Police cars will make most people nervous, even if they’re not doing anything wrong. Police vehicles are often designed to look tough, intimidating, and come in all shapes and sizes.
Akron, Ohio gets the bragging rights for having the first motorized patrol vehicle in the US, all the way back in 1899. According to Police Mag, the very first police car in the US was actually not a car, it was a wagon that was powered electrically. The wagon was capable of doing 18 mph and was only able to travel 30 of miles before it had to be recharged. Rather than having a siren as we are used to today, the police wagon was fashioned with a giant gong, that the officers would bang on to let people know that they were present. The wagon was equipped with working lights and even had a stretcher.
Unfortunately, the wagon was thrown in the canal when a riot broke out. Luckily, they were able to salvage it as it cost $2,400 to build, which was big money back then. The wagon remained in service for a few years after the accident.
It wasn’t for another decade that police cars were in the works. Luckily, we have since improved on the earliest model of the police wagon, and have since spotted some of the most unique vehicles that are used to patrol.
Here are 15 examples of police cruisers people would never see coming, and ten you could spot from a mile away.
25 Spot A Mile Away: Land Cruising
This Toyota Land Cruiser is living up to its name with these shoes on, transforming it into the ultimate snowmobile. According to Dominator Track System, they are able to transform just about any vehicle into a snowmobile.
The company started with the intentions to make tracked vehicles for ski resorts to help make a more affordable snow grooming machine, but after people wanted them for their personal vehicle, they decided to change gears and well the rest is history.
24 Never See Coming: Scooting Around Town
The New York Police Department or the NYPD has all sort of different vehicles on their force, some that are seen on this list. Considering how congested the streets of New York City always are, sometimes bigger isn’t always better.
According to Motorcycle.com, the NYPD uses Piaggio BV350s whose name is a bit deceiving as it actually has a 330cc engine. The BV350 is good for 32.8 hp and 23.8 lb/ft of torque, and considering it weighs less than 400 lbs, it makes for a perfect addition to the NYPD force.
23 Spot A Mile Away: High-Speed Pursuit
Lotus is known for loaning out both the Esprit and Elise, as an effort to promote road safety. According to the Daily Mail, this Lotus was loaned to the police department for a duration of time and used a technology to see into cars and catch drivers using their phones or laptops while driving.
The Police Elise has a 3.5-liter engine that is capable of 280 hp. The Lotus is plenty fast with a top speed of 168 mph, getting to sixty in just 4.9 seconds.
22 Never See Coming: Slingshot Coming At You
The city of Miami was lucky enough to have a custom built Slingshot donated to them from Polaris to the police force. According to Motor1, the Slingshot won’t be used to patrol or even chase down motorcycle lawbreakers, but rather a more approachable vehicle for the public.
This is unfortunate, as the Slingshot could chase down just about anyone on the street. The top of the line GT has a 2.4-liter engine that is good for 173 hp and 166 lb/ft of torque.
21 Spot A Mile Away: The Patrolling Atom
Imagine getting chased down and pulled over by an Ariel Atom? Try and dodge the police in Great Britain and it might just happen. According to Dub Magazine, the Ariel Atom 3.5 Police is used to enforce motorcycle safety.
The 3.5 Police Atom is powered by a supercharged 3.5-liter four-cylinder engine, which is good for 350 hp and 243 lb/ft of torque. The Ariel Atom can get to sixty in just 2.5 seconds, making it quick enough to chase down just about anyone on the street.
20 Never See Coming: Godzilla On Patrol
Patrolling the streets might not be so bad if you go to do so in a Nissan GTR. According to The Drive, the police members of Tochigi Prefecture police squad get to do just that. Don’t worry, this police cruiser wasn’t funded by tax dollars, it was actually donated by a resident of a town in Japan.
The 64-year-old Tochigi Prefecture resident said he hopes that it will help prevent traffic accidents. We’re willing to bet they all argue over who’s going to drive it!
