was a 1927 Ahrens Fox firetruck and a decommissioned Michigan National Guard F-84F fighter jet specifically put there as playground equipment. I doubt that would happen today, what with lawsuits and nannies, but kids still like firetrucks.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

starsky and hutch_l 1977 cadillac ambulance img_0433_l absdemoimg_0190_l adam12 1_l ahrens fox firetruck_l amc the machine 1_l amc the machine 2_l american lafrance open top firetruck_l anaglyphsleepingimg_0358_l aryehimg_0491_l bubble 9c1 bubble 9c1_l cadillac 1967 superior front_l cadillac 1967 superior_l cadillac 1972 ambulance_l cadillac 1977 ambulance img_0433_l cadillac ambulance hearse_l cadillac green ambulance hearse_l cadillac red superior_l cadillac white ambulance med roof img_0425_l cadillac white ambulance tall roof_l california crown vic 1990s_l capricedownsized_l chevy caprice bubble 9c1 img_0317_l chevy caprice downsized 9c1_l chevy volt cop car_l chevy volt_l command center -IMG_0247_l crown vic abs demo car dodge 1974 monaco img_0318_l dodge charger hazel park_l dodge coronet 44 detroit tactical mobile unit_l dodge diplomat michigan state police_l dodgediplomatmadhts_l ferndale crown vic img_0474_l ford 1939 bickle firetruckimg_0358_l ford 1959 american march firetruck_l ford 1989 ltd police car img_0126_l ford lake orion police car_l ford owl firetruck_l img_0085 img_0091 img_0092 img_0093 img_0094 img_0116 img_0194 img_0199 img_0215 img_0219_l img_0222 img_0243 img_0247 img_0336 img_0368 img_0390 img_0415 img_0447 img_0452 img_0463 img_0463a mack 1947 firetruck_l mayberry 1 img_0112_l mayberry 2 img_0170_l michigan state police dodge_l michigan state police mustang img_0129_l michigan state police mustang_l model tt paddy wagon img_0264_l oldsmobile pink ambulance_l plymouth 1968 fury msp unmarked old gold_l plymouth fury detroit police station wagon img_0193_l plymouth fury wpbc img_0197_l plymouth plaza donutburg police car_l pontiac 1956 lasalle police_l professional cadillac high roof_l robocopcar2_l

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That Police Car In Your Mirror May Not Be A Car, Police Package SUV Sales Up http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/08/that-police-car-in-your-mirror-may-not-be-a-car-police-package-suv-sales-up/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/08/that-police-car-in-your-mirror-may-not-be-a-car-police-package-suv-sales-up/#comments Wed, 21 Aug 2013 12:00:23 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=500156 As police departments across the United States start retiring their Ford Crown Victoria P71 Police Interceptors, now that those out of production vehicles are reaching departments’ mileage limits, it looks like they are replacing at least some of them with SUVs, not sedans. Though the end of the Crown Vic has been mourned by law […]

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As police departments across the United States start retiring their Ford Crown Victoria P71 Police Interceptors, now that those out of production vehicles are reaching departments’ mileage limits, it looks like they are replacing at least some of them with SUVs, not sedans. Though the end of the Crown Vic has been mourned by law enforcement officers and car enthusiasts alike, both groups looked forward to the new police package sedans being offered by the domestic automakers. Ford brought out the SHO Taurus based Police Interceptor sedan to replace the Crown Victoria, General Motors is importing a police only Caprice PPV with rear wheel drive from Australia (while continuing to offer a police package for the FWD Impala) and Chrysler sells pursuit Chargers. Police department purchasing officials, though, are apparently opting to buy SUVs instead of the new cop cars.

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The influential California Highway Patrol has added SUVs to their fleet, replacing some sedans, and the Nevada Highway Patrol is predicted to do likewise. Jonathan Honeycutt, Ford’s fleet brand marketing manager said that it’s not a fad, “This is where the industry is moving.” Demand from government agencies for police package SUVs has been growing faster than for sedans. Officers like the additional room that utility vehicles generally have, compared to sedans. As electronic equipment installed in police cars has proliferated, space has become an issue for police officers, who also have to wear a lot of gear on their persons.

When Ford replaced the Crown Vic PI with the Taurus based Police Interceptor, they also made a PI package available on the FWD based Explorer, expecting the SUV to account for 30% of police fleet sales. In recent months, though, the numbers have flipped and the Explorer PIs are currently almost 70% of the mix. For the year, the police Explorer is outselling the police Taurus, 7,288 to 6,046.

