For those mourning their past glory days, know this: There is always a second chance. Just ask this 1993 Ford Mustang SSP unit still owned by the Nebraska State Patrol, which turned back the hands of time to assist in a traffic stop along one of the state's famously-flat highways on Monday.
The Nebraska State Patrol's Facebook page posted a wonderfully anachronistic photo showing the 1993 Ford Mustang SSP in full police regalia backing up a modern Dodge Charger Pursuit as the pair took down a ne'er-do-well in a mid-2010's Hyundai Sonata. "'93 Mustang 5.0 is on patrol today. Yes, it runs... Yes, a trooper drives it... Yes, it's in service." It's also reportedly a manual.
Delightful as it is to imagine this little Fox Body Mustang screaming up in your rear view mirror, lights blazing, all 302 cubic inches of that Windsor V8 bellowing madly, its position behind the Charger makes it more likely the ceremonial unit rolled onto the scene as backup after the stop had already been made. Still, for anyone passing by—we imagine the driver was probably a little distracted at this point—its presence created a bizarre temporal shift out there on the plains of Nebraska.
Ford built the Mustang SSP (Special Service Package) between 1982 and 1993 following a successful pilot program with the California Highway Patrol to craft a capable high-speed pursuit vehicle. Based on the 5.0 Mustang, SSP's gained oil and transmission coolers, heavy-duty alternators, strengthened floor pans, a 140+ mph top speed, an 8.8 rear end (from 1989 onwards), and more robust suspension components by the end of the production run.
They could be had with either automatic or manual transmissions, and they were built to do one thing—chase. There's no internal divider, no place to stuff an arrestee. Leave that to the sedans when they catch up. As an early advertisement for the SSP stated, "This Ford chases Porsches for a living."
By 1993, the Windsor V8 was rated at a respectable 225 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque, same as the civilian models. Those numbers aren't that impressive by today's standards, especially considering a 2015 Hyundai Sonata tops out at 245 hp and 260 tq coming from a turbocharged four-cylinder. But perspective is a funny thing; in 1993, the Hyundai Sonata's base four-cylinder put out a whooping 103 horsepower. It doesn't take an acceleration test to know that the Ford Mustang SSP's reputation for reeling in speeders was well-earned in the 1980s and early 1990s.
Ford sold around 15,000 Mustang SSPs over their 11-year run and elected not to continue the program when the fourth-generation SN-95 Mustang debuted in 1994. They've become collector cars since then, and a handful of law enforcement agencies have held onto them as ceremonial units for community events. But as long as a car is registered in a department's fleet—think of something like that 1,000-hp Corvette Z06 seized and appropriated by Texas cops two years ago—it can be used however it's needed.
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