Police in New South Wales have rebuilt a specially modified highway patrol car that suffered catastrophic engine damage when it was filled with the wrong fuel late last year.
The Ford Falcon-based FPV GT required significant repairs after an officer apparently filled it with E10 fuel that the NSW government mandated as part of a push for cleaner emissions.
NSW Police built the special Falcon GT as part of its 150th anniversary celebrations.
The hot-rodded car has 400kW of power, well more than the 335kW maximum available to Ford customers.
The GT was the most powerful Australian police car when it went into service, though it has now been surpassed by a 430kW Holden HSV GTS also run by NSW Police.
Fairfax Media understands that an officer filled the Ford with E10 fuel – a blend of 90 per cent regular unleaded and 10 per cent ethanol - as opposed to the high octane juice recommended by Ford.
The NSW government has effectively abolished regular unleaded and encourages drivers to use E10, claiming it is "cheaper, cleaner and greener" and that "most NSW cars that use [unleaded fuels] can safely use 10 per cent ethanol-blended fuel (E10)".
It's understood the misfuelling cracked the block of the 5.0-litre supercharged V8 engine, something that could have cost upwards of A$5000 (NZ$5419) to repair.
Superintendent Stuart Smith, operations commander for NSW highway patrol says he was "extremely disappointed" that the car was off the road for several weeks.
"An individual put the wrong fuel in it," Smith says.
"From time to time we have errors made by staff.
"Some damage has been done to the engine. It has been repaired."
Officers primarily use the V8-powered machine for public relations purposes. The car is often displayed at events including V8 Supercars and drag race meetings.
Police in Sydney have used a range of cars for PR purposes including a Porsche Panamera, Lotus Exige and Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution.
NSW highway patrol has been criticised in the past for ordering high-performance versions of local sedans that cost more than regular V8 or turbocharged models.
The special Falcon is planned to go on display at the Justice and Police Museum in Sydney when it retires from duty.
-Fairfax News Australia