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The production of the program involved showing all aspects of correct police procedures, and “Webb wanted the vehicle itself to be considered a character.” The show specifically centered on police radio cars and helped reinforce “the sound of radio as an anti-crime technology.” The police vehicles used in the show were purchased from local dealerships (with the exception of the AMC Matador, purchased from the LAPD fleet) and outfitted by the prop department to LAPD cruiser specs.

The LAPD had purchased 534 Matadors for its patrol fleet. The Matador was the only real police fleet vehicle purchased by Universal from the LAPD, specifically for Adam-12. Cops preferred the Matador because the performance was similar to the '69 Belvedere but with air conditioning. The AMC Matador would only last until 1975 when they were replaced with the Plymouth Fury. The Fury was the first car to have power steering, power windows and air. It would be the last car to use the TRIO T-2 "can lights" before the change to the blue and red light bar on all patrol vehicles in late 1979.



Adam-12 Tow Car with camera and lights.
Bottom: Malloy & Reed in the Belvedere being towed through the streets of North Hollywood.



THE CARS OF ADAM-12: 1967 Plymouth Belvedere [pilot episode only] 1968 Plymouth Belvedere1969 Plymouth Belvedere1971 Plymouth Satellite1972 AMC Matador

Back of the units: (L-R) 1968 Belvedere • 1969 Belvedere • 1971 Satellite • 1972 Matador ['67 Belvedere not pictured since it was only used for the pilot]



FROM THE PILOT: The Impossible Mission
Officer Pete Malloy's description of the 1967 police unit in the First Episode:

"This black and white patrol car has an overhead valve V8 engine. It develops 325 horsepower at 4800 RPM's. It accelerates from 0 to 60 in seven seconds; it has a top speed of 120 miles an hour. It's equipped with a multi channeled DFE radio and an electronic siren capable of admitting three variables, wale, yelp, and alert. It also serves as an outside radio speaker and public address system. The automobile has two shotgun racks, one attached to the bottom portion of the front seat, one in the vehicle trunk. Attached to the middle of the dash, illuminated by a single bulb is a hot sheet desk. Fastened to which you will always make sure is the latest one off the teletype before you ever roll."   CLICK FOR MALLOY'S SPEECH

(PPV) These vehicles are rated by the manufacturer for high speed pursuit and/or heavy duty use and equipped with upgraded engines, heavy duty suspension, breaks, cooling systems, electrical systems, and other special items. Most of the upgrades to these vehicles are to increase durability and performance. The manufacturer may give a special name to the vehicle such as "Police Interceptor" - "Enforcer" or "Pursuit." The first police package became available in 1950, made by Ford. Chevy made their first Police Package in 1955, Dodge in 1956, and Plymouth in 1957.

With the exception of the AMC Matador, the police cars used on Adam-12 were not equipped with the
'police package' heavy-duty springs and would sag in the back. The real LAPD (PPV) units rode high in the back and the engine had a distinct rumble. The realistic rumble sound of the car is present on the show but was an added effect in post-production.

LAPD purchased black cars that were painted white with the chrome strip dividing the color below the rear window. The 1968 through 1971 studio cars were white cars painted black with no chrome and a white strip below the rear window. The borrowed LAPD unit used for the Pilot episode has an interior black trunk when open and the amber lights flash in unison, however, Webb focuses close-up shots on only one T-2 amber light flashing, giving the impression of a wig-wag effect.



Red Steady burn on CA emergency vehicles is based on old study that showed red steady burn color is more visible to drivers than flashy lights as there is no "off" time like in flashing lights. It's an outdated study that was done before fast strobes and modern LED technology. But now steady burn is just a tradition that the public in CA is used to on our emergency vehicles.

Only the sedan is permitted to engage in a vehicle pursuit, pursuant to department policy. Like most police agencies throughout southern California, Los Angeles Police Department vehicles are ordered painted in black clear coat. The Department has used this black-and-white color scheme since approximately 1940 with minimal modifications.

