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V.I.S.I.T: A ’95 Chevy Caprice “police car”

Bournemouth, on England’s South coast, is kind of a genteel place. It’s a seaside resort that packs in all the traditional appeal of such places – scrupulously clean sandy beaches, long, sweeping promenades and spindly, wave-bashed piers. Although, like many similar towns, its fortunes have been mixed ever since the end of Victoria’s reign, it’s still an agreeable and thoroughly respectable corner of the country.

Precisely the kind of place I’d expect not to find a 1995 Chevy Caprice decked out in full Fort Worth police regalia, complete with front nudge / PIT bars, roof lights and spotlights, black steel wheels and dogdish hubcaps. Yet that’s exactly what I found in one of the town’s leafier streets earlier this week.

Unfortunately, I was in a bit of a rush to be somewhere, so only caught two vaguely decent photos. One of which I Tweeted today, and was intercepted by somebody called Kamil something or other who suggested it would make a solid V.I.S.I.T post. And I actually hadn’t considered that, because – I thought – it’s just another North American police car. Why would a largely North American website be interested in that. Of course, it then dawned on me that 1995 was a terrifyingly long time ago, and Caprice squad cars haven’t roamed the streets for years. So here it is.

I was actually quite upset that this Bathtub Caprice should be in police spec. In fact, for all I know, it probably isn’t 9C1 ‘police spec’ as such, rather a cosmetic recreation – and here the problem lies. Of all the Crown Victorias I’ve seen in the UK, 100% have been dressed up as police cars. It’s so bloody predictable. The same is true of Ford Torinos and Starsky replicas, and white Beetles with the number 53 on the door. Were this to have been a regular Caprice Classic, perhaps with the LTZ package, I would have literally sprayed my camera all over it. As it was, I took a photo of the back and one of the front.

It gave me the registration number, though, which confirms it as a ’95 car, imported here in June ’13 and packing with a 5.7-litre (which presumably means LT1). So, here I throw it over to you. Based on these meager pictures, is this a genuine cop car or just a pensioner-issue sedan in fancy dress?

(Images copyright Chris Haining / Hooniverse 2017)

  • Fuhrman16

    About a decade ago I owned a non patrol car version of one of these with the 5.0L V8. It was a rather boring and unremarkable car, but it was fairly comfortable and got surpisingly good fuel mileage (close to 28mpg on the highway).

  • JayP

    Mid-90’s I’d go visit my brother in NY. We’d rent a white Caprice for the drive up.
    I’d put my Cubs cap on the dash.
    People would break their necks to get out of the way.
    Good times.

  • wunno sev

    ok, here’s what i get from sleuthing:
    https://images34.fotki.com/v392/photos/4/42477/163752/FINLEYA04-vi.jpg

    this is one of the ONLY pictures i found of Ft Worth PD cars after probably 15 minutes of searching. note some facts:
    – it’s a last-gen CV, so ’98 or newer – between ’98 and ’00 based on the grille
    – its livery does not match that of the Caprice pictured above
    – its livery does match that of this Caprice: http://www.nwjcra.org/~dboyle/9c1/images/fwm241s.jpg

    which means that the livery seen on that Crown Vic existed in ’96 and existed at least until two years after the Caprice disappeared.

    meanwhile, the Caprice pictured in your photos, Rusty, has a livery that happens to resemble – though not exactly match – the current Ft Worth livery. so unless they used a remarkably forward-thinking livery from same unknown date until ’94/’95, switched to a more ’90s-appropriate design in ’96, and then switched back at least two years later, the car you saw wears “fake” livery.

    but is it a 9C1? i don’t see why not. the current Ft Worth PD livery is black-and-white; that they didn’t bother matching that suggests they started with an all-white Caprice when they decided to give it the FtW police treatment, or they would have given it a black-and-white scheme to accurately represent the newer cars. i don’t know how many grandpa-spec Caprices were sold in that very institutional white, and i don’t know much about the minor details of Caprice 9C1 trim and accent choices, but it looks plausible to me.

    • Scoutdude

      Usually police agencies will remove the decals and light bars. Depending on the jurisdiction they will also remove the spot lights, push bar and even the “police interceptor” badge on the Fords.

      However the subject is wearing a push bar that looks identical to that of the real FW Caprice. Can’t say I’ve seen a push bar like that so maybe it is a real ex-FW car and they took some liberties with their new graphics.

    • Fifteen minutes well spent! Thinking about it, I have memories of seeing Caprices on the road on Floridian vacations, many of which were white (a very Florida colour), but I seem to remember loads having aftermarket Landau roof conversions and looking rather more chintzy than this one.

    • HycoSpeed

      I grew up in the Ft. Worth area, and so can throw in some ‘fun’ facts about the actual logo on this car. Ft. Worth adopted the longhorn logo in 2000–the longhorn’s name is Molly, by the way. In 2002 they settled what as I recall were some legal challenges to this symbol from the University of Texas, which happens to have a somewhat similar logo. To color straight color nerd, ” UT’s burnt orange, in graphic-design terms, is Pantone 159. Molly’s copper was Pantone 876; her new brown is to be Pantone 725.” (source)

      You can read about the logo in this handy powerpoint!

