Ford Crown Victoria

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Ford Crown Victoria
Ford Crown Victoria LX.jpg
1998–2002 Ford Crown Victoria LX
Overview
Manufacturer Ford Motor Company
Production 1991–2011[1]
Model years 1992–2011
Assembly Southwold, Ontario, Canada
(St. Thomas Assembly)
Flat Rock, Michigan, United States (Flat Rock Assembly Plant)
Body and chassis
Class Full-size car
Body style 4-door sedan
Layout FR layout, body-on-frame
Platform Ford Panther platform
Chronology
Predecessor Ford LTD Crown Victoria
Successor Ford Taurus (sixth generation)

The Ford Crown Victoria (or simply Crown Vic) is a rear-wheel drive full-sized four-door sedan that was marketed and manufactured by Ford from the 1992 to the 2011 model years over two generations. Discontinued in 2011, the latter day Crown Victoria began production in 1991 at Ford's St. Thomas Assembly plant in Southwold, Ontario, Canada. Dropping its previous LTD prefix, Ford instead revived a nameplate once used on a two-door version of the Fairlane sold in the North American market for the 1955 model year.

The Crown Victoria shared the Ford Panther platform and major powertrain, body, and suspension components with the Lincoln Town Car and Mercury Grand Marquis. Along with its rebadged Mercury and Lincoln variants, the Crown Victoria was the final full-frame rear-wheel-drive passenger sedan produced in North America. The durability associated with its layout popularized the Crown Victoria with taxicab owners and commonly used police patrol/pursuit vehicles in North America.

Original use of the name[edit]

1955–1956[edit]

1955 Ford Fairlane Crown Victoria
1955 Ford Fairlane Crown Victoria

The first use of the Crown Victoria nameplate by Ford was in the 1955 model year as part of the Ford Fairlane range. Separate from the Fairlane Victoria two-door hardtop, the Fairlane Crown Victoria was given its own B-pillared roofline, with a stainless-steel band "crowning" the roof, an interpretation of the "victoria carriage" bodystyle. The first time Ford used the "victoria" as a naming convention was in 1932 on the Ford Victoria 2-door coupe and the larger Lincoln Victoria coupe. A variant of the Crown Victoria, the Crown Victoria Skyliner, replaced the front half of the roof with acrylic glass.[2] For the 1956 model year, along with the rest of the Ford model line, the Fairlane Crown Victoria received the Lifeguard option package.[3]

For 1957, the Crown Victoria and Crown Victoria Skyliner were replaced as the flagship of the Ford Fairlane line by the retractable-hardtop Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner.

1980–1991[edit]

1990 Ford LTD Crown Victoria LX 4-door sedan
1980s Ford LTD Crown Victoria coupe (discontinued after 1986)

After a 23-year hiatus, Ford revived the Crown Victoria name for the 1980 model year as part of the recently downsized Ford LTD model line; the LTD Crown Victoria served as the replacement for the 1975-1979 LTD Landau. The LTD Crown Victoria was sold as a two-door and four-door sedan, with the LTD Country Squire sharing its interior trim.

In a fashion similar to the Lincoln Town Car, the standard vinyl roof extended to the B-pillar, covering only the rear seats. To distinguish the LTD Crown Victoria from its Mercury Marquis counterpart and Lincoln Town Car, the vinyl roof was fitted with a stainless-steel band to trim the B-pillars and the top of the roof; the Crown Victoria was not fitted with B-pillar opera lamps.

For 1983, as part of an extensive redesign of the midsize and full-size model lines of all three Ford divisions, the LTD Crown Victoria became a stand-alone model (alongside the Mercury Grand Marquis); the standard LTD became a midsize sedan, serving as the replacement for the Granada.

After its discontinuation at the 1991 model year, the LTD Crown Victoria (and LTD Country Squire station wagon) was the last car to have the Ford LTD name in North America; the name remained in use by Ford of Australia until 2007.