CURRENT PATROL UNITS: The Los Angeles Police Department has ended its patrol-car purchasing drought, adding 188 new 2013 model-year patrol vehicles from Chrysler and the Ford Motor Company. The LAPD ordered 100 Dodge Charger Pursuit patrol cars, 50 Ford Police Interceptor Utility vehicles, and 38 Ford P.I. sedans. Some of the vehicles will get a vinyl wrap rather than two-tone paint. Look at LAPD's current fleet of vehicles (SEE VIDEO BELOW).



Most LAPD police vehicles now bear three rear bumper stickers: one reading "There's NO Excuse - For Domestic Violence" - "JoinLAPD.com" and "Watch The Road - Operation Traffix". On the rear side panel is a black and white sticker that reads "EMERGENCY DIAL 9-1-1." The front doors still bear the seal of the city of Los Angeles, the department slogan "to protect and to serve" as well as the citywide five-digit "shop number" and city department name (POLICE). The last three numbers of the shop number (used to identify all vehicles operated by the city) are reprinted on the roof to help air units visually identify cars. Since the days of Adam-12, LAPD has added a number on the trunk that identifies which division the unit belongs to (e.g., a '01' would be "Central Division" or a '02' would be "Rampart Division").

Since the '67 Belvedere was borrowed from the LAPD for the Pilot episode, the Universal prop department was not able to modify and angle the red lights down and inward for tow scenes with in-car filming as seen in the series, however, they did remove the windshield.

All LAPD units are delivered in black, so real units had a black interior trunk when open, pictured above. Also, the rear amber lights on this '67 LAPD unit flashed in unison, which was the standard on most units in the '60s. In the '70s, actual LAPD patrol car rear amber lights either flashed in unison OR in a funky, random pattern. Inspired by Adam-12, the LAPD began using the wig-wag pattern on the rear ambers in 1977 / '78.

First picture below is a studio police car with the "can lights" noticeably angled down and inward with the siren dulled for the tow-car shots. The second picture shows the interior color of the trunk is white since the studio purchased all white cars and painted them black where needed.  The third picture shows one of the real LAPD units (black interior trunk) that Jack Webb ordered directly from AMC.

With the exception of the real 1967 Plymouth Belvedere borrowed from LAPD's North Hollywood Division for the Pilot only, all of the Adam-12 studio police cars (including the real LAPD AMC Matador) use the rear amber wig-wag light pattern; modified by the Universal prop department. The LAPD had not yet incorporated the standard "wig-wag" pattern of the rear amber lights, still used to this day.


Adam-12 Studio Patrol Cars - First two pictures are white commercial vehicles (white interior trunk) painted black by the prop department. The last
picture is the Adam-12 / LAPD AMC Matador purchased by Jack Webb's Mark VII Productions and Universal from AMC Motors and added to the LAPD fleet with the Police Package included. No police radios were ever installed in the tow-car, just a hand-microphone and a small portable button to activate the red steady burn front lights - the rear amber lights were disconnected in the tow scenes. The police cars used in exterior shots did have a police radio in the car, but the siren was never connected since it was never used for filming.


As on Adam-12, LAPD used the front red steady burn but the rear amber "can lights" flashed in unison or randomly flashed on real units in the '70s. In the last picture above, Adam-12 (Season 4 - Episode: The Radical) investigate an abandon (real LAPD Mercury Montego) police unit. Notice how the rear amber lights flash randomly and a flood light is mounted next to the siren of the car. The Mercury was gladly loaned to the producers by the LAPD and is seen as a back-up unit throughout the episode.



10/20/1971: Season 4, Episode 5

Malloy chases after a 2-11 suspect solo into Griffith Park where he loses control of the 1971 Plymouth Satellite - as the car is going through several stages of losing control and crashing in the hidden brush, we see the car magically transform from a Satellite to a 1969 Plymouth Belvedere.

As the unit is in pursuit, stock footage of the 1968 Plymouth Belvedere is shown.

Here's the kicker... the footage (filmed in a stage) of Malloy in the crashed police car is actually a Mercury Montego.


The magic car that changes from a Plymouth Satellite to many different makes and models in a matter of seconds in 'The Search.' 
Here's a closer look of the crash scene, bet you never noticed how many cars were involved before it ends up as a Mercury... LOL!

