There has been a definite lack of a great deal written on the collecting and restoring of police cars. These important pieces of automotive history have only in recent times been made more noteworthy.

Like anyone interested in purchasing any vintage car, there are decisions to be made and things to be considered. Let’s look at a few of them rationally and simply one at a time, ones that I personally consider of great importance. I’m only addressing a few irrefutable facts. You can make your own opinions as you see fit to do so.

If you are looking to this segment of the collector car hobby to make an investment grade purchase, look elsewhere. It is not uncommon for a collector to invest much more than the car’s “book value.” While these days, the stated value of any car is relative to what someone is willing to pay for it (and we can thank the auction houses and eBay largely for this), many in all segments of the classic car hobby invest more than the vehicles are financially worth in print to restore them. It becomes more of an emotional, sentimental, or personal thing.


The accessories needed to make a detailed and correct police car can become pricey, especially the older the car represented is. This is the first issue that you would need to address to yourself in advance. How much are you willing or able to spend and can you exceed this by how much during the entire process? Yes, you will definitely exceed your initial budget by the time the project is completed and ready to show, so be prepared.

Are you looking to obtain one for a daily driver or for a show and parade car? This can make a significant difference. If you just want one to drive, you just need to look at mechanical and cosmetic restoration. There is no such thing as an old cop car that needs no mechanical repairs, no matter if it was a patrol vehicle or a chief’s buggy that saw limited use and only a couple of drivers. Expect that if you want to drive it all the time, you will have to invest significantly in mechanical upgrades or you will find yourself cursing at it on the burm of the road one day in the foreseeable future. The more you are going to drive it, the more that will have to be fixed, simple as that.

Article by Wes Notovitz, Second National Vice President, Police Car Division Coordinator