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Author Topic: Cop Cars: Cop Car Performance Data 1981-1989  (Read 23720 times)

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Cop Cars: Cop Car Performance Data 1981-1989
« on: January 10, 2008, 12:53:08 »

M-Body Police Car Performance Data

Below are specifications and performance data for Chrysler LeBaron, Dodge Diplomat and Plymouth Gran Fury Police Cars manufactured from 1981 to 1989.

Engine:225/6 1BBL318 4BBL318 4BBL
[email protected]:[email protected][email protected][email protected]
Torque lbs/[email protected][email protected][email protected][email protected]
Weight lbs369438563851
0-60 Sec.21.0612.8612.84
0-100 Sec.N/A45.2442.71
1/4 Mile E.T./MPH22.80/61.7518.90/73.5019.38/75.5
Top Speed MPH92.65114.7116.3
Rear End Ratio2.94:1294:1294:1

1981 Note: 1981 was the first year the redesigned Dodge Diplomat became available for police testing. 1981 also saw the last Chrysler marque squad car, the LeBaron. All tests were made with a full line of police equipment, including a full sized spare tire in the trunk of the car.

1982Gran FuryGran FuryDiplomat
Engine:225/6 1BBL318 4BBL318 4BBL
[email protected]:[email protected][email protected][email protected]
Torque lbs/[email protected][email protected][email protected][email protected]
Weight lbs370638633875
0-60 Sec.20.3612.2412.19
0-100 Sec.N/A39.8639.95
1/4 Mile E.T./MPH22.53/62.3519.08/76.5019.20/75.25
Top Speed MPH96.2116.3115.4
Rear End Ratio2.94:1294:1294:1

1983Gran FuryGran FuryDiplomat
Engine:318 4BBL225/6 1BBL318 4BBL
[email protected]:[email protected][email protected][email protected]
Torque lbs/[email protected][email protected][email protected][email protected]
Weight lbs388136883887
0-60 Sec.12.3818.7512.81
0-100 Sec.39.68N/A40.46
1/4 Mile E.T./MPH19.10/76.522.03/63.519.30/75.5
Top Speed MPH12096.5118.8
Rear End Ratio2.94:1294:1294:1

1984Gran FuryGran FuryDiplomat
Engine:318 2BBL318 4BBL318 4BBL
[email protected]:[email protected][email protected][email protected]
Torque lbs/[email protected][email protected][email protected][email protected]
Weight lbs385338883879
0-60 Sec.13.1110.8811.02
0-100 Sec.60.7534.4334.57
1/4 Mile E.T./MPH19.50/71.818.2/77.518.23/76.8
Top Speed MPH106.2121.4118.8
Rear End Ratio2.94:12.94:1294:1

1984 Note: 1984 Note: There's a bit of a conundrum in the 1984 testing figures, specifically the rear end ratio of the 318 2 barrel car. Starting in 1983 the standard final drive ratio for the Diplomat/Gran Fury/Caravelle with the 318 2 barrel V-8 was the 2.24:1. The 2.94:1 was available as an option, labelled "oil field special". This particular option was little known to most fleet ordering departments and from what I've been led to believe, fairly expensive. The 318 4 barrel and 225 /6 1 barrel cars in 1983 both received the 2.94:1 ratio, while the 318 2 barrel cars were saddled with the 2.24:1 ratio through the 1986 model year. Perhaps the Michigan State Police were "up" on the Chrysler Corporation option book and didn't get snookered by a V-8 powered car with the lowest numerical final drive ratio Chrysler ever put into a RWD car, and ordered 2 barrel cars for testing, with the best possible ratio.

1985Gran FuryGran FuryDiplomat
Engine:318 2BBL318 4BBL318 4BBL
[email protected]:[email protected][email protected][email protected]
Torque lbs/[email protected][email protected][email protected][email protected]
Weight lbs377139023998
0-60 Sec.14.2012.6012.42
0-100 Sec.53.2742.0040.15
1/4 Mile E.T./MPH20.05/71.8019.23/73.8019.10/74.50
Top Speed MPH116.1119.4117.6
Rear End Ratio2.24:12.94:1294:1

1985 Note: 1985 models saw an increase in compression ratios for the 318 2 barrel cars from 8.4:1 to 9.0:1. The Carter BBD was dropped in favor of the Holley 6280 carburetor on the two barrel police engines. 318 2 barrel police engines received roller cam followers for reduced friction. The compression ratio change, the Holley carburetor, roller cam followers and "fast burn technology" raised horsepower to 140 and increased torgue by 20 ft/lbs to 265 in the 318 2 barrel (ELD) police engine...

