NYPD adds "General Lee" muscle car to its fleet

Associated Press Writer

NEW YORK- The New York Police Department is adding some muscle to its car fleet: the 2006 Dodge Charger, whose 1969 model is best remembered for outrunning a hapless sheriff in "The Dukes of Hazzard."

The department plans to buy 15 police versions of the car for a pilot program that will begin this summer, officials said Thursday.

With so many flashy foreign cars on the road, speed matters, said Leonard Lesko, the NYPD's director of fleet services.

"The car that does 110 mph doesn't do it anymore," Lesko said.

In a recent analysis by Michigan State Police, Chargers equipped with a V-8 engine had the quickest acceleration (6.52 seconds to 60 mph) and fastest lap time (150 mph) of any police vehicle tested.

The police highway unit will test drive 10 Chargers featuring V-8 engines, officials said. The rest will have V-6s and hit city streets in the five boroughs.

If they pass inspection, they could replace hundreds of squad cars in the NYPD's 3,000-vehicle patrol fleet, now dominated by Ford Crown Victorias and Chevrolet Impalas.

The Charger appeared in 1966. Over the next several years, it made an impact on the stock car circuit and on television, starring as the General Lee, an orange 1969 model, in "The Dukes of Hazzard."

The price was being negotiated. A company Web site lists the civilian model's starting price at $22,995. Modified police models typically are sold to law enforcers at a discount.

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