Ad Radar
Car Craft
Click here to find out more!

Build A Crown Victoria Police Auction Project Car

By , Photography by

I love Crown Victorias. I like their looks, and I'm fascinated with their technology. I'm impressed with how they've adapted to their roles in fleet service as police cars and taxis, and I admire the amount of abuse they can take in those roles. As you'd expect, I'm saddened by the news that they will be discontinued at the end of this model year. Folks, this is the last body-on-frame, front-engine, rear-drive, mass-produced car on the planet. That architecture resonates with me, so I bought one, an '03 Crown Victoria Police Interceptor (CVPI) At the time, it had 133,000 miles on the odometer.

If you hate seeing a four-door sedan in the pages of this magazine, hear me out. There is more to the Crown Victoria than just strobe lights in your mirrors or cardigan sweaters and slip-on loafers at the Elks Club parking lot. These cars boast technology that would have been lusted after by American car buyers in the '60s, and even the '80s for that matter. Exotic things like a fully boxed frame, rack-and-pinion steering, dual exhaust (on Police and Sport packages), wide use of aluminum parts under the hood, an overhead cam 4.6L engine, and big, four-wheel disc brakes.

Admittedly, time and technology marched on while the Crown Victoria and its chassis-sharing Panther platform brethren, the Mercury Grand Marquis and Lincoln Town Car, seem to have been relegated to back-burner status for nearly a decade. The current body style dates to 1998, and that year also ushered in the Watt's link rear suspension. 2003 saw a major redesign of the front suspension, adding rack-and-pinion steering, redesigned lower control arms, an aluminum engine crossmember, and a coilover style front spring and shock package. And that's all. Minor electronic and emissions stuff has changed-the switch to drive-by-wire in 2004, 17-inch wheels in 2006-but otherwise, a car rolling off the assembly line as this is being written (January 2011) is virtually identical to one made in 2003. That is unheard of in this era of three-model-year design change cycles.

The last Panther platform car will roll off the line at the St. Thomas assembly plant sometime this August or September. New regulations for rollover crash standards and government-mandated fun-killing stability control systems were the straw that broke the Panther's back. Ford execs determined it would cost too much to bring this aging chassis into compliance. In 2012, Ford will begin selling a new Taurus-based Police Interceptor. But the Panther platform legacy will live on in the pages of Car Craft. Here is the first of a series of articles documenting the restoration and buildup of an '03 Crown Victoria Police Interceptor, a former Santa Barbara County Sheriff's patrol car I bought at Ken Porter Auctions in Gardena, California, in September 2008.

SOURCES
Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department
www.sbsheriff.org
Ken Porter Auctions
Gardena
CA
310-353-7140
www.kenporterauctions.com
Enjoyed this Post? Subscribe to our RSS Feed, or use your favorite social media to recommend us to friends and colleagues!
0 comments
Car Craft