First generation (1992–1997)[edit]

First generation
1992 Ford Crown Victoria LX.jpg
1992 Ford Crown Victoria LX
Overview
Production January 1991–October 1997
Body and chassis
Related Mercury Grand Marquis
Lincoln Town Car
Powertrain
Engine 4.6 L SOHC Modular V8
Transmission 4-speed AOD automatic
4-speed AODE automatic
4-speed 4R70W automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 114.4 in (2,906 mm)
Length 1992–94: 212.4 in (5,395 mm)
1995–97: 212.0 in (5,385 mm)
Width 77.8 in (1,976 mm)
Height 1992–94: 56.7 in (1,440 mm)
1995–97: 56.8 in (1,443 mm)
Curb weight 3,748–3,849 lb (1,700–1,746 kg)[4][5]

The Ford Crown Victoria was released for sale in March 1991 as a 1992 model.[6] In an effort to optimize its availability for buyers, at the launch, fleet sales of the vehicle were postponed for 14 months.[6] To better distinguish the generation for buyers, the long-running LTD prefix was dropped. In line with the redesign of the 1991 Chevrolet Caprice (its chief competitor), the 1992 Crown Victoria featured a major exterior redesign on the previous-generation chassis. Focused on aerodynamics and fuel efficiency, Ford reduced the coefficient of drag of the exterior from 0.42 to 0.34 (nearly matching the 0.32 of the Ford Taurus).

Due to a market shift in family-oriented vehicles, the Crown Victoria was offered exclusively as a four-door sedan, with the wood-trim LTD Country Squire station wagon discontinued. While the Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable continued in production with optional three-row seating, the role of the Country Squire was effectively superseded by the Ford Aerostar and Ford Econoline/Ford Club Wagon vans, and the Ford Explorer SUVs.

During their launch, the Ford Crown Victoria (and Mercury Grand Marquis) were involved in a unique loophole involving CAFE. Though produced in Southwold, Ontario (which otherwise made them domestic automobiles)[7], to avoid gas-guzzler taxes, Ford modified its supplier network in order for the two vehicles to be classified as imported vehicles, effectively removing the full-size sedans from the Ford domestic CAFE fleet (alongside the Ford Mustang V8) and placing them in its imported fleet (alongside the Ford Festiva).[8]

Chassis[edit]

In lieu of developing an all-new platform architecture from the ground up, the Crown Victoria retained the Panther platform of its LTD Crown Victoria predecessor as its chassis. Although launched in 1979, the Panther chassis underwent extensive upgrades to improve its road manners and handling; major updates were made to the steering and suspension tuning.[9] To improve braking performance, the Crown Victoria gained four-wheel disc brakes (only seen on the Lincoln Mark VII and Ford Taurus SHO); anti-lock brakes and low-speed traction control were available as an option, which became a popular feature.[10] For 1997, several updates were made to improve handling response and steering control[11]

Showcased in the redesign was the Modular V8. First introduced in the 1991 Lincoln Town Car, the 4.6L SOHC V8 was the replacement for the 5.0L (302 CID) Windsor V8 and the first engine of a family of overhead-cam engines that would be introduced in a number of Ford and Lincoln-Mercury cars and trucks. Lighter than its predecessor,[12] the 4.6L V8 produced nearly identical torque output while producing 40 additional horsepower in its standard single-exhaust configuration. As with its predecessor and the Lincoln Town Car, the 4.6L V8 was paired with a 4-speed overdrive automatic transmission. In 1993, the Ford AOD transmission was replaced by the electronically-controlled AOD-E version. For 1995, the AOD-E was replaced by the 4R70W, a heavier-duty version introduced in the Lincoln Mark VIII.

Body[edit]

Ford Crown Victoria LX (pre-facelift)

Ford based much of the Crown Victoria's appearance on the first-generation Ford Taurus, a look pioneered by Jack Telnack, Ford VP of Design. Though the Taurus became wildly popular in its market segment, Telnack's "Aero" look proved to be either a love or hate proposition with potential buyers of the full-size, wedge-shaped Crown Victoria. Along with its distinctive no-grille front fascia, the Crown Victoria would share a similar roofline with the Taurus, similar body and bumper moldings, similar door handles, aircraft-style doors, and similarly shaped headlamp and taillamp clusters.

To reduce aesthetic commonality with the Mercury Grand Marquis, only the front doors, windshield, and alloy wheels were shared between them. For the interior, the two vehicles also were given different seats, door trim and dashboards; the Crown Victoria featured an instrument panel with round dials while the Grand Marquis featured a horizontal speedometer. An electronic instrument panel was introduced as an option.

Though better received than the 1990 redesign of the Chevrolet Caprice, the 1992 Crown Victoria was met with disapproval from some critics and buyers, leading Ford to revise the exterior. In late 1992 for model year 1993, a grille was added to the front fascia (though it retained its "bottom-breather" configuration); for 1994, a red reflector strip was added to the trunk lid to visually connect the taillamps.

