The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

July 17, 2013
Jay Leno previews CHP's Ford Explorer, drives vintage cruiser

"The Tonight Show" host and car enthusiast Jay Leno recently posted an online preview of the new CHP Ford Explorer and reviews of five classic cars the department has deployed over the years.

CHP Capt. Matt Guthrie goes through the Explorer's features with Leno while former Commissioner Spike Helmick talks about the old days and the old cars.

The Explorer's "police interceptor package" sports a 3.7-liter, V6 engine with 300 horsepower. It goes from zero to 60 in 7.8 seconds, and its top speed meets the CHP's specs in the 122 mph to 128 mph range. And no, Joe Citizen can't buy it.

Some of the current Crown Vics have 200,000 miles on them, Guthrie said, but the CHP is running the cars until the Explorer comes off production in the coming weeks.

Midway into the 12-minute mark, Leno and Helmick jump into a vintage Dodge Polara and take it for a spin.

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About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at


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