Home » I’m Not Sure This Is The Place For Such Subtlety: Cold Start

I’m Not Sure This Is The Place For Such Subtlety: Cold Start

Cs Carrboro Fire
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See that handsome wine-colored Ford Police Interceptor Utility (I think)? This is a vehicle in service to the Carrboro Fire Department, but from a distance I’m not sure you’d really be able to tell? This may be the most subtle markings I’ve ever seen on a vehicle that’s part of an emergency response organization. Look at it! We have a deep wine/maroon base layer with  deep gold graphics; from a distance, with reflections and shadows, the CARRBORO FIRE part gets almost completely lost! Same for the CAR 1 markings on the front fender. This all just seems like such a strange choice?

Our own Mark Tucker speculated that perhaps this is an arson investigator’s car, and may want to be subtle. Okay, maybe, but in that case couldn’t they just use a completely unmarked car? Wouldn’t that draw even less attention? I’m not buying that theory.

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I tend to think it’s more because Carrboro, NC – even though it’s known as the Paris of the Piedmont – is a town with decidedly less resources than Paris, and I bet they had the gold vinyl graphics on hand, and just ended up with that merlot-colored Ford Interceptor vehicle, and just had to go with it. It’s a classy look, don’t get me wrong, but nothing about that screams emergency or get out of my way. It’s more of a look you might use to, I don’t know, escort the philharmonic to their concert venue than rushing to a fire.

I happened to see this because of a huge fire in town, actually. It destroyed a local restaurant/landmark, even!

Also, while getting the link for Ford Interceptors, I noticed this picture of one adapted to K9 service:

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Cs Ford K9

Look at the expression on that dog’s face. He doesn’t want to tackle suspects anymore, or sniff for drugs or other contraband. He’s seen enough. He’s too old for this shit, and he just wants out, a nice couch to lie on and a rawhide bone. That’s not so much to ask, is it? There’s a limit to how much human desperation and misery one dog can take, and this fella has hit that limit. He’s at the point of showing his partner a picture of the sailboat he’s going to retire on, which, as movies have taught us, is one of the most dangerous acts a cop can commit.

Also, would it kill Ford to put some padding on the floor of that little chamber?

Anyway, love to hear your thoughts on the subtle fire vehicle! Is it an arson investigator thing?

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Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
11 months ago

What are we talking about?
I can’t take my focus off that awful C pillar. I don’t understand how you could choose this ugly vehicle if it wasn’t blacked out.

Jonathan Hendry
Jonathan Hendry
11 months ago

Dog knows it’s only a matter of time until he gets left in a hot vehicle.

Weston
Weston
11 months ago

K9 vehicles are generally equipped to keep the AC on while a dog is in the car. Most incidents where this happens is when that system fails.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
11 months ago

It’s flamoflage. Those red and gold hues blend well with flames and let the investigator sneak up on the fire.

Kenneth Penney
Kenneth Penney
11 months ago

“Carrboro Fire” sounds like the name of a mediocre Indie-band.

Protodite
Protodite
11 months ago
Reply to  Kenneth Penney

Or a mediocre network TV drama

Trust Doesn't Rust
Trust Doesn't Rust
11 months ago

I’m no arsonist, but if I were, my number #1 priority would be to torch the arson investigator’s car.

Chartreuse Bison
Chartreuse Bison
11 months ago

The steelies are always a dead giveaway if they were trying to be subtle. You can’t get steelies on an explorer. I can’t think of any mid-size unibody SUV you can get with steelies

Sklooner
Sklooner
11 months ago

That and the lack of roof rails

Corey Emmons
Corey Emmons
11 months ago
Reply to  Sklooner

Ford has ruined the “lack of roof rails” trick, as it’s now possible to get an Explorer ST with a roof rail delete. They are super confusing, especially since most of them are black, so it makes it really hard to tell.

Theotherotter
Theotherotter
11 months ago

It’s probably a commander’s car. Granted, it is unusual but when you’re in an emergency it’s the emergency lights and siren that tell everyone who you are, and this vehicle has them.