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In addition to the Caprice and Impala sedans, GM offers a police package on the Tahoe SUV and a GM spokesman told the Detroit News that it expects to sell more Tahoes than the 13,000 the automaker sold last year. Chrysler offers the Durango SUV as an alternative to police forces as well as a special service package Ram pickup but it hasn’t released sales figures yet. Ford released their police fleet sales in connection with their announcement that police fleets can now order their Interceptor SUVs with the 3.5 liter EcoBoost V6 engine. That option is expected to boost Explorer Police Interceptor sales even greater. While LEOs may appreciate the extra room, those responsible for purchasing decisions will appreciate better gas mileage.

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Cop Won’t Drive Cop Car Part 2: So, Hoosier Daddy, Carbon Motors? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/06/cop-wont-drive-cop-car-part-2-so-hoosier-daddy-carbon-motors/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/06/cop-wont-drive-cop-car-part-2-so-hoosier-daddy-carbon-motors/#comments Tue, 18 Jun 2013 11:30:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=492061 If the Carbon Motors business model was so bad, how did the company last as long as it did? To paraphrase an especially sharp-tongued commentor from one of the many Carbon E7 threads I’ve followed on the web over the years, the company’s business plan seemed to revolve around borrowing money from the government to build cars […]

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If the Carbon Motors business model was so bad, how did the company last as long as it did? To paraphrase an especially sharp-tongued commentor from one of the many Carbon E7 threads I’ve followed on the web over the years, the company’s business plan seemed to revolve around borrowing money from the government to build cars that they would then sell exclusively to the government. Only the government would be dumb enough to fall for such a scheme and the government of Indiana apparently did.

But did they do so out of malice or out of a desperate attempt to kick-start the economy in a depressed region of the state? Once known as “little Detroit,” Connersville was a Ford factory town up until the joint Ford/ Visteon plant closed in  2007.  890 jobs went directly down the drain and city leaders were left wondering what to do in response to keep the town afloat.

Into the void stepped Carbon Motors, which was looking for a place to build its super police cruiser and promising up to 1,500 jobs. The Visteon plant was available, but as a start-up company with no cash, Carbon couldn’t buy it. They needed Connersville (which was just one of several desperate towns looking for someone, anyone, to employ some of their unemployed citizens) and the state of Indiana to make it worth their while.

The first step was for Connersville to buy the plant, which the city was able to do for the low, low price of $500 plus an agreement to take responsibility to the tune of an additional $4 million to clean the site up.  In order to do that, Connersville had to borrow $3.5 million dollars with the remaining $500,000 coming from realocated money in a state environmental trust fund. If Carbon Motors been able to secure the DOE loan, or an equal amount of funding from other sources, Connersville would have straight up given them the plant.

So Connersville was ready to play, but the state of Indiana had to kick in as well. It did so in two ways. The first was a $5 million grant through a regional development fund paid for by the sucker tax riverboat casino gambling in Lawrenceburg, IN, which is about 15 minutes down I-275 from Cincinnati. The second was a $2 million grant from the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, which is the state’s primary economic development agency.

That $2 million figure from the IEDC doesn’t include $16 million in tax breaks that were to be granted to Carbon Motors over ten years. The cost to state coffers per job would have been a little over $10,000. That was higher than the average cost per job of approximately $8,700 in similar arrangements with other employers and the IEDC.

This is as good a place as any to take a moment and direct you to an investigative report by the Indianapolis Star first published on May 20. It’s a rather long piece but it paints a very thorough and detailed picture of the problems that arise when government looks to spend money picking winners in the marketplace. The article details not only the Carbon Motors fiasco, but also how money has been blown on any number of projects that often directly benefited the elected officials who championed them. Take 30 minutes and read the whole thing.

What becomes apparent as you read the article is that overt corruption that rises to the level of a criminal offense is hard to prove. Still, there’s an awful lot of smoke and the whole project ends up being tainted, especially since the whole thing was such a, well, dumb idea to begin with.

For example, how did Connersville end up in the running to land Carbon in the first place? Well, Indiana’s governor at the time was Republican Mitch Daniels who happened to have served in the George W. Bush administration with former director of Homeland Security and Carbon Motors board member Tom Ridge. People who work together in one capacity often work together on other projects. It’s to be expected and it’s (usually) not illegal. And yet when you consider the breaks that Carbon got that others didn’t, such as the amount in tax breaks referenced above,  it’s hard to not be cynical.

