Muscle Cars in Blue – History of Dodge Police Vehicles – Part 3

4 years ago Heritage

Part THREE: 2006 to Present

The Best is NOW

Technology, Common Sense and “Newstalgia” Conjure the Best Dodge Police Pursuit Cars of All Time

The final traditional rear-wheel-drive, V8-powered Dodge passenger cars vanished after 1989, leaving law enforcement without a staple means of apprehending violators. But thanks to the massive surge in the popularity of SUVs and light trucks, certain Jeep® and Dodge Durango offerings filled in the gap where large interior and cargo capacity was needed.

And following on the heels of the front-wheel-drive Aries K police packages, the 1993 arrival of the “cab-forward” Dodge Intrepid triggered development of numerous police packages which saw limited success. The fact remained, demand for traditional squad cars wasn’t going away – as proven by the continued sales of Chevy Caprice and Ford Crown Victoria law enforcement specials throughout the next decade.

But when the folks at Daimler-Benz joined the party in 1999, new emphasis was placed on bringing rear-wheel-drive platforms back to the showroom. The first of these amazing revivals was the 2003 LX platform, upon which appeared the Chrysler 300C, Dodge Magnum and Dodge Charger. Better still, a new generation of HEMI® V8 engines arrived to fill their engine bays. The gloomy days of the “smog seventies” were remedied once and for all.

And the timing was right because all across the world, car-makers were raising the bar on quality, technology, value and performance. Year by year, 0-60 acceleration times dropped and before long, a typical minivan was packing enough power to outgun a mid-level muscle car from the so-called “supercar sixties”. Law enforcement had to keep pace. The 2006 Dodge Magnum and Charger Pursuit packages were the answer for police agencies seeking low-profile machines that could run with just about anything else on wheels.

According to tests conducted by the California Highway Patrol and Michigan State Police – the two agencies whose opinion sets the tone for all 50 states – the HEMI Charger’s 145 maximum speed and 16.5-second 0-100 mph capability put it into a heady realm with few competitors. It’s been 12 years since Dodge put these HEMI-powered machines in circulation and they’ve been embraced from coast to coast.

Getting back to the SUV side of the Dodge Police Pursuit equation, Dodge just announced a little big something called the Durango Pursuit V8 AWD. Yep, the much-appreciated full-size Durango SUV, with its four doors, 119.8-inch wheelbase and 99.2 cubic feet of SAE-certified front and second row volume has graduated from the academy and now wears a badge.

An outgrowth of brainstorming sessions and unofficial test results gathered at the Michigan State Police 2018 model-year vehicle evaluation event, it’s the HEMI-powered, all-wheel-drive, highway-and-trail-ready Police Pursuit whose time has come. Dodge/SRT®, Chrysler and Fiat Passenger Car Brand Manager Steve Beahm said, “The Dodge Durango is already known as ‘the Charger of SUVs’, so it is only natural that the new Durango Pursuit complements the Charger Pursuit in police fleets across the country.”

Available only to law enforcement agencies, the Durango Pursuit V8 AWD has the features police officers want. Its segment-leading 119.8-inch wheelbase is stable and comfortable for long hours on the beat. Its best-in-class 7,200-pound towing capacity with trailer sway control easily handles many freshwater lake patrol boats and its enlarged four-wheel, anti-lock disc brakes do 60-0 in 134 feet (without trailer).

Under the hood, the legendary 5.7 HEMI with 360 best-in-class horsepower and 390 lb.-ft. of torque is coupled to an 8-speed TorqueFlite automatic transmission and full-time active all-wheel-drive for added traction on dry, wet and snowy road surfaces, just like the all-wheel-drive Charger Pursuit.

But unlike the Charger, Durango Pursuit has a genuine 2-speed transfer case for true low-range off-road capability in more rural settings where the tarmac ends but the investigation doesn’t. With a full 8.1 inches of ground clearance, the Durango Pursuit can keep pace with the many civilian SUVs on and off the roadways of today.

Perhaps the only sour note in the story of the new 2018 Dodge Durango Pursuit V8 AWD is that it’s only being sold to legitimate law enforcement agencies (call 800-999-3533 for the details). But if history is any guide, once they’ve served, most police vehicles are sold to the public at auction. Yeah, you might have to wait a few years, and it may not be brand new, but as a sure-fire legend in its own time, you can bet Dodge’s latest line of Charger and Durango Police Pursuit models will be solid collectors’ items after retirement.

 

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