Also, re: the canine cage, Ford doesn’t make those. A variety of vendors do; the one in the photos is by Havis. It needs to be easy to clean, but the floor does have a surface that gives the dog’s paws some traction. Also, the compartment is air-conditioned.

Jason Mason
Jason Mason
11 months ago

Meh, if these vehicles are en route to an emergency then their light bar (internal here I am assuming) and grill/rear lights (some w side lights) will be flashing, with a siren blaring, That would alert drivers to its presence. Apart from that I do not see a reason that it would need to have graphics that would make it stand out when the vehicle isn’t fully lit up in response to an emergency.

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
11 months ago

Are you calling for Carrboro Fire?
House ablaze, where’s the gold and wine
Please rescue me, the one who lives there.
We shall see if they arrive in time

Last edited 11 months ago by Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Nlpnt
Nlpnt
11 months ago

Even as delivered, the maroon has too much black trim to work against with no bright contrast except those silly little center caps. At a minimum, Ford needs to bodycolor the A- and B-pillars on PIs (as seen on base model Toyotas) and PAINT THOSE STEELIES SILVER!!!

Beyond that, they should consider painting the grille and headlight surrounds silver instead of black for the PI only, and possibly deleting the rubber flares and rocker panel trim leaving the Class B surfaces underneath exposed.

World24
World24
11 months ago

Can’t make people worry about the fire department having a response vehicle out and about! Or something stupid like that.
You wanna talk about fires though, my “city” of 10,000 or so is on business fire #5 as of the 21st of this month. Dealership, Mexican Restaurant, Recyling Plant, Motorcycle Shop, and now a store dedicated to your home flooring.
We’ve had at least one good fire every like 6 years or something like that, completely random too, but this year has been horrendous.

Gubbin
Gubbin
11 months ago
Reply to  World24

Perhaps The Music Man’s red-headed brother is in town.

DadBod
DadBod
11 months ago
Reply to  World24

Insurance companies hate this one trick!

Nick H
Nick H
11 months ago

I know the fire chief of our 300,000+ person city and asked him why he and some command staff drive unmarked FPIUs. They do it because surrounding areas always fear ‘annexation’, and seeing a fully marked out-of-jurisdiction command staff car at a neighboring fire department HQ usually is good for angry Facebook/Nextdoor posts, letters, and rumors about impending doom for those that fear usurpation into the big city is nigh.

It’s really for far more mundane matters, like coordinating training calendars at shared resources, mutual aid planning, determining joint response plans for large new structures outside of city limits, group buying of equipment, and all the other nuts and bolts that go into minimizing response times and protecting life and property.

Unmarked is also cheaper, and they don’t require $2000+ lightbars. One new FPIU still has a very-old school halogen dash light from the 90s.

Nick H
Nick H
11 months ago
Reply to  Nick H

Forgot to add they’d much rather drive fully marked fire vehicles as it’s just as annoying to them if someone sees it in the rearview mirror and starts going 10 under the speed limit. I’d throw on a generic “FIRE DEPARTMENT” on the hood and rear window with some red reflective tape down the sides and call it good.

Nlpnt
Nlpnt
11 months ago
Reply to  Nick H

I get the jurisdictional thing, but there’s no reason in that case not to make the town name really small and “FIRE” absolutely huge and high-contrast.

Nick H
Nick H
11 months ago
Reply to  Nlpnt

That would make sense, but the surrounding areas get real crazy. The Chief also does some TV appearances every few months to explain among other things that, no, the City isn’t in fact paying for the steaks and brand-name when-store-brand-would-do potato chips you saw the fireman buying in the grocery store because they pool their own money for buying on-shift meals.

DadBod
DadBod
11 months ago
Reply to  Nick H

Why are people so lame?

Balloondoggle
Balloondoggle
11 months ago
Reply to  Nick H

In our city, the FD got scolded for taking the fire truck on the grocery run and parking in the fire lane. If it helps response times, I’m for it. So much more sensible than the guy dropping off his buddy to run in real quick and then just sitting there idling, maybe with the hazard lights flashing.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
11 months ago
Reply to  Balloondoggle
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
11 months ago
Reply to  Balloondoggle

Who called in that complaint? That is so stupid.