In 1994 for MY 1995, a mid-cycle redesign saw more extensive changes to the Crown Victoria; a 6-slit grille replaced the egg crate grille and wider taillamps were added to the rear (the license plate was moved to the trunk lid). For the interior, the Crown Victoria and Grand Marquis adopted the same dashboard, using round dials for the instrument panel and larger controls and switches. In addition, the seats were redesigned. In late 1995, the first-generation Ford "brick" airbag steering wheel was replaced by a version with a smaller hub (moving the horn back to the steering wheel hub).

Features[edit]

Facelift Ford Crown Victoria
Facelift Ford Crown Victoria

As with its LTD Crown Victoria predecessor, the Crown Victoria was a six-passenger automobile; the front seat was a 50/50 split bench seat. The Crown Victoria was sold in two trim levels: base-trim and Crown Victoria LX, with the latter forming the majority of non-fleet sales. In addition, the Crown Victoria P71 replaced the fleet-market "S" designation in 1993; the P71 was marketed exclusively for law-enforcement sales.

As with the Mercury Grand Marquis, a driver airbag was standard equipment; a passenger airbag was added as an option during later 1991 production, becoming standard in 1993 for the 1994 model year.[10][13] A popular feature were the anti-lock brakes and low-speed traction control.[10] For 1996, a single-key entry system became standard, along with a hidden audio antenna, rear window defroster and tinted glass. Automatic climate control and a JBL audio system became available on the LX.[14]

Touring Sedan[edit]

For 1992, Ford introduced the Crown Victoria Touring Sedan as a performance-oriented flagship trim. The Touring Sedan featured a number of suspension and handling improvements over the Crown Victoria LX, featuring the heavier-duty suspension components of the police-package version, also including wider tires, rear air suspension, the removal of the speed limiter, and a 210 hp dual-exhaust 4.6L V8. Optional features included speed-sensitive steering and larger-diameter sway bars.

Distinguished by its standard two-tone exterior paint scheme (with painted alloy wheels), the Crown Victoria Touring Sedan featured a model-unique leather interior with every feature available on a Crown Victoria at the time. For a lower price, Ford offered the performance upgrades of the Touring Sedan on the LX as the Handling and Performance Package alongside a separate towing package. The Touring Sedan became a one year-only model, as it was discontinued after 1992. However, in various forms, the Handling and Performance Package remained an option until 2007.

Second generation (1998–2012)[edit]

Second generation
2007 Ford Crown Victoria LX.jpg
Overview
Production 1997–2011 (fleet sales)
1997–2007 (civilian sales)[1]
Body and chassis
Related Mercury Grand Marquis
Mercury Marauder
Lincoln Town Car
Powertrain
Engine 4.6 L Modular V8
Transmission

4-speed 4R70W Automatic

4-speed 4R75W Automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 114.7 in (2,913 mm)
Length 212.0 in (5,385 mm)
Width 77.3 in (1,963 mm)
Height 56.8 in (1,443 mm)
Curb weight 4,057 lb (1,840 kg)

1998[edit]

In November 1997, for the 1998 model year, the second (and final) generation of the Crown Victoria was introduced. Following the lack of acceptance of the radical styling of the 1990-1996 Chevrolet Caprice, the Crown Victoria moved further away from its 1992 redesign. Instead of borrowing design cues from the Taurus, the Crown Victoria shared many of its body parts, including its entire roofline, with the more popular Mercury Grand Marquis. To differentiate itself from Mercury, the Crown Victoria was given larger headlights, different bumpers, and a rectangular grille. The interior design saw little change aside from a new steering wheel. The redesigned 1998 Crown Victoria went on sale December 26th, 1997.

Mechanically, a revised four-link suspension with a Watt's linkage was added to the rear axle; while not a change to independent rear suspension, general road handling manners improved at the expense of towing capacity. Larger brakes necessitated the standardization of 16-inch wheels. Police cars (P71/P72) switched from full wheel covers and dog-dish covers held onto the wheel by four nubs (on HD Steel Wheels) to a design with center caps that attached onto the lug nuts; these were sourced from the Explorer SUV. Under the hood, coil-on-plug ignition replaced the traditional spark plug wires; a first for the 4.6 L 2v Modular V8, this was a design borrowed from the 3.4 L V8 used in the 1996-1999 Ford Taurus SHO (and the 4.6 L 4v used in the 1993-1998 Lincoln Mark VIII & 1996-1998 Mustang SVT Cobra).

