Holden Statesman for American Police?
Newly revealed in USA, the Chevrolet Caprice police car
is a locally-built Holden long wheelbase model.
GM will endeavour to sell a modified "WM" Statesman/Caprice to US law enforcement agencies as a 2011
5th October, 2009
General Motors all-new Chevrolet Caprice Police Patrol
Vehicle (PPV) may join the ranks of law enforcement departments across North America in 2011. It’s a
modern, full-size, rear-drive sedan that will offer both V6 and V8 engines, as well as a host of
specialised equipment and features.
Chevrolet made the announcement at the annual International Association of Chiefs of Police
convention, in Denver, Colorado (USA). The Caprice PPV will be available for ordering next year and
will patrol American streets in early 2011 if successful with the police acquisition process.
“The new Chevrolet Caprice police car is the right tool at the right time for law enforcement,”
said Jim Campbell, general manager for GM Fleet and Commercial Operations. “We asked for a lot of
feedback from our police customers, which helped us develop a vehicle that is superior to the (Ford)
Crown Victoria in key areas.”
Vice President, Global Chevrolet Brand Brent Dewar added, “Along with Impala and Tahoe, the
Caprice PPV gives agencies a greater range of choices for police and special service vehicles that are
all available from Chevrolet.”
Unlike other police cars on the North American market, the Caprice PPV is not based on existing
passenger-car model sold in North America, but on an Australian luxury car. It has been developed in key
areas specifically for police duty, containing modern equipment and features:
- Powerful 6.0 litre V8 with fuel-saving Active Fuel Management technology and E85 capability; a V6
engine will also be offered, beginning in the 2012 model year
- Optional front-seat-only side curtain air bags allows a full-width rear-seat barrier for greater
- Two boot-mounted batteries, with one of them dedicated to powering various police equipment
- Designed for five-passenger seating, meaning the upper-centre section of the dashboard can be used
for equipment mounting without the concern of air bag deployment interference
- Compatibility with in-dash touch-screen computer technology
- Special front seats designed for the long-term comfort of officers whose car is their 'office',
including space that accommodates the bulk of a typical equipment belt
The front seats are sculpted to “pocket” the equipment belt, which greatly increases the comfort for
a great range of police officer sizes. The foam density of the seatback and cushion insert surfaces are
designed to conform to the shape of an equipment belt’s various items, too, allowing the officer’s back
to rest properly on the seatback surface.
“The Chevrolet Caprice PPV’s seats represent a revolution in comfort and utility for officers who
spend long hours in their car,” said Bob Demick, lead seat design manager. “The shape also
enhances entry and egress, making it easier for officers to exit the vehicle quickly. The seatback
bolsters, for example, have been purposefully contoured to help pocket the equipment on the belt, which
includes the gun, Taser and handcuffs, which rest comfortably in the sculpted lower bolsters. That also
increases the longevity of the trim cover surface.”
Along with comfort, the materials used in the seats were also carefully selected. High-wear materials
were chosen to stand up to long hours of everyday use, while breathability, long-term durability and
ease of cleaning were also important criteria.
Engineers worked on several iterations of the seat, testing a couple of versions in the field to get
real-world feedback from police officers, who used prototype seats in their cruisers for a month. Their
input helped determine the final design.
The Caprice PPV is based on GM’s global rear-drive family of vehicles that also underpins the Chevy
Camaro, Holden Commodore (VE) and Holden Statesman/Caprice (WM) and the numerous variants of the VE/WM
models. It uses the longest wheelbase of the architecture – 3,010 mm (118.5 inches) – along with a
four-wheel independent suspension that delivers responsive driving characteristics that are crucial in
some police scenarios.
Caprice PPV’s long wheelbase also contributes to exceptional spaciousness. Compared to the primary
competition, its advantages include:
- A larger interior volume than the Ford Crown Victoria, including 100 mm more rear legroom
- The barrier between the front seat and rear seat is positioned farther rearward, allowing for full
front-seat travel and greater recline for officer comfort
- At 535 litres free space (beyond battery located in boot), the Caprice’s boot volume is large enough
to accommodate a full-size spare tyre under a flat load surface in the boot storage area.
The Caprice’s 6.0 litre V-8 is rated at an estimated 265 kW. It is backed by a six-speed automatic
transmission that is performance-calibrated for police duty. Additional, police car-specific powertrain
and vehicle system features include:
- High-output alternator
- Engine oil, transmission and power steering coolers
- Standard 18-inch steel wheels with bolt-on centre caps
- Large, four-wheel disc brakes with heavy-duty brake pads
- Heavy-duty suspension components
- Police-calibrated stability control system
- Driver information centre in the instrument cluster with selectable speed tracking feature.
A host of complementary features are also offered, including special equipment packages such as spotlights;
lockouts for the power windows and locks; and an “undercover” street-appearance package (option code 9C3).
To enable more room for interior equipment, the standard radio can be relocated to the boot, allowing for
an in-dash, touch-screen computer to be used.
Caprice on patrol: A brief history
Chevrolet’s history with law enforcement is almost as old as the brand itself. Police departments have used
Chevy sedans as police cars for decades, ordering them with basic equipment and powerful V8 engines –
including some special engines that weren’t available in regular-production models, such as the 1959 Biscayne
that was offered with up to 315 horsepower.
All Caprice police cars – including the new, 2011 model – have carried the 9C1 order code. Here’s a quick
look back at Chevys on patrol:
- 1959 – Chevy Biscayne police model capable of 135 mph with specially tuned, police-only version of the
348-cubic-inch V-8 engine
- 1965 – The new “big-block” 396 engine is offered in Biscayne and Bel Air police cars, making them among
the most powerful on patrol; a 427 V-8 was added in 1966
- 1976 – The 9C1 order code is given for the first time to a full-size Chevy police car package. It carries
the Impala name.
- 1977 – The full-size Chevy is downsized. The 9C1 police package is retained, as is the Impala name.
- 1986 – The Caprice name replaces Impala, as the car is updated for the mid- and late-1980s – including the
option of a powerful, 5.7 litre small-block V-8.
- 1991 – A new-generation Caprice is launched, with the 9C1 police car still on the beat.
- 1994 – The 260 horsepower (194 Nm) LT1 V8 engine is offered in the Caprice 9C1, making it one of the
fastest full-size police cars ever offered.
- 1996 – Caprice police car production ends, as GM’s full-size, body-on-frame car architecture is discontinued.
- 2011 – The Australian-built Chevrolet Caprice PPV is GM's new entrant for active duty in North America.