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Have you ever wondered what happened to old police cars after their public service ends? Usually this thought does not cross your mind when a black and white is behind you with all the blue and red lights flashing and the sirens blaring but rather it is a passing thought when you see one cruise by or pass by one that is parked on the side of the road monitoring traffic. For the 2006 model year, Dodge got back into the police car business with a serious attitude with the introduction of the 2006 Dodge Charger and Dodge Magnum Police Packages. The 2006 models are now nine model years old and most of those cars have been retired and sold at a substantially reduced price when compared to similarly equipped non-police versions of the Dodge Chargers and Magnums. Those cars are now in the hands of private citizens to use as a daily driver or some type of additional vehicle for family transportation. Is the purchase of one of these former police cars a worthwhile investment or is it a never-ending problem that you have purchased from the local municipality? Just recently I jumped into the deep end and purchased a local township's 2006 Dodge Charger to experience the pros and cons of a cheap entry purchase price.
As Elwood J. Blues of the Blues Brothers fame stated about police cars, “It has a cop motor, cop tires, cop suspension, and cop shocks”. The belief of the public is that police cars accelerate faster, stop shorter, and corner better than the average non-police version of the same car. Some of that may be true but most is probably not. The Charger for 2006 came with the following differences from the non-police versions: a 100-amp battery feed in the trunk, a 160-amp high-output AC generator, 160 mph calibrated speedometer, 800CCA battery, cloth seats with manual control, column shifter, additional grommet pass through (firewall), emergency rear door lock override, external oil cooler(s), performance suspension, HD brake linings and rotors, an hour meter, 225/60R 18 V-rated Goodyear tires, performance tuned steering, police interface module, police equipment center console mounting bracket, police rubber carpeting, severe duty cooling system, software controlled alternating head- and tail-lamps, additional police related pre-wiring, speed control, and stealth mode switch settings. The 3.5L or 5.7L were the engine options and neither was more than a factory engine. The transmissions were automatic five-speed versions. A special Electronic Stability Program (ESP) that has three settings, and, lastly, the Traction Control and ABS have additional features.
I ended up getting a 2006 Dodge Charger with 80K miles on it, a 340 horsepower 5.7L Hemi, a NAG1 transmission, and a few extras. The extras included all the red and blue lights still in place (grille, mirrors, and package tray), two spotlights, a front push bumper, a rear cage (not installed), a two-tone paint scheme (think black and white), and a power driver seat. The 5.7L engine was a factory replacement long block with about 26K miles on it and the NAG1 had been replaced and has only 14K mile on it. The Charger also came with 81 pages of service work that had been performed on the Charger over its seven plus years of service. The repair bills were in excess of $30K. The Charger was sold to me without any warranty and a stated problem that the engine stalled often. I figured I had the experience and skill to resurrect this Charger so the stalling problem did not deter me and the purchase price was decent so I dropped 48 Benjamins and towed it home.