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How to ID covert cop cars

  • Story Highlights
  • Ford Crown Victoria is the most popular police car currently in production
  • Chevy Impalas blend in with traffic, but can hit 140 mph
  • Dodge Magnum wagon sprints from 0-60 mph in under six seconds
  • Police say a Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 intimidates speeders
By Rex Roy
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(AOL Autos) -- If you have a heavy foot and may travel a bit over the speed limit, you might want to keep an eye out for these popular police car models.

Not all police cars are as clearly marked as this one.

Not all police cars are as clearly marked as this one.

What to watch for on the interstate

The Ford Crown Victoria is the most popular police car currently in production. Renowned for its durability, many speeders have seen this unfortunate sight in their rear view mirror. But there are other patrol vehicles that road warriors should recognize, and many of them are faster than the popular Crown Vicky.

Ford Crown Victoria Interceptor: The standard

Officers value the Ford Crown Victoria Interceptor for its durability, size, and overall performance. These cruisers feature reinforced frames, a special 4.6-liter V-8, and other heavy-duty components that enable them to handle high-speed chases. According to The Michigan State Police, the fastest Crown Victoria Interceptor will hit 128 mph.

Chevrolet Impala: Under the radar

The Chevy Impala is one of the best-selling cars in the U.S. This makes it the perfect choice for police departments who want a car that blends in with traffic. The Impala's familiar shape doesn't stand out or call attention to itself. Fitted with the special Police Package (code 9C1), this mid-size sedan with a 3.9-liter V-6 engine hits an impressive 140 mph.

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Chevrolet Tahoe: Probably not taking kids to soccer camp

Some police departments need the strength and power that only a full-size SUV can deliver. Fitted with the special PPV option, the big Chevy Tahoe SUV can hit 133 mph thanks to its high-performance 5.3-liter V-8 with 320 horsepower.

Look for the black wheels with tiny center hubcaps as a tip-off should you see one unmarked or without a light bar.

Dodge Magnum: The wagon that knows how to haul

Dodge produced their last Magnum police car in 2008, but many police departments still have these station wagons in service. Fitted with the legendary 5.7-liter HEMI V-8, the wagon can hit 131 mph and charge up to that speed with muscle-car type performance. The wagon sprints from 0-60 mph in under six seconds. AOL Autos: Wonder wagons

HUMMER H3: Special duty

The H3 may be the smallest model in the HUMMER family, but it remains a very capable off-road vehicle. The police-version of the H3 is fortified for running off-road and carries other equipment necessary for police duty. The H3 can be equipped with a 5.3-liter V-8, but high-speed pursuit is not this vehicle's forte, except when the chase is across a desert, through fields, or over the Rubicon.

Harley-Davidson Electra Glide: King of the road

Police departments also utilize an assortment of motorcycles in their quest to keep motorists safe. The Michigan State Police test two-wheelers on an annual basis and the Harley-Davidson Electra Glide is a perennial favorite. While the Harley offers other performance benefits, with a top speed of just 104 mph, they are not the best for high-speed pursuits.

Dodge Charger: That cop car's got a HEMI!

The sight of a Dodge Charger police car should be enough to make you think twice about attempting to out run an officer behind the wheel of one of these. Equipped with the 5.7-liter HEMI V-8, the Charger can hit a staggering 146 mph. This makes the Dodge the fastest mainstream police car available. But what about vehicles that aren't mainstream? AOL Autos: Fast cars --join the 600 horsepower club

Ford Mustang Shelby GT500

Harper Woods, Michigan borders Detroit: It's a relatively quiet bedroom community that packs a big surprise for anyone speeding on the section of Interstate 94 running across its borders: a 2005 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500. Acquired to boost "community relations" and to intimidate speeders, the Shelby's supercharged 5.4-liter V-8 puts out 450 horsepower and will easily exceed 150 mph. AOL Autos: First drive of 2010 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500

Police ID: What to look for in unmarked vehicles

Departments often use unmarked vehicles, many of which will be identical to their fully outfitted cruisers. Unmarked cars and trucks enable more stealthy operations. Tips for identifying unmarked police cars include looking for; light bars mounted in the rear window, municipal license plates, painted black wheels, and dividers between the front and rear seats. AOL Autos: Cops in the sky

Future cop car: Coming to a highway near you

Carbon Motors, a new company located in Georgia, is developing the E7, a purpose-built police interceptor. With a wheelbase of 122-inches and an overall length of 200-inches, the E7 is bigger than current Crown Victoria or Charger cop cars. Power for the E7 will be a 300-horsepower clean-diesel that should give the car a top-speed of 155 mph. AOL Autos: Speed cameras on U.S. roads

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