Click the Dodge Charger cop car for a high-res gallery
Every September since the 1950s, the Michigan State Police have conducted vehicle performance testing on the latest cop cars. Prior to the early 1970s when the first oil embargo occurred, they would go out for bids every year and then test just the low bid vehicle. In those days, testing was limited to acceleration, top speed and braking distance.
According to Lt. David Halliday of the Michigan State Police, as carmakers were struggling at that time and scrambling to sell their bigger vehicles, they all started submitting bids around the same price with only a $45 spread covering all the contenders one year. Around that time they decided to start testing all of the available vehicles and they also made their test results available to all interested police agencies. For the past three decades, a chunk of that annual testing has been conducted at the Chrysler Proving Ground in Chelsea, MI.
Gallery: Michigan State Police car testing