My family and I spent a year in Rochester Minnesota in 2001 could not believe the electronics inside these cars
1981 Plymouth Gran Fury - Class C
The 1981 Plymouth Gran Fury Pursuit was cheapened up a bit compared to the 1980 model. The gold brocade upholstery was replaced with a heavy plaid fabric and there were no power windows or power door locks as on the cars of the preceding several years. The only V-8 engine available for 1981 was the 318-4V teamed with a 3-speed automatic transmission. They worked far better than the 1980 version, but the performance was still less than exciting.
1981 Plymouth Gran Fury - Class A
(Photo from the R.C. Logan Collection)
1982 Ford LTD-S Interceptor - Class B
1982 Ford LTD-S Interceptor - Class A
1982 Ford LTD Wagon - Safety Education Unit
1983 Plymouth Gran Fury - Class A
(Photo from the R.C. Logan collection)
1983 Plymouth Gran Fury - Class B
(Photo courtesy of Bruce Carlson)
1983 Plymouth Gran Fury - Class D
This was unit number 43023 and was issued to the District Commander in Marshall, Minnesota. aka. my Dad. It was Formal Black with a very comfortable red velour interior. The state bid price on the '83 Plymouths was $8,682. I added the red pinstripes and the alloy wheels came from one of those used cars purchased a couple years earlier. It was a very sharp looking ride! A little ahead of their time, Dad and the local state mechanic devised a way to hide red lights in the front parking lights; a practice that is commonplace on today's squad cars.
Click the image above to see the full size 1983 Plymouth window sticker.
1983 Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser - Safety Education Unit
Running a 307 CID V8, equipped with an electronically controlled E4ME 4-barrel carburetor, rated at 140 hp and 255 lb-ft of torque, the Custom Cruiser was not really built for pursuit purposes. But, Oldsmobile offered heavy duty cooling, suspension parts, and a high output alternator that helped them survive the rigors of patrol use. There were just a few of these Oldsmobiles in service with the MSP, all of them assigned to Safety Education Officers.
1984 Ford LTD Crown Victoria - Class A
1984 Ford LTD Crown Victoria Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Unit
This 1984 Crown Victoria saw duty as a Commercial Vehicle Enforcement unit. It probably served as a Trooper unit for 80,000 miles or more before being handed down to the Commercial Vehicle Section.
1985 Ford LTD Crown Victoria - Class A
1985 Ford LTD Crown Victoria - Class B
1985 Ford Crown Victoria - Class C
1986 Chevrolet Caprice 9C1 Class B with Trooper Bruce Carlson
The State Patrol’s practice of buying cars in manufacturer’s standard colors was taking it’s toll on the uniform look of the fleet. The 1982 Fords and 1983 Plymouths were dark red. They passed for maroon, but barely. 1984 & 1985 Fords looked very good. In 1986, the Chevrolet Caprice was the vehicle of choice. It was the first time since 1955, that Chevrolets were purchased as regular patrol vehicles. It was also the first time a custom paint color was specified from GM.
Various stories circulated about how the color was chosen for the 1986 Chevrolets. Some say the Chief held the color chips up to his trousers under flourescent lights and chose the color. Some have said the color number was read incorrectly off the paint chart with the number above the paint chip specified rather than the number below the paint chip. How it truly happened is unclear, but the bottom line is the wrong color was selected. To make matters worse, the bright red paint was defective and faded quickly to a rosy pink. Many of the cars were repainted under the factory warranty. Some were repainted a more appropriate color, but most just got a fresh coat of red. Twenty-plus years later, people still make jokes about the Mary Kay cars of 1986.
1986 Chevrolet Caprice - Class C
1987 Chevrolet Caprice
1987 Chevrolet Caprice Interior
1987 Ford Safety Education Unit
1987 Chevrolet Caprice - Commercial vehicle Enforcement Unit
About ten of these units were purchased for Commercial Vehicle Inspectors; all of them grey in color. These units were not equipped with the police package and were powered by a 5.0 liter V-8.
1988 Plymouth Gran Fury
The 1988 Plymouth Gran Fury was the last of the Plymouths used by the Minnesota State Patrol. They were small, firm riding, agile handling cars. The drivetrain was nearly unchanged from that of the 1983 Gran Fury, except the 318 was now topped by a Rochester Quadrajet carburetor instead of the Carter carburetor of previous years. The unmarked 1988 Plymouths were among the first MSP cars equipped with airbags.
1989 Chevrolet Caprice
1989 Ford Mustang - Class C
1990 Chevrolet Caprice - Class B
1990 Chevrolet Suburban - Safety Education Unit
Suburbans were assigned to Safety Education Officers and mobile weight enforcement personnel. The 2-wheel drive 3/4 ton units were powered by a throttle body injected 350 CID V8 coupled to a 400 Turbo-Hydramatic transmission and 3.73:1 rearend. Most of these units were in service well in excess of 200,000 miles.