So what happened to the money? Most of it was ostensibly spent on legitimate projects like R&D and work on refurbishing the Connersville plant. BMW got $1.8 million towards powertrains that it no longer has to deliver. But there were also a lot of questionable expenditures. Over $200,000 went towards executive salaries, which was apparently allowed even though other similar grants had prohibited such practices, which raises yet again the question of why did the company on which the governor’s former administration mate sits on the board get to do something that other companies would have been forbidden to do?

Another $214,000 went for “travel expenses.” And, as you might expect, much of the travel was to luxury resorts and at least two five- figure expenditures weren’t itemized. Again, the actions aren’t illegal, but their appearance is less than ethical.

Then there’s the miniscule expense of $11,500 that went to a Mr. David Jobe for his services as a “contract employee.” The problem is that Mr. Jobe was a Connersville city councilman at the time and appears to have voted on several items of business related to Carbon’s relationship with the town.

In response to the light shown on these expenditures by the Indy Star, all of the government entities involved resorted to the “O.D.D.I.” ( The Other Dude Did It) defense to avoid to deny responsibility for what appears to be almost the complete lack of oversight of tax payer funds when it came to Carbon Motors.  Connersville claimed that oversight was supposed to happen at the state level.  The IEDC claimed that officials in Connersville made final approval for payments. In the end, $7 million dollars was flushed down the Carbon Motors rathole and the government entities involved don’t appear to be terribly embarrassed about it. As Connersville Mayor Leonard Urban was quoted by the Indianapolis Star: “That was gambling money and this was a gamble.”

But that’s the government and the government can almost always be expected to make crap economic decisions based on politics and nepotism instead of common sense regardless of which political party is in charge at the time. What about Carbon Motors practices in general? How shady was the private half of this public- private partnership?

In order to examine that I’m going to focus on one piece of the entire Carbon Motors saga, one single claim that I always suspected to be a pretty naked falsehood: the number of “orders” for a prototype police car that Carbon claimed to have received.

By 2009 it was being reported that Carbon was claiming that they had received 10,000 pre- orders for a car that they hadn’t even officially priced yet.  By the end of 2012 they claimed to have had over 24,000 orders for the E7 and announced that they would be taking orders for their proposed police supertruck called the TX7.  Anyone with even a passing knowledge of how government budgeting works knows that couldn’t possibly have been true. State and local governments, Carbon’s customer base, decide year to year how many police cars they are going to buy and then place the orders for a specific number of cars. They have to have the money, either in actual revenue or in the proceeds from bond sales, in hand when they place the order. The idea that government entities were actually committing tax payer dollars to a car that didn’t exist is ridiculous.

And, in fairness to Carbon, if you carefully peruse their materials and press releases at the time, they spoke only of “reservations” in printed materials. Agencies weren’t ordering cars. They were filling out an on-line form on Carbon’s website that really only expressed interest in the concept. There was no actual commitment to buy. There was no real way to know if the person filling out the form, allegedly for a law enforcement agency, really had any authority to make purchasing decisions anyway.

The problem is that the mainstream and automotive press called these “reservations,” which they really weren’t, “orders,” which implied to the casual reader that money was actually being put down and agencies were actually expecting to receive cars.  I can find no record of Carbon Motors trying to correct this perception.

So, like the behind the scenes machinations by government officials to land the plant and ditch the rulebook governing the disbursement of taxpayer dollars to Carbon’s benefit, is Carbon Motor’s failure to correct a misperception that benefitted them proof of illegal behavior? Not really. It raises the question of ethics.

In the wake of Carbon’s demise residents of Connersville took to the local internet gossip site Topix.com, which has become the 21st century version of a party- line telephone to many rural communities, to vent about  both Carbon officials and their local potentates. Reading through the threads, it’s hard to tell who they despise more: Carbon CEO William Santana Li or Mayor Leonard Urban. Rumors swirl and accusations fly, but proof of any actual wrong doing will be hard to come by.  Perhaps the bankruptcy proceedings, as well as a lawsuit filed by three former Carbon VPs, will provide definitive answers somewhere down the line.

 

 

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Capsule Review: Ford Police Interceptor http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/05/capsule-review-ford-police-interceptor/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/05/capsule-review-ford-police-interceptor/#comments Tue, 29 May 2012 16:35:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=441779 Unlike most of the TTAC community, I am something of a Panther agnostic. To me, the venerable rear-drive Ford sedans are like cigarette ads in back issues of Car and Driver – a quaint relic of an era where “Occupy” was something you saw on the door of an airplane bathroom – because the Occupant […]

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Unlike most of the TTAC community, I am something of a Panther agnostic. To me, the venerable rear-drive Ford sedans are like cigarette ads in back issues of Car and Driver – a quaint relic of an era where “Occupy” was something you saw on the door of an airplane bathroom – because the Occupant was trying to suck down a Camel Light .