      All that to say it looks plausible to be real, although it is hard to find images of a Caprice in that livery. I do feel like Ft. Worth was mostly a Crown Vic town, and they only had a few Caprice’s for more specialty stuff, like the Marshall car posted above.

      https://images40.fotki.com/v34/photos/4/42477/163752/FWPD122f-vi.jpg

      This VISIT car happens to be youtube famous (167 views!!), and in the breif glimpse of the backseat it looks like a legit vinyl blue backseat. https://youtu.be/TQ_kgO4_3q8

      • wunno sev

        huh, there you go! all white with Molly. where’d you find the picture of the Crown Vic? i had a really hard time digging them up.

        • HycoSpeed

          Furious google imaging with assorted keywords. I was frustrated that I couldn’t find a Caprice with Molly, because I really thought that was a thing ever. Especially since I remember when the city switched to that logo. But it’s hard to say for sure. I also got irritated with the reverse image search for being too non-specific, “You are looking for police cars? Here are some!”

          No silly computer, I want city of Fort Worth Texas police cars that are Caprices, specifically, that more exactly match this picture! Guess AI isn’t ready to take over the world quite yet.

    • dukeisduke

      That’s newer. The longhorn logo on the Bournemouth car is somewhat period correct, but as HycoSpeed’s post shows, the fonts and sizes on other markings are a little off. Also, the unit number (495) should be on the C-pillar, along with the letter that indicates which police substation the car operates out of.

  • crank_case

    Even though it’s clearly not a UK police car, I’m surprised he’s able to drive it around. At a car meet, one guy got pulled for having Golf in Starsky and Hutch livery with an orange light on top.

    • Krautwursten

      Cops are suprisingly (or unsurprisingly?) lenient on cop cars, even here in the land of regulations. You need to unbolt a couple things for the biannual inspections, but the cops themselves will usually turn a blind eye as long as you don’t turn the lights and siren on in public. The following photo is from a news story about a guy who got stopped in his American cop car – so that the Polizei could take photos with him. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/1da1b9f6f7ab44a7aeb03b8099751937c361b69dd88841b2a6f0519b658a600d.jpg

  • Alff

    Fun fact from the wiki. The floorpan on these was unchanged from 1977 on.

  • outback_ute

    One observation is that the car does not have dog dish hubcaps, which I would describe as the type that cover the wheel nuts and the ‘ring’ of the wheel around them. These ones would give the dog a pretty miserable amount of food/water!

    • Chihuahua dishes?

      Truth is I typed dog dish entirely by mistake. Bit of luck I enjoy the service of a sub-editor on my day job!

  • Luxury Lexus Land-yacht

    As a Fort Worth resident, this is early 21st century livery, circa 2002-2003. If it were more current, it’d have a black nose and tail with a white main body (doors/roof).

    Current livery: http://www.star-telegram.com/news/local/community/fort-worth/djvtnz/picture73257572/alternates/LANDSCAPE_1140/Fort+Worth+Police+Car

    It has the old style of roof lights, too, not an LED bar, which was also on the early-2000s cars.

    Those are true hub caps, not even dog dishes. Dog dishes would cover the lugs, too, but these cover only the hub.

    The push bar, though, it the real deal. The spotlights are correct, as are the trunk antennae. Though, it should also have three small antennae near the center of the roof in a triangle about 10″ per side.

    One glaring error is having periods between T and X. No. It’d be either TX. or just TX . Furthermore, I don’t recall ever seeing “Tarrant County TX” anywhere on the vehicle.

    • dukeisduke

      Fort Worth PD is switching to the Taurus and the Tahoe, correct? I thought I had seen both in recent TV news stories.

      • Luxury Lexus Land-yacht

        Yeah, they’ve been headed that way for a while.

        I’m fairly certain I’ve seen a number of Exploders, too.

  • Rover 1

    We get all sorts of American police cars and taxis way over here in NZ. Invariably they’ve escaped from some compound where they’ve been used as a movie prop vehicle. I’m sure the same thing happens in the UK. Is there anywhere near there that resembles a part of Fort Worth, or is a movie studio?

    eg The NZ town of Tapanui during the shooting of the Disney movie, ‘Pete’s Dragon’ where it served as the location shoot only two years ago. AFAIK these vehicles are all still here, ready for a sequel if needed.

    At the other end of the country 1200 miles away there is a big collection of various Panthers and Caprices set for background work in Auckland. I’ve seen them but, ironically, filming wasn’t allowed, so I have no pictures.

    https://media.architecturaldigest.com/photos/57ab2c74cfc37bc171ad7ff9/master/w_768/petes-dragon-filming-locations-001.jpg
    https://resources.stuff.co.nz/content/dam/images/1/d/i/0/5/z/image.related.StuffLandscapeSixteenByNine.620×349.1dhr0m.png/1471126018419.jpg
    http://www.millhaven.nz/images/Vehicles/Sheriff%20Cars/Large/NL081.jpeg
    http://www.millhaven.nz/images/Filming/Crew%20and%20Equipment/Large/NL082.jpeg
    https://www.odt.co.nz/sites/default/files/story/2016/04/male_lead_actor_oakes_fegley_wearing_a_blonde_wig__553374490b.JPG





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