'THE BEAST' The Return Of The '69 Belvedere


The Plymouth Belvedere is not the original car used in the series, it was a studio car dressed as an LAPD unit. If you look close you will notice the tow-car scenes are done in the Matador and just the exterior shots use the Plymouth Belvedere.
EPISODE: 'The Beast.'  WATCH A FLASHBACK FAVORITE CLIP FROM "THE BEAST" [1/31/1973: The Beast Season 5, Episode 17]



In 1970 the producers chose not to use LAPD's latest vehicle, the Mercury Montego - and continued using the '69 Belvedere until the change in 1971 to the new Plymouth Satellite. Good call, even though the Mercury was the first unit with air conditioning, LAPD quickly became dissatisfied with the Montego's inferior performance and cops didn't like the car and Webb knew it. An actual LAPD Montego does make several appearances on Adam-12 as a back-up unit in a few scenes, before it would disappear forever. The Plymouth Satellite was used when Chrysler retired the Belvedere name in '71 which was the first year you see the roof numbers since Air support was on the brink of becoming a vital and extremely necessary tool for law enforcement. L.A. and the country was introduced to police helicopters patrolling the skies on Adam-12. Air 10, roger.

(L) Screen clip is of an actual LAPD Mercury from a newsreel of the Feb.1971 Sylmar Earthquake.

The Plymouth Satellite didn't fair much better with performance than the Montego and was only used briefly by the LAPD and just one season of Adam-12. The last car used on the show was an actual LAPD police unit, the 1972 and '73 AMC Matador. Although police officers liked the Matador best because of its performance and air conditioning, it would only survive the LAPD until 1975. American Motors (AMC)

1972-1974 AMC Matador Enforcer
AMC seemed to always be on the verge of oblivion. That didn’t keep it from trying to raise its own profile with a police version of its mid-size Matador sedan.

The 1972 Matador woke up with AMC’s largest 255-horsepower, 401-cubic inch V8. It became an iconic police car of the 1970s. “At that time American Motors didn’t have that great a reputation, but the Matador was an extremely good police car,” said veteran Los Angeles Police Department driving instructor Jerry Bush to Hemmings Muscle Machines in 2005. “It was fast, it had superior brakes to the Plymouths, and it handled pretty well.

As Matadors were retired from the LAPD fleet, they often wound up in movies and TV shows. It’s hard to get through an old episode of “The A-Team” or “The Rockford Files” without seeing one destroyed.

Ad for the 1972 Matador, Dukes Of Hazard 1974 Matador and an LA County Sheriff 1974 Matador seen on the opening of the TV show Chico And The Man. (The same Lightbar on the LA County Sheriffs car was being tested for use by the LAPD Central Division in 1974).


Had Adam-12 continued, they would have used the new Plymouth Fury. The LAPD 'Matador' patrol cars were discontinued and vanished from the streets of Los Angeles. The Plymouth Fury was the first patrol car to have power steering, power windows and A/C and it would be the last patrol car to use the Trio T-2 "can-lights." By late 1979 the LAPD was installing the more visible blue and red lightbar on all patrol units.

A Note From Retired Police Officer Phil Herbert: "The Matador actually survived well into the 80's and LAPD only purchased 72, 73 and 74 Matadors.  LAPD test drove a 71 Matador (401ci) in their evaluation of the car for the 1972 purchases of 534 cars.  They did not like the styling changes in the "coffin nose" 74 Matadors because it affected handling so much so in 1975 they went with the Plymouth Fury.

There was a LAPD EVOC instructor by the name of Jerry Bush who indicated they had 72's in the EVOC program for 10 or more years.

1979 marked the change to different lights more by "legal necessity" than anything else.  I read somewhere that a lawsuit resulted in the demise of the Trio T2 can lights. (True or not, I lean true). 

In 1979 LAPD also bought Ford Fairmonts and 1980 was the Plymouth Gran Fury.

The 74 coffin nose shops were definitely around till early to mid 80's.  They weren't well liked and were last to get used and rarely left the lot.  The Fury's were the preferred shop.  Jerry Bush and the EVOC crew liked to train with what was on the street, but the 72 Matadors were used for pursuit cars until I believe he said '82 or '83.  - Thanks, Phil!


