This page is about the police car. It also explains a little about GSA auctions. This is where the public can bid on these heavy duty automobiles.
At the bottom are 2 must watch videos. One focuses on identification and specifications of the 1996 9c1 optioned Chevrolet Police Interceptor. And the other is just a fun burnout video. To me this is easily one of the best patrol cars ever produced in the United States and Canada.
GSA is an abbreviated term for general service administration or better known as U.S. government auctions. GSA handles the federal acquisition of equipment to various government agencies. They ensure compliance with all current transportation regulations.
Simplified, they buy and sell the cars that all levels of government use in the name of public service. But lets start with a fun subject I like to talk about. My personal pick for the best law enforcement vehicle ever.
I love to buy and drive old police cars. Just like Elwood from the blues brothers. Elwood picked a good one with the 1974 Dodge Monaco 440 Pursuit. But make no mistake, a modern 9C1 would take it’s lunch. Why do I like cop cars so much?
As an ASE certified master technician I have worked on many in my day. At the time of this writing I’m working on a Florida county’s sheriff department fleet of vehicles. These modern cars are nothing like the ones built even a decade ago.
However, a police interceptor of any year is built with heavy-duty parts and designed to be powerful, yet also handle well at high speeds. This is what I love about GSA car auctions. You can get well-maintained vehicles with heavy-duty parts at low prices.
Below are some examples of the 1996 LT1 powered Caprice 9c1 police cruiser in action. This was a vehicle you could hide behind for protection. In my humble, but educated opinion the 1996 Caprice was the all around best police car package ever offered. Give a pin or bookmark if you agree.
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Whats Inside a Police Car
What parts are heavy duty? Well this varies from each manufacture. However, in most cases we’re talking about heavy-duty belts, hoses, beefed up suspensions with heavy-duty power train components and very large sway bars front and rear.
You’ll also find no frills easy to clean interior that includes commercial grade flooring instead of carpeting. The vehicle is constructed for pedal to the metal performance and handling that’s impressive for the size and weight of the automobile.
Even though they were lucky to get 13 mpg, the 96 Chevy 9c1 in my opinion was the cream of the crop in law enforcement patrol car manufacturing. The Caprice police package came standard with the Corvette LT1 engine that was built with a 4 bolt main block and all the heavy-duty hoses and accessories that GM stocked.
The cop car I speak of can still be found at some GSA auctions and other police car auctions. I recently learned that this car was used exclusively by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and widely available in Canada at the time of this writing.
Remember this interceptor unit was called the 9C1 which is the option package code that General Motors used in ordering and identification. This code can be found on the options label in the trunk. The only exterior difference between the standard model was the rear quarter window.
This special options package included 16-inch tires and Gm’s 3.23 or even 3.73 posi-lock rear differential behind a 200-4r or 700r4 4-speed automatic transmission. The engine included GM’s most powerful high-energy ignition system (Opti Spark) and true large diameter dual exhaust to let the LT1 350 V8 vent.
The electrical system included a super high output alternator. Also standard was a gear reduction high torque starter and extra capacity dual battery’s to handle all the electronics you would find on a police car.
What a well balanced package. It was fast and handled great. I have driven these cars often and lets just say I would smile the whole ride.
A Police Interceptor Story
I worked for a Chevy dealership in 1996 and performed warranty repairs on these vehicles. I had a Cherry Hill police officer tell me a great story.
His department had half Crown Victoria and half 1996 Caprice 9c1 Interceptors at the time. These vehicles mostly patrolled neighborhoods, but they also had a stretch of I 295 in New Jersey. Several times a year they would find themselves in high-speed pursuit situations.
The officer described in great detail how he would blow by the crown Victoria cars that had wide open throttle with his caprice not even at 75% throttle. On rare occasion when many units would pursue suspects for some distance, the crown vics couldn’t hang.
You would see 3 caprices go bye you and then 5 minutes later you would see the Crown Victoria police cars come past bringing up the rear. The officers in this department would fight over the caprices and the loser’s got the Fords.
The General Motors police car reached its peak in 1996 with the 9C1. Then Chevy got out of the game for a couple of years because they killed the full frame car all together. This left GM with no good police platform.
So Ford dominated the market for many years and still is. It will most likely stay this way even with the ending of the rear wheel drive Crown Victoria. Gm has since got back in the game with an improving Chevy impala and the redesigned Chevrolet Tahoe.
Now it’s the Fords that blow away the Chevy’s. The new Taurus interceptor has a twin turbo v6 that is killing it. In fact motor trend is calling it the fastest domestic police car of 2012. Also Dodge has come back into the competition with its Hemi powered rear wheel drive Dodge Charger police car.
Now Chevrolet has added a super charger to its underpowered entry and a 5.3 liter (327 CID) in its Tahoe police truck. So we will have to see who winds up on top of the competition in the near future. Back to why I support buying fleet units at auction. Law enforcement departments have tight maintenance schedules.
Police Fleet cars are well maintained on top of being built with heavy duty parts. Even if they have high miles on them I would still purchase it with confidence. Remember this is not the best all around family choice.
They are not known for good fuel economy but they are very safe and reliable transportation. I have seen a Chevy caprice crashed into a wall at 75 mph and the officer was not seriously injured. The rear wheel drive set up with full frame construction are very strong and hold up well in accidents.
Patrol units often go for reasonable prices at auction, because of the supply and demand scenario. They usually have plenty of them and the high mileage some times turns off buyers leaving a bargain to be had.
I worked for one of the largest car auction networks in the United states. This next link takes you back to my main auction car page that supplies more information about police car auctions.
Now you know why I like old cop cars. You can find out more about who I am, what I look like and why I built this automotive information website on the homepage. Plus you can find more answers to auto questions.