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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Wanna Buy an Old S.F. Police Car and Scare the Bejeezus Out of Everyone? Here's How

Posted By on Wed, Jan 28, 2009 at 6:30 AM

click to enlarge So, are you patrolling for psychos or are you the psycho?
  • So, are you patrolling for psychos or are you the psycho?


Anyone who's ever been jolted into throwing some perfectly good contraband into the gutter at the sight of an approaching Ford Crown Victoria  -- only to notice a couple of idiot teenagers with hoodies and baseball caps in the front seat -- has probably had one of the following thoughts:


  • If I keep telling myself they're young, undercover Mod Squad cops, I'll feel better about this;
  • This experience has soured me on American cars once and for all;
  • How can I get an old police car and horrify people and potentially draw gunfire my way?

Well, if you answered (c), then SF Weekly can help!

When San Francisco police cars grow long in the tooth, many of them end up at First Capital Auction in Vallejo, where nearly 20 cities and counties sell off their used service vehicles.

Auctioneer Brian McKissack has been hawking police cars since the Dodge Diplomat days (he described the Diplomat as "obsolete" -- and Dick Cheney concurs!).

McKissack may be a great auctioneer, but he had about as much trouble answering basic questions as anyone SF Weekly has spoken to in years -- and something about his demeanor could drive away even door-to-door Jehovah's Witnesses. Still, we got this information out of him:

Many of the cars at Capital still have the "chase engines" and are "Interceptor" models. Most are either all-black or all-white. The average car is five or six years old and has clocked at least 100,000 miles. And, perhaps most importantly, prices range from $500 to $2,500 "or even four grand" in rare instances.

But before you obtain the retired cop car of your dreams, know this: Installing a pulsating bar of lights in the back window like the one in the photo illustrating this article is illegal in San Francisco. And be prepared to keep those unwieldy searchlights on your door -- removing them leaves broomstick-wide holes.

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Bio:
Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.

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