Though the full-sized AMC Ambassador was also offered as a police car, the Matador would prove to be very popular. The largest user of Matador patrol cars was the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), primarily from 1972 to 1974, with some staying in service until the mid-1980s. After extensive testing of the special police models offered by Chevy, Ford, and Chrysler, the LAPD chose the AMC Matador because they "out handled and out performed all the other cars."

The LAPD police Matadors included among other special equipment: T-2 can lights, a five-channel Motorola Motrac 70 radio, a Federal siren, and a "Hot Sheet Desk" with a Roster gooseneck lamp.

The 1974 models would be the last year for the LAPD's purchase of the Matador. The second-generation longer-nosed restyle and the 5-mile bumpers added weight that affected handling and performance. Moreover, after 1976, AMC "let the police car business go as it causes too many problems."


EVOC (Emergency Vehicle Operations Center)
Staying sharp behind the wheel. Malloy, Reed and Wells on location at the former EVOC in Long Beach, CA

WATCH NOW!! 'TRAINING WHEELS' Season 5, Episode 5 Flashback Favorite 2 minute Quick Clip


LAPD 1979 Ford Fairmont. Just like your grandparents had!


NOTE: In 1974, LAPD's Central Division tested many different light systems that were more visible than the "can-lights." One was a strobe light in one of the TRIO T2 red lights, another was referred to as the "gum-ball machine" in the center of the roof, similar to the light NYPD had been using. The L.A. County Sheriff's Department and CHP were already using one of the lightbars tested (Federal Twinsonic CTS California FRONT steady burn forward facing red light) as seen on the 1974 CHP Dodge Monaco, pictured below.


A Look At NYPD's Police Cars Since The '70s

NYPD cars from 1968, 1974 and in 2013. Quite a contrast from LAPD cars then and now. NYPD used a Green/White/Black color combo on its
cars from the late 1930s until 1973. The colors changed to Blue and White until 1997 when the color changed to white cars with blue stripes.



The Station Wagon & The Tow Car

LAPD had used station wagons for supervisory personnel going back to the Adam-12 days of the late-1960s.
In addition to room for the typical supervisor-specific equipment, the station wagon had room for riot gear – shields, helmets, tear gas, launchers and other tactical gear.

Driven by sergeants, the spacious wagon also served as a mobile command post - an additional radio control head was mounted in the rear. The big station wagons faded from the police scene by the early-1990s – and were promptly replaced by SUVs. The big news for 1999 was the police-package Chevy Tahoe and the LAPD immediately added the Tahoe to their fleet. The only pursuit-certified SUV at the time, these were used for both uniformed patrol and supervisor vehicles.

The first pictured police station wagon below used on Adam-12 in the scene is a real LAPD unit.  Note the car rides high because it's a "police package unit" and there is a
chrome strip on the wheel base and "Plymouth" emblem on the side. Studio police cars (commercial vehicles) sagged in the back, did not have a chrome strip and all logos/emblems were removed.

The LAPD used station wagons for supervisory personnel (sergeants) going back to the late '60s. In addition to room for the typical supervisor-specific equipment, the station wagon had room for riot gear – shields, helmets, tear gas, launchers and other tactical gear. The station wagon also served as a mobile command post - an additional radio control head was mounted in the rear. The big station wagons faded from the police scene by the early-1990s – and were promptly replaced by SUVs. The new Area Command Vehicle can be quickly set up as an incident command vehicle in three minutes. Law Enforcement Agencies in California including the LAPD, CHP
and the LASD all use SUVs now.

Who can forget Mac's station wagon. One of the station wagons used as Mac's car was also used to tow the Adam-12 unit in the first season, replaced with another heavy-duty unmarked station wagon that would tow the car through the streets of North Hollywood, the San Fernando Valley and a few L.A. locations. The red/amber "tin-can" lights on the towed police unit are angled down and inward for a better frontal camera shot of the "reds" -  the hood of the car and the chrome siren are dulled to eliminate reflection for filming.

The actors had hidden lavaliere microphones inside their shirts for good sound quality during filming of the tow-car scenes. However, sound was often redubbed (looped) by the actors in a studio.

