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You Have The Right to Remain Terrified by Mecum's Fully-kitted Ex-California Highway Patrol 2002 Camaro B4C

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On: Mon, Dec 2, 2013 at 5:03PM | By: Andrew W Davis


You Have The Right to Remain Terrified by Mecum's Fully-kitted Ex-California Highway Patrol 2002 Camaro B4C

No. It can’t be. NO! But it’s a… a Camaro! Then the unmistakable round red “takedown” light pops on and I know the California Highway Patrol has me dead to rights. And forget about fleeing. Not that I ever would, but the test Nissan Maxima I was bombing down I-5 in would be meat on the table for a car like what I found to be the first “B4C” (police) package ’02 Camaro in that neck of the woods.

First thing out of the officer’s mouth—hand to God—was, “Dang. I thought you were going to run. They say these Camaros’ll do almost 150, but without a suspect to chase we can’t exceed 100.” Then I, professional wordsmith that I am, offered an equally shocking, “Sorry to disappoint you.”

He laughed, I tried to laugh back, and he let me go. And as I watched his shark-like black-and-white police-package Z28 slide off into the night, I swore one day I’d have one just like it, lights, labels, and all. And if I was in Anaheim, CA during Mecum’s Nov. 21-23 auction, I really could’ve. But [insert excuse why here] someone beat me to it. And for a price I STILL can’t believe…

If you’re reading this, chances are that you’ve spent your entire driving life playing the head- and tail-light reading game. It’s pure self-preservation. If you can see the cop before he sees you, well, you at least have a fighting chance at not having to fight a ticket.

I’m a Californian born-and-bred, and there—unlike in stupid Michigan where I live now—they had rules about setting up speed traps every five feet that were very simple: THEY COULDN’T DO IT. Cops could park wherever they liked, they just couldn’t do it with the express purpose of revenue generation.

Instead, the theory was this: As I’ve often heard old-school LEOs (that’s “law-enforcement officers”) say that no matter how fast your car is, “You can’t outrun a Motorola.” Back then you just stationed cruisers at every likely intersection via car-to-car radio, and *poof* the bad guy got caught.

For a while.

You see, as cars got faster, cop cars tried—literally and figuratively—to keep up. But you can’t make a Clydesdale win the Kentucky Derby, so it was discovered that if you STARTED with a speeder’s-style car and then add all the cop stuff to it, you not only had a vehicle nobody—for a while at least—would peg as the Five-Oh, but one that could also do high-speed takedowns all by itself.

And the scourge of the Ford Mustang SSP (Special Service Package) and Chevy Camaro B4C (Bad-ass 4 Cops [I may have fudged a bit on that one]) began.

See, there’s a LOT of Mustangs and Camaros in California, so tiptoeing around each of them is insane. So to try and step up your game, you started looking for light bars, extra antennas, white tops on black cars, etc., to up your chances.

But then I decided to circumvent the whole issue and to just buy an SSP or B4C of my own. I could keep it as cop-looking as possible, add the phony antennas and whatnot, and bang! a cop car of my very own.

Simple, right?

Well, long story short I DID get a Mustang SSP/LX, but before they would sell it to me—YEARS after it last turned a wheel in anger—they STRIPPED it. I mean they even took the brackets that held stuff, the wiring, EVERYTHING.

Including the engine!

How the CHP had a “spare” 2.3-liter four-banger just lying around I’ll never know, but it—and a terrible all-over dark metallic-y paint job—were my rewards for years of hard(ish) work.

I was told that this is the ONLY way a civvie can get a CHP SSP or B4C or even a BLT because criminals would use them, people could get into collisions and drive away leaving the victim to say a cop rammed them, etc.

OK, fine. So I sold the Mustang to some kid and started looking at used Crown Vics instead.

Well, color me takedown-light red when I saw Lot F134 at Mecum’s Anaheim auction this very month. Not only was there the Holy Grail of CHP units—a nearly-new 2002 Camaro Z28 B4C—on offer, but the damn thing was an “original 2002 Highway Patrol Camaro” still with its “original light bar, original badging, original sirens and horns” plus its “LS1 V-8 310 HP” and “160 MPH capability.”

And the damn thing sold for just $14,500.

What the FU… *Ahem*. [I think at this point it’s best that I exercise my right to remain silent, lest my editors use what I have to say in You’ll-Never-Work-In-This-Business-Again court.]

Well, I will add this one thing:

Officer Car Guy, wherever you are, I can honestly attest to a 2002 Camaro’s ability to meet—and greatly exceed—150 mph. And now that we know there’s still at least one B4C cruiser around in fighting shape, perhaps you can still pull some strings and get that CHP Camaro high-speed chase thing you always wanted going.

But beware: I won’t be packin’ no mere Maxima next time. Perhaps a 2014 Camaro ZL1 in full CHP regalia will fill the bill. Hell, race or no, that’d be freaking AWESOME!

[Uh oh. I know that feeling... Goodbye, virgin driving record. It was fun while it lasted…]


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