With a supercharged V8 engine it’s the most powerful highway patrol car to ever hit Australian roads – but it will spend most of its time in a trailer rather than prowling for hoons.
The limited edition Falcon GT – the fastest ever car built by Ford Australia – has all the latest technology to catch high-speed crooks but it will be used as a public awareness vehicle at events across the state to break down the barriers with car enthusiasts.
“I was a bit apprehensive at first, and so were the guys I think,” says Senior Sergeant Mark Stevens, who took the car to its first meeting with revheads at Sydney Dragway at Eastern Creek on Wednesday night. “But once people came up and started asking about the car, it was all good.” The first experiment appeared to be a success; someone at the event posted a photo of the police car on Facebook, which attracted 67 comments in half an hour.
At the track, it quickly drew a crowd. Ford fans Brett Luland from Wyee and Nick Vardakos from Cronulla were among the admirers. “It isn't fair. It has too much power I reckon,” joked Vardakos, the owner of a Falcon XR8 ute. “They should be allowed to race it,” said Luland, who owns an almost identical Falcon GT bearing the number plates 'CanFry'.
“It’s a conversation starter,” says Inspector John Lipman, the commander of the traffic technology section. “It’s about interacting with car enthusiasts and having a similar vehicle to what they would have or what they might aspire to.” It’s also about having revheads realise what technology police have and “hopefully encourage them to stay within the law.”
Fully loaded with the latest radar unit, number plate-reading technology and a suite of onboard computers, the police GT Falcon is worth in excess of $100,000, about $70,000 of which was for the car alone. It was funded by the Motor Accidents Authority; after two years the car will be displayed in the police museum. The car is build number 150 of the latest limited edition Falcon GTs to commemorate the NSW Police 150th anniversary.
The standard Falcon GT has 335kW of power but this one has 400kW after it was upgraded with a bigger exhaust and fuel injectors. Until now, the most powerful police car in Australia was a Holden Special Vehicles V8 used by Queensland police, with 325kW. But both the Holden and Ford have neck-and-neck performance, able to reach the speed limit in about 5 seconds.