Police Officers have always longed for the fastest and most agile patrol cars available. In the 1960's and early 1970's, manufacturers satisfied law enforcements speed need with some of the most powerful cars ever manufactured. Many of these patrol vehicles were "hot rods with four doors". The 1968 Plymouth Belvedere with the 383 motor is considered by many to be one of the best police cars ever made during that era of horsepower.
In the early 1970s came the restrictions on the automotive industry, relegated to snuffing out the open performance that had been allowed to run rampant. After 1972 big block motors were no longer an available option on American sedans. The clean air act strictly regulated emissions controls that reduced smog and pollutants but also reduced horsepower. The fuel embargo in 1973 spelled the death of the high performance gas guzzling engine. The days where patrol vehicles were just as fast if not faster than speeders had come to a close
Dodge and Plymouth had been the dominant patrol vehicle of the late 1960's and 70s'. Offering the 383, 400, and 440 big block engines provided more than enough get up and go necessary for police work. These powerful engines were still available for the police car market only but by 1977 their once high performance had been choked off to a fraction of what it was once capable of. Despite this, in 1977 the top of the line Dodge Monaco police package could still boast a 440HP big block motor that was the fastest car on the road. By 1978 even stricter emissions controls finally killed off the last big block, relegating police departments to scramble for a new patrol vehicle.
Update! Don Silva at Yellow Cab in San Jose has gratiously volunteered to assist with the restoration of our former supervisor MCT car! All of the main components are off to their respective shops to be rebuilt and put back into service - stay tuned for more information and photo updates
This particular vehicle survived all of that and remained in the local area being driven as a daily driver. Eventually the vehicle was left at a tow yard where it was located by a member of the Police Historical Society, who recognized exactly what it was. The Dodge had all of its police equipment removed but still retained its original 440HP engine.
Currently the Dodge has had all of its trim, interior and engine removed to facilitate it being repainted and replacing all the police electronic components. Several important pieces of obsolete police equipment has been located that belong on the Dodge, including the "Federal Twinsonic" lightbar and KDT police computer. We are seeking out a body shop or engine rebuilder who would be interested in helping taking on this project to put this important piece of San Jose Police History back on the road