(PSP 1985 SSP Mustang owned by Fred Johnson)
In 2011, I made contact with a SSP Mustang enthusiast that owns the 1985 Mustang shown above. The vehicle is claimed to be a 1985 SSP Mustang owned by the Pennsylvania State Police, and the owner claims to have a file of information he received when he bought the car. This person did not contact me. I contacted him through leads I found while researching the 1985 PSP Mustang.
To date, the research in to the 1985 Pennsylvania State Police Mustang hasn’t turned up anything positive, but the answers are out there somewhere. Hopefully someone will be able to come forward with more information.
1985: It is believed that the Pennsylvania State Police only purchased Mustangs in 1992, but I don’t believe that to be true. Sometime between 1984 and 1986, I was traveling on IS 90 in Pennsylvania (Erie County – Troop E) when I saw a Ford Mustang come up behind me. I moved to the right lane to let the car pass. I looked to my left at the Mustang as it was passing, and saw a uniformed PA State Trooper driving the car with a red dash light stuck to the front of the dash (not on the top of the dash where it would be visible). He briefly looked at me and then went past and pulled over a vehicle that was ahead of me. The car did not have any markings, and I’ll never forget the feeling I had from almost being stopped by an unmarked Mustang. Especially since my home state (Ohio) didn’t use unmarked traffic cars.
1988: The Pennsylvania Turnpike had 1988 SSP Mustangs. The program that encouraged their use was federally funded and called Project 55. The cars were not assigned to any specific station, but were rotated among the Turnpike stations. The turnpike is funded differently than the regular Penn DOT and PSP budgets.
1992: The 1992 SSP Mustangs were assigned to the now defunct interstate patrol, then referred to as “Troop S”. The Troop S headquarters was in Milesburg on interstate 80. The Mustangs were only assigned to interstate patrol, never used otherwise, not on county patrol, and also not station specific. They were rotated among all Troop S stations to keep a fresh look. Each station had no more than one Mustang at a time. They had no weather restrictions and were used by assignment day or night. When on patrol the Mustangs were called ‘Station name 55’. An example call would be ”Hazleton…. Hazleton 55″. That would mean Hazleton station was calling Hazleton car 55. The car would answer “Hazleton 55…..Hazleton”. The Mustangs were always car 55. There were 15 Troop S Stations at that time. Troop S was disbanded in 1996.
Markings & Lighting: 1992 was the first year for the new style paint scheme for PSP cars. One white one was marked for a short while with a vision lightbar. It stayed around the Harrisburg area. It had no roof markings but did have the car number on the trunk top lid. It was marked “55”. It was involved in a stationary accident in I-81 North at the mile 74 Rest Area during Motor Carrier Safety Inspections when the drivers door was swung open by the wind from a passing truck and folded the door open hitting the front fender. When it was repaired it was unmarked.
(Federal Vision Light Bar)
The others used a Smith and Wesson revolving red ‘pancake light’. They were kept stored, ready for use, by using the lights base magnet. The stored light was kept on large stamped steel washer about 6″ in diameter that was screwed into the driver side door upper upholstery area. The extended length coiled cord was simple plugged into the cig. lighter and was laid up and over the dash being secured at the drivers “A” pillar by a plastic clamp screwed into the plastic pillar at the base by the dash. The S&W light always went out through an rolled down window.
(Smith & Wesson Pancake Light)
Troop S: Was activated on September 1, 1970. It was given the responsibility of patrolling the Pennsylvania’s Interstate Systems and was disbanded in 1997. All Troopers in Troop S were consolidated with and into adjacent county Troop Commands.
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