“Sir, you’re going to have to move, you’re blocking the fire exit.”
“If you’re flammable and have legs you are never blocking a fire exit.”

PlatinumZJ
PlatinumZJ
11 months ago
Reply to  Balloondoggle

Sounds like Wake Forest! Many years ago, I was flipping through a copy of the local paper that had been tossed in my driveway, and the opinion section featured a letter from a resident who was absolutely outraged to have seen a fire truck at the local Lowe’s Food store. (Spoiler alert: not to be confused with the home improvement store; also, no one is buying hoity-toity fancy foods if they’re shopping at Lowe’s.) To make the rant even more strange, this particular store has an attached gas station; I’ve seen plenty of instances where part of the crew is fueling the truck, while the rest are inside shopping. Personally, I thought that was a very productive use of their time.

Nick Fortes
Nick Fortes
11 months ago
Reply to  Balloondoggle

Reminds me of the story Karl Pilkington told on the Ricky Gervais podcast about his brother in the Army “nipping down to the store for a pack of fags in a tank”

Stacks
Stacks
11 months ago

Can a town of 21,000 shell out for its own arson investigator and give them their own special arson car too? How much arson do they get around there?

Weston
Weston
11 months ago
Reply to  Stacks

Nearly all arson investigators are fire Marshals so most of the time they are doing code enforcement and inspections and then determining the cause of fires all of which must be done in person in the field, thus the vehicle. Arson investigation is a small but important part to their work.

Adrian Clarke
Adrian Clarke
11 months ago

Bad font choice. I read it as ‘Cardboard Fire’ which seems a bit limiting.

“No this is the cardboard fire department. You need the wood fire department. The number is 912”

Ottomottopean
Ottomottopean
11 months ago
Reply to  Adrian Clarke

Not sure another font would help really. Just a bad choice of town name but that’s a widespread problem.

Cal67
Cal67
11 months ago

Around here (in Ontario, Canada) lots of police vehicles have even more subtle graphics. You can hardly even see it unless at certain angles under the right lighting. I don’t buy the “hiding to protect people by pulling them over” argument because they do also have unmarked cruisers.

Fred Fedurch
Fred Fedurch
11 months ago
Reply to  Cal67

The Toronto ETF vehicles are the worst. The graphics are 1/4 shade darker than the paint.

https://i.redd.it/f4r5wmyrv1951.jpg

Michael Beranek
Michael Beranek
11 months ago
Reply to  Cal67

It’s happening everywhere. Police cars used to be painted in a way that made them stand out, especially at night. Your headlights would hit those sparkly graphics and you’d know right away.
Most departments now use all-black Utility Interceptors with lettering that is only one shade of black different. You’d have to be standing right next to it in order to read the jurisdiction.
But there are still tells. UI’s do not say “Explorer” anywhere on them. They still have painted steel wheels (easy to spot), a black grill instead of chrome (easy to spot), and black side mirrors instead of body color (easy to spot). If you’re behind one, the tire width gives it away.

Mike B
Mike B
11 months ago
Reply to  Cal67

Those blacked out cruisers are revenue generating units, I call them road pirates.

Rather than be brightly colored, parked in a visible way to deter EVERYONE from speeding in a given area, they’d rather be sneaking around hiding in the shadows to get that ONE person to write that revenue generating ticket. “Protect and serve”, my ass.

Jonathan Hendry
Jonathan Hendry
11 months ago
Reply to  Mike B

The problem there is that when there’s no brightly colored police vehicle in sight people take it a signal that speeding is safe to do. And those vehicles can’t be everywhere.

beachbumberry
beachbumberry
11 months ago

The unmarked cars don’t reduce it either, they just grab the odd speeder and the rest go about their business. I can’t believe I’m saying it, but they may have been on to something with speed cameras.

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
11 months ago
Reply to  Cal67

Something, something, militarization of police forces (and now apparently fire departments). “To serve and protect” has become “To intimidate and dominate”. This is what happens when you let the little boys choose their own toys.

