To celebrate 2019 National Police Week, the Seattle Metropolitan Police Museum took the wraps off a restored, 1949 Ford Washington State Patrol (WSP) Car at America’s Car Museum (ACM) on May 14.
This 1949 WSP Ford “Shoebox” sedan is considered historically significant, as the vehicle is one of the very first “police package” vehicles produced by a manufacturer, coming factory-equipped with a powerful Ford “Flathead” V-8 engine, heavy-duty brakes, 16-inch wheels, a spotlight and a steel reinforcement plate on the roof to accommodate lights or large antennas.
A retired, 93-year-old WSP Trooper, Fred Schenk – who was issued a 1949 Ford patrol car as a rookie – was the Police Museum’s guest of honor at the ACM unveiling. “I was hired by the Washington State Patrol in 1947 and the 1949 Ford patrol car replaced my ’47 Panel Wagon,” said Schenk. “It was used, but handled well, and could do 106 miles an hour on the flats.”
The Police Museum acquired the “Shoebox” in 2013 and the frame-off restoration began shortly thereafter with the assistance of the Police Museum’s skilled volunteers, community members, businesses and organizations.
“This is the most extensive restoration project the Seattle Metropolitan Police Museum has ever undertaken,” said Police Museum Founder and President, Seattle Police Officer Jim Ritter. “All of the Police Museum’s original patrol vehicles are owned by the Police Museum and no public funding is used to restore these cars.”
“It’s a privilege to take part in unveiling the original 1949 Ford Washington State Patrol Car,” said Washington State Patrol Chief John R. Batiste. “Our agency has been in partnership with the Seattle Metropolitan Police Museum for more than 20 years and we have worked actively to preserve the history of law enforcement transportation. This piece of history will be accessible for the public’s education and enjoyment for decades to come.”
Following its appearance at ACM, the 1949 Ford Patrol Car will be featured at the Greenwood Car Show in Seattle on June 29 and will periodically make appearances at select car shows, parades and special events.
“Since our doors opened in 2012, America’s Car Museum has been a staple in the Tacoma community with educational initiatives, spectacular events and, of course, through countless memorable displays and exhibits,” said ACM Curator of Collections Renee Crist. “We are elated to display such a historic vehicle that served the local community and present it alongside the Seattle Metropolitan Police Museum and Washington State Patrol.”