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Question/specs about a car(s)

Admittedly I’m not much of a car gal outside of basic operation and maintenance so I couldn’t tell you the difference between a Ford and a Dodge, or anything like that. As such, I was hoping to delve into a little more detail about the vehicles in a story I’m writing about. Wondering if someone could give me a hand with hammering out the specs, details, make/model, and etc with this. I don’t need a full manual on them, but a general description/place to start would be helpful.

The possible car(s) would belong to a fictional federal agency, so there’s room for leeway/fantasy elements though I’d like to keep it grounded in realism as much as possible. I’d like to possibly veer away from SUV as it seems a bit cliche but if it works it works. Ideally, perhaps something made in the USA (or a trustworthy other) that can handle fast speeds and a severe beating or two while still remaining intact. As it will be used in patrols, chases, etc. Modified with strong bordering on armored outside and bullet/shatter resistant windows. Inside, adequate trunk space to hold back-up weapons and emergency supplies but doesn’t need to hold a jetski.

Also, perhaps modified in a way to hold a prisoner or two, so perhaps closed off but still accessible backspace in case not carrying prisoners? Not a full on police style cage but perhaps handcuff slots or a window or sorts? Not sure on that.

And about tires. Not completely pop proof but is there a stronger tire that would be less resistant to blowing?
Also also, price range. There’s a good budget for the cars but say a million or more might be a bit excessive.

Apologize for the long description any help would be appreciated!

Key word being “federal” so it must be an American brand. Ford, GM or Chrysler. Not all vehicles are good for all things…

Bulletproof/resistant means heavy. That means up-armored SUV’s most likely. Chevrolet or GMC Suburbans are most popular for this because they come with big engines, heavy duty chassis and lots of interior space for tools, weapons and prisoners. Run flat tires so a bullet to the tread won’t completely stop the beast. Car chases, not so good as they are big and ponderous. Ford Explorer Police Interceptors are also quite popular with local police but not so with the feds.

Chase vehicle - For that y’all need a powerful Hemi V8 in a Dodge Charger Police Interceptor. Bad a$$ looks, speed, handling and presence! Not usually up-armored but available with run-flat tires. Decent trunk space and a back seat for the bad guys. Ford makes a cop-Taurus with all-wheel drive and a turbo-charged V6. It doesn’t have the confidence crushing presence of the Charger but they are popular with local cops. Haven’t seen any up-armored versions of these but that doesn’t mean they aren’t out there because stealth is important.

Check out here for starting prices. With most things, price is a matter of HOW protected you need to be…

Looks like $150K would get you a good starter. Maybe the feds would add a few goodies pushing $250,000 so let that be your guide.

If Shakespeare can have Big Ben wake Julius Caesar why should you worry about automobile details?

But in the real world Ford sedans dominated the law enforcement fleets for several decades. When Ford stopped production of the Crown Vic several SUVs began to become favored by law enforcement while the Dodge Charger seems to be growing in popularity. Local situations and peculiar needs of law enforcement along with personal choices of those at the top influence the choice of vehicles. As for specs, wikipedia probably has all the info you need once you choose a vehicle.

An Aston Martin DB-5 with an ejection seat makes for a great story line.

A good friend of mine has a position of some importance with the regional office of the Drug Enforcement Agency, a federal agency if ever there was one. Surely you’ve seen news reports or documentaries showing jewelry, guns, and fancy cars belonging to drug dealers that are confiscated during drug raids. You know what, not all of those vehicles are auctioned off after the legal proceedings. Some of them are folded back into service as part of their undercover fleet, so agents aren’t doing undercover work in a car obviously taken from the motorpool.

So let your imagination go wild. Your agency may have confiscated a bulletproof 800 horsepower Mercedes stretch limo with run-flat tires and rocket-powered ejection seat that was custom built for the Grand Poohbah of Fredonia.


Oh, good! You’ve come to the right place. Tom & Ray, the Car Talk guys waited each year for the annual Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest winners to be selected.

Have a look. You could get some ideas, maybe?
Perhaps we’ll see yours there?

This should help you. The low level armoring is light enough to allow the vehicle to keep most of its performance. You should look at vehicles with AWD or 4WD. Another consideration is a driver that has attended a tactical driving school for this type of driving.

Since the elimination of the full size Ford, most police forces have gone to using Ford Escape type SUVs in their fleets. Police versions but have the cargo space and room for a detainee or two in back. I’ve seen some Impala’s used for highway patrol cars too and again the police version.

Something to consider for your story is to use a vehicle that is appropriate for the environment, i.e don’t use a Cadillac in a slum area unless your character is a drug lord. Since you mentioned government types, something that would blend in with the area and not attract attention would be better. As for performance, the additional weight could be overcome with a supercharger or turbocharger.

