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Project Buford T Justice: Our Cop Car Cruises Home and Then We Beat on It!

Project Buford T Justice: Our Cop Car Cruises Home and Then We Beat on It!

(Photos by Dave Nutting, Gene Stauffer, and Brian Lohnes) –¬†Project Buford T Justice, BangShift’s 1987 9C1 Caprice cop car is back home in Massachusetts safe and sound and we have begun to put the old girl through her paces in anticipation of future upgrades to crank up the fun factor of the car by several hundred percent. While we planned to live blog any cool or weird stuff that happened during the 350-mile ride home, there was literally nothing to talk about. The car runs like a top (a slow top), stops good, turns good, and was 100% drama and action free on the eight hour ride north to the Boston area where east coast BS HQ is located.

Just because the ride was drama free, that doesn’t mean we lacked for fun during our weekend in Pennsylvania. We got to hang out with our BS pals Doug, Gene, and John, wrench on some minor stuff to sure up the car, and we ate like kings at the legendary Shady Maple¬†smorgasbord, a Lancaster-PA area landmark that is heaven on Earth if you like to eat. Rather than bore you with a big long-form story, we’re going to do it with photos. Scroll down to see us prepping the car, beating on the car, and then we’ll give you the full tour as well! She ain’t a lot to look at right now, but the 9C1 makes up one of the most robust factory platforms for a performance build you are going to find under anything of the last 25 years!

Here's the scene in Doug's shop when we arrived. Had had the car up on the lift, the tires pulled to check the brakes, and new interior pieces ready to swap in. It was time to go to work!


Here's Gene and Doug hard at work getting Doug's late 1970s vintage pocket bike to fire. Eventually they did and shockingly no one was brutally injured on it.

One of the minor repairs we made while the car was on the lift was to replace the exhaust hangers at the rear of the system. The car has dual exhausts from the manifolds and the rear hangers were rotted off so the pipes hung low. 10 bucks worth of hangers from the parts store and that was that.

The one bad spot on the car for rust was the driver's side rear wheel well. With a hole the size of a football in it, a quick fix to keep stuff from entering the trunk was some sheet metal and short sheet metal screws. Not artwork by any means, but functional!


Here's the excitement of the ride home...fog. That was it. The car ran along at 65-75 mph and knocked back a little over 19mpg! A little slower and we would have been 20+

The front bumper filler did not fare so well on the ride home. The brittle old plastic didn't like the 75mph wind on the nose of the car and it started jumping to freedom in chunks and pieces. We had about 30% left by the time we got home. These are readily available.


After we got home and knew that the car was a runner, we decided to put it through some BangShift "performance" testing. Getting after it on dirt road like a good 1980's sheriff was test number one!

This was actually twice as fun as it looks in the photos.

We then had to confirm that the 8.5" 10-bolt rear end, which is equipped with posi-traction worked. It did on dirt!

Next up we tested that limited slip on asphalt. We honestly had our doubts that the 185,000 mile 350 could lay good rubber but it did. We didn't shame John Force, but we did smoke both tires...several times!

The motor was rated at 160hp when new....we're not sure how many of those babies are left, but we do know that several have headed to the glue factory already.


Ok, enough of the violence for now. Let's take a look at this prime example of 1980's cop car goodness!

Believe it or not there is a 350ci small block under all of that shit. The car is equipped with A/C and the vacuum hell known as 1980s emissions equipment. Note the flipped air cleaner lid for max power and Q-Jet moan action.

The infamous, but economical feedback Q-Jet. This will be headed to the scrap heap sooner rather than later.

Behold the power plant! Looks like a rubber tube factory blew up under the hood.

Rare factory nitrous exhaust injection. Look it up.

This was where the massive fuse for the lights and radios and junk lived under the hood. Looks like something from Frankenstein's lab!

The interior is in pretty good shape. We swapped a split bench cop seat into it at Doug's shop and we also put a new headliner in the car. It is comfy!

This is where the perps.....errr...my kids sit. Note the rubber floor mat goodness.