During the tow scenes, Marty and Kent are not in full uniform and usually wearing jeans or comfortable pants. If they opened a car door in a tow shot, you will never see them exit the vehicle. Exterior scenes were filmed at the same location, but on a different day with a different car and the guys dressed in full uniform. The tow-car did not have a full police radio installed, just a hand microphone and a button for Marty to activate the front red lights. When you see the police radio or Reed grabbing or replacing the microphone, it is all stock footage that was filmed at the beginning of each season and inserted where needed in post-production. The director listening to the actors with headphones in the station wagon would have to remember to cue the driver of the station wagon to pick up speed when they had CODE 3 calls. The sound of the siren was later added to the scene.

Marty and Kent had bright lights, cameras and a station wagon full of crew members in front of them while the script supervisor was hiding in the back seat reading the dispatcher lines to cue the actors. There were four different script supervisors during the run of the series. The first season was Ray Quiroz, then Cynnie Troup for 3 years (she went on to EMERGENCY!), then Barbara Amotto and finally another young lady.

With the tow-car scenes the back lamps of the "tin-can" lights had to be disconnected since they made an audible "click-click" sound as the rear ambers flashed. The front lamps were a steady red and did not make that noise. In a few early episodes, the rear amber lights were not disconnected and you can clearly hear the "clicks" of the T-2 Trio lights. Exterior shots used a different, shiny, untainted police car or the tow-car was reset to LAPD specs for exterior filming since tow-car scenes were shot on a different day.



"G" Units - Central Receiving Hospital - Rampart Division

City of Los Angeles Emergency Ambulance known as "G" units were under the umbrella of the LAPD until 1970. Note the same LAPD uniforms on the
attendants with a red cross shoulder patch and older style 8 point hat. The G units were referred to as the "Brown Bombers" or the "Meat Wagon."

THEN & NOW: The former Central Receiving Hospital becomes the new location for Rampart Division
The former Central Receiving Hospital at 1401 W. 6th Street in 2008 became the new home of Rampart Police Division

In late 1910 the "Receiving Hospital" became a department for the medical and surgical treatment of all persons brought to the City Jail and for all policemen and firemen. Throughout time, the system grew to nine hospitals. For many years the ambulances under the Receiving Hospital were assigned the designation of "G." This would be combined with the division number of the station where the ambulance was assigned. The ambulances and crews (not police officers, but dressed in the same uniform and hat) were stationed at police stations, and other locations for many years. The crews worked eight hour shifts and the equipment was maintained by the Police Department. In 1970 the ambulance service was transferred from the police to the fire department. Pictured below is the first LAFD Rescue Ambulance parked at Harbor General Hospital (A.K.A. Rampart General Hospital from "Emergency!"). Notice how today's LAFD Rescue Ambulance (RA units) now sport a similar, albeit larger, boxy design as the "G" units from the late '60s.


In 2008, Rampart Police Division moved east into a newly constructed facility at 1401 West 6th Street, the site of the former emergency receiving hospital. The original Rampart Station was established in 1966 and was located at 2710 West Temple Street and served as the home station where Adam-12 was based, it is now abandoned and closed. Its name is derived from Rampart Boulevard, one of the main streets in its patrol area.




Former Rampart Division on Temple Street in 1970 (front and back) and how it looks today, closed, fenced and boarded-up.


(L-R) Rampart Station in 1969, the building as it looks now and an artist rendering of the proposed new building.

Rampart Division '02' was formerly known as Lincoln Heights Police Station. This station was closed by the 1940s and its number deactivated.
The number was reactivated in 1966 and renamed Rampart Police Station, since Rampart Blvd is a major street in the area. Rampart Station was only one year old when Jack Webb decided to focus on the new police station with the Pilot episode of Adam-12, filmed in 1967. Central Division '01' - which "1" Adam-12 is assigned - was in a congested area and would have made filming exterior shots difficult because of traffic. Besides, the LAPD and Jack Webb wanted to feature the relatively new Rampart Police station.

Since the Rampart Division moved to their new location on Sixth Street in 2008, the old station has remained empty, serving as  a magnet for taggers, copper thieves and neighborhood complaints about vagrants, trash and litter.
The LAPD says it plans to turn the former station at Temple Street and Benton Way into the SWAT team headquarters. The design concept created by Perkins & Will, the architecture firm that created the new Rampart Station, would sheath the exterior of the 1966 building in glass and allow more natural light to pour into the interior. The design proposal strategically carves the 1966 concrete bunker to allow diffused sunlight into high-priority areas. The renovation of the station is expected to cost $17.6 million. So far, the building remains abandoned and boarded-up in disrepair and seemingly ignored.


