1979 Plymouth Volare PPV: Code Blue


When it comes to classic cars used for municipal duties, I’m always a fan. Growing up, there was a fleet of Chrysler K-Cars parked under a federal court building in my hometown, and although they were hardly desirable, I’m certain those dust-covered taxpayer-funded rides had next to no miles on the clock. Likewise, this 1979 Plymouth Volare Police Pursuit Vehicle here on eBay with a starting bid of $4,000 is a clean survivor packed with all the police-vehicle specific options, including the high-performance 360 engine, heavy-duty suspension and 727 3-speed transmission. With the police graphics stripped off the body and the lack of a lightbar, it’s hard to believe this super-straight Volare was once a cop car; however, one look at those wide dog-dish hubcaps and steel wheels offers a good clue as to this car’s intended purpose. I’d love a retired Fox Body Mustang cop car – which ex-cop car would you choose?


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  1. Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

    Jeff, I like the Fox-bodies as well, but locally, a confiscated 2007 Z06 Corvette that was used in pursuit would be my choice. Thankfully I have not been chased by it! See article here: http://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/counties/wake-county/article18576800.html

  2. Chris A.

    Give me a 1996 Chevrolet Impala SS police package with the iron head LT1 engine, 3.08 locker rear end and the 4 wheel anti-lock disc brakes behind the 17″ alloy wheels mounting Y rated tires. I prefer the 1996 with the center console shifter. And gloss black is just fine as is the 140+ top end. Keep your Volare.

  3. John

    I’d be up for a 90’s Ford Crown Vic. Those were the among the best police cars ever made and you still see some on the road today.

  4. Patrick

    I love this Volare, it is super clean and has just the right look! I have an affinity for old police/military vehicles, and speaking of Fox bodied SSP Mustangs, here is a pic of mine with a police officer at a recent show in Wellesley, MA. It is a 1991, retired in 1997 from the Florida Highway Patrol based in Lantana, FL. All of the police equipment works, including radar, all lights, siren etc. I picked it up from the gentleman that purchased it at auction back in 1997. He had it until 2011 and used it as a daily driver, putting over 100k on the clock (it had just under 80k when it was retired). I restored it and put all of the police goodies back in place. It is a lot of fun and people really react to it! While the Z06 would smoke it, this car was fast for the day. Back in 1982-83 when they first started producing the SSP, the slogan was “This Ford Chases Porsches for a Living”. Indeed.

    Like 1
    • Ben

      I remember an episode of COPS where the police officer was yelling into his microphone in an attempt to pull over the driver by shouting that he had a 5.0 (L). Or maybe he was telling the driver that he was Five O. LOL

    • JoeCool

      Ford = Fix Or Repair Daily – Found On Road Dead

      • JW

        Or the ever popular = First On Race Day !!!

  5. DREW V.

    A friend of mine from High School had a 70 Plymouth Fury i that was an ex sheriffs car, was outfitted with the 375 hp 440 with 727 torqueflite… Would blow the doors off all the “Rich Kids” Trans Am’s and Z/28s…

    • pursang

      I learned to drive on a teal green metallic 1970 Plymouth Fury III with a 318 auto. That recirculating ball power steering box had the driver sawing the steering wheel +/- 30 degrees every second or so to maintain a straight line – even when new! I can’t imagine that chassis with more power and driving fast!

      • Ed P

        I had a ’70 Fury Gran Coupe with a 383 ci. It had very good handling and cruised dead straight at 70-80 mph. I would think the steering gear box on yours needed adjusting.

  6. Frank

    I’d say those Buicks that Broderick Crawford drove in the ’55-’59 TV series “Highway Patrol” would be kinda’ cool. But the cars that stick in my mind were the ’67 Chevrolet Impalas with a 375hp 427 w/4-speed. I attended a NYS gov’t vehicle auction when these were being sold off. I wanted one bad, my Dad thought otherwise. About a year later I bought a new ’69 Road Runner 4-speed. The ’90ish 5.0L Mustang was cool. Had a street version of the same, sold it a couple of years ago, it only had 28k original miles. Fast, but not BIG enough. It impersonated a COP CAR.

    • Patrick

      Frank, agree with all of your points. Regarding the Mustang, indeed it was not big enough. But it was considered a pursuit vehicle, meant to catch the bad guys and call for the guy in the Diplomat to come transport them. In that capacity it worked great!

  7. JW

    The only cop cars that chased me down were in town cops in their late 70’s Impala’s & Caprice’s and they were truly Black & Whites which we loved that because you could spot them a mile away.