1999[edit]

1998–2002 Ford Crown Victoria LX

Not much changed for the 1999 model year, with the Crown Victoria receiving three more exterior colors and the previously optional ABS brakes became standard (except on Police models, where ABS was still optional). On police models, a new Powertrain control module (PCM) called the "ARA3" was used. The ARA3 was tuned for a more aggressive idle, spark, shifts, higher shift points, a higher top speed limiter, and a higher rev limiter. This PCM is well liked among enthusiasts and is a popular modification for 1998-2000 Crown Victoria, Grand Marquis, and Town Car models.[15]

2000[edit]

The 2000 model year introduced an emergency trunk release system, child seat anchor brackets (LATCH) in the back seat, the "Belt Minder" chime to the Crown Victoria (Belt Minder is a seatbelt reminder system that sounds the vehicle's chime when the driver's seatbelt is not buckled).[16] The engine's FEAD (PCM calibration) system was revised. This calibration undid many of the revisions made to the 1999 model year calibration, and gave the vehicle a more conservative and laid back FEAD tune. Due to this, 2000 model year Crown Victoria's are said to feel low on power by many owners, and the previously mentioned ARA3 is a popular simple upgrade for these vehicles to give them that "lost" power.

2001[edit]

The 2001 model year featured yet another FEAD revision which was again more aggressive than the one used on 2000 model year cars. Adjustable pedals were an option and engine output increased thanks to "Performance Improved" (PI) heads borrowed from the Mustang GT. 2001 vehicles are now rated at 220 horsepower for single exhaust models and 235 horsepower for dual exhaust and police models.[17] 2001 also saw the addition of the "honeycomb" black grille for fleet and police models (P71/P72). This replaced the chrome and black slatted grille used on earlier models, however, civilian models still used the silver slatted grille. Also, the silver slatted grille was still used on "Street Appearance Package" (SAP) P71 police models, which are commonly used as unmarked or detective vehicles. Also, dual stage front driver and passenger airbags were now standard, and wiper activated headlights became an option.

2002[edit]

For the 2002 model year, heated exterior side mirrors became available, along with standard floor mats, improved cloth upholstery, and a new trunk storage system option on the LX.[18] The "LX Sport" trim also debuted, including standard leather seating, rear air suspension, dual exhaust, a center console with a floor mounted shifter, 5-passenger seating, revised springs, shocks, and stabilizer bars for sportier handling, as well as monochromatic exterior treatment and 17" 5-spoke alloy wheels. The LX Sport also used a 3.27 rear axle ratio (open differential) as opposed to the standard 2.73 rear axle ratio found on non-LX Sport civilian models.

2003[edit]

2003 Ford Crown Victoria Base
From 1998 to 2011, the Crown Victoria's external bodywork remained the same.

In April 2002 for the 2003 model year, the chassis was again redesigned with hydroformed steel. The front and rear suspension were also completely overhauled. New inverted monotube shocks were now used (replacing the old twin-tube shocks that had been used since the 1960s). In the front, new aluminum control arms, and rack and pinion steering (replacing the recirculating ball units) have been implemented.[19] The rear suspension on Police Interceptor models was redesigned for better durability in police-duty applications and the rear shocks were moved outboard of the frame rails for better handling and ease of maintenance. As a result, the road-handling manners of the Panther platform cars had improved significantly. The engine output increased due to the addition of a knock sensor for more aggressive timing. This brought up horsepower ratings to 224 HP for single-exhaust models and 239 HP for dual exhaust and police models. 2003 models also received optional seat-mounted combination head and torso side airbags. The interior was also modestly refreshed for the 2003 model year, with changes to the interior colors, door panels and seats. Also, all 2003 model year vehicles built after December of 2002 were de-contented. With this, Ford removed the locking gas cap, auto release parking brake, engine bay light, amber rear turn signal lenses, body color/painted mirror caps, and front seat pouches. 2003 model year vehicles built before December of 2002 had all of the previously mentioned features.

2004[edit]

For 2004, Ford upgraded the transmission to the 4R75W (4R75E for 2005 and later cars). The 4R75W had a stronger 24 lug ring gear (compared to the 4R70W's 6 lug ring gear), an updated torque converter for better shifts, a revised front pump assembly and revised vehicle speed sensor (VSS). These upgrades allowed the 4R75W/E to be more durable and economical. Ford also updated the layout of the optional overhead console.[20] Laminated door glass also became an available option to deter break-ins and thefts, reduce road and wind noise, improve protection from flying glass in a collision and filter out ultraviolet rays, reducing heat buildup and fading of the interior.[21] 2004 also saw horsepower ratings rise to 250 HP for police (P71) models thanks to a new air intake borrowed from the high-performance Mercury Marauder. This air intake was less restrictive and included an 80 MM MAF (mass-airflow sensor) compared to the previous models 60 MM MAF, deeper airbox, and less restrictive intake tubing. Civilian models however received a 70MM MAF, a slightly deeper & revised air intake, and a similar intake tubing to that of the P71, except with resonators to reduce NVH (noise, vibration, and harshness). Horsepower ratings for the civilian and taxi/fleet models remained the same as they were for 2003 (at 224 HP for single exhaust models and 239 HP for dual exhaust models respectively), and they would stay this way until the end of the Crown Victoria's production run in 2011.

