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The Story of how the CHP made CHRYSLER build a 440 Coronet Police Pkg.

Discussion in 'Police, Taxis, Ambulances, etc' started by William, Apr 30, 2017.

  1. William

    William New Member

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    Hi, I am sure I am going to get a lot of feedback that this isn't true or that this is impossible but I have researched this topic extensively, looked at all the specifications on line and in books and even contacted Chrysler Corporation's Historic Department who sent me a letter and police brochure for 1976 Police cars which all point to this conclusion, CHP was responsible for Chrysler building the 1976 Dodge Coronet with a 440 engine which became the 77-78 Dodge Monaco and Plymouth Fury 440s. These police cars were one of the fastest police cars made up until Chevrolet built the LT-1 powered Caprices nearly 20 years later.
    This is the story, so to speak, in 1975 CHP contacted Chrysler that they wanted a 440 powered Coronet. CHP always made one year contracts with car companies to supply their huge fleet. As far as police cars go, CHP was the contract that the big three always competed to get because they were the biggest consumer of police cars and were the only department that turned their over every year in large numbers. CHP told Chrysler that if they built them a 440 powered intermediate body style sedan that they would have the contract to supply their entire fleet for 1976. Needless to say the 440 powered Coronet was born. Up until 1976, 440s were only in the full size Monacos, Gran Furys which were quick in their own right, but a 440 in a smaller body would be much better to say the least. As a result, 1440 440 powered Coronets that year. Most being CHP cars built some were in other departments because they would piggyback their orders with CHP. Departments like San Jose just to mention one. The following two years many more were built under the new name Dodge Monaco and Plymouth Fury. If you read the 1976 Chrysler Police brochure, the 440 was only available in CA, all other states could only get 400s. As yourself why? Why would an engine that was in production much longer than the 400 and I am sure is not as emissions friendly be only available in the state that was the strictest in their car emissions standards. The reason was that Chrysler only built it to supply CHP. They were unable to build these cars on a country wide scale. Chrysler used 440 truck engines for these special cars. It's even on the engine ID code in my '76, 76 440 T. Believe me, I am not writing this because I have one of these very rare cars. I have found this out during the restoration of my 76 CHP Coronet that has a 440, which is numbers matching, which I am sure is much rarer at this point, since Police cars were always blowing engines, transmissions etc. during their "in service life". The reason I am sharing this story is because I love reading the origins of how special cars were built. For example, how the 440 Dart was built by, I believe Grand Spaulding Dodge, the famous dealership in Chicago, that shoehorned a 440 in a Dart and brought to Detroit to show it can be done. As a result the Dart GSS was born! I am an American car fanatic. Always have been. My father, uncle and many other relatives worked for GM. Some in the now defunct Linden NJ plant and my dad in the Englewood NJ Part Divison plant that in the early 80's moved to Bensalem PA. I am not only a car fan but also a student of the history of American cars. I have a small car collection. Of all three, GM, Ford and my favorite Chrysler. Well, now that I have written this Thread. Everyone lay it on me! Hit me with all the opinions of how I am wrong and I don't know what I am talking about. After being around this hobby for over 30 years I know one thing. Talking about cars is a lot like talking about Politics. Everyone has there own opinions they feel is correct and when someone challenges that opinion, it usually ends in a discussion, sometimes heated, about you are wrong and he/she is right. I don't get upset when people talk to me and say I'm wrong when it comes to cars. Some people will always think what they know is right and you can bring them every fact possible and they will never change their mind. That's just the way it is, instead of getting upset, I am polite and say something like, "Oh really? I did not know." Life to short to argue about something you can never change. I just try to enjoy this great hobby as much as I can for as long as I can. Life is too short. Thanks for reading and please respond. I would love to hear people's opinion on this subject if they know something about it. That's what this thread is for right? Thanks again!
     
    #1 William, Apr 30, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2017
  2. Scrounge

    Scrounge Well-Known Member

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    The 440 was also in the New Yorker (formerly the Imperial) through the 1978 model year. Were the B bodies the only Mopars that police departments used during the years you covered? The Gran Fury and Newport models could also have worked, though their prices may have been prohibitive for fleet purchases.
     