  8. JW454

    I wonder if the Hipo 360 in this car would have the same tune as the 360 in the Dodge Little Red Express pick-ups? I’ve heard that the Dodge pick-ups were the fastest American made production vehicles during this time frame but this could be a close second if it had equal power and torque.

  9. Rhett

    Love it! I’m a GM guy, but I have no explanation for my love of Aspens and Volares.

    That said, I understand these and the prior gen PPV Valiants/Darts made lousy police cars, as the front K frames were not beefy enough for patrol abuse, and cracked easily.

    I liked this car a 4k, and was lucky I didn’t have an open bay. At 5k, I start to look closer and notice the flaws (bumper fillers) and wonder how the Long Island rust, spotlight and antenna holes were filled….,

  10. Derek F

    In high school I nearly convinced a neighbor ( retired secret gov’t agency of some sort ) to finally sell me his 1977 Nova 9C1 sedan ( brown with steelies and Recaro seats ). He’d used them when stationed in Germany and would troll the left lane of the Autobahn. He’d come up on a big Mercedes in the left lane, give them a courteous ‘flash to pass’ and they’d begrudgingly move over a lane to let him by at well over 140mph. Unfortunately he wouldn’t part with it.

  11. Jim G.

    I’m not sure I’d like to own one now, but I previously owned a Dodge Diplomat that was municipally used by a fire chief. Lots of niggling issues, but nothing that couldn’t be easily solved by a quick trip to local parts store. Growing up during that time, nothing spells out cop to me like the headlight setup on the M-bodies that came right after these left the scene.

  12. moosie Craig

    I had a ’95 9C1 Crapice that I “won” on auction thru e-bay for $900 bux, it was the retired K-9 unit from a town in Idaho, it was a surprisingly fast well handling car for such an obese looking car, I loved it, Speedo showed 150,000 some odd miles, apparently it was well taken care of in it previous dog days cause it never gave me any trouble,,,,,,, dunno what got into me to sell it but I did and regret the day it went down the road .The only thing I didnt like was the White body with the dark blue hood & deck lid. Spent less then $50 bux for a Impaler SS grille and was waiting on the SS deck lid spoiler when I sold the car.

  13. Ed P

    I owned a ’78 Dodge Aspen. I bought it new on Saturday and had to fix it on Sunday. It was like that the whole time I owned it. I would rather forget these cars existed.

  14. Rev Rory

    Had a MHP 2-door pursuit, ’61 Plymouth. 361 Golden Commando w/big Thermoquad on a highrise manifold. Torqueflite (yes, pushbutton), posi (or limited slip, turned them both when in launch mode) painted black but with some of the maroon and gold still showing. Rubber plugs in all the antenna holes but still had the spotlight. Steelies, no hubcaps by the time I got it, and there was a crossram in the trunk, which I sold separately.That thing would show 110mph on its certified speedometer at the end of the onramp on the way to Lakeville, and while the brakes were drums, they were BIG and finned; repeated stops showed little fade. Wrecked it one time too many and it ended its days at a demo derby. That was a long time ago and I still miss that that pig, wish I’d kept it. Ah, youth…

  15. skloon

    My dad had one of these with a slant six and vinyl seats that could withstand bullets- oddly enough it had the same key as our Tradesman 200 – he left it in a parking lot in Inuvik for two weeks and it started at -44 without being plugged in- not excessively happy about it but it did start- it was one of the few good ones

  16. blindmarc

    I would love to have this one. My first car in SoCal was a 1970 Polara, that was a pursuit car. Certified 160 speedo, 440, got chased coming back from San Diego , and if I hadn’t pulled over, they never could have caught me. This one has the correct wheels, all the heavy duty equipment, and the swirl port 360 is easy to hop up.

  17. Jason

    (Men in White)

  18. Joe

    In the early 70’s a dealer near us had a 68 or 69 Chevy, 2-door wagon that was special ordered on their lot. The department that ordered it cancelled afterwards before arrival. It had a 427 in it and would just lift the front tires off the street when taking off from a stop light. They had it 4 or 5 years before it was sold. If only we knew.

  19. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    Looks just like the Volare from Drivers Ed back in High School, but that one most likely had a Slant 6. That’s the last time I drove one and have no desire to ever drive another.

    Here in New England, these all rusted out in a few years, just like my friend’s did.

  20. John C Cargill

    As for the Crown Vics, many around here became taxis and then believe it or not back into passenger private use, 5 6 hundred thousand miles not unusual.

