Ever wondered if you could have escaped the police in a high-speed chase? Do you think your fast car can outrun Johnny Law? Well, dear reader, let's have a look at what you might have been up against should you have taken your chances! Putting fear into the hearts of violators, for over 50 years, these police cars can and have outrun anything less than a superbike.
We'll take a look at the progression of high-performance police cars for the last 50 years, from the height of the American Muscle Car Phenomenon to the newest police cars. Based on what you are about to read, you decide if you want to take the risk!
10 4 Door Muscle Car With Lights And Siren
By 1968 the horsepower race was already in full steam in the American Automobile Industry, and engines got bigger and more powerful. Plymouth wanted a bigger share of the police car market. Looking very much like a Super Bee with 2 extra doors, Plymouth took the plain Belvedere (called it the Belvedere Pursuit) model and threw in its 383 Magnum v-8 rated at 330 horsepower.
Of course, to handle double the horsepower which normally came in the same platform Plymouth installed upgraded brakes, shock absorbers, and a handling package into the police variant. Made famous by the (Universal Studios) television show: “Adam-12” in its first 2 years, the L.A.P.D. look-alike car was seen on television screens throughout the United States.
9 Full-Sized Hooliganism
Not to be outdone by Plymouth; in 1969 Dodge division of Chrysler threw in its mammoth-sized 440 Magnum into its largest 4 door platform, The Polara. That’s 7.2 liters of American v-8 cranking out a walloping 375 h.p. The California Highway Patrol had its list of specifications that any police car candidate had to meet or exceed to be considered for purchase, which in this case actually helped improve the form and function of this car as it was designed with the C.H.P. in mind.
This behemoth got the best brakes, biggest sway bars, and the highest quality shocks that were available in the era. The car had been tested and proven to exceed 150 miles per hour!
8 Maxie Would Have Approved
In 1971 the Alabama State Patrol could no longer afford its previous preference for police cars due to price subsidies by those manufacturers being discontinued. The solution that came from it was nothing less than a legend.
American Motors Corporation built approximately 140 Javelin SST police cars with the big-block 401 engine, complete with air conditioning which the civilian muscle-car did not usually come with. A light-weight 2 door police car complete with a rear-deck spoiler, 330 h.p. and highway gears that allowed it to climb to well above 140 miles per hour; this thing even looks like one of the cars from the original Mad Max (Village Roadshow Productions) movie.
7 Into The 80's
Disappointed with police cars that sucked, just like most civilian cars of the late ’70s, police wanted better! Ford delivered with the Mustang S.S.P. Available with both a 5-speed manual and 4-speed automatic transmission; this thing came with the same 5.0 v-8 engine that made the 3rd generation Mustang famous.
Options included: oil coolers, single-key locks, larger alternators, reinforced floor-pans, certified calibrated speedometers, full-sized spare tire, and a roll cage.
6 The Other Pony Car For Police
Not to be outdone by Ford, Chevrolet also sold pony car police cars. What you see here is the B4C Camaro. Available from 1991-2002 and in two different platforms, Basically a stripped-down Z-28 Camaro, it came with a 5.7 liter engine and up to 300 horsepower depending on the year.
Available with either a 4-speed automatic transmission or a 6-speed manual transmission with 2 overdrive ratios, this thing could haul. Of course, it had the heavy duty oil coolers, high-output alternators, 4-wheel disc brakes, over-sized anti-sway bars, and premium shocks.
5 Yes It's Got A Hemi
After getting squeezed out of the police car market due to lack of interest by the public, Chrysler got back into the act in a big way! Mating it’s legendary 5.7 liter Hemi engine to its new 4-door premium luxury chassis, Chrysler re-entered the fray with the Dodge Charger Police Pursuit Special. With 370 horsepower, a top-line chassis with great brakes and handling this thing was a natural.
Of course, comfortable oversized seats came as standard to handle the duties of sitting with a utility belt all day, but other features such as variable pitch siren, radio mute input jack, center electronic display, and even all-wheel drive were either included or optional. As the car was available from 2006-2019, later came a 292 h.p. v-6 which was no slouch either. The Hemi-powered version was proven to exceed 150 m.ph.
4 Back To Its Roots
Chevrolet once again put its Impala platform back into police duty, but unlike earlier versions, this was no pokey police car. Enter the 2012-2017 Chevrolet Caprice PPV. Unlike earlier models that were essentially a body-on-frame civilian 4 door chassis with a mid-sized v-8 with a few upgrades, this thing was a beast! Basically, it was a long-wheelbase version of a Pontiac G8, complete with a light-weight unibody, 6.0 liter v-8 making 335 h.p., and backed by a 6-speed automatic transmission and fully independent suspension.
It came standard with premium disc brakes, heavy-duty cooling package and was proven to exceed 150 m.p.h. Also available as a 3.6 liter v-6 in case the car was ordered for more utilitarian use.
3 Last Of The Breed
Before the shift towards trucks and SUVs Ford built 1 last uber-police car. Based on the Taurus, it was called the Ford Interceptor Sedan. Available from 2013-2019, it came in both front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive. The standard engine was a 305 h.p. v-6 with an optional turbocharged v-6 rated at 365 h.p. as well as a utilitarian l-4 being available for detective duty.
The car came with special light packages for the exterior light group, a modified electrical system to easily interface with the equipment that police departments normally install and like most of the other high powered police cars, it too could reach above 150 miles per hour with the optional engine package. Of course, it came with 4-wheel disc brakes and premium everything for handling.
2 Diesel Bimmer Down Under
An honest 300 horsepower diesel-powered BMW ‘M” series police car? Bullocks you say! Hold on a minute! New South Wales Police in Australia has several of these things! They are tight-lipped about exactly how many they have as some of them are disguised as civilian models. Called, model 530d, they are really just M3 and M5 diesel sports sedans with the best of everything you would expect from those cars. What we do know is that they have been tested to accelerate from 0-100 k.ph. in 5.7 seconds. It appears these cars have quietly been in service since the 2016 collapse of the auto-manufacturing industry in Australia.
1 Ringer Stinger
Even stranger than the BMW police cars in Australia is the current record holder for acceleration and top speed by any production police car. Also located in Australia, meet the KIA Stinger GT! Available as a police car in Queensland Australia this thing is just starting to be put into service. Available in both rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive, this lightweight beauty has a 3.3 liter twin-turbo v6 that hits 60 miles per hour from a stop in 4.7 seconds! Curb weight is to be believed at less than 3,800 lbs and top speed is reported to be around 160 m.ph. Basically, this thing will out-handle and out-accelerate almost anything on the road.