Five-Oh Cruiser: 1968 Big Block Dodge Coronet

OK, all of you Adam-12 fans, if you ever wondered what happened to Pete Malloy and Jim Reed’s ’68 Dodge Coronet police cruiser, here it is! Though it’s probably not their car but it’s similar to the unit that was an equal star in the long-ago TV series. Actually, this Dodge is a native of Alabama (“Boy, you in a heap a trouble now”) but it’s the real thing, a former police cruiser and the VIN authenticates its identity. Now residing in North Las Vegas, Nevada, this black and white is available, here on eBay for a current bid of $1,326 with six bids tendered so far.

I don’t know about you, but getting pulled over by a Ford Explorer just doesn’t have the same impact as getting the vaudeville hook by a ’69 Dodge Polara or a ’73 Ford Custom Police Interceptor, or a 396-powered ’66 Chevy Biscayne coupe, courtesy of the Maryland State Police, or a ’93 Mustang interceptor (thx Florida Highway Patrol!) – you can fill in your nemesis. This ’68 Dodge fits the bill, however, as the car, and its occupants, that you want to avoid when you’re hot footin’ it out on the open road.

The seller tells us that this Dodge was in service until 1972 when it was retired and sold at a police auction. He further adds, “This one was in service 4 years and then sold at police auction in 1972 where it never saw the streets again and was parked for almost 50 years now. It’s complete and original even down to its blue bubble gum machine (roof light) Motorola radio, relays, and electric fuel pump that was installed during service. This car has its 383 4bbl HP with even its unsilenced air cleaner still in place. The heavy-duty (Hemi) radiator and 4 piston Bendix disc brakes are all still there too. These are the goodies that would have been first to get robbed in 72“.  Power was rated at 330 gross HP and could move this relatively light four-door sedan with alacrity and a K-code endowed car could handle the bumps, dips, curb hopping, median strip crossing, and high-speed braking with surety.

The body of this Dodge could use some help. It has obvious rust-through, contusions, and some pretty serious underside scale. The seller states, “It has a solid structure but the Alabama rain has washed away some of its original metal” I’ve lived in the deep south for years and have never heard of rain washing away metal.  But I suppose if this cruiser has been sitting outside, submerged in lake-sized puddles, that could aid in body deterioration. Regardless, this version of Mopar’s B-body has a tendency to be a rust magnet where ever it resides. The body and structure are far from terrible, but this old Dodge is going to need some help in its next life.

As interiors go, this Coronet would probably win an award for deconstruction, at least as far as the back seat goes. Nevertheless, the “cop interior” vibe is front, center, and palpable. It’s going to need a complete makeover just to return it to its very spartan origins. It’s unfortunate that there is no image of the dash, it would be cool to glimpse an image of the “Certified” speedometer which should display a 140 MPH top end.

OK, it’s now “what to do with it time”. My suggestion is to return this Coronet to its origins. As the seller notes, the “good stuff” that makes a police car a police car are usually the first components to get robbed and this Dodge cruiser is amazingly complete. But, there are plenty of other directions one could pursue, which one would you select?

Comments

  1. angliagt angliagt Member

    Adam 12 used Plymouths,not Dodges.

    Like 25
    • Kincer Kincer Member

      You beat me to it lol, I just got done re-watching the series, and was going to make the same comment.

      Like 10
    • Jim ODonnell Staff

      Tough crunchies, it’s close enough.

      JO

      Like 14
      • Howard A Member

        Let’s cut Jim a break, eh? Even though Adam 12 never used Dodges,( although, on the pilot show, I believe there was a Dodge in the parking lot) the series was so popular, for any police reference, the Adam 12 moniker can be used. We have to remember, many people couldn’t tell a vintage Plymouth or Dodge police car difference anyway. Point is, in the late 60’s, Chrysler was simply the best vehicle for police use, and still is today.

        Like 18
      • Jim ODonnell Staff

        Yeah! What Howard said!

        JO

        Like 7
      • angliagt angliagt Member

        Like a General Lee ‘Cuda?

        Like 2
      • Jim ODonnell Staff

        No, like a Vanishing Point ‘Cuda

        JO

        Like 4
    • Randy

      Adam 12 used AMC Matadors.

      Like 8
      • Kincer Kincer Member

        Yes after the first couple seasons, but before that they were Plymouths.

        Like 13
      • Barry

        Yes the matador was used after the Plymouth I believe 72 when lapd purchased the first matador to put into service barry

      • Gene

        Not until they got into the 70’s……

    • Kennny B.

