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2018 Chicago Auto Show: The Police Cars

Robby DeGraff February 8, 2018 Chicago Auto Show 10 Comments

Lights! Sirens!

The goodies are always in the back. Hidden behind all the mainstream display areas on the showroom floor were a fleet of vintage emergency vehicles from Chicago’s police and fire departments that patrolled the windy city.

Oh the stories these cars could tell…

1973 Chevy Bel Airs issued to police forces had either the 350 cid V8 or larger 454. Other upgrades included larger 15-inch wheels, thicker door beams and a stronger roof panel, beefed-up transmission, and power front disc brakes. This particular car originally served in Erie County, OH as a vehicle for the prosecutor’s criminal investigations office until it was scooped up by Greg Reynolds in 2013 and repainted in tributary livery from the CPD’s Traffic Division.

Covering the rear of the Bel Air was this box Chevy, a 1990 Caprice with the 9C1 Police Package. In 1990, CPD purchased 300 marked patrol cars. This car on display earned its stripes from the Carrboro, North Carolina Police Department and was later sold to a retired traffic officer, George Donchez. There’s a 350 V8 that made 190hp, a Whelen Edge strobe lightbar, Muniquipp moving radar and…a blue heavy-duty cloth interior! Oh the 90s.

Seen in the hero shot up above, this Plymouth Fury with a single blue gumball light on top next to the mentioned Caprice. You can’t help but love the stance and dual exhaust on this old-school cruiser.

Last was the big red sled, a 1970 Cadillac Miller-Meteor Ambulance, wearing a bright red Chicago Fire Department livery complimented by a black top. Everything is big on this rescue whip, the oscillating lightbar above, spotlights on either fender, the chrome grille and of course what rests under that Grand Canyon-sized hood. While originally ordered for the CFD, this Caddy ambulance actually found duty with an Oglala Lakota reservation on the other side of the country.

[All images copyright Robby DeGraff/Hooniverse 2018]

  • Mister Sterling

    Oh that Fury is fantastic. Good to see Chicago doing this! I thought only the NYC show had a cop car section.

    • tonyola

      I said this on another car forum – there is something brooding and sullen about the front end of the pictured 1969 Fury. Slightly sinister, which is the perfect demeanor for a cop car.

      • wunno sev

        especially in ’70s Chicago, where getting stuffed into one meant you were very possibly gonna get beaten and/or tortured by John Burge’s CPD.

  • Batshitbox

    I only know one thing about Chicago PD cruisers…


  • outback_ute

    Is that Plymouth the right era to have the 440 and be basically the fastest ever US police car? (Excluding current cars that is). Was the same package sold to the public?

    • Hubba

      Yes, that Plymouth was available with the 440, like the legendary CHP Dodge Polara highway patrol car. The civilian Fury was available with the 375 hp 440. Chrysler might refuse to accept a dealer order for a car with police options, like a certified speedometer, for civilian use, but a civilian could buy a police package car if a dealer could order it and would sell it.

      • outback_ute

        Thanks for that. Being Australian I have a fascination with hi-po sedans!

        There was an article out here about one of the Ford designers who bought their highway patrol demonstrator car when it was sold off, he said he would hit 150+ on his commute to the Geelong design centre, basing the speed on distance over time and not the speedo as it didn’t go that high.

  • There’s a brutality to the styling of the 1970 Cadillacs. The elegance of the 60s is gone, but the blandness of the late 70s hasn’t yet arrived. I like it.

    • Rudy™

      That Caddy has a Ghostbusters vibe to it.

  • Harry Callahan

    How many perps would fit in the trunk of that Fury?