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Bloviating Zeppelin: The WORST Cop Car Ever Made

Bloviating Zeppelin

(in-ep-toc'-ra-cy) - a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The WORST Cop Car Ever Made

So there I was, on my Wednesday post, when one commenter, DMurray, happened to mention the Dodge St. Regis as a cop car. And years of Memories Past came flooding back in all their horror.

I associate two things with 1979 (its introductory year):

1. The incredibly-Leftist California Rose Bird Supreme Court, and
2. The incredibly-ridiculous Dodge St. Regis cop cars

Rose Bird was bad enough. She was literally removed from office in a November 4th, 1986 voting mandate because she was such an incredible tweak. Rose Bird was actually too "over-the-top" for Fornicalia. (Luckily, she passed away in 1999. I normally don't write those things. For her, I make an exception.) Imagine that.

But to be forced to drive a Dodge St. Regis barge which was the size of an aircraft carrier, powered by a Fornicalia-mandated 318-CID? That was beyond embarrassing.

Let me make this plain: the Dodge St. Regis was the worst cop car I ever drove. Period. And I'm still a cop, driving CVPI's. All 250-hp of them. [Less hp than my 2007 Toyota RAV-4 Limited V6, which is chipped up to 300 hp from 269 hp and still runs on regular unleaded.]

The California Highway Patrol used the St. Regis in 1979 with the 190 hp 360 CID (cubic inch displacement) four-barrel V8 and it was deemed "acceptable" for patrol use. Think about that for a moment: a 360-CID V8, four-barrel carburetor, only producing 190 hp! Anyone besides me saying: horribly "detuned"? Hello?

In my department, 1980 heralded the California 155 hp 318 CID engine, 4 bbl V8 with the California emissions package, mandated by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). That was also the version CHP was forced to purchase as well. In a Dodge St. Regis.

[In terms of reference, my 2008 Toyota Corolla LE makes an issued-from-the-factory 125 hp. A Corolla!]

In 1979, CHP anticipated its 1980 cop car bid under the Dodge St. Regis. CHP EVOC instructors at the academy in Bryte were beside themselves. The car proffered times and handling similar to a 1960 Nash Metropolitan.

CHP cut its bid for the 1980 Dodge St. Regis by half. Meaning that a surcharge of previously-ordered CHP-spec'd cars were available for purchase by local agencies. At something of a discount, shall we say.

And so my department made such an attachment bid. Therefore, instead of driving our normal green-and-white cars, we drove CHP-colored black-and-whites.

Because CHP absolutely detested the 1980 Dodge St. Regis.

Three things I can recall about the St. Slow-gis:

1. I backed into a pole in 1979 whilst taking a 488 PC report at the Shell gas station on Arden Way. I didn't report it. The car was a piece of crap anyway. No one cared.
2. The CHP-ordered St. Regis had the first generation of electric windows, adjustable electric seats (NEVER before experienced in my department!) and a great air conditioner!
3. Heading EOW in 1980, I decided to "floor" my St. Regis on I-80 towards the Madison Avenue exit, in order to head to the North Station. You can see I exhibited the word "floor" in quotes. Because, on its "CERTIFIED" speedometer, it reached a grand total of 79 mph.

And I'm not kidding.



Blogger TexasFred said...

The Louisiana State Police had a batch of them too, some MORON in purchasing went nuts and ordered em, 318CID and the damn thing wouldn't pull a sick whore off the pot...

But, they were BIG, rode good and had a trunk you could carry an arsenal in... But if you DID carry an arsenal, the damn thing was further slowed down...

A good ride is nice but if you're working the Interstate you need a HORSE and a half..

I remember when the old D/FW Turnpike Police had 1 seaters, Dodge something or others, with 440Magnums, they were Turnpike chase cars, or, more appropriately, CATCH cars, they had one seat, a radio, a huge honkin motor, a ginormous carb setup and a fucking ROLL BAR!! I shit you not...

Put a 440 fully tuned in a St. Regis and it might have been pretty good... :)

Wed Oct 26, 10:29:00 PM PDT  
Blogger ∞ ≠ ø said...

This may make you feel better. A few of the comments are quite funny.

Thu Oct 27, 05:32:00 AM PDT  
Blogger mrchuck said...

Great Post!
The memories flowing!
I liked my 1973 Dodge Polara 440 pursuit for high altitude work on Highway 120, Tioga Pass country.
It could really handle that compared to all others that just died out climbing.
9941 ft at the pass.
What goes up, must come back down though.
And going downhill, well that was scary as the brake system would fade out.
Fire, smoke, screeching, then grind to a halt and wait for it all to cool out.
Those Dodges were for freeways in the valley.