19 Spot A Mile Away: HUMVEE
It’s safe to assume that this H1 Hummer isn’t being used in any high-speed chases. According to Top Speed, the H1 was made to be the ultimate off-road vehicle and is currently used in combat. The H1 came in a plethora of different trim and engine options. The convertible with the soft top and the wagon versions were the only ones available to civilians, with the pickup trucks only being available as a fleet vehicle.
The most powerful engine was only used in the last year, it was made in 2006 and comes with a 6.6-liter Duramax.
18 Never See Coming: Wanna Race?
Drivers beware, do not try and street race this Subaru. According to Top Speed, this car was loaned to the Itasca Police Department, for a year by Subaru. The WRX STI is a fully functional police cruiser, and with 305 hp and an all-wheel-drive suspension, it should have no issues outrunning most cars on the street.
It’s no surprise that the Subaru outperformed the competition at police cars shows. Maybe Subaru should consider actually making a police car for production?
17 Spot A Mile Away: Corralling Up The Criminals
This police tractor may make most people laugh, but the message it was trying to get across was no laughing matter. According to the Daily Mail, this tractor was donated by John Deere as an effort to educate people about agricultural crimes.
In just one year over 2,000 tractors were stolen from farms, which can greatly impact a farm. This custom tractor will be used to educate farmers about a special UV paint that can be used to identify their tractors if stolen.
16 Never See Coming: Pint-Sized Patroller
Talk about embarrassing, imagine getting pulled over by a Smart Car? Break some laws in New York City, and your wish just may come true. According to the New York Times, the Smart Cars will be replacing the previously used three-wheel scooters, that resemble a Reliant Robin.
The Smart Cars are not intended to chase down suspects but was an effort to make police more approachable. The cars are cheaper, and safer for the officers and unlike the three-wheeled scooters, do not require a motorcycle license to operate.
15 Never See Coming: Chevy Z06 Performance Beast
Remember when we were lucky enough to see a Chevy Z06 perform as a police car when it was featured on the U.S Top Gear? According to Motor1, unfortunately, this Z06 isn’t a real police car either, but a custom one-off built by a company called TUNE IT! SAFE!
Their company builds cars like this one to show that a car can be legally tuned, meeting all proper requirements. This Z06’s engine has been tuned to make 459 hp and 464 lb/ft of torque, making it capable of reaching a top speed of 180 mph.
14 Never See Coming: Confiscated Property
According to Motor1, this Ferrari 458 Spyder used to belong to a former player in organized crime and was confiscated from him after he was convicted and found guilty of his various crimes.
The Milan Police, like many other departments on this list will use it as more of an educational tool, rather than using it to patrol. They also mentioned that they plan on eventually auctioning off the Ferrari and donating the money to victims impacted by the Mobs past illicit activity.
13 Never See Coming: Taxi!
This cop car is the ultimate undercover patrol car, but luckily it was only used to during Memorial Day weekend to warn people that they are out in full force. According to the Palm Coast Observer, this taxi patrol car was parked around town to hopefully make people think twice before drinking and driving during the notorious drinking holiday.
This clever paint job should be a reminder to partygoers that a taxi ride is much cheaper than a DUI.
12 Spot A Mile Away: Heavy Rescue
Is this an NYPD or an FDNY vehicle? According to The Drive, the NYPD is the largest police department in the US and consists of over 9,000 different vehicles that help aid in all sort of different situations.
The NYPD consists of many different divisions including various specialists, air, and water support. The NYPD also has a force of these heavy rescue trucks that are used to help out when needed in high risk situations that NYC is vulnerable to.
11 Never See Coming: Familiar Faces
This isn’t necessarily a police car, but rather a car that is used to promote this particular counties sheriff’s office. This car is likely driven by an official rather than an actual police officer.
Car wraps have been used for advertising long before they became popular among car enthusiasts. According to the Outdoor Advertising Association, vehicle wrapping can be some of the most effective forms of advertising and is able to reach more consumers as it is essentially a mobile billboard.
10 Spot A Mile Away: Trail Rated
The Jeep Wrangler is the ultimate off-road vehicle, so it was no surprise that the city of Fort Lauderdale, Florida had one built to help them patrol their beaches and keep them safe.