The (Mary) Motor Units


Our favorite motor cop riding the Moto Guzzi. Officer Grant, Malloy and Reed on bikes at LAX and it's "Eddie Haskell" from 'Leave It To Beaver' -
real LAPD Motor Officer (1970–1988) Ken Osmond in 1974.  Watch the 1967 LAPD Motorcycle Safety Training Film

LAPD's current motor unit: LAPD BMW Motorcycle


The Airships


WATCH NOW!  A FLASHBACK FAVORITE Quick Clip from the episode: 'SKYWATCH'

This multi-part episode "SKYWATCH" demonstrates how important and necessary Air support was becoming to the ground units for the LAPD. It also reunites the guys with "Lou (formerly Jerry, Bill) WALTERS" and JACK HOGAN (formerly Detective Jerry Miller) from early episodes of the show.

Two of LAPD's current fleet of Air Units, AStar B-2, Black & White Helicopter and the Bell Jet 206 B3, Black & White Helicopter

WATCH NOW! Our 2 Minute LAPD Airship Tour

Malloy's Cars (that dang Mustang!)


Pete Malloy's first personal car was a 1968 blue /white top Mustang as seen in the episode: "LOG 73 - I'm Still A Cop." Funny how the Mustang changes after students from the college Malloy is attending, vandalize his car. The blue Mustang belonged to Marty's stand-in Rick Warrick. Many of the background cars were owned by employees of the show and were paid $50 to use their car.

From the episode KRASH: Malloy & Reed driving to work in Malloy's brand new
tan AMC Matador coupe when they abandon the car in the middle of the street to pursue a purse snatcher. The producers have Malloy's second  car on the show, the "Gold/white-top 1967 Mustang," pass by as they begin their foot pursuit. The Mustang was owned by Universal Studios and was either featured in scenes or often seen as a passing or parked background vehicle throughout the entire run of the series beginning with the pilot (first) episode.
You may recall it was featured as Malloy's personal vehicle in the episode where his  landlady is the victim of a purse snatching and then expects Malloy (since he's her tenant) and the LAPD to solve her crime immediately. She is seen waiting by the Mustang in the picture to the left. Next time you watch Adam-12, no doubt you will see "that dang Mustang." The Mustang made its first appearance on 9/21/1968: Log 1---The Impossible Mission Season 1, Episode 1 and its last appearance on 4/29/1975: Dana Hall Season 7, Episode 22.

Dont worry...

It's just an optical delusion.


Reed's Cars

Jim Reed's personal vehicles changed a few times during the series run. From a Ford Falcon, an early 60's Ford and finally, a blue Corvette convertible that was owned by Kent McCord. On occasion the car was used as a parked vehicle in a scene and is used in the episode: 'Million Dollar Buff'' as the guys are Code 7, the car and the young lady driving, briefly get their attention as she pulls into the parking lot. Looks like Kent has a worried look - and with good reason - look at the parking job! The car was used in the final season featured as Reed's last personal vehicle of the series.


It's Columbo's car on Adam-12... and, oops! someone left their script book on top of the parked car in the scene as the boys roll up in the Matador.
The Telephone Booth in the background was a prop and placed there for the scene above.

It's ADAM-12's Matador on COLUMBO and in the 1976 movie CAR WASH.

The ADAM-12 Matador also appears on QUINCY and in Ron Howard's first movie GRAND THEFT AUTO in 1977.


The Cars After The Show

The police cars on Adam-12 were owned by Universal Studios and had been used and seen in many Universal Studio productions after the series ended, such as Emergency! - Columbo and The Rockford Files, as well as many other Universal television shows. 

Pictured above is the AMC Matador, former studio police cars, the "junkyard" where former studio cars end service -  the original Adam-12 Plymouth Satellite on an episode of Columbo, then dressed as a Sheriff car on Emergency!  All Sheriff cars used in Emergency! were the former Adam-12 Plymouth Satellite and AMC Matador vehicles.

The cars are long gone - destroyed or sold as junk many years ago. They were last seen in 1979. There are many replicas now, restored by collector's and retired police officers.


