1982 California Highway Patrol SSP Mustang

The one that started it all!

 

Text and photos by Mike Riley

Owner: Mike Riley

 

 

    “This Ford chases Porsches for a living” … was how Ford described their new 1982 pursuit package Mustang. The early 80’s were a tough time for those in law enforcement needing a speedy chase vehicle. Big block powered Police vehicles were history, and the cruisers of the day were woefully underpowered for pursuit situations. Something was needed to fill the void, and Ford stepped in during 1982 introducing the SSP, or Special Service Package, equipped Mustang. During 1982 406 of these vehicles were built for one agency, the California Highway Patrol, to try on their roads. The cars were such a success that in 1983 many other agencies followed suit and ordered them, including FHP, Texas DPS, Colorado and Wisconsin State Patrols.

    Equipped in the classic Black and White CHP colors, the Fox bodies quickly gained a reputation for running down speeders where CHP’s slow and unwieldy St. Regis patrol cars couldn’t. Handling was nimble, and the power to weight ratio was excellent. At 157 HP with a Holley 2 barrel carb, 4 speed manual transmission, 3.08 7.5” rear end and single exhaust, these cars may not seem exciting today, but at the time there wasn’t much that could outrun one!

    Despite using a stock Mustang drivetrain, the SSP Mustang quickly earned a reputation for being durable, reliable and using less fuel than full size vehicles. For departments the size of CHP and others, it added up to some real bottom line cost savings, and the cars quickly became a staple of the fleet.

    Although the SSP would offer many ‘Police only’ options throughout the 11 year program run in 1982 only a few were available. On this particular car, a 140 MPH ‘Certified’ speedometer, anti-static bonding straps, and single key locking were typical of items available only to law enforcement. As the program progressed through 1993, other options such as silicone hoses, 130 amp heavy duty alternators, oil coolers, and special wheels were offered on the SSP option list.

    Equipment on this particular car (and all 1982 CHP Mustangs) was fairly Spartan...roll up windows, manual door locks, no cruise control, and no radio! A Federal Signal CC-1 siren, Micor radio and Regency M-100 scanner were standard emergency equipment, as well as the roof mounted antenna and quarter panel mounted ‘whip’ antenna. Along with the traditional ‘steady burn’ red spotlight, used for signaling violators to pull over, wigwags and alternately flashing red and yellow rear deck lights were also used. Additionally, an electronically operated shotgun rack and ‘gooseneck’ reading lamp were part of the typical CHP setup on all vehicles. This car has been restored as correctly as possible, with genuine CHP equipment being used as part of the effort.

    Last Update 11.03.05

Rear shot, red flashing light works alternately with amber flasher. Whip antenna would get fastened.

Interior, correct shotgun rack, M-100 scanner.

Front steady-burn red Unity spotlight means 'Hey Buddy..Pull over!'

A look from the drivers's side, 4 speed shifter made pursuit driving and radio comms a challenge!

       

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