Jbavi
Jbavi
11 months ago

I first read it as Cardboard Fire

Droid
Droid
11 months ago

i’m always struck at the disconnect between ghost-markings and the OUTRAGE expressed by leos when somebody’s car markings mimic those of a policecar…
maybe avoid potential confusion with obvious black/blue/white marking?

p.s. whenever i’ve visited guadalajara mexico, i’ve seen that city police keep their flashing lights on all the time – so they don’t surprise the bad guys.

Robot Turds
Robot Turds
11 months ago

Is it just me or does the dog look photoshopped? The lack of shadowing is sort of a giveaway

Fred Fedurch
Fred Fedurch
11 months ago
Reply to  Robot Turds

There’s shadows. They’re not defined on account of it being overcast.

Flyingstitch
Flyingstitch
11 months ago

Yeah, the stealth nonsense at least makes a twisted kind of sense for cop cars. Funny through, it’s way more common in the suburbs, where they’re more likely to be lurking by the side of the road running speed traps than actually fighting crime.

On a fire vehicle? That’s just silly.

Mike B
Mike B
11 months ago
Reply to  Flyingstitch

Road pirates.

sentinelTk
sentinelTk
11 months ago

Meh, I just think it was because they thought it looked cool.

Side note, I remember a study coming out 10 years back or so that looked at perception of police in regards to vehicle markings. Study found that there was more community trust in police with traditional black/white or blue/white designs than the “ghosted” or “murdered out” all white/black cars. They linked it to the former being a symbol of “serve and protect” while the latter options implied “we are hiding to catch you.”

Also, I miss the days of being able to know when a cop is in the distance based on headlight shape. Crown Vic ahead, better slow down….

Last edited 11 months ago by sentinelTk
D-dub
D-dub
11 months ago
Reply to  sentinelTk

I do my speeding on the highway, where it’s important to recognize the cops from behind before they notice you coming up on them. I can tell a police Explorer from a momwagon Explorer from behind from 1000 yards.

Last edited 11 months ago by D-dub
sentinelTk
sentinelTk
11 months ago
Reply to  D-dub

Congrats?

Things and stuff
Things and stuff
11 months ago
Reply to  D-dub

Doubtful

Julian Marple
Julian Marple
11 months ago

I don’t think it’s an accident. Seems to be a common new trend. https://gdigraphics.com/police-car-ghost-graphics/

Duke of Kent
Duke of Kent
11 months ago
Reply to  Julian Marple

Are there undercover firefighters? Do they need to sneak up on the fire?

Fred Fedurch
Fred Fedurch
11 months ago
Reply to  Julian Marple

There’s one thing I take issue with from that GDI Graphics company’s blurb on the reasons police use ghost graphics.

These are particularly useful for highway patrol officers who are trying to reduce dangerous speeding and other dangerous driving practices.

They’re mostly concerned with speeding. It’s an “absolute guilt” offence. Here’s your ticket, there’s the amount, pay it by this date or there’s a $urcharge. NEXT! Rarely do I ever see police on the highway stopping vehicles for truly dangerous thing like weaving, passing on the right, tailgating, left lane hogging, distracted driving, etc. Those all take time in court and are low $/min. charges.The state/province/county/region wants to see bank. Bottom line.

Scoutdude
Scoutdude
11 months ago
Reply to  Fred Fedurch

Yup because the studies I’ve seen is that a marked patrol car just driving down the road does a lot to slow people down and drive less dangerously at least for a little while. Well, at least until enforcement became so restricted. So yeah unmarked/ghost markings are for revenue enhancement not to promote safety.

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
11 months ago
Reply to  Fred Fedurch

I wonder if the solution is to give all fine money directly to the local food bank or similar.

Ricardo Mercio
Ricardo Mercio
11 months ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

I definitely think it’s along those lines, ensure that the fine money doesn’t go anywhere near police or executive budgets, direct all punitive revenue to departments with no influence over the PD.

Maymar
Maymar
11 months ago

I sort of wonder what dealer would order Dark Toreador Red over Vermillion for an interceptor – it’s an option, but I can’t imagine it’s a popular enough choice to justify one sitting around. Some chiefs get to bring their car home, right? I wonder if it’s a personal taste thing where the end user just wanted something a bit more subtle for what is effectively a personal car (or their HOA demands it).

