Tuesday, March 16, 2010

All Ford Day - Part 2 - AFP Falcon Interceptor

Police car livery has come along way in a few years. Watch Division 4 (a Crawford Production) and you see a Victoria Police crest on the door of a white car, with a siren on the bonnet and a bubble light on the roof. That was the 1970's, now we see garish unmissable graphic designer fantasies adorning the sides of the average XR8 Falcon and SS Commodore.
At the All Ford Day on March 14, the AFP displayed one of their Falcon Police XR6 Interceptors.  In case you cant tell, there is a small AFP crest just behind the front wheels on the lower sills. I took some close up shoots to show how a police car is modified from the base car for its job.
Flashers mounted into the door mirrors. Note how dark the window tinting is. 
Better shot of the AFP crest. Nice mags officer! Look standard.
The light bar, various angles. The last shot of the rear of the light bar, shows a screen which displays messages with red led's. Very low profile light bar and mounting. 
Forward facing radar transmitter, photographed from behind. Interesting how it is affixed to the rear door glass. I guess this car doesn't cart 'suspects' back to the station 'to assist with inquiries'. 
All the windows were tinted, hopefully at legal spec, you can just make out flasher on the dash at front, computer screen, and two unknown devices above the heater/sound controls on the dash.
Side flasher in rear door quarter window

I dont know what modifications have been done to the suspension r running gear, but I imagine that Ford has a special order program for Police departments with specific components such as increased capacity radiators, oil coolers, alternators etc. 

The Ford Falcon is an excellent base for police car. Holden have had some good press recently announcing sales of a Statesman variant into the US to act as a US Police car. In the states last year I saw lots of Crown Vics, Chrysler 300's and Dodge Chargers used as police cars. 

Having driven around LA for a few weeks in a Lincoln Town Car (a badge brother of the Ford Crown Vic), I can state with absolute certainty that the Australian Ford Falcon is vastly superior in every aspect to its distant US cousin. Unless you like dated 70's ergonomics, 80's era plastic dashboards, 60's style liveaxle suspension (which Ford bizarrely use on the latest Mustang). If you like outdated engineering and packaging, then the Crown Vic is the car for you. If you want a modern car with good power, handling and levels of packaging, NVH etc, then go for a Falcon. 

Falcons are fairly robust bases for police cars, parts are readily available, the cars are built tough in the first place, and they are good comfortable cars to drive and ride in. The XR6 version used by the AFP for a chaser is a sensible choice. Cheap, fast, robust. Painted up like it is, it also serves as a visible deterrent to road miscreants, when parked in the middle road reserve facing oncoming traffic. 

Coming in Part Three - XA-B-C Falcons


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