With a high turnover of working vehicles and thousands of cars and trucks picked up each day in the line of duty, police car auctions are the place to find great value quality vehicles. Federal and government cars, surplus vehicles and seized or repossessed stock are available for sale across the US and online. Here’s our top guide to finding the best police car auctions in North America.
Why Buy A Police Surplus Car?
In the United States, police vehicles are a vital part of the protection service, allowing officers to quickly and safely pursue criminals and reach crime scenes to deal with emergency situations. Police cars generally fall into two major categories: Police Pursuit Vehicles (PPV) and Special Service Vehicles (SSV). Pursuit cars are the most commonly used, aiding officers reach incidents as fast as possible. Ford has been the car manufacturer of choice for the US police since the 1960s. Other manufacturers preferred by police departments include Chrysler, and General Motors’ Chevrolet brand. Former police cars are usually available at auction, with the markings stripped, for bargain prices. What’s more, these cars are often kitted out with the latest driving technology. For example, Ford’s current PPV of choice is the Police Interceptor Sedan and comes with a blind spot indicator, rear view camera, reversing sensors and electronic stability control.
Most professional police cars will run to about 150,000 miles before retiring. While this might seem like high mileage for a used car, police cars are specially designed to be tougher than commercial cars. Police cars cannot be purchased new, so the second hand market is the only valid option for anyone looking to drive one of these high-performance vehicles. Former police cars also get a lot of attention in the rental and events market, with everyone from newlyweds to film crews looking to hire an authentic-looking cop car that will turn heads.
Whatever your reason for buying a surplus police car, you’ll need to find one before making a purchase – something you can do at a US police auction.
4 Reasons Why Cop Cars Are Unbeatable
1. Space – These vehicles have massive trunks and plenty of room in the backseat.
2. Performance – Robust cars with big engines and rear-wheel drive.
3. Reliability – Built to take on any driving challenge, from high-speed chases to collisions.
4. Free Upgrades – From high-performance electrics to the latest GPS technology, cop cars are practically future-proof.
How Do Police Car Auctions Work?
Police car auctions operate in the same was that regular auctions do – each car will be displayed and sold by an auctioneer. Before the auction you will probably need to register for an auction number which will be taken down if you are the winning bidder on any car. Most police auctions are open to the public and anyone aged over 18 can go along and bid on a vehicle. Most auctions deal only in cash, so be prepared to bring funds with you if you are serious about buying a police car. Some authorities choose to make vehicles available online (and in rare cases even on eBay). All cars, whether they are former police fleet vehicles or seized stock belong to the government before the auction. A number of vehicles will be redistributed to city workers or other government departments before the auction starts and all proceeds from car sales go back into the police department.
In most cases, it is not possible to test drive a police car before the auction starts, and it is the buyer’s responsibility to remove the car after winning the auction (this will usually mean towing since the vehicles will not be insured). For these reasons, buying a car at a police auction is usually preferred by those who understand a bit about car mechanics and have the knowledge to repair or even re-sell vehicles at a later date.
The specifics of any police auction depends on the police authority handling it – for clarification, get in touch with your local police department.
Where Do I Get Local Police Car Auction Listings?
There are several methods you can follow to get the latest auction dates and locations in your local areas. You can contact your local police agency and enquire about upcoming auctions. It is also possible to find updated lists online and through specialist police auction databases. Some databases allow you to enter your zip code and preferred model to find upcoming local auctions. As these databases are constantly updated and hold a large amount of data, full access is usually a premium service that requires a sign-up and monthly subscription or one-off charge.