Thu Oct 27, 08:00:00 AM PDT  
Blogger SAS said...

St. Regis well represents end result of governments "designing" cars...and it could be said that virtually all 70s U.S. models, at least, were awful. Note also that how horsepower was stated changed in '75 from SAE gross to SAE net. The '79 you were saddled with needed a 440 but the previous years was its last. It only had 195 SAE net but still produced prodigious torque. Hey...some tree-trunk sway bars and the right tires...she woulda been right...

Thu Oct 27, 08:33:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Scotty said...

I'm sorry, BZ, but the mental picture in my head of you trying to chase down a Chevy Caviler and losing, makes this old motor head snicker....

I feel your pain!

I bought a 77 Corvette a few years back. It had the biggest motor Chevy offered in a Corvette at that time. It was a 350 Cu In based motor and the designation for it was L-82. A whopping 195 horsepower....sad ain't it??!!

Needless to say, I made many a modification to it before my bad back forced me to sell it.

Thu Oct 27, 08:33:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

TF, I drove Monacos and Furys and Coronets and Polaras with 440s. I also drove Pontiac LeMans Enforcers with 400s. The St Regis was a piece of crap in comparison. I'd like to know what the one-seater cop car was. . .

∞ ≠ ø : oooooh, a Prius cop car and a SmartForTwo cop car! You KNOW it's Halloween because they're so SCARY!!

MrC: nice to reminisce, ain't it? Although, for their Last Gasp, the current batch of cops cars aren't too shabby.

SAS, and those days, indeed, are coming back with the CAFE ratings approaching.

Scotty: a Cavalier would've run rings around a St Slow-gis. It would have been challenged by a 1959 Nash Metropolitan.


Thu Oct 27, 03:27:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Greybeard said...

A buddy of mine worked for a City P.D. and had a Buick of some sort for patrol. I thought it was slow when he showed me it would only do 81!

I was Civil Defense Coordinator for the fastest growing county in the U.S. for 18 months and the job came with a hand-me-down full size'70 Chevy patrol car. It had 260,000 miles on it's 350 ci engine had obviously NEVER had a valve job...
It accelerated like Touche' Turtle, but had "V" rated tires and a heavy-duty suspension. At speed it handled like a Nascar stocker and when the county gave it up I almost bought it and rebuilt the motor.
(But that was during the worst of the fuel crisis and it drank gas like flushing a toilet.)

I feel sorry now for these guys having to deal with front-drivers.

Thu Oct 27, 04:55:00 PM PDT  
Blogger TexasFred said...

It was a customized Polaris BZ, I had to ask my brother, he had some experience with one, and they didn't have a *roll bar* they had a *roll cage* I am told...

The damned things were pursuit cars on the Pike and they NEVER lost a race... :)

Thu Oct 27, 05:18:00 PM PDT  
Blogger TexasFred said...

Or maybe a Polara... Damn if I know...

Thu Oct 27, 05:19:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Well Seasoned Fool said...

Regarding Dodge Dakotas, the story is Iacocca wanted an small pickup. Chrysler was broke. They took a car chassis and made a truck body to fit it. It was a tad larger than a Ranger or S-10. Most forlorn sight you can imagine was their 4 cyl in that big engine bay.

As a used car manager, I hated Chrysler products. Our Service Manager loved them. Everyone, without exception, needed reconditioning just to be safe to put on the lot.

Thu Oct 27, 05:32:00 PM PDT  
Blogger dmurray said...

"Pulled from my burrow," as William Peter Blatty says.

Cars weak, ammo strong, though. I had a box of issue Winchester 158 gr. semi jacketed hollowpoint from that era that I lit off at a new indoor range waaay back when that almost got me thrown out.

The rangemaster literally left his booth and inspected the rounds and the box. The headstamp said W-SUPER-W 357 MAGNUM. That was the old Firing Pin in West Sac.

Weak cars probably kept me from going fast enough to wash out of the academy for poor driving, except the part where I "rammed" an instructor, so I am thankful.

It was a big left turn. I crowded too closely as he got out of the throttle. Cue Barbra Streisand.

Thanks, homes!


Thu Oct 27, 07:20:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Old NFO said...

Damn... THAT is pathetic... No wonder CHiPs wouldn't chase us back then :-)

Fri Oct 28, 04:34:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

DM: but how PRESCIENT was it that you and I and Deep would come back to EVOC -- ??

NFO: in two words back then: they couldn't.


Sat Oct 29, 06:59:00 PM PDT  

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