I definately love some oddball cars.... if you've seen my other posts, you can tell I'm a fan of 'police package' cars, I just find them fascinating. I love the idea of a plain Jane sedan that hide some serious hardware underneath the unassuming sheet metal, or can take years and miles of hard abuse without a whimper. Or a car that can instill fear into other cars. Case in point: the 1969 Dodge Polara...
1969 was a pretty good year for cars in general, especially for high performance cars. Stateside you had the '69 Camaro which could be had with a 396 cu. in. V8 from the factory, or if you had the right dealer near you, a 427 cu. in. V8, the '69 Mustang could be had with a 428 Super Cobra Jet V8, a high winding 302 (Boss 302) or a 429 Boss V8, you could get a Plymouth Road Runner with a 440, both the 'normal' 4 barrel version (which was certainly no slouch!) or an insane '6 Pack' with 3 2 barrel carbs, or if you had money, the 426 Hemi. Or if you REALLY had money, you could get a '69 Corvette with an all aluminum 427, the ZL1. Even AMC had proper muscle cars with the AMX and the Javelin.
Save for the Corvette (only 2 were known to be built as ZL1's) cops needed some serious artillery to keep with those muscle cars, the meanest of the mean was the '69 Polara. This car could actually humiliate some of the revered muscle cars back then, it would take a serious big block V8 to escape, and even so, you'd probably chuck a piston anyhow. The Polara was used by the California Highway Patrol and it was one of their favorites... and for good reason. The Polara packed a 440 V8 that was rated at 375 gross horsepower. 0-60 was in the 7's, keep in mind that it was full of police equipment, Chippies rode in pairs back then and the Polara was a full sized 4 door. Here's why this car was so fearsome; it's 'official' recorded top speed back then was 147 MPH. No that's not a typo.... this car actually could go that fast, even on the tires of the period (bias ply!) and some Chippies substantiate that the Polara could go even faster then that (the CHP actually got their own unique cam for the 440 back then, complete with a Dodge part #) one officer actually recalled that he was going down Cajon Pass at 160! (though I'm not so sure of that story.... if I recall, they were trying to intercept a GTO)
The Polara did eventually lose power in '72, though it still packed a punch and could still pretty much chase down much more sporting machines of the day, eventually the Polara bowed out to the Monaco in '74, though not as fierce as the Polara, it still had a credible 275 net horsepower from the 440 and of course was made famous in the Blues Brothers as Elwood's Bluesmobile....(that movie is very much part of why I like 'cop cars'), though power really faltered in '75 as the 440 was choked by a catylitic converter (power fell to 200 hp, the Nissan S20 engine made 160 hp from just 2 liters for a point of reference versus 7.2 for the Dodge!) though performance got better when the Monaco was downsized and power was upped to 255 hp in '77, though '78 was the last year of the 440.... put this way: if you had an '81 Datsun 280ZX Turbo with 190 hp, the CHP had at the time, '81 Dodge St. Regis with a 318 V8, which wheezed out 155 hp and roughly 95 MPH top speeds soon became the ire of the CHP, this car opened the door for Ford and the police Mustang.