E86 440 V8 Powered 1978 Plymouth Fury A38

Sometimes a car comes along that really piques a person’s interest, either collectively or individually, as in just me. I would have to think that most of us would love to own this 1978 Plymouth Fury A38 Police Package with an E86 440 V8, am I right? I thought so, I had to be right one of these years. This super cool supercar can be found here on eBay in Phelan, California with a current bid price of $2,000!

The more I see this car the more I want it. I just want to clean it up as much as possible to see what it looks like as it sits now. I don’t know if I’d even fix the dents or dings. By 1978, there wasn’t a heck of a lot for Tom Cruise to jump on Oprah’s couch with excitement about in the hot-V8 American car world, but this car would have made little Tommy jump.

This is the view that I like. I literally have dreams about cleaning up vehicles like this, buffing them out with polishing compound, waxing them, maybe sanding and painting the sweet black steel wheels, putting new rubber on and let ‘er rip, tater chip. In 1978, law enforcement agencies could order a Plymouth Volare Pursuit package but the Fury with the A38 police pursuit package was the one to have. This car is special, it has to be one of the few remaining E86-equipped 440 V8 cars. It would most likely have had a 2.71:1 ratio which wasn’t neck-snapping off the line but it was made for high-speed pursuit and it was the fastest law enforcement car until 1994 when Chevy knocked it off the pedestal with its police package LT1-powered Caprice.

The interior is in rough shape on first glance but seat covers are a no-brainer for any good upholstery shop as are headliners if it needs one. The back seat needs a bit of tender loving care, something that the perps sitting back there didn’t get – at least until they got to prison. The cracked dash is unfortunate, but you can sort of see the 140-mph speedometer. I can’t tell if this car has the optional cruise control but it does have the other handy option: AC. This car was put in a barn many years ago and is 99% rust-free, according to the seller.

Here’s where things got hairy for those rascals who thought they could outrun this car with their measly Corvette or Ferrari. This is Chrysler’s RB-Series E86 440 cubic-inch V8 which came roaring back for one more year with a whopping-for-1978 255 hp and 355 lb-ft of torque and a 130+ mph top speed! That’s 60 more hp than the civilian 440 had and it’s a healthy amount of power now – in 1978 it was cray-cray. As no law enforcement professional said, ever. There is work to do on this car but hopefully not more than you’d normally do on a refurbishment for a car that’s been in storage for years. I would absolutely love to have this beast, how about you?

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Comments

  1. Bakyrdhero

    It’s so fugly though…stack head lights and one of the saddest looking rear ends ever.

    Like 3
    • Rube Goldberg Member

      Looked a lot worse in your rear view mirror,,,

      Like 17
      • Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

        Especially if it has any of those funny “Christmas lights” in the grill and they’re all lit up-in June..those were responsible for more than one drivers seat that I know of that had to be recovered afterwards, having been all sucked up in a conical type configuration at some time after the lights were activated.

        Like 7
    • WILLIAM BABYAK

      Hey, Hunter, your pool car is ready, waitin’ for ya!!!

      Like 3
  2. Steve R

    It’s cool and will be restored by someone, but calling a supercar or even a beast (unless you are referring to the damage it will do to your wallet at the gas pump) is a bit of a stretch. It would have made a good pursuit car for its day, but as you said, it would not have had neck snapping performance.

    Steve R

    Like 8
    • Dave

      When you run out of RPMs with your 3.73/4.11 gears old Smokey will be right there. I owned a 1971 Fury police car (PK41U1D247851, don’t know why I still remember it after 45 years!) that was a dog off the line (15.99@99 at National Trail Raceway) but would outrun anything from 50 to 130 mph. Maximum warp, Scotty!

      Like 28
      • Sean

        I remember my first El Camino’s VIN, a 1980 model, as well from 31 years ago.
        (1W80KAK404015) it’s just from the Love I have for vehicles. I’ve owned over 185 cars since this one, my 4th car, but no other has stuck with me like this one.

        Like 2
      • Mike H. Mike H.

