Old, rustic cop car rests along Red Arrow for a reason

A 1950s police car sits along Red Arrow Highway between Stevensville and Bridgman on Thursday. (Don Campbell | HP Staff)

A 1950s police car sits along Red Arrow Highway between Stevensville and Bridgman on Thursday. (Don Campbell | HP Staff)

By Tony Wittkowski | Business Reporter | The Herald-Palladium

STEVENSVILLE — Red Arrow Highway has at least one cop car stationed along its winding asphalt 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

However, the car hasn’t run in years.

Steve Mueller, a Stevensville resident who has worked at the Cook Nuclear Plant for 16 years, has been collecting such cars for the last 25 years.

The 1953 Plymouth police cruiser sits partially hidden by overhanging trees on the east side of Red Arrow Highway, south of Stevensville. The black-and-white vehicle was put there two years ago by Mueller and comes with a single police light atop the cab with a gold star on each door.

“I picked it up in Plymouth (Michigan) from this guy who had it stored in his barn for years,” Mueller said. “A buddy of mine who knows I collect cars, took a picture of it and sent it to me. Later I went and picked it up.”

Mueller discovered the car was in parades back in its heyday after being decommissioned by Plymouth police. Mueller intends for the car to become a Stevensville landmark.

He does not want to sell it, though he has been approached.

The Stevensville resident has been slowly adding to his car collection over the years. The cop cruiser is joined by a 1957 Chevy, 1969 Camaro and a few old Pontiacs, stationed further into the trees by his property.

“It’s going to sit there because I want it to be a landmark,” Mueller said. “It gives people something to look at. I live along Red Arrow Highway and I want it there as a keepsake.”

Mueller said he plans on building a historical gas station in a year or two further down Red Arrow from the cop car’s current spot. The gas station will come with old the gas pumps and the traditional signs to match the car itself – old and rustic.

“I love the old Americana history. You don’t have that anymore – everything is made out of plastic,” Mueller said. “I like the rustic effect on that cop car. This car earned that rust.”

It was hard to find a car like that, said Mueller, who had been searching for years.

After his friend helped haul it to Southwest Michigan by trailer, Mueller put the car among the trees and it hasn’t moved since.

“You go up north, you see attractions like that all over,” he said. “People from Chicago go past here up north. We could have that same draw down here.”

Contact Tony Wittkowski at twittkowski@thehp.com or (269) 932-0358. Follow him on Twitter @tonywittkowski.

(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on July 10, 2015)

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