According to South Florida Jeeps, they had the honor of customizing this Wrangler for the Fort Lauderdale Police Department to make this super tough looking rig. The Jeep can easily go from patrolling on the streets, straight to patrolling on the sand all while doing so in style.
9 Never See Coming: CHIPS
CHIPS was a hit show that aired back in the late seventies to early eighties that was recently remade. In the show, the police department patrolled on motorcycles, rather than cars for the California Highway Patrol, or CHP for short.
According to their official website, CHP was founded back in 1929 to make sure the transportation of both goods and services are done so in a safe and efficient manner. CHP was also formed to help reduce accidents and possible fatalities.
8 Spot A Mile Away: Beamer Coming Through
While in Europe it isn’t a rare occurrence to see a BMW patrolling, just like this one or the one mentioned previously on the list, the U.S, unfortunately, hasn’t been so lucky. According to Police Mag, back in 2010 was the closest the U.S ever came to having a BMW on patrol.
The E7 patrol car was a concept that they were helping out with a company called Carbon Motors. Unfortunately, the E7 never ended up going into production.
7 Never See Coming: Lambo On The Loose
Lamborghini is proud to be a brand from Italy, so it’s no surprise that the streets of Italy will now be patrolled by a Huracan. According to Lamborghini’s website, the Huracan Polizia is what they are calling their take on what a police car should be.
Not only will the Lambo help out in highway patrol, but will also help transport blood and organs which can sometimes be a time-sensitive matter. The V10 should have no problem getting their transports done fast, as it makes over 600 hp.
6 Spot A Mile Away: Pink On Wheels
As we all know, October is breast cancer awareness month, and the Police Officers of South Florida take this month very seriously. According to the Doral Tribune, the Police Departments of South Florida are huge advocates of the cause and help raise money at different events throughout the month of October.
In addition to having some of their Police Cruisers pinked out, officers wear pink badges and the Miami Beach Police Station is lit up with pink lights every night in October.
5 Never See Coming: Old Timer
Police cars are constantly evolving, becoming more efficient and technologically advanced with every new model. Here is an example of what police cars used to look like, as vintage police cars are often restored to be show vehicles.
According to Hagerty, this old police car is part of a car club in Astoria, Queens that consists of all old, restored cop cars. The club is made up of a group cop car enthusiasts, and a majority of them are officers that retired from the NYPD.
4 Spot A Mile Away: Luxury Cruiser
In London, you can see a police car coming a mile away as they are always covered with a special paint job. According to Police Car Website, the Metropolitan Police District, or the MPD has been known to use BMWs to patrol their city.
The red BMW shown here belongs to a Diplomatic Protection Group, as they use the color red to separate their vehicles from other official ones.
3 Never See Coming: Real or RC?
Imagine having this Mercedes SLS AMG GT3 police car in your collection? It can be because it’s actually a scale model and not a real sized car. According to Oakman Designs, this GT3 is a 1/5 scale F1 model.
The price of the car is $580 plus shipping, but if you want all the extra bells and whistles that will be extra. The wheels and tires are sold separately, as is the LED installation which also includes realistic sounding sirens.
2 Never See Coming: Big In Japan
If there’s one place that doesn’t surprise us that they have a Subaru as a police cruiser, its Japan. According to Top Gear, this Subaru Legacy is used to chase down lawbreakers, in style of course.
Street racers in Roppongi, Japan will probably think twice about running when they see this in their rear view mirror. According to Car and Driver, the top of the line Legacy has a 3.6-liter engine that is good for 256 hp and 247 lb/ft of torque.
1 Never See Coming: Articulated Lorry
Here’s a police cruiser that you don’t see every day. While here in the U.S, we call one of these a semi or a tractor-trailer, the folks that live in the U.K refer to it as an articulated lorry.
According to Daily Mail, the police are using undercover lorries to catch drivers that are using their phones, speeding or hogging the lane. The lorries provide a bird’s eye view for officers to see drivers that are breaking the law and has been successful in doing so.
Sources: daily mail, top speed, the drive, car and driver, TopGear