        First car was a 1965 Galaxie 500, 5P66X176186. Don’t remember my wife’s phone number but I’ll never forget that VIN.

        Like 1
    • Terry

      I drove these cars in law enforcement. Back then. They were Super cars. They were strong cars even by today’s standards. Trans shifted the last time at 100 mph and then they were really ready to go. 140 was no problem. I Know for a fact.

  3. Rube Goldberg Member

    Well, there’s no doubt it is a police package, I just can’t figure out what branch. I’ve been in several cruisers like this, and they were all bare bones cars, bench seats, etc. It does, however, have the rear window cranks and door locks removed. I don’t see any holes for spotlight or overhead, so I doubt it was a cruiser. I’m thinking this was some kind of detective’s car. IDK, you want to cruise around in an old police car, have at it, or put the motor in a Dart, be more fun.

    Like 7
    • Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

      Odd that you should say that about it possibly being a detectives car, Rube. A friend of mine was a detective and had enough sway with every admin he worked with to keep his “G-Ride”, an almost exact duplicate of this one, well into the ‘90’s; he was “volunTOLD” to serve any warrants that might go sideways as he was a soft spoken rather big former boxer that very rarely ever had to resort to physical means.
      As the front plate appears to be a period Oregon plate I doubt it was his car but it’s eerily similar with the door interior and engine mods, though he always flipped the air cleaner lid.

      Like 8
    • Robert D Tucker

      No no your missing the whole point. This cars road manners at high speed put a dart to shame. It is a no brainer to increase the performance off the line for this car. I could do it with parts stashed in my garage attic. Yes this is a SUPERCAR and just because it was ordered with 255 HP DOES NOT MEAN THAT IS THE LIMIT YOU ALL LOL

      Like 6
    • WILLIAM BABYAK

      Hey, Hunter, your pool car is ready, waitin’ for ya!!!

      Like 1
  4. LDobson

    This thing races to each gas station ⛽️ for a fill up .
    Do you have to sneak up on it being so ugly to get in and drive it?

    Like 1
  5. Ben T. Spanner

    Are you wrong? Yes

    Like 4
  6. Ralph

    While these were quick, as far as I recall, the top speed champ was still the 1969 Polara that did 138 in CHP testing, which was finally beat when the Caprice 9C1 hit 143 in 1994.

    Like 4
    • Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      I think you’re correct, Ralph, I meant that it was the latest police-type car made to hold the fastest record, not the fastest of all time. I’d rather have the Polara myself!

      Like 5
    • FordGuy1972 FordGuy1972 Member

      My very first car was a ’69 Ford Custom 4-dr sedan with a 428 Police Interceptor. That car was just about untouchable once you got it up to 50mph. I still remember the passing gear would kick in at 95mph and just keep pulling. My brother had a ’70 GTO with a 400 and on the highway he couldn’t touch my 428, and I mean not even close. I found out much later the true hp was up around 440. So as cool as some might think this Fury is, 225 hp does nothing for me.

      Like 2
    • JoeNYWF64

      If you put a 3 speed automatic & motor driven fan(like in the Polara) in the caprice, i bet the polara is faster, even with points & condenser. lol
      Fav police car of all is the special police Polara w/o lites chasing the charger in “Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry” that meets its fate when a telephone pole crashes down on its hood.
      Favorite lines of the movie:
      about the polara … “what’s he got under the hood?”/”sink him”
      &
      “clown to Franklin”.

      Like 2
  7. Evan

    I think this car was, at least at some point, a film prop car. That period-correct Oregon front license plate looks a bit off, like it was made by the props department. It may have retired from actual police duty to work in movies, however.

    Like 2
  8. Danno

    It’s got a cop motor, a 440 cubic inch plant, it’s got cop tires, cop suspension, cop shocks…

    Like 15
    • Lance

      Hit it.

      Like 7
    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

      This is the car that Elwood would have picked up as the NEXT Bluesmobile.

