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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

This '57 Ford L.A. cop cruiser is as accurate as they come

When police cars like my 1957 Ford Custom 300 were in service, the city of Los Angeles had approximately 2 million residents, fewer than half the people it contains today. Many freeways were yet to be built. The city was growing at a dizzying rate, however, and things were changing fast.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/member-stories/this-57-l-a-ford-cop-cruiser-is-as-accurate-as-they-com...
24 REPLIES 24
DaveB
Detailer

How cool is that? What a great story.
RickB
Intermediate Driver

How does one ride around in such an authentic looking police car without getting stopped by the real police?
Tim
Technician

Rick, one can even drive "modern" police cars in California. Written permission is required but not difficult to obtain from the CHP, and "NOT IN SERVICE" signs need to be displayed while the vehicle is in operation. And of course, it goes without saying that one cannot activate the emergency lights or siren while the vehicle is in operation.
TS
Pit Crew

It's a 1957 FORD.........
MustangJim
Technician

I read about this in the magazine and so glad to see it here again online. This is without doubt the best restored police car that I have seen. I was surprised to see the 6 cylinder but that is the way cars we're back then. Not eveything had a V8 and this one was'nt a highway "chase" car. This was just a regular cop car. Thank you for bringing this to us.
merlebalke
Advanced Driver

Very cool, although I'd prefer a 300 Tudor resting on a Roadster Shop chassis with a blown Coyote under the hood.
Tim
Technician

"...edited to eliminate any information that did not exist in 1957."

That's next-level detail right there. 😄

I'm guessing that obtaining (or making) a period-correct 1957 LAPD uniform is next on the agenda. Also, hats off to Robert for actually being willing to drive this showpiece.
65sportfury
Intermediate Driver

That sure as hell ain't a 1957 style air cleaner. There seems to be a pattern here of you allowing overstated claims of featured cars that are not what they really are.
Jeffschevelle
New Driver

Looks just like the one in the first pic of this 1957 Ford engine advertisement brochure:
https://www.mecum.com/lots/FR0119-351376/1957-ford-framed-motor-advertisement/

But even if it was not the correct air cleaner, how would that make the article "overstated"? I don't see any claim that the air cleaner is original?
Eric2
Intermediate Driver

Based on the framed advertisement the Mecum link takes you to it sure as hell looks like the engine it this Ford 300! Basically the standard 6 banger all Fords received unless it was upgraded.
drhino
Technician

Fantastic that it’s a manual transmission!

Shame it’s not the original engine.

Interesting choice of background for photo 5…
Patrician
Detailer

I was preying it had a supercharged F code engine. I know Studebaker sold a lot of police cars with the supercharged 289's in 57 and 58. Especially in their home state of Indiana.
MoparMan
Advanced Driver

The first thing I noticed was the alphabetical progression of the the buyer/seller's initials: "R.R. and R.S", and same first name, LOL. I guess I'm a sick puppy; and the car is OUTSTANDING! 🙂
Martin44
Pit Crew

Very fun, thanks for sharing.
Growing up in LACO in the 50’s, I recall that the LAPD was responsible for patrolling the few freeways in existence there before the CHP took them over sometime in the 60’s. Heard rumors the LAPD had highly modified freeway “interceptors” back then. Truth or Fiction????
RonBrandich
New Driver

What a Sweet~~Sweet Ride and this '57 Ford also brings back Memories for me too!!
I had a '57 Ford 4 dr. Fairlane 500 in 1964 while working at my first real job in the Shoe Business.
It was a neat car with a 292 cu.in., 4 barrel carb and an automatic trans.
Memories~~~Memories!!
Bub1232
New Driver

I had a former 1957 police car from Minnesota. It was a Tudor and the seat material was similar to the material in my 51 pickup. It had come with an automatic transmission and the E-code engine, a 312 with 2 4bbls.
RG440
Instructor

Great Article! Super Job to the owner on the sweat put into this project ! No disrespect to either but that Big Block 61 CHP Dodge Polara behind the owner in the first picture is one hot, sexy car. Dodge had a great run with the Polara’s as a top rate squad car over the years with some superb styling!
Ewog70
New Driver

This is a Custom, NOT a Custom 300. The 300 has fancier/more side trim.
TimK
Advanced Driver

I'm glad your post got in. They're still checking mine for accuracy for saying essentially the same thing. The Custom 300 had a full length side trim with a plated aluminum insert in the center much like the Fairlane 500. I know, my father had a 57 Custom 300. On the same note, people also mistake a Fairlane with a Fairlane 500.
Ewog70
New Driver

I’ve had multiple 57’s, including two Custom 300’s, one of which I still have.

EB959114-95E6-470A-A47A-46C5FD79F233.jpeg

vweals
Pit Crew

Simply awesome! A real treasure and time capsule. Thanks for sharing, Robert 👍
SpringGT
Pit Crew

Ford did have higher performance police models available in '57. In HS in '57, I worked at a Gulf station where our county sheriff frequently gassed up his police interceptor and had it serviced.

He had a tan Custom 300 model police interceptor, with the 270 hp, 312 C.I. Y-block V-8 engine, with two Holley four-barrel carbs and dual exhausts on it. It also had heavy-duty front and rear stabilizer bars, shocks, brakes and special six-ply high-speed tires.

Most of the under-hood area was taken up by a large a.c. generator and a large rectifier box to power the vacuum tube radios, siren and red lights of the day. It had no AC, as they were rare back then and there really was not enough room under the hood for those huge York compressors with all of the other police gear under there.
tee_zee65
Pit Crew

Really cool, great story and a beautiful car.
SAG
Technician

if I had 6 arms,
6 thumbs up