Monday, January 27, 2014

a rare survivor, a 1949 Ford state patrol car found stored since '54, getting restored in Seattle for the police museum

It was found largely disassembled with parts in boxes and the garage, is being restored to its former squad-car glory by the Seattle Metropolitan Police Museum.

But the ’49 model was something special from the start, loaded with a mechanical siren, heavy-duty brakes, a spotlight and a flathead V-8 engine that could create 110 horsepower with the help of a three-speed overdrive transmission, according to Ritter. The 1949 Ford sedan was the first “police package” vehicle manufactured in the country, meaning those cars came already equipped with special amenities for use in law enforcement, according to Seattle police Officer Jim Ritter, the museum’s president and founder. Before that, police “used civilian cars without any special suspension or brakes or engines or anything on them,”

Ritter said that after the car’s stint in Ellensburg, from approximately 1949 to 1952, it was auctioned off.

Little is known about its journey after that, until Ralph Voorhis bought it with one of his sons in the Renton area and hauled it home to Westport about four years ago.

Ritter said he learned about the car from a friend, who had seen it on Craigslist. Ritter drove to Westport in December, inspected the car and bought it for $600, then donated it to the museum.

“It was in amazingly good shape considering that it’s a 64-year-old vehicle,” said Ritter, who considers it a rare find.

“I mean most police agencies that restore old cars, they are simply civilian versions they’ve mocked up to look like police cars,” he said. “This is actually an original and one of very few original police cars from that era.”

phtos from and full article at