Chasing the chaser
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.