Hooniverse Asks- What's the Coolest Cop Car?

Yesterday we asked you what you thought was the coolest cop bike – it being Two Wheel Tuesday and all – and today we’re asking the same question, but are adding a couple of tires to the mix. As legend has it, COP stands for Constable On Patrol, and whether that’s true or not, cops these days still ride in patrol cars – at least those here in the vast expanses of the LAPD’s coverage. Patrol cars Prowlers, Police Interceptors, the cops generally get some pretty cool rides, cars that manage to both idle for hours and then perform a high speed pursuit without breaking a sweat.
It’s probably those ones whose primary purpose is the high-speed pursuit that most piques your interest – cars like the CHP Mustang GTs, or Nevada’s Camaros. Of course, those are also the last things you usually want to see looming in your rear view. Hollywood has a long history of portraying law enforcement, as well as their various rides, and tinsel town by way of Australia provided one of the best in Mad Max’s yellow and blue Interceptor.
Maybe that’s the one that’ll get your nod, or maybe you want to stick with real cop cars, in which case the Mopar crowd has some crowing rights, as exhibited by the following story from allpar.com:

A Nevada Highway State Trooper, while patrolling in the mountains near Sparks in his 1957 Plymouth, spotted a tractor-trailer going down the mountain. The driver signaled wildly that the air brakes had gone out. The Trooper wheeled around in a “bootlegger’s turn” at 40 miles an hour. He then accelerated to over 120 mph to catch the run away truck. Momentarily blocked by on coming traffic, the Trooper had to stay in line behind the free wheeling 18 wheeled monster. He clocked it at 85 mph, as it was accelerating climbing towards 90. As soon as he got clear, the Trooper accelerated past the roaring 60 tons of rolling menace. Once in front of the tractor, he backed off the throttle, slowly allowed the tractor’s front bumper to contact the rear of the Plymouth. Using his service brakes, the Trooper steadily pumped the brake pedal, keeping the front bumper of the truck against his car. At first, it didn’t seem to have much affect. However, with smoke coming from all four of the Plymouth’s service brakes, the speed began to steadily decrease. Slowly, then more rapid. 80…75…65…60…50…then 40…30…and finally down to 20 miles per hour where the tractor driver was able to stop by using his transmission downshifting, and the soft edge of the road. It was a good thing because the Plymouth had precious little left to give. As the Trooper stopped the two front tires explosively blew out from the tremendous heat. The fins and truck area were bashed in, as well as pushed downwards from the force of the weight of the truck. However, Once again, MoPar engineering had saved lives! Had that truck entered the small town at the base of the mountain, who knows how many could have been injured or killed. It would have easily surpassed 120 miles an hour on the 25 mile long grade, becoming a 60 ton road rocket with disastrous destructive potential. Bashed, bruised, and burnt out as it was, after the tires were changed, the Plymouth brought the Trooper safely back to his station.

So, Plymouth or Rover 3500, Gallardo or Mustang, what do you think has been the coolest cop car ever?
Image source: [conelrad adjacent]

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90 responses to “Hooniverse Asks- What's the Coolest Cop Car?”

  1. Maxichamp Avatar

    Jaguar Mark II.

    1. faster,Tobias! Avatar

      I read the article, and the Mk II was the first thing to come to mind.

  2. west_coaster Avatar

    My vote goes to the Chevrolet Nova 9C1 developed by Chevy in conjunction with the L.A. County Sheriff's Department. I think they debuted in 1976, and one monthly car magazine ran tests and declared it the best handling domestic car they'd driven. (Yeah, that wasn't saying much for the time, but still…) I remember reading that they used lots of Camaro suspension parts in them, plus front and rear sway bars that seemed to be the size of exhaust tubing.
    They were loathed by speeders in places like Angeles Crest Highway and the hills of Malibu, as there were very few cars that could outrun them. They had a kind of bad-ass look as well, and made the full-size Plymouth Furys and Dodge Monacos look like bloated barges by comparison.

    1. dukeisduke Avatar

      Some of the local departments around here (Dallas, Plano) used them as well. Very cool cars. Chevy reworked the backseat area to push the seat rearward about 4", to increase the rear seat legroom.

