Cop Components: 1989 Ford Mustang SSP

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The Ford Mustang Fox Body notchback remains one of my favorite muscle car designs ever to roll out of the showroom. Combine that with the rarely seen police model known as the Special Service Package like this example here on eBay and I’m just about ready to take out a loan for a project car I don’t need. Featuring heavy-duty components and a stripped down interior, these police pursuit vehicles were meant to outgun the criminals, an assignment they rarely failed to accomplish. 

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The interior on this ex-Florida Highway Patrol car remains in excellent condition, which the seller says presents as-new. Roll down windows and a manual transmission – when is the last time you saw that in a police car? The option to row your gears yourself wasn’t always ideal for a police vehicle, however, as officers needed to handle other duties like operating a two-way radio. With the primary goal being to equip police departments with a faster vehicle than what was offered in sedan form at the time, the Mustang with either a stick or automatic was a huge improvement. Simple and to the point, the Mustang police package was short on creature comforts but big on performance.

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States including Florida, California and New York all had SSPs in their fleet. I can remember the New York State Troopers having the Mustang and the Camaro employed as their high-speed pursuit vehicles, and they looked absolutely killer decked out in the blue and gold livery of the Empire State. The police editions also featured black powdercoated factory 10-hole wheels, an engine oil cooler and a reinforced front floor pan, among other HD upgrades. This SSP Mustang has 135,000 miles on the clock, and the seller has kept it stock in appearance while adding some sensible upgrades under the hood and to the chassis.  The engine was also rebuilt approximately 10,000 miles ago.

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The paint still shines well and the seller’s efforts to keep the Mustang looking stock while adding more power and beefing up the suspension are executed extremely well. The rear wheels have even been widened slightly to enhance the Mustang’s aggressive stance. The only thing I would change would be the smoked, aftermarket headlights, which just aren’t my thing. The Mustang SSP has not met its reserve, but bidding is already over $5,000. The car is located in Orlando, Florida, so it hasn’t traveled too far since its time spent tracking down bad guys in the Sunshine State. Have you ever been pulled over by a high-octane police vehicle like this?

Fast Finds

Comments

  1. Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

    Jeff, I’d even keep the smoke headlight covers. Great find!!!! Love it!

    Like 1
    • Jeff Staff

      It does look gnarly with them. OK, I’ll amend: swap in standard clear lights but keep these on the shelf. ;-)

      • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

        That works!!

    • Richard

      Weird that they had the smoked headlights without the almost-standard-option smoked taillights that were so common back in the early ’90s.

    • Mark-A

      Don’t know if your aware but to keep the darkened headlights a simple pair of black nylons will keep them looking dark without losing the performance of the lamps!
      I wasn’t sure what to think when I first saw this being used

  2. Dolphin Member

    These are sooo cool. I would rather have this over the recent BF Porsche 928. It’s great to see that the seller has the right papers includinf a Marti report, and that he can write well.

    The usual problem with these is that they rack up lots and lots of miles, but at 135,000 miles it’s not too bad, and many miles less than the 928 has, so could be OK. Besides, the drivetrain will be a fraction of the cost to rebuild compared to the 928 if it should become necessary.

    The reserve isn’t met, but I’m not surprised that if this car sells it will likely sell for 3 or more times what the 928 is offered at.

  3. DENIS

    I like these cars but it’s getting to the end of the road as far as what I would pay…..

  4. Rick

    One of my brothers has regularly bought surplus police cars over the years, and his current daily driver is a dark blue 2011 Crown Vic with the Police Interceptor package. Before that he was driving an LT-1 powered Caprice. Anyhow, In his garage he has an ’84 Mustang fox body notchback ex-Washington State Patrol equipped with the police 5.0 and 5 speed. He purchased it in 1988 and drove it regularly for a few years before he put it away. One of the accessories installed by the WSP left behind was a relay that alternately flashed the headlites, although the switch had been taken out before it was surplussed. A trip to NAPA was all it took to get it working again, and he scared the crap out of a lot of speeders on the I-5 (one Porsche in particular) and never got caught himself thank goodness. One thing interesting to note, the WSP had at least one Pontiac Trans Am in service in the late 70s, the one I saw was painted white and equipped with a light bar and WSP livery on the doors.