Nothing says 1987 more than GM door panels from the era. Crank windows and manual mirrors FTW.

Horns are for the weak, but using the hood ornament as a ramming sight for Toyota killing is something we're into.

Cop cars got two dome lights so Johnny Law could see well when he was writing you up for street racing, burnouts, and general stupidity.

Cop car spec gauges to the right of the steering wheel are neato. Two out of three work!

Here's the certified 115mph speedo. No 85mph weenie stuff here!

Blue was the original color. Painting jambs costs extra.

Badges...there are only a few stinking badges.

The cop shocks and cop tires joke is applicable here. The 9C1 suspension is far heavier duty than civilian models and this car uses the truck 5x5 bolt pattern for wheels. The front brakes have rotors that measure larger than 12 inches and the rear drums are very large as well. The springs and sway bar package on the car is damned good for a machine of this age and even with the cheapo rubber, it goes where you point it. With good rubber and better springs and components this thing will be a hoot on the autocross and road course.

Large trunk is LARGE!

This car may also double as my living quarters if any other projects come to the BS East Coast HQ.

Details are important when disposing bodies. Wait...what?

We want to decode this to see all of the options on the car. 9C1 is the most important one!

The car was formerly equipped with twin antennas. We used this high tech method to fill one of the holes.

Overall the car is in great shape. Yes, the exterior is a little haggard but who the hell cares? Certainly not us! Other than the wheel well there is nothing serious with respect to rot.

Stock Caprices have rubber inserts in the bumper. The copper versions do not and the bumpers look cleaner.

It will need a respray at some point, but before we tackle that we'll just clean up what's here and do some patch painting on areas of surface rust to help stop any body cancer from spreading.

and a fine example of one it is...

Overall, this car is awesome and a lot of fun. We cannot wait to start upgrading it, system by system, to make a super fun, tire shredding sedan. This platform has a ton of performance potential and we look forward to showcasing it. The next stop will be a visit to the drags to run this beast in 100% stock form. Spoiler Alert: It is going to be SLOW!

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13 thoughts on “Project Buford T Justice: Our Cop Car Cruises Home and Then We Beat on It!

  1. 67pete300

    Awesome. I took my drivers test in my parents’ civilian equivalent in 1989. I think I recreated some of those pics that day (minus the posi.)

    This is going to be fun.

  2. Beagle

    Must be a LT’s car, as a regular cruiser would have the door handle delete, which was something like 10 bucks as an option, and the rear window crank delete, another 10.00 option. I didn’t see the door lock knobs on it though, are they there? They sold about half a dozen 9C1 cars retail (I know, they weren’t supposed to) at a local dealer here, I laughed my ass off when I found out they charged money to *remove* options.

    When you get all the crap off of that 350, you’ll wonder why they didn’t go 454. You can actually sit on the fenders to work on it!

  3. Beagle

    Oh – probably MPG better too. You should have frame holes for any mount / engine / trans you want. 455 Buick. 500 Cad. Torque it up baaabbbyyyy.

    360 AMC dammit. Do it. I TRIPLE NINJA DOG DARE YA!

  4. Huskinhano

    You let your kids sit on that back seat with gawd knows what bodily fluids have been there? *LOL*

  5. CdmBill

    Caddy motor idea is cool but then there is the cheapie LS w/turbo concept which would be my choice despite the inevitable whinning.

  6. FredDamnRock

    This is awesome. I have the same exact ex-cop Caprice except it’s a 88. I’ll be looking forward to seeing your upgrades and all.

  7. Jerry Kahn

    Great car! I have nearly the exact same car, and I love it. The only differences are that mine is Michigan State Police blue, has front bucket seats, no stitches on the seat backs, and has 318,000 miles. Yours is the first Caprice that I’ve seen with the same color seats as mine – gray cloth and blue vinyl sides. I’ve owned mine for many years. If you are “upgrading” anything, please don’t throw out the original parts without asking me: I may be interested in them.

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