    2. Jimmy7 Avatar

      The prototype was parked at the LASD Training Academy in Whittier for years. Probably still is. i didn't know that they'd ever been put into service.

  3. Maymar Avatar

    My heart's with the Crown Victoria thanks to non-cop car factors, although the P71 sort of speaks for itself. Although, the '11 Charger Enforcer is definitely cooler.
    I will express my disappointment that Ashes To Ashes didn't feature more SD1 jam sandwiches (for that matter, P6s didn't show up enough in Life On Mars either).

  4. dukeisduke Avatar

    I liked the '77 Pontiac Le Mans with the 400. The Dallas Police had some of those (the picture below is a '76).
    <img src="IMAGE%20URL" width="600">
    <img src="http://www.transmissionshop.net/uploads/4/2/6/9/4269172/9594857.jpg?537"&gt;

    1. west_coaster Avatar

      I think Sheriff Buford T. Justice drove one of those as well.

      1. Maxichamp Avatar

        Plus, it was topless!

          1. LTDScott Avatar

            Daddy, my hat blew off.

          2.  Avatar
    2. CJinSD Avatar

      That is the car I drove on the range in driver's ed in 1985. The dash board had little emblems proclaiming that it had 'Radial Tuned Suspension,' 'Power Disc Brakes,' 'Heavy Duty Transmission,' '400-4 Protection V8,' and maybe even one about the alternator. It reminded me of the scene from the Blue's Brothers where Elwood tells Jake about his Monaco. Most students had new cars that were donated by a local Oldsmobile dealer, and the ex-cop car Pontiac was no more used up than they were.

  5. LTDScott Avatar

    Fox body LTDs for obvious reasons:
    <img src="http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y20/trwp39/13decal.jpg&quot; width=500>
    For some strange reason, I've always dug the Dodge St. Regis as well. These were short lived and from what I understand, pretty terrible cop cars. But clear headlight covers!
    <img src="http://images50.fotki.com/v399/photos/4/42477/2738783/olice1980DodgeStRegisRossUrtel-vi.jpg&quot; width=500>

    1. P161911 Avatar

      The Blues Brothers Show at Universal Studios Orlando uses a St Regis as the Bluesmobile.

      1. LTDScott Avatar

        Universal Studios Hollywood uses the incorrect car as well.
        <img src="http://www.ltdlx.org/albums/universal/P1010025.jpg"&gt;

  6. Black Steelies Avatar

    9C1! 9C1! 9C1! 9C1!
    The last gen of Chevy rwd/fullframe Police cars, basically the last real police cars, were typically regarded as best by those that used them and favored over newer Vics. Coolest? I'm not sure but a factory 4 door with an LT1 and G80 posi rear is cool enough for me.
    <img src="http://www.lacopcars.com/photogal/04tc%201996%20chevey%20caprice%20lapd.jpg"&gt;

    1. LTDScott Avatar

      My car had broken down on the side of the freeway in the mid 90s, and a CHP officer in a 9C1 pulled over to see if he could help. The car was beyond help but I needed to get to a pay phone (it's weird that I'm old enough to have been driving before cell phones were common, but it's true), so the officer agreed to take me to a phone at the next exit.
      I still vividly recall him gunning it to merge onto the freeway. Compared to my 90HP Chevy Celebrity, this 9C1 felt like a friggin rocket ship. Very cool.
      I considered buying a 9C1 about 8 years ago, but even then they seemed to be pretty used and abused so I bought a '97 P71 instead. Just sold it a couple of months ago.

      1. Black Steelies Avatar

        I totally wanted one for my first car. When I was 16 I was convinced this was the coolest car you could find for under $5k. They are tough to find in decent shape but they are out there and typically cheaper than any Impala SS that is equally beat.
        Honestly, I'd own a P71 as well, certainly easier to find and perhaps more reliable at this point. But the last 9C1 Caprice will forever be my 'unicorn'.