  3. valiant67

    valiant67 Rich Corinthian Leather
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    Many agencies did not test their own cars, but instead relied on the results of the CHP or MSP (Michigan) tests or bids to determine what car to buy.
    In the past, Dodge had increased a car's wheelbase just the the CHP, so it's not out of the question Dodge would do this at CHP's urging.
    CHP may have wanted to switch from the C body (Monaco) to the B body (Coronet) either to save a little on fuel or because the C body was too big and too heavy to do well in tests with the reduction in horsepower the big V8s suffered. And the CHP cars had to meet the same emissions standards as any other CA car at the time.
     
  4. voiceofstl

    voiceofstl Well-Known Member

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    Like the 69 4 door Coronets with Hemi's. I think 6 people ordered them.
     
    wolfsblood07 likes this.
  5. AHBGuru

    AHBGuru Active Member

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    Very common for Chrysler to test various bits and pieces in some of the squads. If the part would last in severe-duty police service, they knew it'd last in retail cars. They'd even test a hot cam or head design for Direct Connection. This is how the 302/308 heads replaced the older "587" head from the 360 and 318 4bbl, and even late in the game, rumors of Diplomats and Furys escaping from the Kenosha Assembly plant with Magnum test parts were all quite likely. Today, the Charger Pursuit and the SRT cars are very close in overall design, with the squads getting the severe duty parts and the retail cars getting the 392 and fancy interiors.
     
  6. Devildodge

    Devildodge Active Member

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    Takes a mopar to catch a mopar...very interesting. I love learning new things and the wonderful conversations.

    Like they never made 70 roadrunner convertible...then they found some.

    Love all these things, and the stories behind the lil red express warlock and the fabled Midnight express.

    And then the decal packages dealers put on things to make them seem desireable.

    Police Mopars are always cool to see.
     
    wolfsblood07 likes this.
  7. geraldg

    Ad-Free Member

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    At one time Mopar ruled the police section.
     
  8. AHBGuru

    AHBGuru Active Member

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    The Charger took 6 years to skewer the Crown Vic, but captured the top sedan spot in 2012, and has held it ever since.

    The market is far different, though. The Exploder shook things up every bit as much as the Charger first did in 2006. After all the smoke cleared and the losers faded away, we are left with 3 clear winners, and many departments are utilizing the Charger - And, or even all 3: Charger, Exploder, Tahoe. (Pickups and Durango's too, but they aren't Pursuit-Rated).
     
  9. geraldg

    Ad-Free Member

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    Where I live the police either have crown Vicks or SUVs. They say the charger is to cramped.
     
  10. wolfsblood07

    wolfsblood07 Active Member

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    The Crown Vic had so many advantages over other vehicles in terms of being a police car. Just to name a few: price, safety, reliability, room, ease of egress, etc. The full frame allowing for ease of repair and dangerous road manuevers. An SUV could never beat it, maybe in a few areas but not all. SUVs probably are better in snow, which is important.
    The new police sedans are fast, but speed was never the most important factor for a police car, especially in urban areas.
     
    #10 wolfsblood07, May 9, 2017
    Last edited: May 9, 2017
    voiceofstl likes this.
  11. Bearhawke

    Bearhawke Things happen for a reason

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    440 Magnum and B body: I know of a few 1974 Coronets and Satellites that offered the U code everywhere. Apparently; ONLY the Calif market 1975-76 B's (four door sedan only) were available with the 440 since the 400-4V (P code) dual exhaust engine was offered in Federal spec models of any body style. 1977-78 440 Magnum; four door sedan only, if discussing B bodies.
     
  12. William

    William New Member

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    Hi Everyone, just checked out the website for the first time in a while. Really cool that people have responded to my little story about my Coronet. I will try to post a pic of it when I first got it. I have pics but they are from the restoration I am currently doing to the Coronet. Again, thanks for the feedback and again, Anyone that has one of these cars or have additional information regarding this subject, please post it. I would love to hear about your car or story. ThanksĂ®
     
    Devildodge likes this.

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