Every motorist dreads seeing a Highway Patrol (HWP) car – that is unless you’ve just purchased either a Ford Falcon XR6 Turbo or Holden Commodore SS in its afterlife, because they come up cheap at auction.
Typically a HWP car spends anywhere from one to three years being flogged on the road, notching up around 80,000km before then being flogged at auction, the most recent of which MOTOR attended in Sydney.
The hammer came down at $17,750 (plus around $500 in fees in all cases) for an early-2013 XR6 Turbo with 86,000km on its odometer. Bidding stopped at $18,750 for an early-2014 model with 85,000km, while the latest FG X commanded a jump – $25,500 for an early-2015 with 82,000km and $30,250 for a late-2014 with 62,000km on the clock.
Red Lion equivalents commanded higher bidding on the day.
The cheapest netted $20,000 for an early-2013 Commodore SS with 85,000km – but it was a lone VE Series II among a sea of newer VF Series I models. No further arms were raised beyond $23,600 for a late-2014 model with 93,000km while $26,000 bought an example of the same age but with 68,000km on the clock.
It’s worth keeping in mind that these ex-HWP cars are not in fantastic condition. The interior of the Fords seemed less resistant to wear than the Holdens, with some plastics warped from where screens and pods were mounted on the dashboard. The VF Series I in particular had no misaligned gaps.
Of course beyond the condition and kilometres, these models have also been sitting beside freeways idling for most of their life beyond short bursts of acceleration to catch Old Mate doing 115km/h in a 110km/h zone.
They are all unoptioned except for an automatic transmission and pumped-up brake package.
There are some quirky features that give a nod to the cars’ previous life, too. The Commodores include a ‘speed trap’ readout in their trip computer display, but the vehicle needs a speed radar installed to function. They also get a single button mounted between the front maplights that switches off all dashboard lights except the speedometer.
An ex-HWP car isn’t the perfect performance choice, but when an 18 month-old XR6 Turbo drops almost half its purchase price, still has a warranty and delivers 5.4-second 0-100km/h performance for around $25K, it’s tough to argue the toss.
All photographs from NSW Police Force.