The Dodge Charger was a popular muscle car back in the 1960s and 1970s. Now reintroduced, police departments across the country are commissioning the latest model. Reporter Austin Jenkins of the Northwest News Network went on patrol with a good-guy who's driving a bad-guy car.
As Washington State Trooper Luis Gonzalez says of the car, "It's got the Hemi engine, 395 horsepower." Dodge markets the Charger as a pursuit vehicle capable of going 150 mph -- and from 0 to 60 in six seconds flat. Dodge says it's already sold the Charger to police departments in almost every state.
Recently, when Trooper Gonzalez tried to stop a speeding motorcyclist, the chase topped out at 145 miles an hour.
"The motorcycle thought he was going to be able to lose me after 120, keep going [to] 145 -- I was right on his tail. Finally gave up and stopped," Gonzalez says. "He was actually pretty amazed that I was able to keep up with him."
But Gonzalez says the Charger does have some drawbacks. It has less room for the built-in equipment that's become standard in police cars, like computers, radar and video cameras. Gonzalez isn't complaining. And for the record, we should note that Dodge lists the car's listed horsepower at 340 -- although that seems to be plenty.