In the 1950’s, Dodge enjoyed a reputation for superior engineering thanks to advanced features like TorqueFlite transmissions, torsion bar suspension and unibody construction. So where dependability and performance were required, Dodge was a popular choice—in law enforcement, for example.
The 1959 Dodge Coronet police special (above) was built on a heavy-duty 122-inch wheelbase chassis (shared with DeSoto) with the aforementioned torsion bar suspension and rugged unibody construction. Law enforcement agencies could choose from two available 383 cubic-inch V8s: a D-500 320 hp version with a single four-barrel carburetor and a Super D-500 345 hp unit with dual carburetors. Most departments chose the 320 hp model for ease of maintenance.
In contrast to the four-door body styles used by most police agencies, the California Highway Patrol cruiser shown here is a two-door sedan. The CHP, a pioneer in highway law enforcement, often selected two-doors since prisoner transportation was not considered a priority.
As a high-volume buyer, the CHP supplied significant input into the specifications of police vehicles, while Dodge used law-enforcement fleets to monitor the service life of key components including shocks, brakes, and cooling systems.
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