1941 Chevrolet Master Deluxe Coupe
CAR 1, though not an original police vehicle, is a careful recreation of one of the first marked OPP patrol cars. Motorcycles were used by the OPP for traffic enforcement during the 1930s. By 1940, it was recognized that the increased volume of traffic on the roads created hazardous working conditions for motorcycle patrol officers. As a result, patrol cars were purchased in 1941.
The original CAR 1 was one of five specially built Chevrolets, each one assigned to a patrol sergeant, bearing the lettering “Ontario Provincial Police Highway Patrol”. The paint scheme for these first five vehicles, a white body with black fenders and quarter panels, was distinct from the other 45 patrol cars (with white bodies and black hoods). From this point forward, over a generation of Ontarians came to recognize the black and white cruisers as distinctively OPP.
In 1971, Commissioner Eric Silk proposed the reconstruction of an original marked patrol car. A 1941 Chevrolet Master Deluxe Coupe was found in Aurora, Illinois, and brought to OPP General Headquarters' garage for complete refurbishing as CAR 1.
The interior trim was completely redone using original upholstery fabric from a textile mill located in Almonte, Ontario. All chrome parts were carefully removed and re-plated. As well, emergency equipment including a fire extinguisher, a spotlight mounted on the driver's door, and a "POLICE STOP" roof lamp were also fitted. Interestingly, OPP patrol vehicles did not initially have sirens, although an exhaust whistle could be used as an emergency warning device.
The official unveiling of CAR 1 took place in Toronto in 1972. For more than two decades, CAR 1 led parades, transported dignitaries and fascinated thousands of car enthusaists in all areas of the province. It also made history in 1995. CAR 1 placed 18th out of 130 positions in the Great American Car Race from Ottawa to Mexico City. Now CAR 1 can be found for most of the year, in its permanent home at General Headquarters proudly representing decades of dedicated highway patrol work and traffic enforcement.
CAR 1 - Engine Specifications:
1989 Chevrolet Caprice
CAR 7-500 was generously donated to the OPP by General Motors of Canada to represent a colour scheme that was phased out in 1989 when the shift to an all-white vehicle was made. This 8 cylinder 1989 Chevrolet Caprice is equipped with a radio system, safety equipment, lights and an upgraded suspension system. These are some of the features unique to cars produced for policing. The traditional black-and white-colour scheme of the OPP police cruiser was re-introduced in 2007 under Commissioner Julian Fantino. Increased police visibility on the roads, enhanced by this distinctive paint scheme, is a key component of the OPP’s traffic strategy.
CAR 7-500 - Engine Specifications:
1931 Henderson KJ/KL (Streamline)
Oldest known OPP vehicle
This motorcycle was originally owned by Provincial Constable John Hinchliffe (Badge No. 392). Hinchliffe bought the Henderson in February of 1931 from the P.A. McBride motorcycle dealership in Toronto. This Henderson, the oldest known OPP vehicle in existence, was donated to The OPP Museum in memory of Chief Superintendent Robert “Bert” McKie who restored the motorcycle in the 1970s.
OPP Motorcycle Patrol
The OPP took to the roads when the Northern Motorcycle Patrol was formed in 1928 (operating north of the Severn River). Originally consisting of only seven officers, the numbers grew when the office of the Attorney General took over policing all provincial highways. In 1930, 70 patrol officers, formerly with the Ontario Department of Public Highways, became OPP constables.