One generation above me may have fond memories of big, rear-drive V8 sedans with acres of rear leg room and questionable crash safety. For my cohort, the Pavolovian response that comes from the “doors open” warning chime is forever liked to another Ford fleet sedan – the Taurus- as well as the green-on-tan two-tone Explorer Eddie Bauer, chariot of choice for Baby Boomer “co-parents”. For that generation in need of a family car, The Taurus Wagon was an afterthought, since wagons carried with them the connotations of unhappy childhoods in parochial small towns devoid of health food stores, aerobics classes and people willing to engage in knee-jerk rejection of traditional values. Instead, the SUV was a clean sheet of paper, and it suggested that one was wealthy enough to have some kind of summer home that could only be accessed via the all-terrain prowess of the SUV, while wearing Eddie Bauer clothing.

What does my pseudo-sociological digression have to do with police cars? Not much. But I am going into this with an open mind. I’m not particularly wedded to the idea that a police car must be rear-drive, with body-on-frame construction and a V8 engine. I can confess that I’ve always wanted to drive at speed with lights and sirens blaring, and when Ford invited me to do just that, I accepted immediately.

Ford made two Police Interceptors available, a Taurus-based Police Interceptor and an Explorer-based Utility Interceptor. Both had all-wheel drive and the naturally aspirated V6 – the EcoBoost 3.5L engines were nowhere to be found. It ended up being a moot point, since we were only permitted to drive it on a cone-course “handling loop” in a medium-size parking lot. No driving on real roads, no putting it through our own paces.

Showing off the capabilities of the D3 platform on a mini-autocross is about as useful as letting Adele compete for Britain’s floor exercise squad, and even then, the slow speeds and sweeping corners made it difficult to glean much about the cars. Both felt relatively stable, with the Utility Interceptor feeling pretty well composed in light of its vehicular anti-Christ crossover nature. Steering on both cars felt fairly numb, likely a boon on the highway. Ultimately, this event is a carefully controlled way to give us a few thrills without revealing too much about the cars. There are PR and law enforcement types on hand, but a critical appraisal of the new PIs is going to happen right after a historic peace accord surfaces in the Middle East.

The most noticeable changes came just from sitting in the cars themselves. Even at 5’10 and 175 lbs, the civilian Taurus feels uncomfortable and cramped when sitting in the driver’s seat. The Police Interceptor does away with console-mounted gear lever and the absurdly high plastic console pieces that make knee and legroom as scarce as Manhattan real-estate. The cloth seats, with far less padding and bulk than the regular Taurus, free up plenty of room for our nation’s Finest to stretch out, or accommodate larger-sized bodies. If the civilian Taurus came with this configuration, complaints about a lack of space would evaporate, though asinine criticisms about a column shifter would likely deafen out the real world advantages of this setup. The real test would have been to requisition a Kevlar vest and gun belt, but nobody in the right mind was willing to lend me one for “evaluation purposes”, lest I take my “pretend cop” act a little too far.

The big problem with press events like this is that evaluating the car in such a specific environment really tells us little about the car. I decided to consult with resident Panther expert Sajeev Mehta for some additional (admittedly biased) context. Sajeev felt that the Tahoe, rather than the new generation PI, Charger or Caprice would end up becoming the next police vehicle, due to its simplicity and size. I think Sajeev is partially right – I suspect that the Utility Interceptor will find favor among a number of departments - and the California Highway Patrol is apparently one of them. The Taurus will likely make a fine detective’s car, but as Sajeev notes, “…In any place where pickup trucks are common (fly over states) there’s no f*****g chance this water’d down Volvo will ever catch them, when a nut is behind the wheel.” Chicago’s Police Department is buying a number of new Ford PI’s – coincidentally, this is where Ford is building the new PI – while some Canadian departments are buying them as well, ostensibly due to the AWD capabilities among other criteria.

Any law-enforcement readers of TTAC are invited to send in their thoughts to expand on my brief, stage-managed drive of the new Ford Interceptors. As far as I can tell, the Utility Interceptor might make a nice basic SUV in a few years, once they begin to be retired from police departments. But take a step back, and so far it looks like the void being left by the Crown Victoria hasn’t quite been filled yet, and may not be for some time.

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