Ford’s all time best selling Ford Crown Victoria was a cop favourite
When the last Falcon was driven off the production line it reminded me that a great American rear wheeler driver quietly passed away five years ago in the USA.
I speak, of course, of the Ford Crown Victoria.
US aficionados know it as the Crown Vic.
It was the last V8 body-on-frame passenger sedan built in the USA.
Indeed, the Crown Vic was what 20th Century America was built for and built by.
The chassis supported all manner of variants.
There was Mercury Grand Marquis, a plusher version of the Vic.
And that vehicle of choice for red carpet arrivals, the Lincoln Town car, was really a humble Crown Vic under all that bling.
And it was beloved by the police everywhere in the USA.
Ford made 9.6 million Crown Vics over its 32 years of production.
It is reputed to have been Ford’s most profitable car ever, simply because the bean counters refused to allow any real money to be spent on it.
In the end, someone at Ford decided that the cost of bringing the car up to 21st century standards and replacing the worn, old tooling, was not worth the time, expense and effort.
So much simpler to do another F150 truck, I guess.
But a strange thing has happened.
Usually it takes years and years for a car to become a classic.
Not so with the Crown Vic – it’s a collector right now.
All manner of folk are bidding on used Vics at police and rental car auctions and either customising them, hot rodding them or simply enjoying the soft, big car ride.
The rarest of them all is the 2003 Mercury Marauder.
Carrying the famed name of the mid 60s muscle car, the Marauder was basically the police pursuit version of the Vic – in civilian guise.
For my money, this is the one to have.
The last Crown Vic I drove (I’ve driven many over the last 25 years) was a rental in Los Angeles back in late 2011.
The big grey car cruised the mean streets of LaLa Land with quiet efficiency and the vast trunk (let’s get into the local lingo) swallowed our luggage with room to spare.
When I arrived at our Marina del Ray hotel the car park valet quickly opened my door and without thinking said “Detective, you can park it out front here”.
Then he spotted the family.
When I left the Crown Vic in the driveway of a friend’s house in Beverly Hills his neighbour came over to see if I was a cop paying a visit.
Take my advice, get a hold of one now – import it and put it in storage.
In 30 years time it may well be your superannuation nest egg.
David Burrell is the editor of Retroautos.com.au