Col­lec­tors’ cars

Australian Muscle Car - - Muscle Survivor -

“If it weren’t for the XR cop cars, then you wouldn’t have had mus­cle cars,” says Fal­con GT fa­natic Bob Dun­lop.

He pre­dicts that po­lice pur­suit spe­cials are likely to be the next big thing in mus­cle cars.

“There are fewer of them than HOs,” he says. But if you can find one still fit­ted with the orig­i­nal po­lice equip­ment, you’re a very lucky man.

“The lights and sirens are very hard to find; I reckon they are now rarer than all the GT and GT-HO Fal­con stuff.”

Bob Dun­lop is a GT Fal­con guru, spe­cial­is­ing in the rare and the un­usual. He picked up his first po­lice Fal­con twenty-four years ago from a car­yard in Ring­wood, when not many people knew what they were.

That one was a Vic­to­ria Po­lice XY fit­ted with a T-Code 351 top loader, painted Arc­tic White with fac­tory two-tone green trim. It had been used as an un­marked de­tec­tive’s car. “Ba­si­cally, it was a HO,” he says. He sold it some time ago but last year bought it back and it’s now un­der­go­ing restora­tion.

He’s had an­other four cop cars in be­tween, and he just loves them.

Over the years he’s heard of an­other dozen or so po­lice XYs that have sur­vived. All but four have been turned into replica GTs. This is the most com­mon fate for ex-po­lice cars. [ED: Oh, the irony of this!]

The ma­jor­ity were stripped of po­lice equip­ment when they were sold at auc­tion but a few have sur­vived in­tact. “They used to slip out the back of the deal­er­ships” Bob laughs.

He knows of only two XA Fal­con pur­suit cars and one XB, painted Onyx Black, be­cause it was pre­dom­i­nantly used on night pa­trol. It has just been ac­quired by a Fal­con col­lec­tor in Gee­long. It comes with the gen­uine books, sirens, and the fac­tory T-code 351 en­gine.

Of the XY Fal­cons, Bob reck­ons that Tim Sar­good’s (as fea­tured here) is about “the best ex­am­ple that’s out there.”

Af­ter Tim showed the car at the All Ford Day in Gee­long, he was in­vited to take it to the Phillip Is­land Clas­sic in March.

The re­sponse from the pub­lic was amaz­ing. Tim’s Fal­con is an ex-NSW Po­lice pur­suit car, a match­ing num­bers fac­tory-fit­ted T-code 351 4V in a 54H body, just like the GTs.

It’s in the orig­i­nal Cruise Blue which was only avail­able as a po­lice colour. Tim has re­stored it to as close to orig­i­nal as pos­si­ble but says that “there’s very lit­tle ev­i­dence of its po­lice use”.

There are clues how­ever. There was no blue light when he found it but the holes were still there, cov­ered by a vinyl roof when it was sold at auc­tion. The vinyl has been re­moved so he now knows where the light should be. Now he just needs to find a light.

There are also two holes in the floor pan next to the rear seat. He’s been told these were for hand­cuff re­straint points but this hasn’t been con­firmed. There’s no siren and he can’t work out where it was mounted. Some were on the bon­net, some on the grille, some in the en­gine bay.

For­tu­nately the of­fi­cial po­lice speedo was still there, cal­i­brated to 130mph with a very nar­row nee­dle for ac­cu­racy.

Find­ing orig­i­nal po­lice equip­ment is a real chal­lenge for own­ers but Bob Dun­lop say there is now a solid net­work of po­lice car col­lec­tors who like to help other re­stor­ers. There are also those who try to charge ridicu­lous prices for this stuff.

These cars are now in big de­mand and in­ter­est is grow­ing all the time. Apart from race­cars, gen­uine po­lice GTs are prob­a­bly the next most de­sir­able of the breed.

It’s not only Fal­cons, but we’ll save the oth­ers for an­other edi­tion of AMC.

Above: Tim Sar­good’s ‘Cruise Blue’ XY is one of many ex-cop cars be­ing pre­served. Be­low: Tim has tracked down old pho­tos of sim­i­lar po­lice cars to help with his resto.

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