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.
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?