    2. west_coaster Avatar

      Ah, but the one you pictured didn't have the LT1 option. It seems that when LAPD brass was doing the ordering, it was decided the smaller V8 (it was a 265 cubic inch or something) would do for urban patrol duty. You could tell the ones with the lesser engines by the single exhaust, and I never saw one LAPD car with two tailpipes.
      I remember talking to one cop about them outside a coffee shop when they first got them. His response to the cars being equipped with the lo-po engine option: "I guess they don't expect us to actually have to CHASE anybody!"

    3. P161911 Avatar
  7. scroggzilla Avatar

    I learned to drive on one of these. Ours was the personal car for a sheriff in a neighboring county, so it had the MOPAR police package, but it also had air conditioning, power windows and a vinyl roof to go with it's dog dishes and driver's side spot light. <img src="http://hooniverse.info/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/Fullscreen-capture-10232010-120539-PM.bmp.jpg"&gt;

  8. P161911 Avatar

    I have several:
    1965 Studebaker Pursuit Marshall with the R-1 supercharged V-8 and a 4-speed.
    <img src="http://assets.hemmings.com/story_image/116373-500-0.jpg"width=500&gt;
    Alabama State Patrol AMC Javelin
    <img src="http://carphotos.cardomain.com/ride_images/3/283/1401/25705700004_large.jpg"width=500&gt;
    The Daimler Dart from the UK, note the bell and red lights
    <img src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4007/4701647772_abbce36d03_z.jpg"width=500&gt;

    1. LTDScott Avatar

      Someone reads Hemmings Muscle Machines.

      1. P161911 Avatar

        I actually subscribe to all three of the glossy Hemmings mags: Muscle Machines, Classic Cars, and Sports & Exotic Cars. Probably three of my favorites.

        1. LTDScott Avatar

          I have it on good authority that there is an extra special "prototype" car being featured in the April issue of Sports & Exotics.

  9. Kenwood Avatar

    OK, I'll be the old geezer here today and say the 55 Buick from Highway Patrol…

    1. Black Steelies Avatar

      Very. Very. Cool.

  10. OA5599 Avatar

    Probably something with a a cop motor, a 440-cubic-inch plant. Also with cop tires, cop suspension, cop shocks. Certainly, a model made before catalytic converters so it'll run good on regular gas
    <img src="http://blog.cincinnatimini.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/12/ca95blues-brothers-posters11.jpg"&gt;
    Or perhaps the coolest cop car is the car driven by the coolest cop
    <img src=http://www.allfordmustangs.com/forums/attachments/2005-2010-mustang-talk/77469d1251670230-added-louvers-09-bullitt-pics-bullitt_mustang.jpg" width=500>

  11. lilwillie Avatar

    My love for all things GM was reinforced when CannonBall Run was released. I was very impressionable as a kid.
    "OH MY GOD that Cop car is soooo cool!
    [youtube AIYtP8TXBF4 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AIYtP8TXBF4 youtube]

  12. P161911 Avatar

    For a brief time in the 1990s the Georgia State Patrol had at least one MN-12 T-Bird and a E36 BMW
    <img src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_leoGYAeiH44/SiCbWHuTuAI/AAAAAAAAGO8/i4hozZrF3Bw/s320/bmw+georgia+police+car.jpg"width=500&gt;

  13. BGW Avatar

    Near my hometown is a small town whose economy seems to derive primarily from selling ice and ticketing speeders during Martinsville Speedway NASCAR weekends. The Police Chief (who was also frequently the department's only officer, as well as owner of much of the town's heavy equipment…Dukes of Hazzard much?) first came under fire for buying a series of Camaro patrol cars during the 80s & 90s. After Camaro production ceased, he switched to a less obvious, yet genius, option:
    <img src="http://img183.imageshack.us/img183/4141/bm101.jpg&quot; width=500>
    Lord only knows what he's rolling in these days.

  14. Corvette Poncho Avatar
    Corvette Poncho

    I always really liked the mid 80s Dodge Diplomats. My friends had a few after they were retired from service and they handled fantastic. Slow as pigs and the lean-burn systems were always junk but still cool cars.

