It's not a joke--they used to use them. I saw it first-hand and did one h*ll of a double-take when one of those things went past me on the highway. They finally gave up because they just got too expensive.
If I saw a copcar as a VW Bug or a Ford Tempo I would laugh at the cop to his face!!! well, maybe not to his face but , yea, I would laugh, holy crap! Those cant be intersepter cars!! They must be for "house calls" and crap like that.
If one looks at the era, these cars were mainstream back then. In those times the cars you had to chase were just as anemic, muscle cars were consigned to the junk yard or garage due to gas prices. Even today, the Crown Vics are not the fleetest of foot compared to many other vehicles in common usage and the Scuds, I mean Chevys, of the early 1990s were pathetic. I've driven late 70's Chevy Malibus, mid 80's Pontiac Bonnevilles, and even a VW Rabbit diesel on patrol and they all did well enough. In fact they were better suited than the Fury III Interceptors that preceded the Malibus as the Furies had the nasty habit of spitting out the tranny when pushed. It looks really bad when the patrol car stops with a loud "BANG" on Main St in the middle of town while responding to an actual bank robbery on the other side of town, 3 blocks away. It also improves the citizens' warm fuzzy feelings when the back up car does the same thing two blocks away on the cross street on the same call. I still see rather mundane cars used for patrol, several areas I hunt still have constables or town marshalls and use their own cars with the addition of magnetic stickers and a plug in dash light. I've seen Chevy Citations, Mazda 323s, and one constable used his work truck, a Ford F-250 complete with full ladder racks, tarps, air compressor, and paint sprayers. In my mind the main reason squad cars have remained as full size models has been due to the increasing amount of junk that is required in them. In the front seat of mine I have a MDT with keyboard and screen, a printer, cell phone, two radios, siren and lightbar controls, shotgun, AR-15, radar gun, laser gun, briefcase with assorted items, and in the winter the oxygen equipment, it is no wonder small cars aren't used much.
My Uncle worked for US Customs in drug interdiction during the late '60's and early 70's. Their pursuit cars were normally a sluggish looking Plymouth Golden Commando. All of them had race car suspensions and a lot under the hood--all of them would easily hit 150+mph, which was pretty good in those days. My Brother and I went for a short fishing trip to Guaymas, Mexico--we cracked up when we actually saw a black & white cop car there--a VW Bug.
in my day, the mainstay oh the hp's were belvederes with 440's and a 4 barrel---really tall geared, but were limited in hp to about 134--which is really fast enough for the tires they had---and how long they were expected to push them.
i worked on several of them during that era---trying to eek out a few more ponies but the main problem then--is they were not a car you could shut the hood on for 10k miles and expect it to perform, or live.
i heard rumblings about a new pursuit vehicle coming in, this was in late 67, couldn't imagine what :roll: but i didn't have to wait long. it was a hemi belvedere [2x4's] and only had a spotlight in the drivers door with diffeent colored lenses---and one extra antennae. we had nothing compared to today--as far as bad guys were concerned---the concept didn't make sense to me. the car was stationed in dumas, tx---made two daily runs up to stratford, drop down to go east to sunray then sw back to dumas----this was just over 100 miles, and he couldn't make the trip on one tank.
it lasted the summer----was then sent south to around sanantonio----i've often wondered if any of those survived---would make a great piece of history for a museum,
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