Chas­ing the chaser

Unique Cars - - MORLEY’S WORKSHOP -

I have just re­stored my Ford XE ex-chaser and my ver­i­fi­ca­tion pa­pers state that it’s one of six in sil­ver. It’s a fac­tory 5.8 Cleve­land, nineinch, four-wheel-disc car with four-speed floor shift. I’m try­ing to find out if this was a spe­cial or­der car for maybe a com­mis­sioner or de­tec­tive. Would you know how I could get some info on it?

I just read your ar­ti­cle in Unique Cars with the ex-High­way Pa­trol cars. Any info would be great. Michael St James, Email HI MICHAEL. I rang my mate at Ford to check this stuff out, and it seems the whole deal is a bit more com­pli­cated than it seems. For a start, I can’t re­ally find any­thing out with­out a VIN, so if you send me that, we can take this to the next level.

But be­yond that, my man on the in­side reck­ons that Ford Oz doesn’t of­fer a ver­i­fi­ca­tion ser­vice. Which begs the next ques­tion: Who has is­sued the ver­i­fi­ca­tion doc­u­ment you’re read­ing from. Ac­cord­ing to my mate, Ford has been keep­ing an eye on a bunch of op­er­a­tors who claim to be able to ver­ify a par­tic­u­lar car and then is­sue a cer­tifi­cate to that ef­fect. Thing is, it’s not Ford do­ing it, and there’s a con­cern that the in­for­ma­tion may not be cor­rect or com­plete. Also, Ford Oz is a bit antsy about a third-party com­pany is­su­ing doc­u­ments on Ford

let­ter­head. And fair enough.

So my next ques­tion is who is­sued the cer­tifi­cate you’re quot­ing from and who are they re­ally? Was this a ser­vice you paid for? Did it claim to be a fac­tory-backed ver­i­fi­ca­tion ser­vice? Which is an­other way of say­ing, are you re­ally sure your car is one of only six with that spec­i­fi­ca­tion and sil­ver paint?

The other thing that’s very dif­fi­cult to as­cer­tain 30-some­thing years down the track is who wound up with the car. Ford’s records would prob­a­bly show that it was built to a po­lice spec­i­fi­ca­tion, but once it was de­liv­ered to the rozzers, it would have been up to them to de­cide who got to drive it. From the spec sheet, though, it sounds very much like this would have been a High­way Pa­trol car. The Com­mis­sioner might have got it (if he was a petrol-head and knew it was com­ing) but it’s un­likely the force would have al­lowed the Ds or the Sci­en­tific Squad to get hold of what re­ally was the last of the In­ter­cep­tors.

There are wheels within wheels at work here, too: I once looked at an AU XR6 man­ual which had all the hallmarks of be­ing an un­marked ex-cop car. Cer­tainly it had all the right bits. But it turned out to be an ex-Jus­tice De­part­ment car and was prob­a­bly used to ferry the bad­dies in and out of court in a plain-brown wrap­per with the abil­ity to get the hell out of Dodge if the sit­u­a­tion re­quired it. Or maybe it was used as an un­marked wing­man to shadow the prison van in case some­thing kicked off. Maybe. Who knows? But it’s kind of fun to spec­u­late.

What­ever hap­pens, Michael, what you have is an ex­cit­ing and sig­nif­i­cant part of Aussie mo­tor­ing his­tory and a hell of a car into the bar­gain. Look af­ter it.

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