    1. CJinSD Avatar

      I'm partial to the Diplomat and Gran Fury of the mid '80s because that is what the cops drove while I was in high school so I could almost always get away. A few years before I got my license, one of my neighbors worked a scam to get the best Plymouth Volare police car from the local fleet. His crooked cop budy put a shorted battery in it so it wouldn't start.

      1. CJinSD Avatar

        No idea why that posted while I was typing – continuation
        The non-functioning low mileage Volare cop car went to auction, where it wouldn't start. My neighbor got it for opening bid, because it wouldn't start. Then they swapped the battery and he drove it home. It had a 360 premium 4-barrel V8, and it was as fast as a 1970 LT1 Camaro that another neighborhood teenager had. Thank you Albermarle county taxpayers.

    2. Smells_Homeless Avatar

      My neighbor bought 6 of these, unmarked, in 88 or so. I walked out of my house and he had them all parked at weird angles surrounding his house.
      /Dude had a strange, strange sense of humor. And a 69 Daytona, so he gets a free pass from me.

  15. Armand4 Avatar

    I'm too young to remember the late-'60s and early-'70s, when the CHP's 160-mph Dodge Coronets (the meanest-looking cop car in history) ruled our local highways, but just after I started driving the CHP took delivery of a bunch of Camaros for pursuit duty. They had aerodynamic light bars that looked like roof racks until they were lit up, and they were plain white. Across the length and breadth of California, speeders were afraid.
    I got passed by one on I-5 once; his lights were lit up and he was doing at least 90. The trooper looked like he was having an awesome time.

    1. bboxy Avatar

      i remember those from 10-ish years ago here in san diego!! i was always glad to see them around because i knew they were generally hunting the flagrant scofflaws on bikes or in exotics and such that always pass me at night doing 130 probably half-drunk. the all-white and hidden lightbar really did it when everyone's looking out for the old black & white Vic <img src="http://blogs.venturacountystar.com/motorhead/2003-03-chp-camaro.jpg"&gt;

  16. Syrax Avatar

    That would be another Brazilian exclusive, the C/K based Chevy Veraneio. Not only for the looks but for what it represents. Since it was used during not so friendly times you knew that when one of these turned the corner it was almost always a turn for the worse.
    <img src="http://spc.fotolog.com/photo/60/63/25/viaturas/1241181236134_f.jpg"&gt;

      1. Syrax Avatar

        Yes, Falcon verde is known around here too but the market was closed so we never got that one.

  17. Joe Dunlap Avatar
    Joe Dunlap

    Well, Ill be the REALLY old geezer here this morning, and place my vote for the Hudsons on The Highway Patrol, circa 1953. BTW, the story from allpar about the 57 Plymouth? Sounds like urban legend to me, given the quality of brakes on anything, patrol car or not, in the 50s. Pics or it didnt happen. Sorry.
    /hawks loogie onto lawn, kicks cat, shuffles back inside, slams screen door/

  18. tonyola Avatar

    This one is cool too.
    <img src="http://www.toocoolcarstuff.com/Cars%204%20Sale/FHP.jpg&quot; width=400>

      1. tonyola Avatar

        Nope, it's Florida Highway Patrol (FHP).

  19. mdharrell Avatar

    <img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2446/3702651112_37ae18fbd4.jpg&quot; width="350">
    The 1959 Ford looks good in any sort of emergency livery. Besides, these were used as prowl cars in "Psycho" and "West Side Story" so what's not to like?

    1. tonyola Avatar

      The Ford is too friendly-looking. Now this '59 would scare the bejeezuz out of me if I saw it in my mirrors.
      <img src="http://27.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lfnbjgm6yh1qz4s5wo1_500.jpg&quot; width=500>

      1. mdharrell Avatar

        I prefer to think of the Ford as stolidly purposeful.
        <img src="http://imcdb.org/i019566.jpg&quot; width="500">

  20. $kaycog Avatar

    I think this Metropolitan is really cool and cute.
    <img src="http://oldcarandtruckpictures.com/Met/nice_pic_cop_car.jpg"width="500"/&gt;

    1. RWB Avatar

      As a criminal, I wish all cops drove those.

      1. $kaycog Avatar

        You're a criminal?

    1. Alff Avatar

      So sorry, must reject your last assertion.

