Pick of the Day: Former police Mustang in all-black with 5 speed

The 1989 pursuit-package pony car was used by California law enforcement

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Pick of the Day
This 1989 Ford Mustang was black and white when it was sold to a California police department

Maybe we need the police to investigate this one because the Pick of the Day is an intriguing offer but the advertisement on ClassicCars.com doesn’t answer all of our questions.

The car is an unusually all-black 1989 Ford Mustang with dog-dish hubcaps and what appears to be a lowered stance.

That would make sense since the advertisement by a dealership in West Babylon, New York, notes that this Mustang is an SSP (special service package) Police Package vehicle that once did duty in California. 

The car has a 5.0-liter V8 engine and 5-speed manual transmission, and the Mustang originally was a factory black-and-white. It also has factory air conditioning and comes with a Marti Report “with all info.”

We wish that info had been shared in the car’s advertisement because knowing the car’s service record might help answer some of our questions. For example, isn’t a manual gearbox unusual in a police vehicle? How long was the car in service? Why was it repainted in all black? Does any of the original police gear remain with the car? Is the interior original or has it been redone? 

Answers might make the asking price of $19,900 seem a bargain.

And why, if the advertisement says the odometer shows 34,563 miles does the dealer note “miles is exempt,” which means that the true mileage in unverified? 

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To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.

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A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

17 COMMENTS

  1. It looks legit. Certified speedometer, and holes in the dash where things would have been mounted like a police radio and light controls. The five speed seems a little bit odd, but my recollection is that some of these cars were just used as pursuit vehicles so the five speed would make some sense.

  2. Some of the Police Interceptors (Highway Patrolman) back in the day had 5 speed options for rapid accelleration to mitigate a speeder’s thinking process… “Fight or Flight”. You give a guy doing <100 mph an opportunity to flee and he will…and most of those idiots still don't know how to safely drive at that speed.

  3. It does look like a legitimate Police Car. I own a ’92 Mustang SSP with a 5-speed that was owned by the Georgia State Police so some did get 5-speed manuals, though I think most did come with automatic transmissions. The Mustangs were used for Pursuit duty and thus were ordered and built to sustain high speed travel for long periods of time; much more so than the standard Crown Vic Interceptor models at the time. Moreover, the Mustangs were built for rapid acceleration. The main reason many had the automatic transmission is to reduce driver-fatigue when the officer was spending all day in the car. If I recall many cops at the time had a love-hate relationship with these Mustangs. They were fun to drive and quick; but very cramped when loaded with all of the radio/radar equipment he needed to do his job.
    As for the mileage, the odometer has obviously rolled over at least once and the car has probably 134,xxx miles. At that time police cars were generally retired from duty and sold off at the 100,000 mile mark.
    This car appears to have been hacked by a PO since retirement from the CHP, thus explaining the clear taillight lenses. I would install originals back in it as I hate the look of the clear lenses.
    This price seems pretty fair for an original SSP Mustang. One has to remember that Fox-bodies are becoming very collectible with people in their 40’s-50’s who came of age in the 1980’s and have fond memories of these cars when they were new. Same thing with 3rd-gen Camaro’s and other performance cars of that era. Values are rising on all of them for good reason.

    • Yeah, not only the dorkish Harry Highschool clear taillights, but look close- equally dorkish blue-y fake HID/LED headlights. Sigh.
      And that crusty engine compartment says one h*** of a lot of miles. I’ve got 122,xxx on my ’04 GTO, and it looks way better than what’s presented.
      At any rate, this thing is at least- at least!- $10k overpriced.

  4. I’m retired Calif Law Enf and yes some of the Mustang pursuit vehicles did come with the manual transmission. The mileage is probably not accurate unless…some of the units were used by admin for their take home cars and could be low mileage. They were also all one color, black. Without looking at it closer hard to tell. Absolute blast to drive!!!

  5. Also, the Police Interceptor Mustang had a 210hp 5 liter V8. Which by today’s standards is laughable.
    “$20 Grand”?
    Good luck with that.

  6. Usually they do not sell the police cars until they has 80,000 to 100,000 miles on them, unless they were used by administration. In Texas we had Hopped up Mustangs and Camaros for pursuit vehicles I don’t if the auto or manual transmissions.

  7. I can get a 2016 Camaro with a 6.2 liter v8 for less than 19k with OnStar and infotainment that reads my smartphone and another 10k I could put a 7.0-liter engine in said Camaro I will admit the fox body stang is a good looker but I’m a chevy man

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