1986Gran FuryGran FuryDiplomat
Engine:318 2BBL318 4BBL318 4BBL
[email protected]:[email protected][email protected][email protected]
Torque lbs/[email protected][email protected][email protected][email protected]
Weight lbs387139293897
0-60 Sec.12.0611.5811.48
0-100 Sec.43.1136.5836.07
1/4 Mile E.T./MPH18.88/73.8018.10/76.3018.33/76.50
Top Speed MPH110.1119.4121.5
Rear End Ratio2.24:12.94:1294:1

1986 Note: The major change for 1986 was the loss of the 2.24:1 rear end ratio for the 318 2 barrel V-8 cars on the police car side of things. Making the the 2.94:1 rear end ratio standard to the 318 2 barrel cars increased performance to nearly match the old 318 four barrel numbers.

Starting in 1986 the Dodge Diplomat and Plymouth Gran Fury were saddled with a "gas guzzler" tax in the U.S. when they failed to meet the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards of 26 MPG. The tax amounted to as much as $1500.00 on each car; from 1986 to the end of production in 1989, the Diplomat/Gran Fury was one of only and handful of cars (most were exotic/imported sports cars) to be hit with the "gas guzzler" appellation...

1987Gran FuryGran FuryDiplomat
Engine:318 2BBL318 4BBL318 4BBL
[email protected]:[email protected][email protected][email protected]
Torque lbs/[email protected][email protected][email protected][email protected]
Weight lbs389539243885
0-60 Sec.14.6512.3912.72
0-100 Sec.52.4438.6440.53
1/4 Mile E.T./MPH20.63/71.7519.18/75.0019.35/73.50
Top Speed MPH113.3117.5116.9
Rear End Ratio2.24:12.94:12.94:1

1987 Note: 1987 saw the reintroduction of the anemic 2.24:1 rear end gearing, which would now stay on the 2 barrel cars until the end of production in 1989.  As a result, the AHB package K-cars easily beat the 318 2 barrel AHB M-bodies by a good 1 1/2 car lengths in the 1/4 mile. The 1987 model year also saw the car line manufacturing plant moved from Fenton Missouri to the old  Kenosha Wisconsin AMC plant after Chrysler purchased AMC for $1.5 billion. Chrysler spent $200 million to retool the plant, which started manufacture of the M-body late in the 1987 model year. The one standard equipment improvement for 1987 was the addition of a stainless steel exhaust system. The FWD K-car, Reliant and Aries police units, which had only been selling 1,000 units a year, was discontinued at the end of the 1987 model year...

1988Gran FuryDiplomatGran FuryDiplomat
Engine:318 2BBL318 2BBL318 4BBL318 4BBL
[email protected]:[email protected][email protected][email protected][email protected]
Torque lbs/[email protected][email protected][email protected][email protected][email protected]
Weight lbs3873387539103950
0-60 Sec.
0-100 Sec.51.857.240.138.8
1/4 Mile E.T./MPH20.18/71.8320.08/71.8519.01/74.8018.59/75.40
Top Speed MPH110.0110.0117.0117.0
Rear End Ratio2.24:12.24:12.94:12.94:1

1988 Note:1988 saw the last Dodge used by the California Highway Patrol. CHP had used Dodge almost exclusively since 1956 and Dodge had bent over backwards to keep them as a loyal police car customer. Improvements to performance, braking and running gear by Chevrolet and Ford were taking their toll on the Dodge and Plymouth squads. Standard equipment upgrades for 1988 consisted primarily of an AirBag, introduced in May of 1988. The corporate bean counters and FWD oriented engineers had been nipping at the heels of the last remaining V-8 powered, RWD car in Chrysler's line-up, for several years. They finally got their wish when Chrysler announced late in the 1988 model year that the Diplomat/Gran Fury would be discontinued in mid-year 1989.

