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6 comments

Dodge Charger Police Cars - The Best Yet?

Posted September 16, 2011 8:00 AM by CarDomain
Pathfinder Tags: dodge charger police cars
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When they first started using Chargers as highway pursuit cars, I though they were just about the meanest looking things on the road. But with the swoopy-doo styling of the second-gen new Charger, is it still intimidating?

It's trying to be: Dodge just announced new Mopar packages for its police pursuit packages. So in addition to the available 292 hp Pentastar V6 and 370 hp 5.7L Hemi V8 drivetrains, and full-meal-deal police option packages, the po' will be able to order their Chargers with up to 24 Mopar goodies a la carte. Can't wait till these start showing up at municipal surplus auctions!

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#1

Re: Dodge Charger Police Cars - The Best Yet?

09/19/2011 3:50 PM

For highway pursuit, maybe.

Dollar for dollar, pound for pound, it is pretty hard to be the classic Ford LTD Crown Vicki. Big and roomy. Tough, but not really as tough as it could be, most only lasted two years or so. Lots of power. Mileage sucks, but in 1983 that wasn't such a big deal. You could carry enough turnout gear for eleven guys in the trunk, and still have room for a suitcase... or whatever.

In model year 1992, reality sets in. Enter the Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor. Tougher. Bigger alternator and batteries to run electronics. Fair amount of power. Smaller, better mileage. Simply not as good a car, but more feasible to operate.

As far as rubbing hands together in anticipation of buying up a used up Charger Pursuit car... I don't know. Automobile resale values are taking a nosedive, and a cop car lives a pretty difficult life. They should; that is why they are purchased.

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#2
In reply to #1

Re: Dodge Charger Police Cars - The Best Yet?

09/20/2011 12:18 PM

Doorman:

I can agree in principle, but my experience in Virginia State Police Auctions might help provide a little more food for thought.

I live in Virginia. Virginia has a stupendous auction multiple times per year, in Richmond, open to the public. And prices tend to be pretty good when the weather is REALLY, REALLY UGLY! In fact they are best when the weather is so ugly the fleet buyers building cab fleets can't make it there from NY/NJ and Miami, so us locals get the picks, and get to set the prices. Cause those guys coming in with their fleets of portable parking lots and $30,000 bankrolls, cash (Yes, they do bring their ARMED bodyguards with them! And the hardware under there coats it legal, large, and visible!) definitely decide amongst themselves who gets what at what prices before the auction even starts. I've watched and listened as they discuss it, and decide. But without them, it's all up to us little dogs. And that's where the really BAD weather helps. We take buses, so we can drive our purchases home. They ride in limos, and won't risk really slippery, ugly roads.

So, on to my story about my experiences.

As an experienced buyer of used police cars I can testify that a pursuit lives a tough life. But at least in Virginia, you get a complete bill of health on every POLICE vehicle you buy (repos, and crime recoveries, never used for police work, are iffy), and even OFFICE cars and the BCI cars, which MAY have the interceptor packages in them, even though they aren't EXPECTED to be in pursuit, get kid-glove treatment while in service. One of their mechanics, with nothing to lose by telling the truth, because he was only their to make sure it started, if it was supposed to start, so the buyer could get it out of their way, and off their lot, told me that any time a driver complained of any issue with a vehicle, affecting, say steering gear, the entire affected side was torn down and replaced, to avoid an unsuspected part causing a catastrophe at high speed. Note, that was even for office and BCI cars, since, in the Virginia Highway Patrol's thinking, ANY vehicle might be required to join a chase, or make a high-speed run for some reason.

So, how would you know one of these BCI or Office cars, which probably hadn't led as rough a life? Simple, they were the ones that never had a tree farm of antennas on them as witnessed by the absence of antenna holes in the body panels.

As far as "goodie packages" on the BCI's or Office cars, some have them. But most don't, just having the great old workaday, can't bust 'em, better than average mileage, tow a trailer all month, 318 or 340 CID engines with 727 torqueflite auto trannies in them. But occasionally, you'll find one with all the goodies. My favorites are the Chevy Impala SS'es with the Corvette power train in them. Woo Hoo. And how do you find the "goodie packed" ones? Look for the crowd of drooling techies hanging around a particular vehicle before, and even during, the auction. But be aware that in the best of times, you'll pay premium to "win" one of those.

