Blue Light Special

m.-Woodhouse-002Owned by Mark Woodhouse • Largo, FL

Story by Ron Wolf Photos By Pete Sommers

It’s the dreaded flashing blue lights in your rearview mirror that causes an adrenaline rush in most drivers. Sometimes you know you’ve been caught, other times you say to yourself, or out loud, “Why the heck am I being pulled over?” Most of us have had this experience at least once. Imagine for a moment that eerie, flashing, blue light is sitting right on your own car’s dashboard? Hey, no problem now, right? That’s exactly the way Mark Woodhouse feels when out driving his former police cruiser.

m.-Woodhouse-017His 1999 Camaro is a former B4C-equipped police car used by the South Carolina Highway Patrol. The car was retired from the SCHP in February 2003 and sat in a municipal storage lot for the next two years. Finally, it was put on the police auction docket and Mark won the car in 2005.

Mark managed to find out some of the car’s on-duty history from SCHP. The Camaros primary duty station was that of traffic patrol in Columbia, SC along the I-95 corridor through the city. Its unit number was designated as C31254. Checking the GM production records, Mark found that only 12 of the 184 B4C Camaros built in 1999 were red.

Woodhouse-10What did the trooper assigned to #C31254 think about his ride? Mark said, “I was told by this officer that he had been in many pursuits and did record a high-speed pursuit with this Camaro going the wrong way down a major interstate for miles following a suspect.  The fleeing suspect car ending up in a terrific crash caught with the onboard video camera. He also told me he would stack Christmas presents in the rear hatch area during the holiday season to give the appearance that he was going to deliver presents. He used black nylons to cover the rear blue lights. Between the presents and the concealed lights, he said the speeders came to him.” Mark also learned that officers found the interior space the Camaro offered became real small real fast once all their gear and paperwork was onboard.

Woodhouse-8After the purchase of this police cruiser Camaro, Mark got to work on restoring it right away. His plan was to restore it back to 100% original as it was when on duty. The first order of business was a thorough cleaning inside and out. Sitting for two years in the police vehicle yard the car had accumulated heavy-duty grunge. Mark took a very careful approach to the cleaning process in order to not damage the remaining good finish on the car. Much to his surprise, what was revealed after cleaning was a 100% original finish! Considering the car had 106,000 miles on it and the wind-blown dirt and grit often found on Interstate highways, he was amazed at the condition of the original paint.

Woodhouse-6It only took eight months for Mark to find and install all the original equipment and restore the rest of his Police Cruiser Camaro to original (I’m sure many of you reading this story wish your project car went together that fast!). The result of Mark’s effort is a stunning example of a cool car and historical automotive preservation.

The car has toured the car show circuit around the country since its completion including several Police Car shows. Although he enjoys showing the car, Mark said he plans to eventually put his Camaro in a museum.

Update: Copcarsonline Museum – Mon-Fri Museum tours 9am till 5pm by appointment, please call 727-536-2677. $5 dollar donation. See for more info and photos.

m.-Woodhouse-020Woodhouse-3The GM B4C Special Service Package consists of:

• 5.7 Liter LT1 V8

• 6-speed manual or 4-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission

• Single exhaust and converter with dual tailpipes

• Performance suspension

• 16” aluminum wheels

• P245/50ZR-16” blackwall tires

• 4-wheel vented anti-lock disc brakes

• 3.23:1 limited slip rear axle (automatic transmission)

• 3.42:1 limited slip rear axle (manual transmission)

• Transmission oil cooler (automatic transmission only)

• 140-amp alternator

• 525-CCA battery

• Air conditioning

• 150-mph speedometer

Woodhouse-9m.-Woodhouse-042Police gear installed:

• Passenger side blue visor lights

• Two rear headliner blue strobe lights

• Front-facing video camera with monitor and video recorder in the hatch

• Radar front and rear

Woodhouse-11• Shotgun mount on rear hump behind the center console with barrel- down gun placement (this made it easy for the officer to reach behind the passenger seat and grab the shotgun).

• 800 radio system

• Traffic backers in the rear taillights

• Front alternating headlights

• Siren speaker mounted on bottom of the core support.