Monday, December 21, 2009

Connecticut State Police Mazda MX-6

I'm kinda surprised that these cops have mustaches.

(Update: I noticed the guys at just linked this page, so here are a couple more bonus pics!)

Back in the late 80s/early 90s, I read about the Connecticut State Police using Mazda MX-6s as patrol cars. I never found a picture of one, until now.

At least 30 Mazda MX-6s of different colors were used by the state police. They replaced 5.0 Mustangs and Buick Grand Nationals for speed enforcement duty. The cops wanted a car that:
  • had a high performance engine,
  • could handle bad weather (had to be front wheel drive),
  • had a trunk that was big enough to carry the requisite gear,
  • got good gas mileage,
  • did not cost much more than a Crown Vic, and
  • had a low profile.
The Mazda's near twin, the Ford Probe, was not chosen because it was too low for the taller troopers and its long doors (four inches longer than the Mazda's) made them a hazard on freeway shoulders when opened.

The only significant modification for police duty was a stronger alternator. They had automatic transmissions, ABS, and topped out at 120 miles per hour. Acceleration was more of an asset than top speed for chasing baddies because the state is so small, congested, and because the next trooper is just a few miles ahead.

Source: Feb. 1990 Popular Mechanics article by Mike Allen.


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Anonymous said...

Awesome! Looks exactly like my old gray MX6 GT. Really makes me miss that old, fun, unique ride. Oddly enough, I also lived in New England and bought my GT from a retired state trooper. Makes me wonder if it saw any high speed chases in Connecticut. ;)

Maxichamp said...

Glad you enjoyed the pictures. I think the MX6 is the ultimate sleeper highway patrol car. I remember reading about it a long time ago and thanks to the internet, I found more info on it.

Anonymous said...

The Mazda MX6 was never a “patrol” vehicle, it was classified as a speciality vehicle. They were issued to members of the traffic units, as were the Buick T types, Grand Nationals, Mustangs, and Camaros. Their main purpose was strictly traffic enforcement and did not assist Troops unless there was an emergency situation. Driving instructors had to go to a special school because of the front wheel drive and turbo causing “torque induced steering.” While making a right turn and the turbo kicked in the MX6 would pull left. All in all it was a good car, but didn’t give you the crush confidence of the big Crown Vic. Troopers had their Crown Vic’s run into while seated in them at 60 plus MPH and be at work the next day. Never had that good feel with the Mazda. As a speciality vehicle it worked well blending in with traffic, troopers would put a towel over their left shoulder hiding their uniform patch. Oh, you can thank the Connecticut State Police for starting radar enforcement (1947-1948) for speeding. Looking at the top photo that’s me on the right, with regulation mustache.

Maxichamp said...

@Anon: Thank you for your insight and your mustache!