440 Highway Patrol: 1978 Plymouth Fury A38 E86

Chrysler’s portfolio was popular with law enforcement departments throughout the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s. This was especially true of the Plymouth Fury, which could be equipped with suspension and engine packages that made it a driving force in local police work and out on the interstates. This 1978 Fury served the North Carolina Highway Patrol back in the day and has been restored to emulate the cars used by Tennessee’s state troopers. It’s located now in San Antonio, Texas and available here on eBay where the bidding has gotten to $9,600. The reserve has not been met, but it can be secured with the Buy It Now feature set at $15,999.

Plymouth included the Fury in its arsenal between 1955 and 1989. For the seventh generation of 1975-78, the car was based on Plymouth’s mid-sized platform. But the slight reduction in physical size didn’t diminish its ability to serve as both a family transport as well as a fleet purchase for a variety of needs. This included law enforcement, becoming a popular choice with local police groups and highway patrol. For the latter, they usually came with one or both of these packages:

  • A38 Handling Package (aka Police Pursuit Package), which gave the car beefed up torsion bars, anti-sway bars, a reinforced frame, Dana 60 rear end, and front disc brakes
  • E86 Package that came with the potent Chrysler 440 V-8, engine oil cooler, power steering oil cooler, and transmission oil cooler

As the story goes, a former Tennessee state trooper bought this car, which was previously owned by the State of North Carolina. It still bears its “Property of” decal in the glove compartment. It has its original 440 engine, which was winding down at Chrysler in 1978. The car has the E86 package and likely also has the A38. We’re told these cars usually didn’t make it into the hands of the public after retirement, often being destroyed. Somewhere I read that these cars could top 133 mph.

No doubt due to his roots, the Tennessee trooper poured a lot of money into turning this into a duplicate of that state’s highway patrol cars. We’ll assume this was done with a great attention to detail and wonder how legal it would be to drive it in that state now. Perhaps that’s one reason why the car is now registered in Texas. The seller says it’s not a clone, but it certainly would have to be considered a tribute car.

It looks pretty good outside and inside and we’re told it runs and sounds great. The transmission works properly, the tires are nearly new, and it has factory air conditioning, but that’s going to need looking into. The car even has power windows, which would not have been common on an A38/E86 car. All the police-related goodies are said to work, such as the Twin Sonic lightbar, siren and radar front and rear, and it retains its prisoner cage if you want to have some fun with your friends. If you were to buy this car, what would you do with it? Drive it in parades, take it to car shows? You wouldn’t want to take it shopping or on a family road trip. And what’s a car like this worth? Probably what the person who wins the auction will have to fork over.

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Comments

  1. Mitchell Gildea Member

    Cue “Cops” theme song

    Like 3
  2. 86_Vette_Convertible

    Wrong state, but where’s the Blues Brothers? I also would question if it’s legal on the roads with the stickers etc. on the car.
    Regardless, I like it.

    Like 4
    • Mike D

      as for the markings specifying it as a cop car, probably not.. possibly will be able to leave it as a black and white, but it is listed as a black car I’d like it all black anyways!

    • wcshook

      Generally speaking, most of the retired police cars that I have seen that have been restored, have magnetic decals and either an “Out of Service” light bar cover, or quick disconnect light bar. Some agencies take a dim view of citizens owning retired police vehicles. I owned an ’89 Caprice 9C1, that had been a State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) in SC. Great car. I was VERY glad to get it! Not for the 9C1, but because it had the tougher suspension, and I tend to keep a vehicle a long time. I put over 126k on the 121k when I sold it.

      Like 1
      • Stan Marks

        I worked on Adam-12, during the 70’s. When driving to location, we had to have the light bar covered up.

        Like 2
  3. PaulG

    Had one similar to this but an unmarked detectives car, I remember all the additional coolers and an alternator the size of a small power plant! Great car and at auction cost me the princely sum of $235.00…in 1985

    Like 10
    • Jay

      Had a unmarked Fury III think it was a 70. 440 etc. as a Detective ha. Brass didn’t want to drive it yooo big. They kept denying it at after work. Uhmmm bar inspection. Lol

    • Jay

      I question the cloth seats.

