Highway Patrol: 1982 Dodge Ramcharger CHP

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You vintage TV buffs know that Ponch and Jon rode Kawasakis on the TV show CHiPs, they wouldn’t have had any use for a 4×4 like this 1982 Dodge Ramcharger CHP vehicle. This is the real deal according to the seller who has it listed here on eBay in beautiful Laguna Beach, California, where I should have moved after high school. The current bid is $8,100 and there is no reserve.

There’s something cool about police vehicles, unless you’re riding in one involuntarily or one is coming up behind you. I can see why collectors go for these things, especially something like this 4×4 Ramcharger that would actually be useful off-road. I had a 1976 Ramcharger and it was horrible, but I’m guessing that Dodge had worked many of the bugs out by 1982, or maybe I just had a lemon.

This seller is not shy about listing the shortcomings of this CHP Ramcharger, but that doesn’t seem to be holding back the bidders at all. There are some scary spots on this car such as this A-pillar where one of the spotlights is mounted and several other areas. I’m guessing that being near saltwater for 38 years has caused more than just this Ramcharger some problems in California. Most of us think of it as the perfect area to get rust-free vehicles from but that’s not always the case.

The interior is businesslike as you would expect a police vehicle to be. Vinyl seats may not be the best for hot weather but the material is durable and easy to clean and these have been recovered, according to the seller. The dash is equipped with some patrol goodies and I’m not sure if this Ramcharger was in service recently or not, or if it’s used more for parade duty now. I’m surprised that there are no photos behind the front seats at all.

The engine is Dodge’s 318 cubic-inch V8 with a brand new 4-barrel carb, new alternator, battery, a new fuel pump, and ice-cold AC. They say that it smokes a little on start-up and the power steering pump drips a bit, and there is a new exhaust system but there are no catalytic converters. This would certainly catch more than a few eyes on your next grocery run. Are there any fans of police vehicles out there? Have any of you owned one?

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Comments

  1. HoA Howard AMember

    I bet this is one tired horse. Some states make you remove all the police stuff, not sure why this still has all it’s equipment. I suppose you are buying a relatively rust free truck, unheard of anywhere else.

    Like 6
  2. Bmac777

    When I was 16 I got picked up thumbing by a guy in one of these.
    He told me to never buy a vehicle with full time 4WD
    As I saw on many occasions since, he was right
    The noise ,mileage and wear on parts makes you wonder what they were thinking

    Like 7
    • ace10

      And yet Toyota has been doing it since 1991 with the FJ80 Land Cruiser and its successors. Resulting in millions of happy owners.

      Like 5
      • boxdin

        Except for recalling most of their pickups for rusty frames. They call it; “spare time separation”.

        Like 1
      • James R Griffin

        They’ve not recalled “most” of their pickups. Thats an exaggeration. Still fewer recalls than the big 3.

        Like 4
      • ace10

        Trucks don’t have full time 4WD. Talking about Land Cruisers.

        Like 1
    • Michael55

      This one does not appear to have full-time 4WD, it looks like it has locking hubs on the front wheels.

      Like 4
    • David G

      These Scouts are all part time 4wd. Ramcharger in the ad is also part time. Full time 4wd was on all ’75-’79 GM 4x4s with automatic transmission, all ’75-’79 Dodge 4x4s with all transmissions, and was optional on ’77-’79 Ford 4x4s with automatic transmissions. Very trouble free for the most part. Toyota uses full time on many Land Cruisers too, as has been mentioned above.

      Like 3
  3. local_sheriff

    Love this Ram! Back in my early 20s a owned a black and white K5, and what started out as a prank resulted in a similarly styled black-and-white tribute less the CHP badges. Great fun without costing much.
    That in turn ignited my interest for vintage Federal Signal beacon lights and has resulted in having ‘a couple’ of those on display at home to wifey’s dismay…
    If someone’s wondering the red lighthead above the grille is due to Cali regulations requiring a front-facing permanent red beam when lightbar is lit

    Like 10
  4. Jcs

    .
    Scotty, you are on a roll!

    👍
    .

    Like 3
  5. Oldog4tz Oldog4tz

    Gonna guess it will have to stay a parade car-still wearing Muni plates from 1987

    Like 5
  6. angliagt angliagtMember

    You’d need to remove the licence plates,cover up the light bar,
    the red light on the front,& the “official” decals to drive it on the street.
    The “E” with the diamond around it on the places means “Exempt”.
    I can’t see where this would be much fun to own after a while –
    it’s mainly for car shows & parades.

