Big Block Cruiser: 1973 Dodge Polara Police Car

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The moment that I saw this 1973 Dodge Polara, my mind immediately transported me back to some of those great police shows from the 1970s, like CHiPs and The Streets of San Francisco. Cars like this Dodge Polara became iconic parts of shows like that, and this former police car still wears some of its battle scars from its days of active duty. It is a car that has generated some pretty reasonable interest since being listed for sale. This has seen the bidding rise to $5,800, although the reserve has not been met. Located in San Antonio, Texas, you will find the Polara listed for sale here on eBay.

The Polara spent its life of active duty in New Mexico, and the dry environment has certainly given the car the chance to survive in pretty decent condition. The only rust present in the Polara is limited to a few spots just behind the rear wheel arches. The car also has a few little bumps and scrapes, but these wouldn’t worry me too much, as they are a great reflection of the car’s active and colorful former life. The shields on the doors are period correct, but they are magnetic, so can be removed and reinstalled as needed. The only item that doesn’t come with the car is the lightbar, so if the new owner intends to keep it looking as it does now, a replacement will need to be sourced.

Under the hood is the 440ci RB V8, which is backed by an automatic transmission. The car comes with a pretty comprehensive catalog of documentation, which includes all of the vehicle’s service records. These also verify that the car had done 74,000 miles while serving the long arm of the law and that it has only covered a further 3,000 miles since it was decommissioned in 1985. The car is said to run and drive well, the engine still feels strong, and that it has only put 200 miles on a new set of tires.

The interior of the Polara is a bit of a surprise because it has survived the New Mexico environs quite well. It is certainly able to be used as it is, but I would be inclined to fit new covers to the seats. There are enough tears and stains that they really detract from the rest of the car. However, this isn’t a big or expensive job, so would be well worth considering. The rest of the interior looks like it might respond well to a good clean, as it does seem to be in good overall condition. One item that may need to be attended to is the air conditioning. The system is basically complete, but the compressor has been removed. The compressor may need to be repaired or replaced, but that would be a worthwhile repair.

The beauty of this Polara is that with the door shields and lightbar removed, it is hard to ascertain the history of the car, so it could easily serve as a regular daily driver. However, for special occasions, these items could be re-installed so that people get an insight into the history of the vehicle. Alternatively, you could leave those items permanently fitted to the vehicle, and take note of how well behaved people suddenly become wherever you go.

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Comments

  1. HoA Howard AMember

    Got a Chrysler thing going here. I think it’s illegal to drive a marked police car, even classic ones. In Indiana, for example, unless it’s for a museum or collection not to be driven, it’s ok, but I read, they can pull you over for impersonating an officer, something many places don’t take lightly. I believe, the light bar has to be removed and painted a color that’s not like any Indiana police car. Besides, I always thought, people with low self esteem that couldn’t make it into the police academy drive old police cars.

    Like 12
    • Adam ClarkeAuthor

      Howard, I get where you’re coming from on that, and I think the laws vary from state-to-state, so this will need checking by any potential buyer. As for the police academy, I always thought that people who couldn’t get into the real academy starred in the movie instead.

      Like 8
      • Nevada1/2rack NevadahalfrackMember

        You’re correct in that, Mr. Clarke. In Nevada, for instance, you can buy any used police car at auction and drive it anywhere in the state as every agency removes the emergency equipment.
        There are exceptions permitted by state factions that allow licensed individuals to repaint and operate former law enforcement vehicles replete with all period equipment for museums and collectors, with proviso to their operations (parades, special events, etc.).
        In The Peoples Republic of California, however, they made BestBuy change the black and white color scheme on the Geek Squad cars because of their resemblance to a law enforcement vehicle…proving the time-worn expression of every city, county, state and federal government-“for every action there is an equal an opposite OVERreaction..”

        Like 10
    • Dave

      Howard,

      When I bought my first 1971 Fury from a used car lot in Columbus, Ohio in the spring of 1975 it was for only one reason: that engine. Because it was a four-door, it only cost $600 and because it was a four door it was dirt cheap to insure. Being able to reach 138 mph and lay down a 15.99@99 at National Trails Raceway were side benefits. Cheap speed.

      In the fall of 1979 as my wife and I were working on the house we’d moved into I noticed a Fury gracing the parking lot of a local garage. My wife needed a better car and since I knew Furies a deal was struck ($200, I believe), and the Virginia squad became mine. We got rid of it when the steel industry died in 1981.

