In 1996, when the B-body Caprice went out of production many police departments were somewhat disappointed. Back then, the LT1-powered, 260 HP Caprice was the more favored fleet vehicle in many of the departments across the country. They offered much more power, room, and faster acceleration than Ford’s 215 HP competitor, the Crown Victoria.
A few departments rebelled, electing to spend $12,000 refurbishing the Chevy units in their fleet, as opposed to buying new ‘Vics they didn’t want for almost twice the money. Inevitably, the Caprices got too old, and eventually just about every department in the land were utilizing Crown Victorias.
Thankfully, the horribly outdated Crown Victoria was put out of its misery after 2012, and that leaves departments looking for new cars with new choices. One department in particular decided to replace the Ford’s with Chevy’s new Caprice PPV, a car we had the privilege putting to the test on Milford’s Proving Grounds some time ago.
Its 6.0L 355 horsepower LS-based L76 offers plenty of power – over 100 more ponies than it’s departed Ford predecessor. As the Napa Valley Register tells it, Napa Police Fleet Manager, Chris Burgeson, was quoted saying, “It’s a very good performing car.” Each one costs the department between $29-30,000, plus an additional $10,000 to load the vehicles up with all of the equipment an officer needs to complete the job.
He also went on record saying that after just three years of use, a police vehicle will typically see about 100,000 miles – and that they are very hard miles. If you ever wondered why used police vehicles are sold for cheap at auction, ask Chris.
They see high temperatures, high speed pursuits, criminals are thrown up against them, and they are generally abused. Suspects vomit in them, kick them, smash into them, and occasionally, an officer may have to use it as a battering ram or a PIT maneuver vehicle. Remember this the next time you’re in the market for a secondhand vehicle and are tempted by an LS-powered police vehicle for cheap.