    Like 4
    • Mountainwoodie

      Fo sure there. Just think most of the Chippies on duty today weren’t even born when this was new! Man I feel old!

      All in all I’d rather have one of the newer Chippie Dodge Charger. Prefer the lower profile. But what do I know!

      Like 2
  7. Mark P

    In the late 70’s a friend of mine had a ’74 Dodge Monaco that was a Washington State, State Police chase vehicle. It was a 440 (Wedge?) auto. It was white, unmarked and looked like the car from the Blues Brothers. It had what looked like a factory roll cage, more of a protection structure, it didn’t have the bars across the door areas. It had a 50 gallon (we think, it was huge and even at 70 cents a gallon it was never filled) gas tank. The tank was square and basically across the back of the car in behind the back seat. Under the hood was a small hose reel and valve that we believed was to pump gas into stranded out of gas cars on the highway. It would spark and smoke the studded snow tires on the back forever.

    Like 6
  8. Mr.BZ

    After years of enjoying a steady diet of Adam-12, those corny CHiPs were tough to swallow!

    Like 5
  9. i8afish

    The best part of driving this would be watching everyone politely move out of the way, then race past you once they realize it’s a civilian truck.

    Like 4
  10. JoeNYWF64

    I guess the CHIP would not be interested in using this truck? Would be a lot cheaper than a new one. Even the a/c works! Tho can you have a security
    partition behind the front seat on a 2 door? But then how do you get the crook in the back seat? lol
    I wonder what the penalties/fines would be driving this thing AS IS, say, in California. Impersonating a police officer? A few nites in the slammer
    (even if you told em you did them a favor, slowing down speeders just driving it on the freeway)? lol
    Not sure if driving it would be a moving violation, but i bet your insurance rates would go up when time to renew.

    Like 2
    • local_sheriff

      Driving this Ram AS IS in California would definately get you into trouble. By having the CHP insignia visible in public you’re per definition representing the state (ie impersonating a state official) and most insignias are also protected by copyright laws, sometimes also all obsoleted versions.

      However, driving it OUTSIDE California would be a different debate if you want to try your luck. Most states/countries have legislation that restricts the use of ‘Police’ script while some places you can apply for a special permit given it’s a historic vehicle. There are also local laws restricting the installation of lightbars/beacons, from what colors are accepted, to cover them up during street use to requiring a special permit to install them at all. People have gotten into trouble even when driving decommisioned undercover Crown Vics!

      There’s a great article on the allpar.com site about some precautions to keep in mind if you want to get into the vintage police car hobby

      Like 7
    • Vern

      Broderick Crawford from Highway Patrol would of liked one of these

      Like 1
      • Mountainwoodie

        Certainly by the end of the run he was fat as a tub and drunk every day…you’d need a winch to hoist him up to the steering wheel!

        That said I was ecstatic ( doesn’t take much to make me happy lol) when I found out you could catch ‘reruns’ on YouTube!

        ….

        Like 2
  11. david R

    No catalytic converters? Gonna be fun to get it smogged.

    Like 2
  12. David Ulrey

    I’m not saying the owner of this is one, but in the Crown Vic P71 (cop car) community there are people that make it a point to make their car look like it’s an active duty (but not cross the line to where what they do is illegal, well usually not anyway) cop car because they like the image. Those of us that appreciate the car for what it is but don’t do that call them Whackers. If you use it in a security job or parades or car shows okay, I’m not into the ‘wanna be’ thing though. P.S. as far as I know, No state allows them to be sold after they are retired in full dress. Example being lights and door decals still on and intact. To the best of my knowledge it’s illegal in every state.

    Like 2
  13. Joe Haska

    Wasn’t a cop, I passed the test. I was a Firefighter and it seems many people want to collect Fire Trucks, I never have understood it. People say you wouldn’t like to have a Fire Truck, Why? To me its just a tool of the profession, do Carpenter”s collect saws, Dentist”s collect drills, Cops keep cop cars. I don’t think so.

    Like 2
  14. TR

    I actually patrolled in one out in Colorado.
    What a piece of “poop!”
    Under powered, always overheating and handled like a lumber wagon!
    Chrysler should of installed the 440 or at least the 360.
    Anyway, “Good Luck” on the auction someone out there is looking for one.

    Like 1
  15. bob

    scotty
    bought a new 86 two wheel drive, one of the best vehicles i have ever owned. after looking for 4 + years, just bought a 1987 two wheel drive. amazing the difference in technology from then to now. still love the “beast”.

    Like 0
  16. boxdin

    We love our 1992 2wd first year for beehive intake.

    Like 1

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