General Motors chose the recent annual convention of the International Association of Chiefs of Police to announce that a longer-wheelbase version of the G8 will be badged as a Chevrolet Caprice and made available to law enforcement agencies in North America. The plan is to begin taking orders next year, which could result in a police Caprice lurking at a radar trap near you by early 2011.
Like the G8, the police-only Caprice Police Patrol Vehicle (PPV) will be available with either six-cylinder or V8 power. Unlike the G8, it will be fitted with typical law-enforcement upgrades like high-output alternator, engine and transmission coolers, a second battery to help power police lights and electronics, and a heavy-duty suspension.
Built by GM’s Australian subsidiary Holden, the G8 sedan first arrived in the U.S. as a 2009 model. While never a strong seller, the rear-wheel drive G8 offered performance rivaling that of some expensive imported sedans for a fraction of the cost. Consumer Reports was one of many media outlets to praise the G8 as something of a performance bargain. (See our Pontiac G8 road test, available to online subscribers.) But GM pulled the plug on the G8, along with the rest of the Pontiac line when the carmaker reorganized following bankruptcy.
Turning the Pontiac G8 into a Chevrolet is made easier by the fact that the Holden is already sold in the Middle East as a Chevy, so necessary trim, fascias and the like are readily available. Adding to its appeal to law enforcement, General Motors says the long-wheelbase Caprice PPV will have more rear-seat leg room than a Ford Crown Victoria, long the police car of choice in North America.
The General has good reason to challenge the Crown Vic’s lock on the market: a company press release says police forces buy some 70,000 units every year.
Enthusiasts mourning the G8’s passing need only wait a few years until the first PPVs are ready for retirement to get their hands on one. Either that, or sign up for the Academy.Jim Travers