Scoutdude
Scoutdude
11 months ago
Reply to  Maymar

It is pretty uncommon for a dealer to stock such a vehicle as they are usually ordered to the agency spec. Ocassionally you’ll find a dealer that has the state and/or other large municipality contracts that will stock one, but if they do it is almost certainly going to be white.

Rusty S Trusty
Rusty S Trusty
11 months ago

I bet they just checked the wrong red on the order form by mistake.

Scoutdude
Scoutdude
11 months ago
Reply to  Rusty S Trusty

The City of Seattle used to have their specific police car blue that they had all of their cars painted for years and years. (Fleets can order any color under the sun). Well one year when they put in the order someone messed up on entering the info and something like 50 cars showed up the wrong color of blue. There was some stink and the department eventually decided to take delivery of them anyways. It never did come out exactly who made the mistake.

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
11 months ago
Reply to  Scoutdude

I still miss the yellow Toronto had decades ago, but to be fair, they got a little tired of being hailed by people looking for a cab.

Maymar
Maymar
11 months ago

Pro – pleasant colour, great visibility

Cons – likely inadvertently responsible for Joni Mitchell’s Big Yellow Taxi.

Rusty S Trusty
Rusty S Trusty
11 months ago
Reply to  Scoutdude

A few years ago there were a handful of sheriff’s dept cars around here that were accidentally ordered in manequin beige instead of sheriff dept gold. It was pretty funny because they were especially hideous.

Outofstep
Outofstep
11 months ago

There’s some fire chief Tahoe/Suburbans that are white with reflective paint for the fire departments name. Usually you can’t see what it is until you get closer. This is what it looks like. At least the one in my town has a colorful badge on the side so you can tell what it is. Still dumb as fuck though.

https://images.squarespace-cdn.com/content/v1/5af9ba4c266c07e709358984/1680725693332-QK0OG4HX3ZWOD3LA2TSK/IMG_0044.jpeg

https://images.squarespace-cdn.com/content/v1/5af9ba4c266c07e709358984/1674568273822-I44JZULH6BZ6QVB2FFJD/IMG_8729.jpeg

Jay Mckillop
Jay Mckillop
11 months ago

Why is it that emergency vehicles in the US are looking more and more like they are just begging for some kind of Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome scenario to go down? When are they going to start sporting spikes and belching fire? Why can’t they look more like the cheery “I’m here to help!” cars of the UK and less like the Humungous just waiting to mess up your sh*t? I’m already tired of our distopian present and it’s just getting started… https://www.wardsauto.com/sites/wardsauto.com/files/styles/article_featured_retina/public/uploads/2015/12/vauxhall-astra-police-car.jpg?itok=qLXFj-1H

Last edited 11 months ago by Jay Mckillop
Ncbrit
Ncbrit
11 months ago
Reply to  Jay Mckillop

This. If you are really here to “Protect and Serve” your cars should look like it.

Last edited 11 months ago by Ncbrit
Parsko
Parsko
11 months ago
Reply to  Jay Mckillop

Because if you don’t “support them”, you aren’t a REAL American (as in, I want my house to burn down, and police to stop doing their jobs, because all we want is to fully, completely, whole-hearted defund the police and firepeople everywhere, cause that makes total sense for a working society).

DadBod
DadBod
11 months ago
Reply to  Jay Mckillop

Because our country traveled down the dumbest possible timeline #punisherskull

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
11 months ago
Reply to  DadBod

Somewhere in the early stages of this timeline…

https://youtu.be/9T3cWzCgBCk

Last edited 11 months ago by Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Pupmeow
Pupmeow
11 months ago
Reply to  Jay Mckillop

I think the more important is, why does Jay want to defund the police? Am I right?

Boulevard_Yachtsman
Boulevard_Yachtsman
11 months ago
Reply to  Jay Mckillop

Agree. When I was a kid, a nearby town with little money and even less crime still had it’s own police car. It was built out of a Dodge Aries K, looked a lot like this, and was just right:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/chryslerkcar/920398852

Jonathan Hendry
Jonathan Hendry
11 months ago
Reply to  Jay Mckillop

Same reason they’re dressing like death squads instead of Officer Friendly.

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