      1. Jim-Bob Avatar

        I don't understand why. They make technically interesting vehicles that are also reliable and easy to live with-something the Europeans and Americans never seem to get right. You need look no further than the Kei cars to see a unique product the likes of which are made nowhere else in the world. This is not to say that everything is interesting. Clearly it isn't. But the history of the Japanese car industry is full of innovative vehicles (Datsun PL510, Skyline GTR, Honda S600, etc.) with good build quality. Frankly, I don't think I could ask for more.

    1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
      Peter Tanshanomi

      Let's not pussyfoot around here.
      <img src="http://www.freqofnature.com/photos/svepe_2003/bigimages/image007.jpg&quot; width="500">

  21. Jimmy7 Avatar

    I remember reading in the 80's that the FBI had special-ordered some plain-wrap Regals with Grand National engines. Never been able to prove it, but that's my pick.

    1. P161911 Avatar

      You might be remembering this bit of urban legend/BS, the full page Hemmings ad for a $2million '82 Grand National: http://www.beforeblack.net/CantTouch.htm
      The FBI doesn't do a whole lot of "hot pursuit".

  22. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
    Peter Tanshanomi

    Back in the mid 70s, some 2nd-tier car magazine (Cars – The High Performance Monthly?) did a test of domestic sedans: I think it was a Nova Concours, a Ford Granada, and a Police-spec Dodge Aspen. They liked the Aspen best. Looking back, that's not the resounding recommendation it seemed, but it impressed me enough at the time that I wanted one.
    <img src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4117/4811639544_c236e3a91f.jpg"&gt;

    1. CJinSD Avatar

      My neighbor picked up a 1978 Volare with the E85(nothing to do with Archer Daniels and corrupt Democrats and called E58 in some references) police package. They hit 148 mph in Michigan State Police testing, which was absurdly fast in the days before aerodynamic detailing. I don't know if they were that much faster than the Nova 9C1 police packs, but the one my neighbor had was fast enough to make a mockery of the other cars that passed for hot around 1982.

  23. Slow Joe Crow Avatar
    Slow Joe Crow

    A Main Force Patrol Falcon 500
    <img src="http://www.txchange.com/madmax.jpg&quot; >

  24. $kaycog Avatar

    Hahaha! It was assigned to the Metro NYPD.

  25. P161911 Avatar

    Looks like you are right. It seems a few law enforcement agencies DID get at least T-types if not actual GNs.
    <img src="http://www.turbobuick.com/forums/attachments/turbo-lounge/57018d1222221025-fbi-law-enforcement-grand-nationals-gnxs-img_1940.jpg"width=500&gt;

  26. Beer_Rover Avatar

    It was tough trying to limit myself to just one.
    I'm tempted to go for the Mustang SSP
    <img src="http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/12/2010/03/500x_ford_mustang_police_car.jpg"&gt;
    But I'm ultimately forced to choose the Mk 1 Lotus Cortina
    <img src="http://www.lotuscortinainfo.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/50.1.4-Lotus-Cortina-Police-1.jpg&quot; width="550">

  27. ZomBee Racer Avatar

    The Dodges & Plymouths of the late 60's & early 70's still have it for that wide open Mopar-Roar (you HAD to be there) but here are two of my favorite unknown Popo rides.
    A one-of-one 1998 Dodge Dakota 5.9 R/T. The only white '98 R/T made, especially for the Santa Monica police department, making it the rarest modern R/T.
    <img src="http://carphotos.cardomain.com/ride_images/3/179/2841/25446420005_large.jpg&quot; width ="500" />
    And this, an MGBGTV8 squad car. (Yup, MG actually made V8 MGBs for a while). Having "sat" in the back seat of an MGBGT, I can say those English blokes just don't think ahead.
    <img src="http://www.fototime.com/21AC74C3041F374/standard.jpg&quot; />

