Car Collector's Corner: 1985 Oregon Highway Patrol Special Service Mustang

J Sutherland
by J Sutherland
car collector s corner 1985 oregon highway patrol special service mustang

The Fox-bodied Special Service Mustang probably saved more lives than roll bars at the Daytona 500 for one simple reason: Scofflaws feared these fast little ponies.

They gained a “more fact than fiction” reputation of invincibility in a high-speed chase because they could crack out insane 0-60 times and top out at well over 135 miles per hour. That’s pretty fast in 2012. In 1985,-it was Warp Speed 10.

Gord Holdcraft wants to make it faster.

Holdcraft is the current owner of this vintage police car, and his vision for the Special Service Mustang is measured in quarter mile times. Gord was a drag strip guy in his misspent youth, and he saw a bright future with this car. The ‘stang has seen track duty already because the rear end has been swapped out for a stouter track-rated ratio.

This car was originally an Oregon Highway Patrol vehicle. That explained why Gord reported: “It’s a totally rust-free car from Bend Oregon”. He found the light bar in the trunk and added it as part of a static display at car shows. He said “he brought them out for the novelty” and clearly the strategy worked because the little pony car was surrounded immediately when it arrived at the show.

Gord had to re-learn a manual transmission even though he is a professional driver. He drives a taxi for 14 hours a day. He that admitted “it’s been 40 years since I owned a stick and this clutch is a little stiff but it all comes back plus the 5 speed is great.”

He’s done a very thorough assessment of the Mustang and he has found a few surprises. He found that the seats were originally red, then dyed blue and there were surprisingly few equipment holes in this ex-police vehicle. Gord’s main goal at this point is to map out a strategy for the next phase in the car’s life.

He’s highly impressed with the overall condition of the Mustang and admits that “it’s a lot less work than I expected plus it’s a sedan instead of the fastback – I like that too.”

Part of Greg’s plan might sound like heresy to fans of vintage police vehicles, but he’s “considering swapping in a 351 T-bird motor” to get the car to another level of performance at the track. Regardless of the shift in designated use for the Special Vehicle Mustang, Greg takes pride in the one thing as he explained, “I’m an average car guy now that I’ve got something to work on”.

This Special Services Mustang is a classic example of an entry level hobby car and its new owner has already embraced the average car guy philosophy.

The hobby has gained a new disciple.

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  • Bill mcgee Bill mcgee on Feb 29, 2012

    During this era the Texas state troopers drove these, equipped with a stick. Oh those bad old malaise era days with the ridiculous 55 mph speed limit. I was living in San Antonio,always driving to Dallas to visit my GF or Houston to visit GF or my family . What driver was going to drive less than 70 on an interstate in Texas for Chrissake? I got more tickets than any time in my life, often from DPS guys in one of these admittedly cool Mustangs whose flashing lights I always dreaded. Ah the bad old days.

  • 28-Cars-Later 28-Cars-Later on Mar 02, 2012

    Very nice find, thanks for sharing. A former co-worker had an '84 5.0 convertible 5 spd

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