In 1965, Mr. and Mrs. Fredrik Wachmeister donated a new Ford Custom to the sheriff’s department in Fauquier County, Virginia. Until that donation, the sheriff and deputies had to use their personal cars for their public service.
Since then, the sheriff’s fleet has grown to 150 vehicles, and now has one more after the donation of a restored near-duplicate of that original ’65 Ford.
The FauquierNow.com website reports that soon after taking office in 2016, new sheriff Bob Mosier found a newspaper clipping about the 1965 donation and thought it would be a great idea to find and restore a similar car to use for parades and other local events. Several of his officers agreed and spent “a couple of months” searching.
But a suitable car was not easy to find. As school security officer Jeff Crane told FauquierNow.com, “most of them were too far gone or too expensive.”
But late in 2017, the crew came across a very similar 1966 Ford Galaxie in North Carolina. The car had been driven 177,000 miles but was in “decent shape” and even had some Virginia history, having rolled off a Ford assembly line in Norfolk.
The car was purchased, towed on a trailer behind a borrowed pickup truck back to Fauquier County, and was donated to the Fauquier Historical Society, which is housed in the former county jail.
Local resident and Classic Automotive owner Jim Walker agreed to do any needed body work, and automotive repair shop owner Arthur Digges got the drivetrain and other mechanical systems back in good running order. Another area company, Danny’s Custom Upholstery, redid the interior.
Meanwhile, Crane and his crew started their search for the roof light, siren, low-band police radio and other parts needed to turn the car into a vintage police cruiser.
The car was finished and this past week was presented to the sheriff at the county courthouse.
Although, unlike the original ’65 police cruiser, the restored ’66 does not have a rear-seat “cage.” That, too, is because of the original Ford’s history.
Back when the ’65 was donated to the sheriff’s department, the Fauquier Times reports, then-sheriff Luther Cox mistakenly locked himself in the back seat during a snowstorm. Who knows how long it took him to reach through the cage bars with his nightstick and honk the horn until help arrived and rescued him from his own vehicle.