      It had nothing to do with wanting to play cop. It was a nice full-size sedan that just happened to have a U-code motor in the final year of the first generation of performance cars. The next year the compression ratios began dropping and anti-smog devices began their relentless assault on real horsepower.

      Like 9
      • Fred W

        I can vouch for the ’71 Furys, the FL highway patrol used them and I was often pursued starting on pavement and proceeding OFFROAD at the age of 14 on an unlicensed Kawasaki. Fortunately they couldn’t take the more narrow trails- glad there is a statute of limitations. In the early 80’s I bought a ’74 Fury ex police car, and would give it the award of “Most likely to refuse to start” of the 100’s of cars I owned back then.

        Like 3
    • local_sheriff

      Howard; usage of marked vintage professional cars varies vastly from state to state and between countries.Understandingly,pretending to be a state official and initiating high-speed car chases downtown with vailing sirens will get you into nothing but trouble, especially if you’re wearing your personally aquired class B uniform with a S&W on your hip!

      From a judicial point; putting an official crest on your doors can be questionable.Given these cars are 40-50 years by now, chances are the insignia design has been obsoleted, meaning you may go under the radar here. However, there should be nothing wrong with creating your own crest design. Dozens of ex-cruisers or clone cars have popped up with ‘God Damn City PD’ or ‘Middle Nowhere Sheriff’s Department’ or likewise on their doors. As we’re car guys; how about your personal ‘pollish cruiser’?

      As with anything in society, common sense is the key here. Drive your ex-cruiser with dignity and care as you would with any vintage vehicle, and you’ll only be disrupted by conversationalists and enthusiastic coppers!!

      Like 5
    • RICK Rothermel

      Any LE professional with a Nickles worth of common sense and discernment would know that a 46 yr old cop car isn’t trying to be ‘real’. The public?
      Nor as smart.

      Like 5
    • Miguel

      Howard, I think inmost places if you place covers over the lights stating “Not In Service”, that should be enough to get by.

      Like 0
  2. Mike

    If I drove this, I would feel compelled to run into the back of a parked car, hit a ramp and flip it over or run into other similar police Dodges until all of them are immobilised.

    Like 15
    • Superdessucke

      Yes. Very lucky this thing didn’t get tuned up in a Pukes of Hazzard episode or something like that. This is probably the only one still left in existence. So in that respect it’s a bargain.

      Like 4
    • Lance

      You go Elwood.

      Like 2
  3. Mountainwoodie

    For some reason in my minds eye, these Polaras are a singular New Mexico Highway Patrol vehicle……chasing Jan Michael Vincent (RIP) for some reason. Were they once painted brown and yellow maybe?

    Like 3
    • George

      Nearly every city, town, and highway in NY was patrolled by cops driving these cars.

      Like 0
  4. PDXBryan

    In the words of Elwood Blues:
    “…and we’ve got it all right here in America, the home of the Chrysler 440 cubic inch engine!”

    Like 8
  5. Steve

    “Big block”,yes. “Healthy”… debatable.

    Like 2
  6. SC/RAMBLER

    Had a 1981 Dodge St. Regis ex Fl. High way Patrol car in 89. No light bar or insignia
    Only spotlight. Had the 318 4barrel 360 heads.
    Would love to have this as replacement. Great cars if you don’t mind a 4 door.

    Like 3
  7. ROTAG999

    Went to seller’s website he has a 12K price tag there.He has some interesting car’s, but seem’s to be pretty steep on his prices.

    Like 1
  8. John Woods

    In 73 Wasn’t the 440 a stroked 383?

    Like 0
    • Steve B

      No. Different blocks. The 400 was a bored out 383.

      Like 0
  9. Superdessucke

    I like the presentation in the ad overall but what’s up with that second photo? That’s not the same car, year, or model. So is that just an obligatory 1970s mustached cop picture?

    Anyway, as to the markings, seller says the logos are on magnet backings and the light bar was just mounted for the photos and won’t come with the car. So I imagine you could drive it with no modifications.

    Like 0
    • George

      But shouldn’t the light bar be part of the value added for the higher price?

