From time to time I get people that contact me and want to know what a SSP (Special Service Package) Ford Mustang is worth. There isn’t an easy answer to this question, because there are numerous variables to take in to consideration.
First of all, are you sure the car is a Real SSP Mustang?
Obviously condition has a huge impact;
- Is it a complete running car?
- What is the condition of the interior?
- What is the condition of the exterior? Does it need a paint job?
- Are all of the factory SSP components still there? (Click HERE for more information)
Is It Restored:
A SSP Mustang restored back to its ‘in-service’ condition limits the number of potential buyers.
The person that owns this car may have invested a lot of money in its restoration, but where are you going to drive it? I guess you could cover the lights and logos when you take it on the street, but how practical is that? Some people that ‘restore’ these cars use magnetic logos so they can remove them to actually drive it. You still need to remove or cover the lightbar so you don’t ending up meeting every member of your local police department.
Obviously, this car would require a special buyer. However, if you were wanting a restored SSP Mustang that you could take to shows, you’ll have to factor in the cost of all that equipment that had to be located and reinstalled. Some of these vehicles used equipment that is now scarce.
Other agencies used unmarked SSP Mustangs like the one below:
It’s a car you could drive everyday, and still take to shows.
Is It The Right Equipment?
How do you know if all of that equipment someone installed during a ‘restoration’ is the right equipment? Is that the proper lightbar? Will you look like a fool at a police car show? Will you have to spend more money replacing it with the proper equipment?
Is this the right equipment?
If you’re considering the purchase of a restored SSP Mustang, make sure you do your research to be sure you’re buying a properly restored car, with the proper equipment and markings.
Don’t Be A ‘Whacker’:
Speaking of proper equipment, don’t be a ‘whacker’. A ‘whacker’ is a term given to people that just like to add a lot of police lights and antennas to their police car. Instead of trying to preserve a piece of history, it appears that they’re trying to live out some strange police fantasy. The cars that fall victim to this are referred to as ‘clown cars’. If you have a SSP Mustang from a small department that’s not really documented and you want to create your own light setup, go for it. But please use equipment that was proper for the time period. LED emergency lighting was not around in the 1980’s and 1990’s.
What about this car? If this was a 5.0L Mustang, what would you pay for it?
What if you found that it was (1) of only (9) 1985 Mustangs that were purchased by the Kentucky State Police….
And that it was an unmarked traffic enforcer…..
This could be a mean hot rod on the weekend, and a cool show car with a rich history at car shows.
How Rare – Desirable Is The Car:
Traditionally, the more rare something is, the more it’s normally worth. This is not necessarily the case with SSP Mustangs. There were agencies that only purchased (1) SSP Mustang. You would think these would be more rare and worth more than other SSP Mustangs. But that simply isn’t the case. People seek out these cars for the popularity and reputation. Sometimes the value is in its story.
The California Highway Patrol (CHP) probably purchased more SSP Mustangs than any other agency. It’s estimated that the CHP purchased over 2,500 SSP Mustangs. Those cars have shown up all over the country as used cars. Based on rarity, you may think they would be less valuable, but the California Highway Patrol is such a well known and recognized agency that these cars are very desirable.
It’s probably the only SSP that someone ‘modified’ that the purists didn’t get worked up over.
These Are The Most Common SSP Mustangs:
California Highway Patrol (CHP) 2,500+
Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) 1,600+
Texas Highway Patrol (Texas DPS) 1,000+
Nebraska State Patrol 300+
Washington State Patrol 200+
Arizona Highway Patrol 180+
CHP, FHP, and Texas DPS Mustangs are the most commonly restored SSP Mustangs. Likely because there were so many, that they’re the most common SSP’s found to restore.
1983-1986 or 1987-1993 SSP Mustang:
The 1983-1986 body style SSP Mustangs are less common than the 1987-1993 SSP Mustangs. Even the top (3) agencies that purchased SSP Mustangs, purchased more of the 1987-1993 SSP Mustangs than the 1983-1986 SSP Mustangs.
Does The SSP Label Make It Worth More?
The seller may think it’s worth more because it’s a former police car. But to a buyer, ‘former police car’ may mean the car was abused. In fact, a lot of these SSP Mustangs fell in to the hands of drag racers after serving police duty, so a lot of them have had a hard life.
But it’s got a cop motor! No, it has the same motor as any other 5.0L Ford Mustang.
Fact is, some of the options added as part of the Special Service Package might not even be present. Such as the oil cooler.
If you look at the list of the SSP Mustang Features (CLICK HERE), you’ll realize that there isn’t much that separates them from other 5.0L Mustangs, except for the 140/160 MPH speedometers. Some of the ‘special service’ features are items such as a single ignition/door key, relocated trunk release, radio noise suppression, and other items that makes it more convenient as a police car.
The truth is, most buyers purchase a Special Service Package Mustang for it’s history and reputation, than any special features the car had.
Titles & Buck Tags:
Every SSP Mustang came with a ‘buck tag’ on the radiator support that lists the DSO and the agency the car was built for. I personally would not buy a claimed SSP Mustang without this tag without seeing other documentation to prove it was in fact a real SSP Mustang. See ‘How To Identify SSP Mustangs’.
I would also avoid buying any Mustang that the owner doesn’t have a title for. I know it may be tempting when you finally find that SSP you’ve been looking for, but depending on where you live, getting a title and getting the vehicle registered could be a nightmare or impossible. Also, it’s not even legal in some states to sell a vehicle without a title. How are they or you going to prove lawful ownership?
Speedometer & Oil Cooler:
Just because the car has a 140 or 160 MPH ‘Certified Calibration’ speedomter doesn’t mean it’s a real SSP Mustang. Someone could have bought the speedometer and swapped it in. Also, the speedometer should say ‘Certified Calibration’ under the odometer. It should not have a Ford Motorsports speedometer in it.
You can find these speedometers for sale from $300-$500. So if it is a real SSP Mustang and it’s missing its speedometer, keep that in mind when negotiating a price.
Also, these cars came with a factory oil cooler. It’s not unc, and they’re generally a feIf it is a real SSP Mustang and it’s missing the ‘re are people out there trying to sell Mustangs that they claim are SSP Mustangs. Make sure you know what you’re buying. Just because it has a 160 MPH speedometer, doesn’t mean it’s a real SSP Mustang.
So if you actually read through all of this, you’ll realize that there’s no clear method for pricing a Special Service Package Mustang. The fact that it’s a SSP doesn’t automatically make it worth more.
If it’s an un-restored (not ‘in-service’ condition) SSP Mustang, base your price on a similar 5.0L Mustang LX.
If the car has been restored to in-service condition, you’ll have to compare it to a similar condition 5.0L Mustang LX, and then calculate in the cost of any equipment that has been re-installed (sirens, lights, radio, radar, etc) as well as the agency markings that had to be reproduced and installed.
I’ve noticed that many people who restore SSP Mustangs, pay to have a lot of the work done by someone else. They also try to purchase brand new equipment to make the car look the day it was ready to start patrolling the roads. Personally, I think it’s the history of the car that makes it so unique. I’d rather see a car with used equipment that looks like it’s been in service and has a story to tell, than a car that looks like it’s never been used. These people end up investing a great deal of money that they try to get back when they sell the car. Be careful that they don’t talk you in to over paying.