THE MEMORIAL CRUISER at the 10-4 Day Parade: This unit Honors Los Angeles County's Fallen Heroes with names printed all over the cruiser.



The Adam-12 rear amber wig-wag lights were so cool! An LAPD standard thanks to Adam-12.

List Of Cars Used By The LAPD 1967 - 2012

1967 Plymouth Belvedere 4 door
1968 Plymouth Belvedere 4 door
1969 Plymouth Belvedere 4 door
1970 Mercury Montego 4 door
1971 Plymouth Satellite 4 door
1972 AMC Matador 4 door
1973 AMC Matador 4 door
1974 AMC Matador 4 door
1975 Plymouth Fury 4 door
1976 Plymouth Fury 4 door
1977 Plymouth Fury 4 door
1978 Plymouth Fury 4 door - Last vehicle to use the "can-lights" TRIO T2 red/amber lamps
1979 Ford Fairmont 4 door - Blue & Red Lightbar beginning to replace the Trio-T2 "can-lights"
1980 Plymouth Gran Fury 4 door - Blue & Red Lightbar on all patrol units
1981 Plymouth Gran Fury 4 door
1982 thru 1991 a mix of Chevrolet Impala/Caprices and Ford (LTD) Crown Victorias were used.
1992 (LAPD a few 1992 Chevrolet Caprices, they got them from MTA Police that were merged into the LAPD)
1993 Chevrolet Caprice
1994 Chevrolet Caprice
1995 Chevrolet Caprice
1996-2007 Ford Crown Victoria
2008 Dodge Charger, Ford Crown Victoria
Ford Crown Victoria
Dodge Charger

The 1979 Plymouth Fury, the last car to use the Trio T2 "can-lights" and the 1980 Plymouth Gran Fury with the new Aerodynic Blue and Red Lightbar


The ADAM-12 License Plates


Favorite Cop Car by Cops


The Ford Crown Victoria is still considered the all time favorite Cop Car by most LAPD Cops. Described as the most comfortable and smooth drive, didn't leak or squeak, reliable and one great car. The last of the black-and-white Crown Vic Interceptors, according to Ford was built in September 2011. Pictured above is the final delivery of LAPD Crown Victoria's in 2012 and one of the first cars to hit the streets.

LAPD cars are no longer painted white, instead a white plastic wrap is added during upfitting which converts the vehicle into a black-and-white. It is the same process your local radio or television station uses to have their logo cover the entire side of a van. Upon decommissioning, a heat gun is used to remove the white wrap and the vehicle reverts back to all black as it did off the assembly line, saving the cost, legal requirements and environmental issues of repainting a former police vehicle.



Current and past vehicles used by the Los Angeles Police Department. CLICK HERE



ADAM-12 & LAPD Lights and Siren

The Trio T2 Lights, known by cops as "Tin Cans" - "Can Lights" - and various other monikers were TRIO Model #T-2 Class A-1 lamps, manufactured for the LAPD until 1979 when the LAPD changed it's lighting standard to blue and red lightbars. The lights were configured with a steady red lamp in the front section, and an amber bulb that had a flash attachment in the housing. Some Police departments ran the flashers in unison or in an alternate (wig-wag) pattern. Red Steady burn on CA emergency vehicles is based on old study that showed red steady burn color is more visible to drivers than flashy lights as there is no "off" time like in flashing lights. It's an outdated study that was done before fast strobes and modern LED technology. But now steady burn is just a tradition that the public in CA is used to on our emergency vehicles.

The LAPD being frugal, in some units had each lamp installed with its own independent flasher, so each light flashed in a strange "haphazard" pattern independent of each other, while other older units had the lights flash in unison. All of the studio police cars on Adam-12 used the wig-wag (alternating amber lights) pattern for the rear amber lights long before the LAPD.

Due to the influence and familiarity of ADAM-12, the LAPD finally incorporated the wig-wag pattern on the rear amber lamps in the late '70s and is still used on today's lightbar. The rear amber lights on the real 1967 LAPD police unit in the pilot episode flashed in unison, but Webb only focuses on one amber flashing, giving the impression of a wig-wag effect.


