updated 8/14/2006 6:12:52 PM ET 2006-08-14T22:12:52

The New York Police Department souped up its car fleet on Monday by adding a new version of a classic muscle car — the 2006 Dodge Charger. Top speed: 150 mph.

The police highway unit will test drive 15 new Chargers featuring V-8 engines, officials said. The rest will have V-6s and hit city streets in the five boroughs.

If they pass inspection, they could replace hundreds of squad cars in the NYPD’s 3,000-vehicle patrol fleet, now dominated by Ford Crown Victorias and Chevrolet Impalas.

“We’re looking to diversify,” said Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly.

In an analysis by Michigan State Police, Chargers equipped with a V-8 engine had the quickest acceleration (6.52 seconds to 60 mph) and fastest lap time (150 mph) of any police vehicle tested.

The Charger appeared in 1966. Over the next several years, it made an impact on the stock car circuit and on television, starring as the General Lee, an orange 1969 model, in “The Dukes of Hazzard.”

A Web site for the car’s manufacturer, DaimlerChrysler AG’s Chrysler Group, lists the civilian model’s starting price at $22,995. Modified police models — outfitted with fortified front seats, no rear-door handles and heftier brakes — typically are sold to law enforcers at a discount.

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