  28. bboxy Avatar

    my dad's a retired National Park Service policeman. His last cop car was a Hemi Charger he drove in Virginia, before that were Vics and Tahoes in DC and before that were old Caprices and Cherokees in California. Even before any of this, though, was his very first assignment after being hired, to highway patrol on the Blue Ridge Parkway crossing western North Carolina through the mountains.
    This being the early seventies, he was assigned a '70 Dodge Polara Pursuit with the 440 4bbl for a few years. He still talks about that damn car, wasn't even crazy about his recent Hemi Charger, he just remembers how none of those backwoods rednecks that'd try to run ever got away with that big-ass Mopar sucking air behind them….mannn I love the sound of a hot 440!! If I ever come into some money I'll buy the man a Polara Pursuit, I swear. <img src="http://media.motortopia.com/files/5201/vehicle/461910855468e/SEPT102005_011.jpg&quot; width="500">

    1. Alff Avatar

      Having driven it, I can only imagine what a handful such a beast would have been at speed on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

      1. bboxy Avatar

        totally, i assume that whatever car would have been running away in the early 70s would have been similarly rockin' and rollin' through those twisties. and all those deer at night in the Appalachians…..*thud*

  29. ptschett Avatar

    I think you already know my answer.
    <img src="http://www.florida-criminal-lawyer-blog.com/Broward-Sheriff%27s-Office-Dodge-Challenger.jpg&quot; width="500"/>

  30. jjd241 Avatar

    Ford's new interceptor sounds pretty hot…
    <img src="http://www.treehugger.com/ford-police-interceptor-photo01.jpg"&gt;
    <a href="http://tinyurl.com/6zr7ddg” target=”_blank”>http://tinyurl.com/6zr7ddg

  31. frenzic Avatar

    [IMG ]http://i55.tinypic.com/10g0nq1.jpg[/IMG]
    In my childhood it was a common site to see this on the motorway. Nowadays police use a lot of civilian looking cars for this kind of job. There is a Mercedes Benz S class with a pretty hot engine I noticed a couple of times in action on the Amsterdam ring. You would think it is some rich but rather uninteresting schmuck in a nice sedate car, but that would be a mistake.

  32. frenzic Avatar

    let´s try that again.

  33. frenzic Avatar

    <img src="http://i55.tinypic.com/10g0nq1.jpg&quot; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

    1. jjd241 Avatar

      RE: posting pics: Almost there! just remember after last " then a space then width="600"> so the image is not too big. It took me a while to figure it out too.

    2. CJinSD Avatar

      I lived in the Netherlands in 1984. I always thought the revenuers driving TARGA topped Porsche 911s was the ultimate object lesson about letting a government grow too powerful, corrupt, and unaccountable on quality of life issues. It is just a matter of weeks now here.

      1. AlexiusG55 Avatar

        Hey, you got your politics in my Hooniverse! Besides, they probably bought them with the money they saved on arresting people for possession of marijuana…
        Seriously, I believe there were reasons for them to buy 911s- the air-cooled engine in the back meant that they could reverse for long distances at high speed without overheating, which they wanted to be able to do when responding to a breakdown on a major highway. I think the Targa top was to allow the officer to stand up in the car and direct traffic, but I'm not so sure about that.

        1. Syrax Avatar

          It seems like excuses to dodge explaining an unnecessary acquisition.

  34. frenzic Avatar

    Thank you and kind regards. I will spare the commentariat in this instance but I will remember next time.

  35. Maxichamp Avatar

    Also, Connecticut State Patrol Mazda MX-6

  36. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

    I'll just tag this on the end.
    <img src="http://scene-media.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/2575785553_d32bca3fb3_o.jpg&quot; width=400">
    Ok, this is only a publicity shot, the RS200 was never adopted as a Police machine. But they did consider it, and it would have been absolutely fricken insane.

  37. Target29 Avatar

    This is one of my favorites from my year in Oz –

  38. longrooffan Avatar

    It took a call from thejeepjunkie to remind me of this PIT (Pursuit In Training) series of cop cars. FHP (Florida Highway Patrol) has eight or ten of these beefed up Crown Vics that travel the state teaching high speed pursuit spinouts to troopers and local yokels.
    <img src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_zCnDCJkPVTc/THCTeoFLe9I/AAAAAAAAN4Q/fJ6xNzUSe9A/s400/1+001.jpg"end&gt;