I was in Ventura, CA last week and saw one of those Crown Vics still in service with the local police. It was well preserved, looked like a brand new car.

It might have been reconditioned and re-painted. One year our Sheriff tried to save some money on new vehicles by reconditioning a few patrol cars. Engine/trans overhaul, new suspension, brakes, etc. etc. Like a new car except for the interior, but alas, not cost effective. Even using prison labor it was cheaper to buy new if you can get the model you need.

Things in your neck of the woods are very different from my area.
Here, the new police vehicle of choice is the Taurus, followed by the Explorer, and then there are a number of Chargers. No police-spec Escapes at all.

In addition to their Chevy Tahoes, the state police seem to be using some Chevy Caprices (imported from Australia!), but I have seen no Chevy Impalas at all.

A quick primer on run-flat tires would be helpful to you. Rather than suggest a direct link, may I suggest you Google the term? In the real world, up-armored cars are slow, and they are not meant to be chased. They work best against lone gunmen or small groups who want to hit the target easily, not engage over time. They help, but they are not meant to be safe for long. Check out DemolitionRanch on Youtube for vids on what guns can penetrate what armor. With regard to chase cars, I’ve actually thought this through a bit. In a real-world chase, if it lasts more than the length of one street and has turns, a car like a Subaru STI (WRX) would likely outrun, or catch pretty much anything on the road. AWD, compact, high power to weight ratio, built simply and tough. Make your fictional chase cars have “high-profile” tires on steel rims. In the real world, most supercars and near supercars cannot stand to hit anything significant and not break a wheel. Rally cars may be worth taking some time to look at. Fun topic!

Also, real-world federal agencies tend to drive boring sedans and SUVs as many have mentioned above. Avoid that trap. Have your federal agency be “Deep-cover” and have them using cars & trucks that were seized in drug raids and such. That opens you up to anything you want your federal agency groups to have. Throw in a Ford Raptor, maybe a Dodge SRT Hellcat Charger disguised as a “normal” police Charger, which are pretty solid anyway. Just a suggestion. For research, I suggest you watch the original Mad Max. Episode one I mean, not the recent ones.

“Key word being “federal” so it must be an American brand. Ford, GM or Chrysler. Not all vehicles are good for all things…”

It may be poetic license and I’m not familiar with federal purchasing policies, but in the TV show Bones agent Booth drives a Toyota SUV, so on that issue you may not necessarily be confined to American vehicles.

I live near a retired patrol deputy and he said the Taurus, while a nice enough car, is not really practical for patrol duties as the back seat is too cramped for prisoners after the cage is installed, and there’s not enough overall room (front seat area and trunk) for all the gear a modern police officer is required to carry, especially in a 2-person unit. However, as prisoner transport appears to be a relatively minor aspect of the OP’s story, this may not matter so much.

The OP indicated her fictional federal agency needs a vehicle that’s fast and tough. To me that screams for an SUV. The Jeep Grand Cherokee, for example, is available in an SRT version with almost 500 horsepower (quarter mile just over 12 seconds flat - I’ve seen them at the local drag strip). With modern multi-speed transmissions (Fiat/Chrysler makes a 9 speed and Ford is introducing a 10 speed), even a 5,000 or 6,000 pound SUV with 450-500 horsepower can pick 'em up and put 'em down pretty well; no match for a Dodge Hellcat for sure, but well enough to keep in contact with most street cars. As for handling, with the influence of computers and sophisticated programming, even SUVs will handle surprisingly well (again, not Ferrari class, but much better than you’d expect). These include 4 wheel anti-skid technology (the computer senses when you’re about to skid in a turn and applies the appropriate brake independently to mitigate the skid) and computer controlled shock absorbers.

As for toughness, you just can’t beat a purpose made SUV (heavy frame and suspension).

Otherwise, a number of posters have hit on possibly the best solution: federal, state and local jurisdictions have property seizure laws (unconstitutional as far as I’m concerned, but I wasn’t asked), so all police agencies have access to all types of cars, trucks, vans, big rigs, boats, etc.

Well, for that matter, the back seat area of the old standard Ford Crown Victoria is incredibly cramped after the prisoner cage is installed.

How do I know this? Because after my friend’s Accord (in which I was a passenger) was totaled as a result of being T-boned several years ago, he and I were given a ride back to my house in the back of a Crown Vic police car. The leg room was NON-existent, and I actually rode back to my house with my legs across the back seat.

I find it hard to believe that one of the new Tauruses has less legroom than the old Crown Vics.
What is…less than nothing?

This discussion is 5 days old with no participation from Hopeadler53.

I believe he/she was just a drive-by poster. It appears this whole thing is dead.


I’m just going from what he said. The issue with the back seat room is the way the cage is installed.