The Chrysler Corporation supplied high-performance pursuit vehicles to federal, state, and
Of all the automobiles produced during the musclecar era, the Chrysler Corporation designed and manufactured some of the most recognizable and over-the-top cars of the big three. But aside from the brightly colored Challengers, ‘Cudas, Road Runners, and Superbees, there were thousands of Mopars that sported the same or better performance parts, disguised as nondescript four-door sedans often colored in black and white. In addition to the cars Chrysler made for the public, government and police department contracts made up a good portion of Chrysler and its dealers’ business during the sixties and seventies, and the company is still at it today supplying new Hemi Charger police cars like the one owned by Associate Editor Scott Ross.
John from Texas, had worked for the Department of Public Safety (DPS) for some nine years when 2008 rolled around, but had been looking for a classic Texas Highway Patrol Mopar squad car for more than twenty years. Attending the 2008 Pate Swap Meet at the Texas Motor Speedway, he spotted this ’72 Dodge Polara sitting on a trailer for sale and quickly checked it over. Seeing the car’s original black and white paint under a badly faded repaint, John knew this could be an original police car and he looked for specific items, finding the original inventory tag and unit number in the driver side door jamb. Knowing this Polara was just what he had been looking for, John struck a deal and the police car was his.
During his research John found a cool old photo of a Texas DPS squad car, which is either
With the car back at his shop, John began looking the car over and found not only three build sheets, but also all of the glove box paperwork documenting the car’s lineage. This ’72 Polara was part of a 76-car order placed by the Texas DPS that year, and was delivered through the Dependable Motors Dodge dealership in Austin, Texas. Equipped with a 400 engine, 727 transmission, and 8 ¾ differential, the Polara is in great overall shape, and an expired inspection decal on the windshield indicates that the car has been sitting since 1978, three years after it was retired in 1975.
Chrysler police and fleet vehicles were not just ordinary production cars with a big engine. Most of these cars were equipped with heavy duty suspension components and sway bars, maximum performance cooling systems, and auxiliary coolers for the transmission and even the power steering. The speedometers generally read higher (140 or 150 mph depending on the model) and were certified so they could be used to pace speeders. Once decommissioned, cars like this were generally auctioned off and were often repainted by inmates prior to being transferred to civilian duty.
John plans a complete restoration for this Polara, and will return it to in-service condition with the appropriate black and white paint job and police equipment. Once complete, his plans are to use the car to attend official Texas Department of Safety events, police memorial events, as well as car shows and restored vehicle events. So if you’re in Texas and see a black and white ’72 police car behind you don’t worry, it’s just John out enjoying his Hidden Treasure. mm
Mopar police cars are definitely some of the best performing vehicles built by Chrysler. B
John found his ’72 Polara police car at a swap meet held at the Texas Motor Speedway. Orig
In Texas, inmates would repaint retired squad cars before they were auctioned to the publi