I have always had a soft spot for police cars.
When I was growing up, a guy who lived across the street from me picked up a Dodge St. Regis detective’s car, all black. This was from the period when I thought Cragar S/S mags were the coolest wheels on the face of the planet. But this St. Regis had steel wheels and dogdish hubcaps, and it looked deadly. I’ve wanted a retired cruiser ever since.
The pickin’s these last few years have been pretty slim since GM essentially removed itself from competition when it dumped its RWD B-Body platform back in ’96. In then typical GM fashion, it had perfected the form, then killed it off. When the “whale” B-body debuted in 1990, it was absolutely hideous, with semi-skirted rear wheels and body straight from the Hudson Hornet. But over the years, it got more chiseled and refined, and the final editions were equipped with honkin’ LT1 350-cu.in. V-8s right out of the previous year’s Corvettes. It was a shame that GM decided to bail out of the business, leaving the cops with Crown Vics, front wheel drive Impalas and the occasional 2WD Yukon as pursuit vehicles.
That apparently changes in 2011 with the introduction of the Caprice — hooray for the return of that badge — PPV (Police Pursuit Vehicle). Australian-built by GM’s Holden division (of Pontiac GTO fame), the Caprice PPV features a 6.0-liter V-8, a six-speed automatic transmission, four wheel independent suspension and the triumphant return of rear-wheel drive. The trunk is said to be large enough to fit a full-size spare under the flat floor.
The Crown Vic has long been a workhorse for departments across the country. The Dodge Charger was supposed to take up the slack, but departments have been bitching about the Charger’s trouble-prone electrical system, especially when taxed with all the gear the po-po has to add. Built specifically for police use, the new Caprice has a dedicated electrical system with a separate battery for police gear.
I’m headed to IMPA test day at Pocono Speedway at the end of September. The last time I was there, Chevy had quite a few fleet vehicles out, including a non-impressive Impala cruiser. I’m interested to see if I can get some seat time in the new Caprice. More later.