“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.