Here's Your Police Package Car Purchase Guide

The Wise Guide
by The Wise Guide
here s your police package car purchase guide

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Outside of racing, there may be no more severe service for a car than police duty.

Police departments choose cars that are mechanically simple and robust, with enough space to keep cops comfortable and criminals confined. For our police interceptor buyer’s guide, here are five cars that the cops used, and some help on how to find a cop car of your own — or at least one very much like it.

Ford Crown Victoria

The Ford Crown Victoria is so well known as a police car that it’s sometimes difficult to remember that civilians bought them too, though usually not with the Police Interceptor package. Mechanically simple and tough as nails, ex-cop Crown Vics often hung up their strobe lights and went to work as taxicabs where they were run until they fell apart — and that was no easy task. If you want to drive a legitimate ex-police car, now is the time to act: Ford discontinued the ol’ battle wagon in 2011 and they are actively being retired from police fleets. Clapped-out ex-cabs can be found for less than a grand, with cleaner and lower-mileage examples fetching between $2,000 and $6,000.

Shop for your Ford Crown Victoria here.

Dodge Diplomat/Plymouth Fury/Gran Fury

Throughout the 1970s and ‘80s, Chrysler was the go-to source for cop cars, particularly the boxy M-body Dodge Diplomats and Gran Furys. These cars had small-block 318 V8s fitted with heads from the bigger 360 V8 and a four-barrel carburetor — a pretty hot setup for the time — with special five-slot wheels that made them easy to spot. They were small, but tough and maneuverable. These cars are difficult to find today; unlike the Crown Victoria, its small back seat limited its opportunities for a second life in taxi service. That said, bigger Furys from the 1970s (also used as cop cars) are seeing a resurgence in popularity. Prices are all over the place, but we’ve seen M-bodies going for anywhere from $2,000 to $6,000.

Shop for your Dodge Diplomat here.

Chevrolet Caprice/Impala

After Chrysler got out of the cop-car biz, and before the Crown Vic rose to prominence, General Motors was doing its best to be a contender. Several police departments relied on the slab-sided Chevrolet Impalas and Caprices that Chevy built between 1977 and 1990, as well as the bloated whales that replaced them in ’91. Pricing is similar to the Crown Vic, but finding a genuine ex-cop-car is a little harder, as these cars were popular with civilians as well. That said, all it takes is a spotlight on the A-pillar and a set of dog-dish hubcaps to give your Heavy Chevy the PD look. Oh, and if you have a little more cash to spend — say, ten to fifteen grand— you can pick up your own used copy of GM’s newest cop car, the Caprice PPV.

Find your Chevrolet Caprice here.

Dodge Charger

Chrysler is back in the cop-car business, and there’s no question that the Charger is the meanest-looking car ever to don a flashing gumball light. Chrysler has been making police-package Chargers since 2006, but any modern-day Charger can play the part of a cop car; just fit a set of cheap steel wheels and a giant bull bar up front. Inside, it’s pretty easy to tell the cop cars from their civilian counterparts: They have their transmission shifter on the steering column rather than the floor, freeing up space for radios and other equipment. Chargers are still relatively new, so expect to pay between $5,000 and $25,000 for a legit ex-cop-car.

Shop for your Dodge Charger here.

Ford Mustang LX 5.0

A Mustang cop car? Yep, you’d better believe it. Crown Vics and Caprices were runners, not sprinters, so Ford introduced a police version of the Mustang designed specifically to chase down speeders. Known as the Special Service Package (SSP), it was based on the Mustang LX 5.0 with beefed-up cooling and electrical systems and a specially calibrated 140 mph (later 160 mph) speedometer. Some police departments even specified manual transmissions. Ford built about 15,000 SSPs between 1982 and 1993, and finding a legitimate one is not easy; many have found their way to collectors and some are still in police service. If you want to make your own SSP clone, your best bet is to start with an LX 5.0 notchback (though some SSPs were ordered as hatchbacks). You’ll find plenty ranging in price from $500 to $15,000.

Find your Ford Mustang for sale here.

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2 of 56 comments
  • Zerofoo The UAW understands that this is their last stand. Their future consists of largely robot assembled EVs that contain far fewer parts. Factories moving to southern "right to work" states and factories moving to the southern-most state of Mexico.I don't think lights-out auto factories are on the horizon, but UAW demands might move those automated manufacturing process timelines up.McDonalds opened a fully automated restaurant in Texas in 2022 in response to a $15/hour minimum wage demand. I'm fairly certain that at $130/hr - fully robotic car factories start to make sense.
  • Redapple2 Cherry 20 yr old Defenders are $100,000 +. Til now.
  • Analoggrotto So UAW is singling out Ford, treating them slightly better in order to motivate the entire effort. Mildly Machiavellian but this will cost them dearly in the future. The type of ill will and betrayal the Detroit-3 must be feeling right now will be the utter demise of UAW. I just hope that this tribulation is not affecting Mary Barra's total hotness.
  • Redapple2 I guessed they were ~$150,000. Maybe attainable.
  • Redapple2 want one.