by Bob McHugh
Delta, British Columbia – The Daimler-Chrysler people called it a “Special Service Vehicle” (apparently there are other markets for it) when they were here last week, at the Boundary Bay police training facility, near Vancouver, BC. Here to show and promote the new 2003 “Police” version of the Chrysler Intrepid to local police detachments.
Chrysler got out of the “cop-car” business about twelve-years ago when it axed its full-sized Dodge Diplomat rear-drive sedan and made a complete switch to front-drive platforms. Back then a police car had to be rear-drive, but Chrysler has sensed a shift in police auto-culture and the recent fuel tank problems on the Ford Crown Victoria could also make its “return-to-the-force” a timely one.
Built in Brampton, Ontario and based on the R/T version of the Intrepid, the Police Intrepid (according to Chrysler) out-classes its other main competitor, the Chevrolet Impala (also built in Ontario) in just about every performance category. However, re-entering the cop-car business is unlikely to be an easy ride.
What separates the Police Intrepid from the street version? To start with, the mechanical bits are beefed-up to withstand additional punishment; the electrical system is designed to take the extra lighting and other power demands and the interior is comfortable up front and basic – hose-it-out basic, in the rear.
Power is provided by a 3.5 litre V6 engine rated at 244 hp @ 4,000 rpm and it has lots of off-the-line torque 250 lb-ft at 3,950 rpm. Chrysler claim a 0-100 time of 8.9 seconds and top speed is limited to 220 km/hour. The police package includes a 160-amp alternator, additional oil coolers on the engine, steering and transmission, a heavy-duty cooling system, ‘V’ rated Goodyear RS-A tires and a full-sized spare wheel.
A pylon pursuit track was laid-out on the converted concrete runway and we were given an opportunity to play “chase the bad guys”, with lights flashing and sirens a wailing. And for a big sedan the Intrepid is a surprisingly nimble and capable machine.
Back in the 60’s and 70’s, Chrysler was the most popular police vehicle in the land, with 60 per cent of the business. The new Police Intrepid has been three years in the making and looks ready to “serve and protect.”