Vintage Cop Cars Inspire Memories of the Legendary TV-show “Dragnet”
If you were a fan of the old TV series “Dragnet” — and let’s face it, who didn’t love the just-the-facts-ma’am crime fighting techniques of officers Joe Friday and Bill Gannon — then you’ll get a huge kick out of the display of restored 1960s and ‘70s law enforcement vehicles at this year’s Pacific Coast Dream Machines Show, April 30 at Half Moon Bay Airport.
Among the dozen or so sheriff, police, and emergency services vehicles will be Darryl Lindsay’s 1968 Ford Custom, restored to the exact specifications of the Menlo Park Police Department of that era.
“I got hooked on the idea of vintage police cars when I began working at the San Carlos Police Department,” explains Lindsay, who began his law enforcement career there. “I saw a photo of a car from the mid-60s, and I just thought how cool it would be to have that exact car.”
With the approval of the San Carlos PD, Lindsay eventually did restore a car, a mirror image of what he’d first seen in that photograph. In addition, he has restored a 1960s-era Menlo Park Police Department car.
Unlike many who get into vintage cars, the cars came second. Lindsay’s initial foray into restoration meant a years-long search for authentic parts, including radios and flashing lights.
“This was in the pre-internet era. Things took a lot longer then. I spent a lot of time looking at newspaper ads, haunting garage sales, and flea markets in search of parts,” he says. “A lot of people didn’t even know what they had.”
By the time he found the cars, he was ready to go. The actual restoration took about two years to complete.
“It sounds like it would be a lot of fun to drive around in a vintage police car, but it doesn’t exactly work that way,” Lindsay says. “The basic rule of thumb is that you’re allowed to drive it to and from events, or for maintenance. I also put a sign in the window that says ‘out of service’. But what people really see is a police car. It does turn heads.”