      For sure ,only plymouths

    • Barry

      As my early posts noted Plymouth were used until replaced by the matador in 1972 I do not believe a dodge was used by lapd maybe metro division had a few they did use them on the chp approximately 1500 were purchased in 1961 and were driven into the ground I restored a 61 dodge polara chp car back to the way it was in the day barry

  2. nlpnt

    I’d love to know the story of how this car came to be where it is, 55 years later, still in police black-and-white with the blue emergency light.

    Usually the first stop was a trip to Earl Scheib for a repaint in bright yellow followed by a new roof light with TAXI on it; or the fresh paint in whatever ya’got with maybe a pop-up sunroof to “fix” where the roof had been hacked up for that gumball. This before the car was 5 years old.

    Like 5
  3. Russell

    Dunno about Adam12 … but this came to immediately to mind: “It’s got a cop motor, a 440 cubic inch plant, it’s got cop tires, cop suspensions, cop shocks. It’s a model made before catalytic converters so it’ll run good on regular gas. What do you say, is it the new Bluesmobile or what?”

    Like 5
    • Symon

      Fix the cigarette lighter

      Like 1
  4. Barry

    Lived in LA from 1969 to 1977 a great show the blue bubblegum was never on lapd cars also door insignia not correct so if it was a la police car car much has been changed at present I have a 61 chp car restored duplicate of the Jay lenno car he had on his show years back I am looking for a clone of the Adam 12 car or real deal there are some out there haven’t been able to locate one any leads thanks barry mr396@aol.com

    Like 1
  5. Car Nut Tacoma Washington

    Nice looking car. I’d restore it just enough that you can drive it and enjoy it.

    Like 4
  6. Jay McCarthy

    Pete and Jim started in Plymouths then finished up in AMC’s

    Like 1
  7. Bobch

    The matador was Maloys personal car

    • Barry

      Yes a AMC matador coupe been looking for one nothing so far always a rough restoration project barry

  8. Mark

    As a policeman in 71 and 72, our department in California had the same Dodge Coronet. Great cop cars and they were replaced with Polaras. Terrible cop cars, less power, awful braking and couldn’t get out of their way. 50 years later, these Coronets are still remembered as the best police cars the department ever bought. Tempted!

    Like 1
    • Barry

      Do you mean they were replaced polara barry

  9. BernieCuda

    My question is, why does it have snow tires on the back when it lives in Alabama?

    • Barry

      I noticed the snow tires as well don’t remember that as standard equip on lapd cars at least they are not on the front barry

      Like 1
  10. Arthell64 Member

    Looks like one of Chris Birdsong cars. Would make a fun car to get back on the road. I wonder if Chris would deliver it back to Georgia:)

    Like 1
  11. Chris

    What car did Reed and Malloy drive?
    Image result for what car did they drive on adam 12
    Plymouth Belvedere
    Just like real LAPD cops at the time, Reed and Malloy drive (well, just Malloy gets to drive, of course) a Plymouth Belvedere. This particular cruiser in “Log 1,” however, is the 1967 Belvedere, as the pilot was filmed months earlier in 1967.Aug 25, 2020

    • DON

      Adam 12 cars were 1967 Belvederes in the early episodes, then 1968 and 1969 Belvederes through 1970 ( chase scenes frequently showed a 69 racing down the road, but hitting a turn, it would be a 68, and then back to a 69 , etc.
      They switched to 1971 Satellites ,and when the LAPD switched to AMC Matadors , so did ADAM 12 . Jack Webb was supposedly such a stickler for realism in his shows, that the Plymouths and AMC cars on the show were actually ordered with the police packages -those 401 badges on those Matadors werent just for show ! .

      Like 1
      • Barry

        Good eye very few people would have noticed that barry

        Like 1
  12. DON

    Adam 12 cars were 1967 Belvederes in the early episodes, then 1968 and 1969 Belvederes through 1970 ( chase scenes frequently showed a 69 racing down the road, but hitting a turn, it would be a 68, and then back to a 69 , etc.
    They switched to 1971 Satellites ,and when the LAPD switched to AMC Matadors , so did ADAM 12 . Jack Webb was supposedly such a stickler for realism in his shows, that the Plymouths and AMC cars on the show were actually ordered with the police packages -those 401 badges on those Matadors werent just for show ! .

    Like 1
  13. Barry

    Yes correct 67 belvedere was used on the pilot episode as it chased a green 59 Buick through the Tujunga wash and caught fire the Buick sat in archers opg tow yard for almost a year worth a lot today the cars used were on loan from lapd when chief Davis was in command barry

    Like 1
  14. 59poncho

    You will see a 66 Coronet occasionally. The 401 AMC’s sounded like they needed a valve job when new, watch and listen

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