Cop Car Friday Finale: Hot Rod 1953 Fords And Hemi Chryslers (And Other Vintage Oddities)

Paul Niedermeyer
by Paul Niedermeyer
cop car friday finale hot rod 1953 fords and hemi chryslers and other vintage

There’s lots of places to find old cop car photos, but I was perusing a 1953 Popular Science at bed time the other night, and remembered a story about the just-opened NJ turnpike and its new fleet of cop cars. Here are one of each of the fleet of 23 Fords and stealthy Chryslers. The Fords came with Mercury engines installed; their 255 cubic inch flathead V8s had a whopping 125 hp instead of the stock Ford 110 hp. The also had dual exhausts, “souped up rear ends”, and heavy duty cooling systems. The ten unmarked Chryslers “are capable of 120 mph”, which I wouldn’t question given their 180 hp hemi engines. Three “portable” radar timers (roadside, not hand-held) were also in the arsenal. And every trooper was trained in auto mechanics as part of the training; they would have known how to stop their runaway car.

Old Popular Sciences are a treasure trove of the bizarre and curious, reflecting American’s folksy inventiveness. I couldn’t resist scanning just two of these and sharing:

This one is a real gem; why didn’t I think of that! A table saw you can drive to the job site! Looks like he stole his kid’s pedal tractor. Which would probably be just as fast, as the top speed of this conveyance is four mph in high gear.

This one doesn’t need any commentary. Have a nice weekend!

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3 of 11 comments
  • Buzz Buzz on Mar 13, 2010

    NJ Turnpike opened in 1949 and used Chrysler New Yorkers and Saratogas for many years, both marked and unmarked! They used Fords on regular state highways.

  • BuzzDog BuzzDog on Mar 13, 2010

    Google Books has a treasure trove of past issues of Popular Science and Popular Mechanics. And they're easily searchable for that article you remember from the mid- to late '70s: Popular Science Popular Mechanics Alas, I've spent far too many rainy weekend afternoons perusing these pages...and a few sunny afternoons, as well. EDIT: Paul, I just read the article about the NJ turnpike patrol, and almost spewed my coffee when I read, "...there are 10 sleek, unmarked black Chrysler sedans." I suppose the term "sleek" is relative, but one I've never felt applied to Chryslers from the K.T. Keller era!

    • Disaster Disaster on Mar 22, 2010

      Curse you, BuzzDog. I went to your first link and got sucked into wasting the next two hours. Found an article on one of my first Japanese cars, the RWD Mazda 626. Hilarious to read about the revolutionary Chevy Citation....and more....and more.....

  • Art Vandelay I’d grab one of these if I’d spent my working life at GM for sure!
  • Analoggrotto The factory is delayed due to an investigation of a peter puffery ring lead by VoGhost, Tassos, EBFlex a Chevrolet Volt.
  • FreedMike Looking forward to the protests at the factory accusing Toyota of excessive woke-ism. First,, grooming. Lord help us all.
  • MrIcky I remember when Gladiators came out and everyone was shocked at how expensive they were. Now all the off road specials have caught up or passed it financially. I like this truck a lot, but I'd still take my Rubicon over this. I'd take this over the Ranger Raptor or Tacoma TRD though. When I found out the increase in track for the new TRD was just wheel offset-I knew they were just phoning it in. Why spend so much R&D on those stupid seats when you could have r&d'd longer arms or a front locker.
  • Alan Hmm, I see a bit of politicking here. What qualifications do you need to run GM or Ford? I'd bet GM or Ford isn't run by experienced people. Anyone at that level in an organisation doesn't need to be a safety whip, you need to have the ability to organise those around you to deliver the required results.