For wacky reasons that I have discussed previously in this forum (a cross country trip in the quintessential American car) I am now looking to purchase a used police cruiser. Yesterday I talked to a taxicab driver who told me they buy them at auctions with 100K miles for $3000 or so, invest $50 in some new hoses, repaint them and drive them for another 400K miles. Unfortunately I failed to ask him where those auctions are. Any clue about something like this in the Los Angeles area?
Just phone your police department, and they will gladly tell you where and when the auctions are held.
Contact the various city halls in each town in that area. They often have city auctions in which they dispose of police cruisers and other types of equipment.
Some colleges may use them as fleet vehicles and have auctions ever so often.
I think used cruisers often come up on eBay also.
Contacting outlying smaller towns may be a much easier route as the bureaucratic red tape probably won’t be as thick. A small town here in OK recently sold several police cruisers off the cuff. This led to a bit of friction because they were sold with sirens and lights intact and working and this is generally a no-no.
It was also kind of ignorant to dispose of the sirens/lights as these things cost a small fortune when new and could have been reused on the next cruiser.
I would also advise that you avoid any of those television/magazine/newspaper ads that promote vehicles (both public and private) vehicles for sale.
These are nothing but scams that separate you from your money.
The State Of Colorado sells them on E-bay…I’m driving one of them, a former State Patrol Crown Vic Police Interceptor…I paid $2700 for it 3 years ago…
colorado_auto_sales is their E-bay auction name. I would not buy one without looking at it…Some are pretty rough…
In e-bays search window, type “Crown Victoria P71”
Heres a couple of things to think about from what I have personally seen. I have a couple of county and city contracts rebuilding transmissions on Police cars, city and county trucks etc. What I have found is that most all of the departments surplus their patrol cars at a certain mileage rather than the age of the vehicle. When a smaller department surpluses a patrol car, it usually is an older model. I have also found that the smaller departments service their cars more frequently and the drivers of the vehicles seem to take care of them better. Larger departments tend to lack in the servicing area plus the drivers of the vehicles are harder on the vehicles BUT, with the larger departments, they reach their surplus mileage much faster so their auctioned vehicles tend to be newer. Their are plusses and minuses wherever you go. If it were me, I would contact a smaller department like Beverly Hills for example and find out where their auctions are and bid on the newest, lowest mileage vehicles they have. With a department like that, Image is big, so their vehicles will most likely look good too.
Speaking of old police cars…A Father of one of my sons friends has one…And on the rear deck he has two BLUE (reflective) tissue boxes strategically put and stuck in place. I’ve been behind him at night a couple of times…Man…from about 50’ back as my lights reflect off of those tissue boxes…it looks EXACTLY like a cop car. He said he’s been pulled over a couple of times…but he’s NOT breaking any laws.
I think somebody just wants to remake the movie The Blues Brothers…);
I am not sure if that’s a good thing. The cab drver I talked to in LA tld me that it’s a good idea to give a police cruiser a new paint job and let it NOT look like a police cruiser because in some parts of the city (and of the country) police cruisers or lookalikes have been known to be shot at. He also advised not to paint it red or blue as those are gang colors.
Thanks everybody for the advice so far. All this is very valuable and helpful!
I can just see Youngtimer saying:
“It’s got a cop motor, a 440 cubic inch plant, it’s got cop tires, cop suspension, cop shocks. It’s a model made before catalytic converters so it’ll run good on regular gas. What do you say, is it the new Bluesmobile or what?”
This is NH…NOT LA.
Most don’t need to be painted, the markings are peel-off decals…The Black & Whites usually get painted before they sell them…
I’ve had a couple of them, and I’d say the things to look for are general wear and rust. In LA, you don’t have to worry about the rust so much, but in the rust belt, these cars get used 24-7 and rarely washed. The floor on one of mine rusted out in spots while the rest looked pristine. Also, in some cases you will be getting a car that’s harder to service—mine both had heavy-duty alternators, radiators, and upgraded brakes. Which was very nice, but more expensive and harder to get parts when needed. Also, you will be forgoing cruise control and other luxury amenities on most. Just some things to think about. Also, they are often keyed kind of weirdly.
Mine still had the side spot lights. Often cops would wave at me as I sped by. Once they gave me free food in a drive through, thinking I was a cop. I vehemently told them I wasn’t, but they still gave me free stuff because it was already ‘rung up’ or not rung up, whatever.
This wasn’t a marked car…it was originally an unmarked car.
A couple years ago a colleague of mine bought a CVPI that used to belong to his hometown’s fire chief. I don’t know how easy it is, but keep an eye out for one of these “less abused” G-cars at the muni auctions. Just a thought…