      Like 7
      • Troy s

        Sure would have, it also looks like the model he was being chased by, I wonder just how many of these were destroyed making The Blues Brothers, the Dukes of Hazzard, and countless other shows and movies?!…

        Like 8
      • robert burra

        Just what I was thinkin”

        Like 3
      • Butch

        A lot of those cars you see destroyed in the movies are not police packages. Many are just off the assembly line family cars. Many are already rolling totals. They are only shown in clips where the damage doesn’t show right before they are crashed. Also if you’ll start paying close attention on rollover scenes. You’ll see a square opening in the floor as it flips. Usually in one of the rest floors depending on how they want it to flip. This is for an explosive charge set off remotely to flip the car!

        Like 4
  9. Troy s

    Yes, that ’69 Polara held the title for years and years. It’s one thing to have top speed but that ’69 was fairly quick, like 0-60 in 6 seconds and low to mid 14’s in the quarter mile as tested. For a car that big I’d say that’s quite an accomplishment! They were known, if you know what I mean.
    This one looks to have the lean burn and numerous other smog junk. Still a strong runner and it definitely looks the part of “law dog”, I wonder how few of these are actually still in existence? Can’t be that many.

    Like 3
  10. Stevieg Member

    This car really does it for me!
    I used to have a 1977 Fury sedan, civilian model with the slant 6 & 3 on the tree. It was white with a tan interior. It STRONGLY resembled a police car. I really loved that car. This one would be like that one but WAY more fun to drive. I wish I had the money & space for it.

    Like 5
  11. PAPERBKWRITER

    Fix the interior, paint it gold, jack it up, and put some pimp rims on it. That’ll turn some heads.

    Like 1
    • Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

      Now THAT would be fugly!!

      Like 9
  12. Wayne

    Just think what some decent traction tires would have done for these in the 0-60 tests! My old Imperial with a 440 and twin grip would smoke those bias plies for a block and never hook up.

    Like 6
    • Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

      Troy s was wondering how many cars the film crew destroyed in making The Blues Brothers-I think I recall that you have some first hand experience with the destruction in that movie didn’t you Wayne?

      Like 3
      • Rube Goldberg Member

        I read, the producers bought 60, 1974 Dodge Monacos for $400 bucks a piece,( most ex CHP cars, I believe) installed roll bars and strengthened the chassis. They were all destroyed in the end pileup.

        Like 3
  13. mark

    Just flip the air cleaner lid and enjoy it.

    Like 3
  14. JoeNYWF64

    Is that a lean burn box on the air cleaner?
    I wonder if this thing had trouble passing Calif emissions back then. Or would it today – in Calif.
    Wonder what it would turn in qtr mile with performance rear gears.
    Would it fit in the smaller ’76-78 road runner? It sure belonged in there if it would fit!
    I bet they would have sold a ton of those so equipped! Big mistake?

    • Evan

      Good eye. And it’s odd, because (in most cases) checking the “police-spec” box moved that computer from the air cleaner housing to the firewall.

      Like 1
      • Surf61 Member

        Had a 77 Sport Fury (2 Dr version) with 400 and special ordered with full police pack including a/c cutoff on the speedo cable to prevent overheating above 100 mph. White vinyl top and 70 series whitewall tires. Sleeper of the day that surprised many. Still kicked down to 2nd at 100 so could run most cars down eventually.

    • Troy s

      Joe, I don’t remember California enforcing, or requiring, any bi-annual smog checks until the early eighties….right around the time I was old enough to get my license or permit. Certain engines, or combination of engine carburetor etc. were simply not available here in California back then. I’m not sure the 440 was even available here, at least in passenger cars, in the late seventies. This one does have that lean burn but it has been bypassed, disconnected, according to the seller and it has dual cats from the factory. Would it pass a smog check now? Heck no., Not here in CA anyways.

    • Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      Joe, the seller talks about disconnecting the lean burn system in the eBay listing:

      “The lean burn computer has been bypassed and is not functional”

      Like 2
  15. Wayne

    Yes, I lived in the small town where a lot of the movie was shot. (The movie’s international opening debut was in our town.) The shot of the car driving down the beach where they are handing out fliers and announcing the concert was one block east of my home and the shots of the squad cars flying off the highway and into the semi trailer were about 3 blocks west of my home.) We had heard that they were coming to shoot a movie, but we had no idea what it was about. I was driving to work one morning and as about to drive under the overpass of the highway I heard a report of a mountie on the CB. Being half asleep and now being “on alert” I absolutely freaked out at the inside of the on-ramp’s population of about 300 Illinois police cruisers parked there. (so surprised that I am sure that the actual number is accurate. However the area was packed. (As in no more room for any more.) And this was just the cars used in our location. This does not include the ones used in the shopping mall or the ones used in the Chicago downtown (loop) area. (State police and City police) “Dan A” would always flash his lights at me and wave when I went by in the morning as they were sitting by the side of the road to wait their chance to start filming. (As I started it the first time.) Fun times and one of the best chase scenes ever done. Not accurate, just fun.

    Like 9
  16. Graham Line

    Oregon was issuing an F?? 1?? license plate series in mid-1980, so this car could easily have come from somewhere else or have been on city/state plates up until then.
    In the ’70s, some genius in Idaho’s state government ordered a big package of white four-door Plymouths for everything from the brand inspectors to public welfare workers to weights and measures and, oh, the state police. You never knew who was behind you or parked along the highway.

    Like 1
  17. Charles A Simons

    Can you see this in white with Roscoe P Coltrane chasin an Orange Charger?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-f3CFzahrRs

    Like 3
  18. Troy s

    I can picture this pursuit car in black and white like the CHP cars from my youth. Definitely chasing that rebel flag charger in Hazard county, numerous combinations. On a worse note I can also see it as it is now, strolling real slow through some bad neighborhood in Los Angeles in the early eighties, stolen of course, bad bad vibes, locos armed to the teeth. Just one of them cars I guess.

    Like 2
  19. Chunk

    Are you really making prison rape jokes? What is WRONG with you?

    • Troy s

      Chunk, No, not at all. All the comments about old movies, I don’t know why but I started thinking of an old movie from the seventies called Assault on Precinct 13. Similar type of car is used early in the movie as I described,..although a Ford I believe. Creepy movie that reminded me just a little of my grandparents neiborhood. Sorry if I offended anyone.

      Like 3
      • Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

        I don’t see ANY reference to ANYTHING that could be interpreted as a or any prison rape joke, Troy, and I don’t see you need to apologize for something that no one else has understood or remotely referenced as a joke of any sorts.
        In the late 40’s part of my family moved into a little town out west called Montebello, where in later years found ourselves to be ONE BLOCK from East LA.
        I get where you’re coming from, as does everybody I’ve shared this with.

        Like 5
  20. Del

    Run hard and put away wet.

    Not for me. Look for a nicer one

    Like 1
  21. Husky

    And we got it all right here in America, the home of Chrysler’s 440 Cubic inch engine.

    Blues Brothers

    Like 1
  22. David G

    Great cars. This one went for a good price, being a nice rust free example. A previous poster mentioned smog checks in California. This would have no issue passing smog here, as long as all emissions equipment is present and functional. Ironically, only the 49 state Police cars had the lean burn system in ’77 and ’78. California versions did not have lean burn, thankfully, and enjoyed better drivability and at least a 15 horsepower boost over the Federal versions. My similar ’77 Dodge Monaco CHP car had no issues burying the 140 mph speedometer by a few mph. These cars were available with two rear gear ratios, a 2.71 or a 3.21. This one has everything except the optional engine oil cooler, which was ordered on the California Highway Patrol cars. They have an adjustable A/C cutout that kills power to the compressor. Adjustable from 80 to 120 mph. The old RV-2 compressors could not handle more than about 4,000 rpm pulley speed. The engine could easily overspeed the compressor, causing possible failure.

    Like 2
    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

      Sold for $3749.

      Like 2
  23. Frank

    That “Special Police” 1972 Polara chasing the 1969 Dodge Charger in “Dirty Mary, Carzy Larry” was an ex CHP 1972 Dodge Polara 440.

    Like 2

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