  5. RayT Member

    This grabs me. These were quick little cars…not quite as fast as a factory slantnose 911 Turbo (don’t ask me how I know, but at least it didn’t involve a ticket, or jail time) but speedy nonetheless. And they were beefed up in the right places, a Good Thing when you consider how much time they spent in pursuit and sitting around in hot climates idling.

    Police-package cars didn’t always get treated well, though. I suspect some were beaten up as badly as Sonny-Boy’s First Fast Car, so you’d have to hope the engine rebuild was done right, and brakes and suspension were in good order..

    Still, a heckuva good find, and sure to make Old Guys like me break a sweat if I saw it in the mirror!

  6. Terry J

    Yup, Got pulled over by an Oregon Stater driving a Mustang about like that. I was driving over the speed limit in my red ’67 Camaro convertible, top down sunny day on a 2 lane State highway. Get this: I was in the middle of a line of 7 or 8 cars, all going the same speed – about 10 mph over. Why he picked me I can only guess – the old Camaro vs Mustang feud. Could have been no other reason. :-) Terry J

  7. Brian

    I had a 1990 LX 5-spd hatchback that I ordered from the factory with the police package. That was a fun car. It was responsible for 3 of the 4 speeding citations that I have received in my life. I miss the car, not the tickets.

    • Andrew

      No hatchback ssp except for 1 eighty three or eighty four evaluation car.

  8. William H

    Texas DPS had these as well. I remember them fondly, sort of. I do remember a number of officers that commented on how bad they handled for daily driving after they beefed up the suspension and raised the body enough to allow them to jump curbs. Said they were a blast in a straight line and loved freaking out the hot rodders by being able to catch them when they usually had to radio ahead for the next car to get the runners. My father mentioned that it felt like riding in a buck board as you felt every bump, lump and dip the road had to offer.

    Used to see these and Crown Vics wrecked/totaled at the state auctions back in the day. There was a guy that used to snatch up as many as he could. Got to talking to him about what he did with them and found that he would cut them in half, junked the wrecked half and put the good ends back together as a whole, running car. I got to take a look at his shop and it was pretty weird seeing all those half cars sitting around on dollies waiting to be welded back together. As weird as that was, the jigs and tables he used to line everything back up were quite impressive. Apparently he did pretty well at it but I don’t think I could handle cruising around in a car like that if I hadn’t done the work myself.

    • john C

      A man I learned autobody work from in Atlanta, A Mr Lantzy, had a shop back in the 1970-80’s and he did the same with old Hudsons… weld two good halves together. Interesting to see for sure.

      • Dutch 1960

        My bro-in-law bought a first gen Scirocco many years ago, it was also built out of two cars. But they weren’t welded together, just put together with a handful of machine screws on a seam across the car, under the front seats. Don’t know how the a-pillars and rockers were done up. He slalomed the thing before he found out how it was cobbled together. Apparently machine screws have magic attributes.

  9. NotchNut

    Having owned two of the 1989 SSP cars, 1 Florida (5spd) and 1 Georgia(AT), neither had fiberglass hoods or trunks. I got both cars from the police auction themselves. Both cars had a hole in the left post for the spotlight. They both had screw holes in the dash and console from equipment installations. Both cars had switches installed in the ashtray area. One had 3 holes in the roof and the other only 1. They both had antenna holes on top of the quarter panels by rear window. Both cars had power windows as well.

    This car appears to have a relatively cheap paint job (painters know). The right front inner apron has been butchered up and the air box is not screwed down. I’m not sure about the “upgrades” though. I’m being picky I guess, but I had much rather have an original car. Notchback are my favorite fox body.

    P.S. I have owned 2 non SSP LX 5.0 5spd cars with manual windows.

