Intimidate Friends and Enemies: Buy a Used Police Car

Police car with emergency lights on

It’s the idea of stealthy power that turns some people on. Or the rugged muscularity. Or just the intimidation factor. (I go for the latter.) Whatever it is, used police cars have their appeal, and sometimes you can find a real bargain.

And sometimes you can get royally screwed. All the cautions we’ve mentioned before apply in spades when you’re buying a used cop car. Where do you buy them? At police department or government auctions, occasionally through dealerships with police contracts, or specific companies that deal in these cars.

Check out the video after the break.

There’s plenty of online advice and cautionary tales. We’ll boil some of that down for you. In brief, you’re probably going to be looking at the Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor (the CVPI or P71), the police version of the old Crown Vic, now retired in favor of the Taurus.

You can also find used Chevy Impalas. The real sleeper is the Dodge Charger Police Package Version, built from 2006 on (0-60 mph in 6.2 seconds, 150-mph top speed, good cornering and braking).

The CVPI is a very sturdy and safe car, body-on-frame, heavy-duty parts (transmission, suspension, and brakes), and usually a 250-hp, 4.6-liter V8 for power. Major things to watch out for are: whether the car has clear title, has been in a major accident, or has had the engine or drivetrain components replaced. Accidents don’t show up on CarFax reports, because they aren’t reported to insurance companies. Police departments generally self-insure.

Two other things: If the car comes from a northern climate, it will be more prone to rust. Get a car with highway rather than city miles, if possible. City cars get harder use and generally suffer more accidents and lots of idling time.

Most important: Get a through inspection by a qualified mechanic. Some of these cars have had hard lives, and others (most likely the “unmarked” cars) haven’t. It’s not always easy to tell the bargains from the beaters. To avoid some of these risks, you may want to stick with local cars at DealFinder.

Have you ever thought about buying a used police car?

—jgoods

Find Used Cars in Your Area at CarGurus

Used Ford Crown Victoria
Used Chevrolet Impala
Used Dodge Charger

3 Comments

  1. Let’s see…. extra weight, big engine, driven like a New York taxi, filled with homeless people, perps and a few overweight sweaty cops stoked up on Taco Belle.

    I’ll pass.

  2. Now you’ve gone too far. The idea of buying something with hundreds of thousands of miles with maintenance usually done at the “city garage” staffed with “city mechanics” is almost laughable. If you want to go fast buy a new “fast” car with a warranty service by the dealer. If you want to buy a “beefed up” vehicle buy a new car with a heavy duty optional suspension package. If you want to buy a cheap used car, check out your used car pages to find bargains galore. The upholstery, carpeting and seat cushions are most likely “whipped” beyond belief and one might have to find an upholstery shop to restore the interior to some semblance of cleanliness and comfort.

    The only circumstance in which your suggestion makes sense is if you might be the proud owner of a precocious teenager. Otherwise, your suggestion is a reach.

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