      Like 1
      • Stan Marks

        They usually came with vinyl seats. Easier to clean.
        In most states, you would have to lose the light bar & paint over the decals. Oh, and lose the siren……

        Like 2
      • Paolo

        I can confirm the cloth seats. My Merc had them.

      • J

        North Carolina, the department this car originally worked for, ordered their cars with top of the line interior and power everything.

  4. Willie

    Used to work on these when I worked at CPD dealer in the 70’s. They would top out at 138 mph-certified speedo.

    Like 9
  5. David G

    E86 engine option (440 Magnum) is only available with the A38 Police package. California version does not have the Lean Burn system that the 49 State E86 cars are saddled with, and top out at 144 mph. I own a ’78 CHP Dodge Monaco.

    Like 13
  6. Harrell
  7. Paolo

    Having owned a former CHP 1970 Mercury I can tell you that you will meet some of the weirdest people around old police cars. It might vary from state to state but at the very least you have to cover the light bars while the car is in transit. It also helps to have an “Out of Service” sign in the window as the owner of a (Broderick Crawford official) 1955 CHP Buick Century does. I found that the cops I encountered while driving or breaking down in my CHP Merc really liked it and were very helpful in regards to arranging towing and other help.

    Like 5
    • Jay

      Do the hubcaps on the Buick fly off going around corners?😂🤣

      Like 1
  8. Nick

    The MOPAR 9-1/4-in. differential used in Police packages is not the Dana 60.
    Each is a distinct differential, they are not the same.

    Like 2
  9. JohnfromSC

    The final and best engineered 440 block that Mopar ever built. If you can find one these are the choice for builfing a really Hipo 440.

    Like 2
  10. George Mattar

    Awesome. I worked at a Sunoco station summer of 1973 and the local barracks of the PA state police was next door off RT 84 in Milford PA. We washed all the trooper cars. Then they were 73 Furys with 440s. Dual snorkel air cleaners and true dual exhaust. At idle, they were throaty. I always driving them back to the barracks. They had no carpet and most of the ashtrays were packed with cigarette butts which we cleaned out. The alternators were huge and the oil.changes required 10W40. Today pol ice cars are stupid junk Explorers with with the Eco Junk engines. I work at a Ford dealer. So many problems. Timing chains. Water pumps. Recalls. Bring back the Crown Vic.

    Like 14
    • 1-MAC

      Unibody flimsy cars today are not strong enough for reall police work, And no small over turboed engine will hold up to a lot of abuse. The Crown Victoria was a great car . Someone should still make something like that,but they won’t/ A pickupwith a v-8 is as close as you can get.

      Like 4
    • Paolo

      Affirmative on the cigarette butts. The first time I turned on the defroster on my Merc it blew a bunch of dried out L&M butts all over the dash.

      Like 3
  11. Dave

    When I was attending DeVry in Columbus Ohio from 1973 to 1975 used cop cars were easy to find. And cheap, too. They were disposing of the 1972-73 440 Furies, replacing them with 1974 454 Impalas. I came home in a 1971 Fury that cost $600. This one is way too complete with all of the electronics still in place. Maybe Tennessee was upgrading to a new setup and so they just sold the car as is and saved the labor cost to remove and scrap it.

    Like 3
    • wcshook

      Please read the narrative. It was a North Carolina Trooper car, restored to resemble a Tennessee State Trooper car.

      Like 1
  12. Rosko

    Ha! Hal Needham missed one!

    Like 2
  13. Fred

    As a Tennessee native, I remember these well. Looks to be nicely done.

    Like 2
  14. Pete Kaczmarski

    I don’t see the “Buy It Now” feature button on EBAY, was it removed?

  15. Doc Member

    Seeing this car will give me nightmares

  16. RoughDiamond RoughDiamond Member

    Being a lifelong TN resident and driving GTOs when I was younger, I remember these TN versions all too well.

    Like 1
  17. Gus Fring

    Dana 60, lol…not.

    Like 1
  18. Bo Duke

    I see Hazzard replica material

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