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Blank Canvas: 1972 Dodge Polara Pursuit Car


This 1972 Dodge Polara began its life as a Sheriff’s pursuit vehicle in Minnesota. We don’t know everywhere it has been since then, but now you have the opportunity to begin its next chapter. Thanks to Troy U. for sending in this find, now located in Laguna Beach, California. It’s listed for sale here on eBay, where enthusiastic bidding (18 at this count) hasn’t broken the $1,000 mark yet!


Yes, there are areas that are pretty rough here. If you want to restore this car, you’re going to have to really love these big Mopars, because I’m pretty sure you’re not going to come out on top financially. However, there are other options besides pulling the mechanical bits to use in something else.


And there are certainly areas that are pretty good, too. I was surprised to see this trunk pictured with no holes. The seller, who seems to know quite a bit about these cars, also points out the solid window channels and intact windshield and has included detailed pictures of door jambs and some other locations where I think rust would be common.


The interior looks like a plain police car interior should; functional but not exactly stylish. The two spotlights are still in place from its working days; you can see the control handles in this picture.


The seller clearly thinks the engine is one of the most desirable components of the car as they highlight it in the listing. It’s a 400 cubic inch V-8 but it hasn’t run for years. It does have a four-barrel carburetor and dual exhaust, and you can see the air conditioning compressor in this picture (sans belt, of course). The ad suggests creating a movie replica  and the seller has even sourced a red “gumball” roof light and a push bumper, as well as “whip” antennas. I’d almost rather see someone mechanically refurbish the car and leave the cosmetics alone, just to surprise folks at the next stoplight. What would you do with this large blue blank canvas?


  1. Alan (Michigan)

    Drive at night, be sure to wear sunglasses.
    Realistic seller will be parting with this car.

    Rolled next to a very convincing Crown Vic last night, still had the push bumper and all of the antennas, but no lights that I could see. The non-municipal plate gave it away as someone’s toy. That great, unique Michigan SHP blue is intimidating as hell when it first appears in your mirror…

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  2. L J

    I would restore body and drive train, but the suspension I would upgrade. It probably has a good sway bar on the rear, but I would want it to handle about as good as most cars do today.

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  3. fred

    The Florida Highway Patrol once used these exact cars, I know because as a 14 year old on an unlicensed Kawasaki 100 I was pursued (in vain) by 3 of them at once. They are excellent off roaders. What is the statute of limitations again?

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  4. James

    Well the dual snorkel air cleaner is worth a few hundred anyway.

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  5. Bobsmyuncle

    This seller knew I was reading; first thought I had was Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry.

    I love this thing. I’d really like to see it with push bar, gumball etc.

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  6. Chebby

    Wouldn’t the police package have had the 440?

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  7. Donnie

    The 400 was never a very strong engine 2 brl 185 4brl 230 I think .

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    • Hendo

      Negative Ghost Rider, early 400 HP E68 engines were rated 260hp vs 280hp of a 440 E86. The heads, cam, intake, carb and exhaust was all the same. The 400 has a larger bore and both engines had the same compression ratio. I believe the peak power was probably much closer than that if not the same. Depending on how they were geared, the 400 likely made peak HP at 5500rpm vs 5000rpm since the engine is 10% smaller, meaning the 400 might have hit a higher top speed, it would have just taken a little longer to get there because it had less torque, peak TQ is way down from where top speed happens. Of course with modifications and certain variations it could go either way and the 440 has more low hanging potential since it is larger out of the gate.

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  8. T McCahill

    This is a cool car and a cool story but you need to learn that “its” is possessive and “it’s” is a contraction for “it is”. Published articles have to be held to a higher standard.

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    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      Thanks for catching that. I think we all know the difference between it’s and its, but sometimes things slip through.

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  9. piper62j

    This car reminds me of an old friend of mine who bought a 57 Ford ex-State Police Chase car when I was a kid. The passenger floor board where I sat had a huge rot hole in it and when he drove it in wet weather, my pant legs and shoes would get wet..
    Anyway, my point is that it had a 312 ci in it and a four barrel carb.. That car would burn the tires all the way thru 3rd gear on Rt-1 in Dedham Mass, racing from Arts drive in, all the way under the RR bridge towards Norwood..

    Those were the days..

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  10. piper62j

    And I loved every minute of it..

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  11. Charles H.

    My dad owned a ’72 Polara N.C. Highway Patrol Car with a 440 “TNT”, it was immaculate and only about 4-5yrs. old when he bought from his good friend, who happened to be the Garage Manager for the patrols Troop F Headquarters

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  12. Howard A Member

    I find the dash interesting. Big optional oil pressure gauge, ( usually a light, and that hole was a clock) wiper switch ( square peg in a round hole) “certified” 140 mph speedo, ( this car had an alleged top speed of 120+mph) 80 amp alternator. Apparently, beginning in ’72, due to emission standards, the “new” low compression 400 ( bored out 383) was the standard engine for full size cruiser’s, but the 440 was still around for mid-size squads. While generally heavy duty stuff in these, this particular car is pretty shot. If it was clean, it could be restored as a former police car, big following for that, but as is, it’s pretty much just a worn out ’72 Dodge sedan. Cool site on Mopar police cars: http://www.allpar.com/squads/history.html

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  13. Charles H.

    Howard A, as I had said in my previous comment the 440 HP was still around for the full sized squad cars, because my fathers ’72 Dodge Polara N.C. Highway Patrol Car had the original 440 from the factory, the air cleaner cover on it read 440 “TNT” 4 Barrel, I myself owned a 1974 Plymouth Fury II Highway Patrol car, and a ’75 Plymouth Gran Fury N.C. Highway Patrol Car with the 440 HP, both full sized bodies, the ’74 and ’75 cleaner cover read 440 High Performance 4 barrel. Will share some pics, if I can locate them….that’s a big “IF” though!

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    • Howard A Member

      Thanks Charles, I wonder if the 440 was around for State Patrol work, and city cruisers got the smaller motors. The 440 was a heck of a motor.

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  14. Charles H.

    I think you are probably right Howard A, about the 440 being mainly for Highway Patrol use, and the city cruisers getting the smaller engines for the most part, although the Sheriffs Dept. in the county in N.C. that I reside in used 440’s in the full sized and intermediate Mopars in that era.

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  15. Jon Kyllo

    It should have had 440 Magnum on the air cleaner not TNT. That was on Chryslers and Plymouth read 440 Super Commando

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