If you’d like to try riding in the front seat of a police car for a change, today’s Nice Price or No Dice Dodge Magnum might be just the ticket. That is if its price doesn’t prove to be a criminal act.
Volkswagen has been teasing the return of the beloved microbus literally for years now. If it ever does come back, it likely won’t be a rear-engine, forward-control design like before. Instead, it will probably be built on the company’s spankin’ new Modular Electric Drive platform. Whatever shape it eventually takes, it’s unlikely there will be a cool origami-sided pickup body style offered as a variant.
So should you want that layout, you’ll just have to make do with an older truck like yesterday’s 1985 VW T3 Transporter. Well, maybe not yesterday’s truck. It appeared to be a bit too rough and tumble, and even though the seller described the resultant patina as “SWEATY” that wasn’t enough of an enticement to warrant its $9,500 asking price. In the end, that resulted in a decisive 88 percent No Dice loss.
You might not think so, but there is a six-degrees-of-Kevin-Bacon between yesterday’s VW truck and today’s 2007 Dodge Magnum ex-police car. No, it’s not that the Dodge was used to arrest the perpetrators of Dieselgate. Good guess though. It’s that the police car is said to have done its duty in Tennessee, and that’s where Volkswagen has an assembly plant where the Atlas, Passat — and soon ID.4 electric — is churned out. Volkswagen also provided engines for the Dodge Omni back in the ’80s, and Chrysler returned the favor years later with the Dodge-based Routan minivan. So you’ve actually got triple the Bacon between these two otherwise rival companies.
That doesn’t make this Dodge and any current Volkswagen models kissing cousins, however. The LX platform Magnum is mostly Mercedes under its skirts, seeing as it was designed under the auspices of Daimler ownership. The LX was introduced for the 2005 model year as both the low-roofed mobster-mobile Chrysler 300 and the quirkily long-roofed Magnum. As such things go, the Chrysler sedan proved the more popular of the two. It continues in series production to this day. The Magnum, on the other hand, was given the heave-ho after the 2008 model year because of slow sales. It was survived by the three-box Charger, which entered the market a year after the Magnum.
Popular or not, this Magnum was at least good enough to do cop car duty. This is not a pursuit special, however, so put away your Blues Brothers suits and pie in the sky dreams of getting the band back together. There’s no Hemi here. Instead, you get a high output edition of the 3.5 liter all-alloy V6. In the Police Package cars it’s good for 250 horsepower, powering the rear wheels through a five-speed automatic with, uniquely, a column shift. That’s needed since the console is taken up by a huge box with mounts for a radio, switches and a laptop. None of those are present at the moment, but the potential to make something of that space is there.
Other Police Package elements that are intact include the A-pillar spot lamp, straightforward steel wheels, and the world’s simplest Rubik’s Cube paintwork. A heavy-duty suspension, up-rated brakes, and severe duty cooling system round out the Police Package improvements.
The ad claims that the car has just 95k on the clock. That’s not a lot of donut runs, so there should be plenty of life left before retirement. The seller also says that the car is being sold straight out of service with no refurbishment or even clean up. Yeah, you might want to pressure wash the back seat area with bleach or something before taking the neighborhood kids for a ride in it.
The car does show some wear and tear. The plastic headlamp covers are as cloudy as a politician’s memory. Those pair in despair with flaking clear coat on the front bumper. Sadly, there’s no “bull bar” on the car. The light bars are intact behind both the windscreen and rear window. Lighting those up could be fun at parties.
The interior is bare-bones, but seems fully intact minus the aforementioned radios and laptop. Cloth seats should prove to be more comfortable and durable than the civilian alternatives. A look in the back shows the load area to have some torn-up plastic on the wheel arches. Maybe it was used as a K9 car and it got “Hooched?”
The car is offered by a seller who seems to specialize in used cop cars, and the claim that this particular car is being sold without the typical refurbishment/cleanup is somewhat puzzling. It is the given reason for the car’s $3,500 price tag, however. Perhaps that means a new buyer can benefit from their own sweat equity in cleaning the car up and doing whatever sort of fluid/mechanical replacements it requires.
The question, of course, is whether it’s worth that $3,500 to begin with. A cop car in civilian hands can be both a blessing and a curse. The cars are usually beefed up examples of regular duty cars and hence tend to last longer. They also can be beat all to hell. This one seems to straddle that divide but is tainted by the question as to what made it different from the seller’s other wares and is being sold in as-used condition. I guess you’ll all just have to work that out yourselves.
What do you think, is this former police car Magnum worth $3,500 to buy? Or, is this a totally dodgy deal?
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