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Restoration of a 1983 Chevy Malibu squad car

I’d like to take this time to show you the progress that a police officer and friend, Eric, hailing from the Bay Area of Northern California, has made in his copcar restoration project. I realize that the car isn’t a Mopar, but I want to show that most anything is possible. You just have to want to.


The car is a police package 1983 Malibu used originally by the Pennsylvania State Police. Eric was originally a resident of Pennsylvania and the PSP cars hold a special place in his heart. The car was discovered in a wrecking yard in upstate NY about 2 years ago and had never been repainted from the original PSP color scheme of the time after being sold at auction. Once he was told about the car’s existence, Eric flew out to NY, headed out to the yard, and ended up buying and subsequently transporting it cross country to the Bay Area.

As you will see in the first pictures, this car was a complete mess. The interior and floorboards were as you might figure considering the exterior condition of the car and the fact that the car had been off of the road since 1991. This was easily verified as the car had an inspection sticker on the windshield that expired in 1991. Many would have passed on any thoughts of restoring this car for a number of reasons, but I like to believe that we tend to think “What if….” instead of “Why should I”.

These are a few of the most recent pictures as of mid February 2008.

chevy malibu

The restoration was delayed significantly when Eric was involved in an on duty collision that put him out of commission for an extended period of time. We are grateful that he is nearly fully recovered now. The exterior is mostly complete, the floorboards completely restored, and the interior ready for completion. A rebuilt engine is going in shortly. Soon the Malibu will be adorned with year appropriate insignia, communications equipment, siren, and lighting.

This is what the car will look like when complete…..

police car

When this car is completed, there will only be a total of 5 restored Pennsylvania State Police cruisers in existence from the information I currently have (’62 Chevy, ’72 Fury, ’83 Malibu x 2, ’87 Diplomat). There are 4 here in Pennsylvania that I know about including mine and the 1972 Fury restored by the Pennsylvania State Police Historical Society. The ’62 is owned by a gentleman on the east side of the Commonwealth. The other Malibu was owned by a friend who is in the employ of the Maryland State Police and was purchased by a Pennsylvania State Trooper. Eric’s is the only one I am aware of outside of the Commonwealth.


Great job, Eric, and I hope this inspires some to get hot on their restoration projects. I’m looking forward to seeing it in person during our trip to the Bay Area.

Well, folks…..that’s all for this installment of Police Car Collector. I hope that this week’s column helped some of you to make some important insurance decisions if you haven’t done so already. Many thanks to P.O. Eric for his update of what has started to be a magnificent restoration.

restoration - interior

Until next time, stay safe and keep saving those copcars!


Other columns

Introduction | The basics of police car collecting | Who are collectors? Why do we collect?

Emergency lighting | Sirens | Where to find retired police cars | Emergency vehicle shows | Investing in police cars

Restorations: Rules and regs for restorers | Chevy Malibu | 1949 Ford | Do-it-yourself bodywork | Do-it-yourself mechanical work

Shows: Chicagoland Emergency Vehicles Show | Aquidneck Island Police Car Parade (2008 | 2009)

Also see the EVOOA home page

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