Special Service Mustangs, also referred to as SSP Mustangs, were made from 1982-1993. The California Highway Patrol started things off in 1982, with their search for suitable high-speed, enforcement-class vehicles. CHP specifically requested Mustangs from Ford for their rigorous testing, and Ford supplied them with at least one "police demo" Mustang coupe. All of these early test vehicles predate the SSP option being available, so none of these Mustang test cars were equipped with the SSP option. Several other agencies, including the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Arizona Department of Public Safety, also evaluated 1982 Mustang coupes. The results of testing by these agencies, customer input, and recommendations from corporate engineers and lawyers were taken into consideration by Ford to finalize the options in the Special Service Package. In addition to the 1982 CHP cars, a surviving 1982 SSP coupe recently turned up that was NOT ordered by the CHP, so we know that other agencies were interested in these new pursuit vehicles.

Photo by: CHP

Photo by: D. Pruett

Photo by: Brian (89 AZ SSP)





The durability of the 5.0 cars, coupled with low purchase price and fuel economy (compared with the police-package offerings from the major automakers at the time) proved to be very attractive for CHP and they placed an order for 400 Mustang coupes (although the last six cars in the order appear to have been cancelled and never built). These SSPs were stock, regular production 5.0 coupes, but had a few convenience items and specialized parts added to them for police use. Ford named the option the Special Service Package (not "Severe Service"). The SSP option included single-key locking (one key fits all), a Certified-Calibrated Speedometer, full-size spare, radio noise suppression package, and relocated decklid release. Ford also painted the cars in the black and white CHP paint scheme. In addition to these SSP coupes, the CHP also ordered at least four 1982 hatchback cars which are now confirmed as having been equipped with the SSP option. The SSP Mustangs did not meet Ford's durability or acceptance standards for Police Packages, and they were designed for limited highway traffic LE service.

In 1983, Ford offered the SSP Mustang to other police agencies and many departments ordered the cars and placed them into service. The Mustangs continued with about the same option content as the earlier, 1982 CHP-only cars, but other police options did start to become available. These included items such as two-piece VASCAR speedometer cables and special paint; meaning agencies could special-order the cars in their specific paint schemes, with the specific option content that they desired. Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Texas, and Washington were states that put 1983 Mustangs into service, and it's reported that as many as forty agencies in total placed orders for the 1983 Special Service cars. The 1984 Mustangs were offered in the same configurations as the 1983s, with only minor changes that were shared with the regular-production cars. Package content between the years was also unchanged.


The Special Service Mustangs continued to change with their civilian counterparts in 1985, as improvements were made by Ford. The Special Service Package content also changed starting in 1985, with even more changes happening with the 1986 models. Ford offered 15 inch steel wheels and special center caps as standard items on the '85s (non-CFI). These wheels were considered a significant cosmetic and performance improvement over the earlier, 14 inch version. In 1986, Ford started offering more options designed at increasing the durability of the cars. These options included coolant-to-oil engine oil coolers, transmission coolers (automatic-equipped cars), and blue silicone radiator and heater hoses (depending on option ordered).

Ford continued to add to and change the option content on the cars through the 1993 model year. Sadly, with the introduction of the SN-95 bodystyle in 1994, Ford discontinued the Special Service Package option, and hasn't produced a Mustang police car offering since. Unconfirmed numbers from Ford place production of these cars at somewhere near the 15,000 mark, over the 12 year run. Marti Auto Works is now providing data from Ford that should shed some light on exact production figures, and documentation that should assist in the restoration efforts of these cars. These include Eminger invoices, reproduction door data tags, and Marti History reports, detailing build and option data for a specific car, as well as confirmation of DSO numbers.