      Like 0
  10. Rennie Bryant

    It’s got a Cop Motor.A 440Cubic inch plant.Cop tires,Cop suspension,cop shocks.It’s a model made before catalytic converters ,so it’ll run good on regular gas.

    Like 2
  11. Jimmy

    My youngest son bought a neighboring cities ex police car strictly for the engine. He drives it daily to work and back and said when the door dings and rust ( Chicago area ) mount up he will pull the motor and scrap the car.

    Like 1
  12. mainlymuscle

    I am at a loss to explain why I have been interested in having a 70’s cop car lately.Years ago ,a guy did like a 73 Satellite ,2 door,up purple with white doors,cool modern sleek light bar,on muscle car rolling stock.Realistic ?
    Heck no .Awesome cool ?
    Well,I’ve never forgotten it !

    Like 3
  13. jamhess

    I drove these in the period for 2 yrs, they ran great, 360 I believe, but to stop them W/14″ wheels, after a hi-speed run, forget it The shop would put brakes on one or another twice a week.

    Like 2
  14. Neil Plucknett

    I’d like it – here in the UK you can make a respectable income now by hiring out such vehicles to the film and TV industry and provided the “Police” signs are covered together with the light bar its now legal to drive. No one would mistake the door shield for a UK item.

    It wasn’t always so though – back in the Seventies the plod took a dim view of anything that looked remotely like a police car (which caused some major problems as the P6 Rovers they had were supplied from the factory in Rovers standard Scarab Blue. So on the road if you drove a Scarab Blue P6 you found people suddenly being very polite but you also found yourself being closely examined by the real ones!). There was a custom car shop down the road from me that had a Black and white LAPD vehicle – I think it was an Impala? Anyways every time the guy took it out for a drive he got pulled over and ticketed. So he put the car in the paint shop and had the “LAPD” altered to “ALPD”. Next time out he duly got ticketed and went back to court only this time he contested the ticket. The officer claimed he was carrying “Los Angeles Police Department” markings on the vehicle but the guy said he was carrying the initials of his company – “Al Llewllyns Paint Department” as advertising. That was the end of the court case and the end of the ticketing…. :) Gotta love life in the UK :)

    Like 4
    • George

      The LA Police Dept has a long reach!

      Like 1
  15. Steveland

    Please don’t tell me you really think CHIPS was a good police show….

    Like 0
  16. That Guy

    Wow, flashback time. I passed my driver’s test in my dad’s 1973 Dodge Polara ex-California Highway Patrol car. It wasn’t quite the beast that our 1966 Polara ex-cop cars had been, but it still had enough power to do burnouts and swing the tail out if you weren’t careful with the throttle. I did both with my dad in the passenger seat as I was practicing. Dad was not amused. Or so he said.

    Like 0
  17. That Guy

    Wow, flashback time. I passed my driver’s test in my dad’s 1973 Dodge Polara ex-California Highway Patrol car. It wasn’t quite the beast that our 1966 Polara ex-cop cars had been, but it still had enough power to do burnouts and swing the tail out if you weren’t careful with the throttle. I did both with my dad in the passenger seat as I was practicing. Dad was not amused. Or so he said.

    Like 0
  18. leiniedude leiniedudeMember

    Ended: Mar 10, 2019 , 9:00PM
    Current bid:US $7,200.00
    Reserve not met
    [ 23 bids ]

    Like 0
  19. Big Mike

    I guess the Police in Missouri care because they remove all of the parts and pieces from the used cars, that includes.
    In the 1983, I bought a used 1974 Ford Gran Torino from the local Police Department after it had be wrecked, I had a 74 Ford Gran Torino I had bought some years before from one of Dad’s customers, because it had a bad engine, well the 74 had a Police interceptor with the beefed up tranny and rear-end so I bought the Police car for $50.00 at auction and switched engines, tranny and rear-end, repainted the car to look like the one from Starsky and Hutch, because Randy my best friend forever had the 73 Ford Galaxy like Hutch drove, well we repaired and repaints his to the right color, and we would go to car shows and set up as Starsky and Hutch, we had a great time for many years doing it. I sold my 74 to a local Ford dealer in the late 1991 and for years it set in his showroom, with other classic Ford cars.

    Like 2
  20. Jesselee JonesMember

    Hello there. Can you please tell me if this 1973 Dodge Polara Police Vehicle is still available? Thank you!

    Jesselee

    Like 0

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