For the record, I bought a Dodge Diplomat with about 80,000 on the clock, and a blown trans and AC compressor (No surprises, it was in writing up front. Remember that full bill of health?) I put a trans and compressor in it, drove it all over the eastern half of the US for about 5 years, towing a trailer, and drove it to a High School nearby to give to their shop program at 317,000 miles. The frame welds around the doors were breaking up, and frankly, I was tired of it. Purchase price, $1500. Total cost in the trans and AC (everything else was normal wear and tear costs) was around $800. Not bad for 5 years and 240K miles of use. But not a goodie-packed car, either.

Those would have cost more. But the Fury with a 383 my best-friend bought at the same auction ran around for him for about three years, before he sold it for $600. And he paid $1000 for his. It had the old PD shield peeled off the door, leaving a scabrous scar, and it had an antenna hole in the trunk. So he got it cheaper, and it was at least as good. And a lot more fun to drive. I drove it till I got my trans and comp in mine. So, he was out $400 for three years. Can't complain, and it was a fun car.

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#3
In reply to #2

Re: Dodge Charger Police Cars - The Best Yet?

09/21/2011 10:15 AM

micahd02, I'm with you on the 'I can pick a plum' concept of auto auctions. Is that the normal outcome, or are most of them exactly what they seem to be: used up?

I have a friend (in the logging/timber business) who goes to government auctions and buys his vehicles. These usually forest service pickups and cars, but occasionally police/sherrif, state lands, game wardens... just plain old used vehicles. Most of these he picks up for three or four hundred bucks, and he often complains that he didn't get his $300 worth. I'm not sure just what anyone else would expect for $300, but I would not expect much. The two times I bought a cheap car at an auction, my expectations were met or exceeded!

In addition, the cars you mention are all older. How many computers were in the Fury? Was the 'limp home' mode engaged when you bought it? This is my reluctance to get excited with newer (late model) used cars.

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#4
In reply to #3

Re: Dodge Charger Police Cars - The Best Yet?

09/21/2011 10:34 AM

Rose:

The Fury probably didn't have a computer. But I grew up working on breaker point ignitions and carburetors, so that wouldn't have bothered me at all. OTOH, when I buy one now, I worry about the computer failing catastrophically, so it all balances out in the end.

As far as the "outdoorsy" vehicles go, those get the worst treatment, breathe the worst air, get pounded by boots on the floorboards, and tools in the beds, and get the worst maintenance, since they aren't INTENDED to be used for pursuit. But that last is the worst of it, since when a miscreant tries to run, he's liable to have a cowboy-booted Ranger Rick in a pickup or station wagon, airborne over a rough stretch of woodsy whoop-te-dos, beating the vehicle to death trying to cut him off before he can get away. And no roads to run on, means the vehicles get the worst of everything. I don't buy used work or off-road vehicles (work as in "ROUGH WORK") from the state for that reason. I doubt you'd get much value for your money there, either.

And that decision was one I first made on the suggestion of the same mechanic I referred to earlier. He took me to a relatively clean-looking pickup truck, and showed me the holes in the floor-boards, right where the boot-heels would have hit on every bounce. He was riding in the truck with the Ranger on a chase just weeks before, so I assumed he knew what he was talking about.

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#5

Re: Dodge Charger Police Cars - The Best Yet?

09/29/2011 10:57 AM

Still Arkaic... The Satalites & Radios are much faster...& Safer! The Best Patty Wagon is the Civil Transport Vehicles, Under the Guidance of Civilians, Useing the "Real Civil Code"! When Government Uses the Criminal System... That Makes Them CRIMINALS!

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#6
In reply to #5

Re: Dodge Charger Police Cars - The Best Yet?

09/29/2011 2:45 PM

I don't know about the latter half of that, but as for the former, my Dad always taught me that you might outrun the CAR, but you won't outrun his radio.

So, once when I was a dumb teenager, I was leaving San Jose, CA, at 0200, heading for an 0500 rendezvous with the Navy, at 128+ (speedo wouldn't read any higher than that), and I was about 15 miles out when I saw, coming over a hill so far back all I could see was a flashing lamp, dim, a red light. Fast as I was going, I could have probably got away by leaving the road and putting it in the woods, shut down, where he'd never find me. But I pulled over, and waited for him to catch up. Strangest thing, he found out I was joining the Navy that morning, and decided to write me ticket for 66 in a 65 zone if I'd promise never to do anything that stupid again. I did. He did. And I never did anything that stupid again.

BTW, it was a Fury III Pursuit car. If he had caught me, and really wanted me, I'd have been dead in a smoking heap of a Dodge Dart, and he'd have been dented and somewhat bruised up, but very much alive.

I'm glad I stopped, and he exercised great self-control.

Good officer. And I'm still thankful, 40 years later.

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Bert Cundle (1); Doorman (2); micahd02 (3)

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