In Detail: Chevrolet Caprice PPV

The Chevrolet Caprice Police Patrol Vehicle (PPV) featured in TRANSLOGIC 55 is basically the sum total of all the law enforcement community has learned about patrol cars to date. The Los Angeles Police Department is a powerhouse in the world of municipal policing; the organization has resources and programs other departments can only dream of. For example, they equip, modify and repair all their vehicles in-house. That includes service bays, a body shop, an electronics and communications division, as well as a group of officers whose job it is to find, develop and apply new law enforcement technology. Police departments across the US have been looking for a new patrol car to replace the venerable Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor, which is set to retire later this year. In fact, the Crown Vic has already been removed from the Ford website and is available only to fleet customers (think rental cars, taxis, police and fire vehicles). This Ford continues to be popular with police departments because it's inexpensive to maintain and the V8 engine combined with rear wheel drive provides the handling and durability most police departments want.

Initially a Pontiac G8 patrol car was developed as a possible successor, but GM killed the Pontiac brand in the wake of its recent bankruptcy, and the G8 was scrapped as well...kind of. Mechanically, the Chevy Caprice is almost identical to the orphaned G8. Both are based on an Australian Holden, but the Caprice has a longer wheelbase than the Commodore/G8. This gives it a larger interior, so all the police stuff fits better. The Caprice is even larger inside than the spacious Ford Crown Victoria.

Although the Caprice has a 6.0L V8 making 355 hp, LAPD reps pointed out that a fast police car isn't all that critical. Sgt. Jason Liguori said "For our needs, top speed isn't really important. We need to get from zero to 30 miles per hour quickly and that's why cars like the Crown Vic and this new Caprice work well. They have a lot of torque which means getting up to speed quickly." Also, many police agencies have recently adopted new rules limiting high speed chases, further diminishing the need for a super-fast police car.

The 2012 Caprice PPV has plenty of modifications over a standard vehicle to make sure the car can handle hours of non-stop driving in some pretty demanding situations. To keep all the on-board electronics functioning properly, there's an extra battery in the trunk as well as a high output alternator. There's also 18 inch steel wheels, limited-slip rear differential, auxiliary engine oil and transmission coolers, four wheel disc brakes with heavy duty pads and less intrusive, police calibrated stability control.

The approximate cost of just the basic car is about $20,000. Of course, this money comes from taxpayers. In order to spend less on each car, the LAPD is trying vehicle wrapping instead of paint. The car featured in TRANSLOGIC 55 is really an all black sedan, the white portions are a vinyl vehicle wrap. Wrapping is more cost-effective than painting, easier and less expensive to repair and an all-black sedan will also sell for more money at auction when it's retired from police duty. Also, wrapping the car is more environmentally friendly than painting.

Look for the headlights of a new 2012 Chevrolet Caprice PPV in your rearview mirror as soon as mid-2011.

Click the image below to watch TRANSLOGIC 55: LAPD Chevy Caprice PPV:

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