1989Gran FuryDiplomatGran FuryDiplomat
Engine:318 2BBL318 2BBL318 4BBL318 4BBL
[email protected]:[email protected][email protected][email protected][email protected]
Torque lbs/[email protected][email protected][email protected][email protected][email protected]
Weight lbs3895387638853894
0-60 Sec.14.9814.3811.7711.84
0-100 Sec.58.1358.5838.0238.95
1/4 Mile E.T./MPH20.23/71.5520.23/71.6018.63/76.2018.79/75.50
Top Speed MPH111.2113.2120.2119.1
Rear End Ratio2.24:12.24:12.94:12.94:1

1989 Note: End Of An Era - On top of the police car market for decades, Chrysler Corporation had announced the M-body Diplomat/Gran Fury/Caravelle(Canada) would be discontinued by mid year 1989 to it's dealers and the various departments that had been loyal to the marque's throughout the 1980's. The announcement in late 1988 had surprised few people--the RWD M-body platform had been the ugly stepchild of Chrysler since the early 80's and had soldiered on because of the demand for police versions of the car and the good press (and money) that demand engendered.

The M-body line remained basically the same thoughout it's run, with only minor upgrades. For 1989 those upgrades consisted of a stainless steel exhaust system (introduced at the start of the 1988 model year), driver's side airbag (introduced in May 1988), tilt wheel, tinted glass, intermittent wipers, and an AM/FM stereo with available radio delete, all as standard equipment.

Among cars tested during the 1989 Michigan State Police tests, the Diplomat placed 4th and the Gran Fury placed 3rd.  The overall winner was the Chevrolet Caprice with it's 350 EFI V-8, which bested the M's by nearly 9 seconds in the 0-100 MPH category and attained a 122 MPH top speed, something that hadn't happened since the baby LTD had done so in 1984. Four of the six testing categories were won by the Chevy with the Diplomat capturing best brakes and interior

On the same day that the Dodge Brothers celebrated their 75th Anniversary, the Kenosha Wisconsin line was shut down and the manufacture of the M-body ceased. Chrysler would be out of the RWD police vehicle business until 1992, when it returned with an AHB version of it's Jeep Cherokee, where once gain, it established a precedent. Ford and GM would have to play catch-up, this time on the SUV side of the police vehicle market.

Urban Legend: The 360 M-Body Cop Car:

  • Were There Any Production 360 M-Body Cop Cars? There is a lot of misinformation floating around the Internet claiming that there were M-body cop cars equipped with 360 engines.  For the record, there were 360 M-bodies built through 1979.  However, no factory 360 M-body cop cars were ever produced.  Why? Because lower priced F-Body Dodge Aspens and Plymouth Volares were designated as the mid-size squad cars through 1980 - not M-bodies. The first M-Bodies used in police service (designated as A38s), were 1981 Dodge Diplomats and Chrysler LeBarons, which were built after Chrysler stopped using the 360 in passenger cars and after Chrysler discontinued the F-Body line.
  • Were Any M-Body Cop Cars Retrofitted With 360s? Other sites claim that some law enforcement agencies retrofitted their M-body cop cars with 360 engines. This is highly unlikely. Marshall Costello is a retired law enforcement officer and an expert on squad cars.  He is also a member of the Emergency Vehicle Owners and Operators Association (EVOOA).  He responded to this question with the following statement; "There were lot's of stories about engine modifications and retrofits going on (especially in the R-bodied St. Regis' in California in 1980 that were saddled with 318 4 barrel V-8's) but 360 factory Diplomats were (more than likely) wishful thinking on a lot of people's parts. Sure, some department somewhere may have done it, but with budget constraints the way they were in the 80's AND the fact that the 360 wasn't EPA and CARB certified in the '80 thru '89 M-body (PD's have to obey the same laws as everyone else, including and especially Federal clean air statutes),  I sincerely doubt it would have taken place with public knowledge. The 360 would have also voided the police department's factory warranty on any car it was installed in because it wasn't certified for use in the M-body car; the one thing I can tell you is that bean counters in any police department are always looking for ways to save money and voiding whatever factory warranty there is on a car, simply ain't the way to do that... "


  • Compilation and comments by Farley's member Marshall Costello
  • Comments by Farley's member Woodvark
  • Dodge, Plymouth & Chrysler Police Cars 1979-1994 by Sanow and Bellah

Additional Note: The data entered above is still being verified for accuracy.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2008, 22:24:58 by Reggie »
"There is only one success - to be able to spend your life in your own way." - Christopher Morley 1890-1957, American author and editor

Library format and content © 2007- 2012 Reginald A. Royster, Sr., unless otherwise authored or noted.

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Re: Cop Cars: Cop Car Performance Data 1981-1989
« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2012, 12:36:01 »

I can't edit this, but I should point out that the BHP abbreviation should read "Net horsepower."
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