Can I Buy an Old Police Car?

Article Details
  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 13 September 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
    Conjecture Corporation
  • Print this Article
Free Widgets for your Site/Blog
The average American has around 60 "bad days" a year; lack of sleep is the biggest contributing factor.  more...

October 20 ,  1973 :  The "Saturday Night Massacre"  more...

Depending on where you live, it is indeed possible to buy an old police car. Most police forces around the world are constantly in the process of updating their vehicle fleets, and they typically sell off old vehicles through government surplus auctions. As a general rule, old police cars are more readily available for sale in urban areas, where a large fleet of vehicles is necessary and ample funding allows for frequent updates. In isolated rural areas, it can be more difficult to obtain a police car, especially if you live in a region where police are underfunded.

There are several ways in which you can buy an old police car. Many police forces hold periodic auctions in which surplus equipment is sold, typically at a steep discount. Large police departments may have their own auctions, while others may bundle their goods in with a larger government surplus auction which combines equipment from multiple agencies. Old police cars are sometimes also sold at used car sales and auctions, especially those held by government agencies. These auctions are all publicly listed in the paper of record for the region. Sometimes you can also buy an old police car directly from the department, especially in a small town, in which case you may want to ask the department staff about the possibility of buying retired police cars.


If you buy an old police car at auction, you are usually not allowed to test drive it beforehand. It's a good idea to assess the condition of an old police car as best you can before buying it, because police officers are very hard on their cars. If you don't have a lot of car repair and mechanics experience, find a friend who does, and ask the friend to come with you to the car lot to inspect the car and look for obvious potential problems.

Once you purchase an old police car, you are required to remove identifiable markings so that people on the road do not confuse you with a real police officer. Some police departments paint their cars with primer before sale to ensure that they are not mixed up with the real vehicle fleet, while others simply ask that people remove department markings before driving. People who buy vintage police cars may be allowed to store the original markings, due to the fact that the age of the car clearly differentiates it from the rest of the fleet.

The lights and siren are usually disabled before purchase as well, so that they are not abused by civilian owners. You will also usually be required to get new license plates, since police cars are often identified with government plates, so when you register your vehicle, make sure to specify that it is a decommissioned police car so that new plates will be issued for you.


You might also Like


Discuss this Article

Post 4

The best place to buy a old police car is from a Ford fleet dealer, because they get them in on trade, and you can test drive them. I bought my 2008 Crown Victoria about four years ago, and had no problems with it. The first year I had to replace the battery, and last year the heater blower went out. If the car were not clean inside and not taken care of, then I would move on to another car! Most departments replace them at about 70,000 miles. Mine had only 40,000 when I got it. Also check Auto-Trader. Good luck!

Post 3

@empanandas - I used to be with some one that had a car inspected at a little Mom and Pop shop every time she was looking into buying one. It was a good thing, too, because there were a ton of people that tried to pull one over on her just because she was a girl.

I know that there is no test driving on Police vehicles available at auction - and that goes for any other auctioned car as well or even online car auctions - but you really should have some one invest their time to come with you. I couldn't agree with you more on that one!

Post 2

A lot of cities have cars for auction period at local auction shows. Most of them are once a month. On some occasions old Police cars can be found there, but most of the time it is generally things like repossessions and things like that. Often times dealers will find their used cars here, fix them up and sell them on the lot later on.

The article above states that it's a good idea to bring a long a mechanic or car savvy friend in order to assess the car's remaining abilities - and it is... in either case. Whether you are buying from a private owner, an auction, or a dealer it is always a good idea to assess the car through a thorough inspection whenever possible.

Post 1

In some cases, the state that auctions Police Cruisers often strip them of their markings and "extras" before hand. A lot of cars are fixed up in order to handle things like high speed chases and such so there is no question whether officers are hard on their cars or not because it simply comes with the job.

Post your comments

Post Anonymously


forgot password?