Ex-Utah Highway Patrol: 1989 Ford Mustang LX

Ah, the good ‘ol days: when state troopers still piloted muscle cars with stick shifts, unlike the legions of Ford Explorers I now see patroling the interstates. This is a 1989 Ford Mustang LX SSP, which effectively made your local state police officer very effective in convincing lead foots not to speed. This is a former Utah highway patrol vehicle that has landed in civilian hands, and is said to run well enough that you can drive it home. Find it here on eBay with bids approaching $6K and no reserve.

The upgrades to the SSP cars were purely functional. They weren’t necessarily juiced up with more horsepower, but had improvements that law enforcement officers could truly appreciate. This included an engine oil cooler, reinforced floor pans, fluid cooler for the automatic transmission, and even optional features like roll cages if the specific department wanted one. This is an unusual SSP in that it has the manual gearbox – most were automatics.

And it makes sense, considering how often officers of the law are multi-tasking while on patrol. Having to shift while also activating lights or operating a CB could make for a slightly busier situation than an officer would prefer. The Mustang seen here still wears plenty of bumps and bruises from police duty, and has surface rust bubbling up along the door edges and in front of the rear wheels. The seller says it hasn’t gotten to the point that it’s rotting through any panels, however.

Mileage is under 90,000 and the seller reports that it runs and drives well. He also notes he purchased it from the “original owner,” which is curious given the various municipalities would have been the first name on the paperwork. I assume this means he bought it from a citizen or former police officer who bought the Mustang at auction when its pursuit days were done. Regardless, these are neat cars and a genuine SSP with the manual transmission is a rare bird.


  1. Dirtymax

    Even though I’m a chevy guy I would buy this in a heartbeat if i had the cash. Fast as hell and a stick to boot. Fun car

    Like 7
  2. Oingo

    6k cp

  3. Jferrelllancaster

    I know here in SC most all the HP Muskrats were 5 speeds. Dont think I seen an auto around rock hill.

    Like 3
  4. JAYP

    If you’re in the market for a Fox, this is a STEAL.

    Like 2
  5. Howard A Member

    Here’s my Mustang, only mine was an ’88 and automatic. Scary cars, even many troopers said so. Down right dangerous in high speed pursuits, and I agree. Oh, these had plenty of steam, but were front heavy, light in the back so they handled poorly, so-so brakes, and no room. Troopers usually had to call another full sized squad to haul a perp in, because with gear, there wasn’t any room. If it wasn’t for the speedometer, I’d have a hard time believing this was a SSP. No spotlight ( or holes in A pillar) no holes in dash where radio and such would be, but it must be one. And for the record, cops still drive some pretty intense cars. I wouldn’t want to mess with Colorado’s Dodges. We never had SSP’s in Wisconsin, more of a southern thing, except, Michigan had a few, where I’m sure they did great in the snow. Florida, Georgia, Texas, had the most, I believe. I found this on wrecked Texas SSP’s. Many not the SSP’s fault, but they could be.

    Like 8
    • Mountainwoodie

      That some violator contact!

      Like 1
    • Jeffro

      You know your world has hit rock bottom after you hit cop car

      Like 5
    • Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

      When we lived in Wyoming in the early 90’s, the highway patrol officer living in our small town had a SSP assigned to him. I remember two stories he told:

      1) how he chased someone down on an open stretch of highway, but added “these roads are not as flat and smooth as you think they are, when you are running 120 mph”.

      2) how many times he ended up in the ditch on a snowy day, and how he got to not reporting the incidents to his supervisor, for concern over repurcussions which might have included losing the car.

    • matt

      The vin is registered in the ssp registry, it has the ssp bucktags, 1 key for everything, rear trunk button, full size spare, blue hoses. 100 percent for sure a ssp. No questions about it.

  6. Steve S

    I always hated the look of this body style of mustang looks like someone took an 80’s cavalier and changed the front end to a mustang front end and modified the door frames so the mustang doors would fit on it

    Like 2
  7. UK Paul 🇬🇧

    90,000 miles on a Police car is low? Too low?

  8. Sam

    Years back when I still lived in Texas, not only did I get chased by our local state trooper that had one, (I’ll withhold his name, lol, due to him being far more lenient on some of us teens than he should’ve been) but became friends with him. Back then (late 80’s, early 90’s) he explained to us that Texas had a rule in place that troopers could modify their cars, but only if they did so on their own dime. Some opted to, some didn’t. Our local was one who did, and that Mustang was fast as hell. You weren’t getting away from him. He dearly loved that car and bought it from the DPS when it came around for retirement. However, he did say later on in years, that the Chevy Caprice that replaced it was a much more solid car, more stable at high speed, and more easily modified.

    Like 4
  9. Kenneth Carney

    My neice would love this! Too bad it’s a 4-speed. The only concern I’d have would be getting her used to driving something with that horsepower her first time out. Other than that, it would make a great first Mustang for her.

    • JAYP

      They’re 5 speeds…your neice can learn and would LOVE a manual transmission.
      And, at under 6k, if its a true SSP, it’s a STEAL!!

      Like 2
    • Steve S

      Kenneth it would be a 5 speed manual transmission not a 4 speed manual transmission and the engine doesn’t have that much horsepower at 290 horsepower with that 4.9 liter 302

      Like 1
  10. Comet

    Surface rust. Yeah, right.

    Like 1
  11. Troy s

    Fast, quick to speed from hiding up on the on ramp, all that stuff but the Mustang itself was not intimidating. Not like some of the older Fury’s anyways.
    Never knew the police used automatic’s in any state.

    Like 1
  12. cmarv

    I bought a Colorado , 1991 SSP ,white , dual spotlights , 5 speed and a 4 point padded roll bar in 1994 from a guy that bought and resold them in Boulder . Flew from BWI to Denver with my buddy , rode a cab to “The Hotel Boulderado” and met up . I put my PA Dealer tag on it and came home via New Orleans and Nashville . Had a blast ! I sold it to my buddy in 99 and he made it into a race car . That is on my top 5 list of cars I should have kept . It was SCARY if you went over 130 , but it was a blast to drive . I miss that car !

    Like 2
  13. Howard A Member

    Pray the heater core doesn’t leak,,,big job, although, me and Mr. Sawzall took a shortcut,,,

    Like 2
  14. JAYP

    $6,150 it closed at. That is a bargain for a SSP Fox Mustang. It was a ways away from me…but I was still eyeing.

  15. bull

    The author is in error.

    Most SSP Mustangs were manual transmission cars.

    I found, owned and preserved the original 1982 SSP Prototype Test Mustang given to the CHP and the 1982 SSP Engineering Mule that was the personal car of Mr. Emil Laufler (Father of the SSP Mustang Program) along with many others police pony cars including several of the CHP EVOC Mustangs and the lone 1992 CHP EVOC Camaro.

    All SSP Mustangs are neat cars with unique histories unlike the civilian counterparts. For owners it’s the thrill of the chase to find out the service history and stories associated with their SSP Mustangs and B4C Camaro’s that makes the Police car hobby so much fun!

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