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The Ford Mustang SSP was a lightweight police car package based on the Ford Mustang produced between 1982-1993. The car was meant to provide a speedier option for police departments in lieu of other full sized (and heavier) sedans on the market at the time. The SSP abbreviation means Special Service Package, a special Foxbody Mustang trim made exclusively for law enforcement use. One of the taglines used by Ford to help sell this car was This Ford chases Porsches for a living...

The units served a number of uses, and were often customized to suit each law enforcement agency's particular needs. Law enforcement agencies from municipal to government agencies bought nearly 15,000 examples of these units. Many still exist today, either still in some role of law enforcement, from display cars to DARE cars, or in the hands of collectors and racers.

History

In 1982, the California Highway Patrol asked the Ford Motor Company to produce a capable and lightweight police car due to the bulkiness of current police cars like the Ford Fairmont and LTD/Crown Victoria and the problems incurred with Chevrolet Camaros with their camshafts and engine problems at pursuit speeds. Taking the Fox 5.0 Mustangs in production at the time, Ford produced the Ford Mustang SSP and modified them to suit the needs of the police and law enforcement departments.

It is estimated that nearly 15,000 of these special units were made from 1982 until their discontinuation in 1993 for over 60 law enforcement organizations and government agencies. Their roles ranged from general patrol to pursuit units, with some used in special duties like drug interdiction to academy training units. Several units were specially tasked to help land the Lockheed U2 Spyplane.

Specifications

The Mustang SSP was essentially a more rugged version of the 5.0 Mustang, with added features (some standard, some optional) not available to the general public. Some of the additional features were:

  • Engine oil cooler
  • Silicone radiator hoses and aircraft-style clamps
  • Auto transmission fluid cooler
  • 130 and 135 amp internally and externally regulated heavy duty alternators
  • Two-piece VASCAR speedometer cable
  • Certified calibrated speedometer 0-140 mph (1982-early 1989) and 0-160 mph (late 1989-1993)
  • Non-operational courtesy lights (safety feature)
  • Relocated rear deck release
  • Single key locking doors/trunk
  • Reinforced floor pans
  • Full size spare tire

Depending on which agency bought them, extras like rollcages (installed by Oregon State Police) and power windows (requested by New York State Police) made each SSP unique to their respective departments. The original configuration of the civilian Mustang with its small rear seat and manual transmission were generally considered ill-suited for a law-enforcement vehicle. Many SSPs had automatic transmissions, to free an officers hand from using the manual transmission stick so that they could use the hand for other duties, such as speaking on a radio.

Usage

Some of the known users of the Mustang SSP include:

 United States Government

  • Drug Enforcement Administration
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • Immigration and Naturalization Service
  • United States Air Force - Used as a chase car for the U2 Spy Plane.
  • United States Border Patrol - Drug interdiction; resides at USBP Museum in Texas.
  • United States Customs Service
  • US Fish and Wildlife Service

 State governments

  • Alabama State Troopers
  • Arizona Department of Public Safety
  • California Highway Patrol - Initial Purchaser of the Mustang SSP
  • Colorado State Patrol
  • Connecticut State Police
  • Delaware State Police
  • Florida Highway Patrol - Second biggest user of the Mustang SSP.
  • Georgia State Patrol
  • Idaho State Police
  • Indiana State Police
  • Kansas Highway Patrol
  • Kentucky State Police
  • Louisiana State Police
  • Massachusetts State Police
  • Michigan State Police
  • Minnesota State Patrol
  • Mississippi Highway Patrol
  • Missouri Highway Patrol
  • Nebraska State Patrol
  • Nevada Highway Patrol
  • New Mexico State Police
  • New York State Police
  • North Carolina Highway Patrol
  • Oklahoma Highway Patrol
  • Oregon State Police
  • Pennsylvania State Police
  • Rhode Island State Police
  • South Carolina Highway Patrol
  • Tennessee Highway Patrol
  • Texas Department of Public Safety - Third biggest user of the Mustang SSP
  • Utah Highway Patrol
  • Washington State Patrol
  • Wisconsin State Patrol
  • Wyoming Highway Patrol

 Local/municipal governments

  • Arlington, TX Police Department
  • Douglas County, GA Sheriff's Department
  • Atlanta, GA Police Department
  • Clearwater, FL Police Department
  • Fort Worth, TX Police Department
  • Jonesboro, AR Police Department
  • New York City Police Department - Highway Patrol Branch
  • Pensacola, FL Police Department
  • San Francisco Police Department
  • Winter Park FL Police Department
  • Beverly Hills, Ca Police Department
  • Portland Police Bureau, OR
  • Gilroy, CA Police Department

 Canada

  • Royal Canadian Mounted Police
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