  21. charles hefner

    I owned a 1972 Dodge Polara PPV with a 440 Mag. and a 1975 Plymouth Gran Fury PPV also with a 440 Mag both handled very well for such a big car were also very reliable. I purchased the 75 Plymouth at Catawba County N.C. Sherriff’s Dept. auction in 1980….it was only used as an inmate transport vehicle and just had 53,000 mi. Only paid $300.00 for it!

    • Jason

      Sounds just like the Blues Brothers! Right year, too. (1980)

      • charles hefner

        Exactly Jason!….felt like the Blues Brothers too….a friend and myself took it to the local Drive-In Theater to watch the movie!

  22. braktrcr

    I always thought the AMC Matador’s with the 401’s were pretty cool. That was 1971 and 1972 I think.

  23. blindmarc

    Someone lend me 6k, so I can save this one.

  24. Chris A.

    Frank, you might have been lucky when your dad wouldn’t go for the ’67 Caprice 375 hp 427 cu in NYS Thruway auction cars. There were a series of those engines that under high speed running blew engines. The problem was the oil passage to the front block journal was not completely drilled through, but only a pinhole. That series of engines would run the #1 journal bearing and crank after high speed oil starvation. I shared an apartment with a guy who bought 6 of the blown engines at auction, drilled out and flushed the passage, had the cranks reground and fitted oversized bearings. The rest of the engine was fine after he cleaned them all up. The engine sales paid for his first ‘vette. If I remember correctly the engines had 2 bolt, not 4 bolt blocks. Shortly after that all I saw on the NY Thruway were Mopars.

  25. Jimbo

    Police car auctions in Michigan were always fun…
    Picked up this ’76 State Trooper car for $300 !!!
    I was allowed to keep lights & siren, as i was a volunteer fireman ……..

    Lots ‘o fun with the 440 cu in engine to run up behind speeders & big rigs on the interstate ….
    You could hear them on the CB – – “Smokey’s on your tail !!!

    • Jason


  26. Jeff

    I’d love this but (even though I’m a “Ford” guy) I REALLY have a soft spot for the 1975-1979 Chevrolet Nova 9C1 cop cars.I also like the Fairmont cop-cars. I worked at a Pizza place and they had a fleet of the Fairmont’s; they were 6’s, so didn’t have enough power to yank the skin of a Jello, they did handle quite well.

  27. Mike

    The very first car I bought was a 75 Ford Torino Police Package that I bought for $50.00 from the local town I grew up in 1980, the City bought it from the State of Missouri as a retired Highway Patrol. The car had been wrecked during a high speed foot/car chase that the local moron cop that was using it to chase down a dog, yes a dog, that had been stealing chickens out of a lady’s yard. I did say the cop was a moron, he was also the city part time dog catcher. Did I tell you I grew up in a small town in SE Missouri with a population of 1200 people. Anyway he chased the dog down a alley behind some homes and ran off into a ditch hitting the 12″ steel drain pipe, and torn the oil pan off the motor, the cross member plus punched a hole in the transmission pan which screwed up the transmission. Well I bought it at the auction, and towed it to Dad’s shop and parked it out back in the holding lot. My plans was to repair it and drive it, but I needed a motor and tranny, plus fixed the damaged frame parts. Well anyway a few months later the neighbor lady of my parents wrecked her 74 Ford Grand Torino, and the insurance totaled the car, I bought it from the insurance company for $100.00, but all I wanted it for was the fact that Grace had ordered the car out with a 351 Cleveland, we always called her Hot Foot Grace, because she drove like she had 2 speeds, flat out and stop, anyway my Torino had a 351 modified in it that of course was trashed when damaged, so as you can guess, I swapped engines and transmissions. I repainted the car after I repaired the body damage and drove it out the shop door, and lit up the tires. Within 2 weeks I had offers for the car and sold it for $3000.00, but to this day it was one of my favorite Cop cars.

  28. Blindmarc

    Mike! You ruined that car! They are only original once’ just kidding you. I did something on the same lines myself…😊

  29. Bill Parmenter

    Too funny !!!

    I bought a Mich. State Trooper car at auction $300 …….. Had a 440 !! – Loved chasing speeding 10 wheelers up and down Route 10 between Midland & Saginaw on my wat to work ….. You could hear them on the CB … Watch it, Smokey’s on your tail!!

  30. Marcie

    My first car was actually a 79 Plymouth Volare that was a former local police car. My dad actually worked for the municipality and bought it for $500.00. At the time it was a year old and had a little over 84,000 miles on it. It had a 318 motor with a 3 speed automatic and I loved it. The torsion bars in the front made it hug the road and it rode nice. Actually had it for about ten years until the floor boards rotted and dad thought it was no longer safe for us to use. I would love to find one another and restore it to look like my original which was black and gray with red pin stripes.

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