Flaws on the old "can lights" on the Adam-12 cars, the designation "1-012" was also incorrect in
earlier versions of the show. The side of the can lights should have shown the station [Division] the car was assigned to and the last three numbers of the shop number (not the assigned area). Current LAPD patrol units have the shop number on the roof and the Division on the trunk in white numbers for helicopter identification.

The number on the roof "0-1-2" should have been the shop number of the vehicle, not the beat assignment -- the air units identified the unit in this manner to communicate with the patrol officers. The 1971 Plymouth Satellite and AMC Matador had the "0-1-2" stenciled on the roof, the first year model Belvederes did not.

Former Adam-12 Producer Tom Williams has stated that after the first few years they ended up combining the "shop number" and "area division" number because it was causing too much confusion between the two. 1-Adam-12 was the "radio designation" for the unit. The number on the roof was "0-1-2" because the "shop-number" of the unit was "85012."

The Trio T2 lights were originally made by S&M Lamp Co. LA (Model 757) until 1964, first used in 1951 & standard by 1953, when S&M Lamp Co. went out of business. In ’64, Trio-Sales Co. started making them for LAPD (renamed Model T-2). The lights were red/red until ’64, when rear ambers were introduced. Each T-2 had a separate flasher installed by MTD so that a ‘shop’ would not go out-of-service for a BO amber. Last cars to have the T-2 lights installed were the ’78 Plymouth Fury models. 

The can lights eventually were replaced due to side warning issues, it was almost impossible to see the lights on from side view. The Olympics were coming to Los Angeles and international visitors recognized "blue" as emergency vehicle lighting, so in 1979 the transition began to the lightbar.  Most of the Trio T2 can lights were tossed in the garbage when LAPD began installing the Aerodynic Lighbar by Federal Signal.

The Trio T-2 "can-lights" were replaced with the (very large) FEDERAL SIGNAL LAPD AERODYNIC LIGHTBAR; customized for the LAPD with two rear
amber wig-wags and a steady red burn in front of the lightbar. After decades of using  the subtle TRIO T-2 red/amber lights, the LAPD cars looked
odd to Angelinos with that giant lightbar mounted on the front (not the center) of the roof.  In 1980, you could NOT miss a cop car if you tried.

LAPD's current light system on most patrol cars. Federal Signal Arjent S2 Lightbar as seen on the units pictured above.


The Siren used on Adam-12 and the LAPD in the '60 and '70s is manufactured by Federal Signal Corporation, they are listed as Model "CP-25 and "CP-100" siren speakers.

The "CP-25" speaker sounded at 58 watts peak, the CP-100 at 100 watts peak, and was run from two of Federal's siren drivers, the "Interceptor" Model #PA-20 & PA-20A. The siren consisted of the bell, the chrome housing - and the siren amplifier hidden by the cone.

The cone was capped with a chrome crown. The only difference between the two units was the tones. The PA-20 had the "alert" feature, and the PA-20A had the "hi-lo" feature in place of "alert." The "Interceptor" had the feature of being able to run the Motorola "Motrac" Radio system through the Interceptor's microphone.

The other siren speaker was the "CP-100" which had no back bolt on the rear of the bell.


Pictured below (L-R) the manual toggle switches that control the siren and lights mounted next to the siren source. NOTE: The actors never heard the siren when filming. The siren was later inserted during post-production. The only time the actors heard the siren is when the show aired on TV. The Federal Signal PA-20A Siren is heard in most '70s & '80s TV & Movie productions.


1 Adam-12 handle Code 3.
(toggle switches for siren and lights)

Federal Signal PA-20A Siren -
Watch & Listen

Federal Signal Smart Siren now used in LAPD black & whites

In the '80s and '90s the LAPD used the Unitrol 480K with the Federal Aerodynic lightbars. (Position 1-rear amber flashing only • Position 2-Rear amber and front red steady burn • Position 3-all lights activated, including headlight flash. This position also enables the siren)



LAPD Police Units Past and Present

Video 1:
Classic police cars - 1969 LAPD Plymouth Belvedere with 330 HP V8 engine.
Video 2:
LAPD Police Unit
. Loaded With Tech
(CES 2013)
Video 3:
Another look at the new LAPD cruiser.
February at CES 2013


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