Vandalized vintage cruisers return to duty in GA

'47 Chevy Stylemaster, '53 Bel Air back and lookin' pretty in Savannah
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This 1953 Bel Air, customized with city police markings, was one
of two damaged by a vandal in March. It has been repaired to once
again sit in front of the Savannah, Ga., police barracks.

Two vintage cars, converted to police cruisers and damaged by vandalism, have been returned to their posts at the Savannah-Chatham police barracks in Savannah, Ga.

According to the Savannah Morning News, a 1947 Chevrolet Stylemaster and a 1953 Chevrolet Bel Air were damaged March 20, allegedly by a drunken airman stationed in Tuscon, Ariz., who was in Savannah for training. Isaiah Louis Jacobson, 27, was charged with interfering with government property and criminal trespassing. He was caught in the act by detectives who were working inside the building when the incident took place.

Two local businesses, Advance Auto Parts and Ward's Auto Painting & Bodyworks, stepped up to help repair the damaged cruisers. Although the damage was confined to broken glass, finding the right parts took more than a month. The Morning News said the search led to New Jersey, metropolitan Detroit, Southern California and then Athens, Ga. Once found, the repair took only a couple of days. The cruisers were returned to their posts last week.

Prior to arriving for duty as a display car for the Savannah-Chatham Police Department, the '53 Bel Air was found in a salvage yard, and purchased with funds from a police benefit. Its restoration by off-duty police officers took four years, its extensive chrome replaced with rubber as befitting cruisers of the day. (Typically used for police cruisers then was the economy-range Chevrolet 150). It was placed in front of the PD barracks about 18 years ago.

The '47 car also underwent extensive work to convert it into a county cruiser, and was placed next to the Bel Air shortly after the county and city police departments merged in 2005.

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A 1947 Chevrolet Stylemaster sits beside the '53 Bel Air and bears
the markings of a vintage county police cruiser.

1. Old Cars Report
2. Standard Catalog of Chevrolet, 1912-2003 by John Gunnell


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