  10. Dan h

    Remember working on a former CHP fox body, back in the day. The test drive after the repair was always my favorite part!

  11. Skip

    Oh, I’d love to have this one, but the asking price is way out of reach. Texas DPS had the little Mustangs back then; and they had close quarters getting their radios and the siren control mounted.

  12. Jeff DeWitt

    The North Carolina Highway Patrol had these too, I still think they were some of the best looking NCHP cars ever.

    If I’d had the money back then I’d have loved to get a notchback LX with the 5.0. As fast as a GT but cheaper and less likely to attract legal attention.

  13. Van

    I thought the Fox body mustang was only good because the 5.0 was cheep to make go fast. These are not usually considered beautiful or valuable, if you’re not planning on driving the pi** beans out of it what’s the point?

  14. racer99

    Have had several of the fastbacks and convertibles between ’85 and ’93 but I’ve not had one of the notchbacks — and I want it. Timing and finances being what they are I’m probably not going to be a player but these are getting harder and harder to find. Have seen several folks converting the 4 cylinder cars to V8’s since the chassis are the same and (in most states) they’re past the point of needing emissions.

  15. angliagt

    I remember seeing used CHP Mustangs were selling for around
    $2500 (& up) when they were surplus vehicles.I thought that it’d be fun to
    buy one & use it for hillclimbs & autocrosses.
    A CHOP officer that I knew told me that the synchros were usually
    shot from being speed-shifted.

  16. Joe

    This would be a blast to drive. Sharp looking too.
    JC

  17. SSPBill

    http://www.specialservicemustang.net/VINlist/CSP/1989CSP213361/info213361.htm

    The link above is to a SSP registry page for my car. It is a 5 speed car with brake and suspension upgrades. I have friends with muscled up foxes, big brakes, big tires, etc. All of them now wish they left their cars closer to stock. It’s a blast to drive. They are a point and shoot kind of car and at right about 3000 lbs, don’t need lots of power.

  18. Mr. TKD

    Found this the other day.

  19. Wade

    Fla had some of painted tan and black they also ran LTD II with the same set up sounded just like the Mustang

  20. Mark-A

    It reminds me of Matt Farah’s Fox Body before it was Pumped up but even as a UK resident I’d ❤ this car! Added Mr. Farah’s video http://www.hrewheels.com/news/matt-farah-unveils-hre-equipped-fox-body-mustang-project#.V3qFQ0ZwbK0

    Like 1
  21. Roger

    Jeff – have I ever been pulled over by one of these SSP’s ? Yes, yes I have LOL! By the way, South Carolina did in fact use these too – ask me how I know. So they year was 93 and I was 14. A good friend of ours got locked up in Jacksonville, FL. We needed to do a ” cannonball ” run of sorts to go bail him out. It was me, my father and my brother and three other good friends. We left Baltimore in the middle of the night on Friday and had to go scoop him up out of jail and make it back for school Monday morning. We made it down there in great time and got him out. Got to spend a a little goof of time in Daytona then turned it around ( bramd new extended Ford Aerostar btw ) and we’re high tailing back to Bmore . Well we were headed north on I 95 thru SC averaging 90-95 MPH pretty much the whole time ( did they same headed down too ). Some ass was tailgating us just a few feet off of our rear bumper in a Mustang. We all thought what a jerk as he just stayed back there for several miles instead of going around us. So, my brother and I came up with them great idear to show this jerk exactly what we thought about his tailgating. We both dropped our pants and drawers and we firmly pressed our naked asses to their rear window. It was then middle of them night again and very dark, couldn’t see the driver but we knew very well what a foxbody’s lights looked like. Never had seen a SSP in person and they did not have them in MD. YUP you guessed it! Soon as we started mooning their lights came on, lucky us. We were even luckier as it turned out to be a short, black, SC State Trooper ( major major chip if ya know ) . He definitely was not happy. Everyone almost got locked up but my dad just ended up with a bunch of tickets 😆. Good times!!!. All in all though it was one of our most memorable road trips and a pretty good time!

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