2005[edit]

For 2005, the Crown Victoria retained the same exterior styling, but 2005 models received a rear whip radio antenna rather than an integrated rear defroster antenna. 2005 models also received a new steering wheel, optional power moonroof and a 6 disc CD changer.[22] 2005 also saw the addition of electronic throttle control, or drive-by-wire. It was also the last model Ford offered with an analogue odometer. The optional digital gauge cluster was dropped after the 2005 model year.

2006[edit]

The rear whip antenna was removed from the 2006 models in favor of the integrated rear defroster antenna. 2006 models also received a redesigned instrument cluster featuring a more modern speedometer (though again 120 mph (190 km/h) for the civilian models); for the first time, the Crown Victoria was sold with a standard [tachometer]. Police Interceptor models now had a standard engine idle hour meter in the gauge cluster which counted how many hours the engine ran while the transmission is shifted in park. Factory bulletproof door panels also became available on police models. Also, 17" steel wheels were now standard on all police models, and for "Street Appearance" package police models, the plastic wheel covers were redesigned. Other additions included a standard trip computer on the LX and a perimeter alarm as an option.[23]

2007[edit]

For the 2007 model year, the LX Sport trim was dropped leaving the Standard and LX. Most of the LX Sport's components were then made available with the new optional Premium Sport-Handling and Performance Package.[24] Standard AM/FM audio system with CD player and the remote keyless entry system "SmartLock" became available on all models as did daytime running lights.[25] Beginning with 2007 models (built after July 2006), design changes were made to the optional side airbags and door trim to improve occupant protection in side impact crashes.[26]

2008–2011: Fleet sales[edit]

Ford Crown Victoria as a taxi in New York City

In 2006, retail sales of the Crown Victoria dwindled to just 3,000, compared to 38,280 of its stablemate Mercury Grand Marquis in the first nine months of 2007. Starting with the 2008 model year, the Crown Victoria became available solely through Ford Fleet and the retail version was succeeded with its submate the Mercury Grand Marquis which was still sold for retail sales except the Middle East where this and the Mercury Grand Marquis are all retail cars;[27] by 2007, approximately 95% of total Crown Victoria sale had been to fleet customers.[28] As of June 21, 2007, the Crown Victoria was removed from the Ford retail website, most likely to promote the 2008 Ford Taurus. This has been the case in Canada since the 2000 model year (see below). With fleet-only sales in North America, the LX Premium Sport and Handling Package and the Handling and Performance Package (the only Crown Victorias produced for the North American market with dual exhaust, save for the Police Interceptor) were discontinued.

Ford had reportedly announced that it would freshen both the Crown Victoria and the Mercury Grand Marquis for the 2009 model year. Ford had told the Canadian Auto Workers that it would invest $200 million in the vehicles, which are assembled at the St. Thomas Assembly Plant in Southwold, Ontario.[29] However, Ford released the 2009 Crown Victoria with few if any changes from the 2008 model, with no announced plans for changes in the future.[30]

For 2009, Ford narrowed the available Crown Victoria's in North America by one more model. The Standard (P73) model designation was discontinued in favor of the LX. The LX now included 5-spoke alloy wheels that were used before for the LX Premium Sport and Handling package. These wheels are used in favor of the 9-spoke design the LX has used since 2003, purportedly due to the Lincoln Town Car using 17" wheels standard, as well as the Police Interceptor and the Taxi/Commercial (P72) model. The Grand Marquis underwent a similar change to 17" Lincoln Town Car wheels. Also, the LX Sport wheels were used on all Crown Victorias sent to the Middle East (save for the LX). For the Police Interceptor, there are two pieces of standard equipment added to its list. The power pedals are now standard on all models, presumably to cut manufacturing costs (Crown Victoria LX, Grand Marquis LS and Lincoln Town Car all had them as standard equipment previously) and side impact airbags are also standard. There are also new, federally mandated recessed window switches. 2011 would mark the final year of the Crown Victoria in the United States, as its lack of electronic stability control made it illegal for sale for the 2012 model year; and all 2012 models would be produced for Middle East export.

Discontinuation[edit]

As early as 1999, the availability of new Crown Victorias for civilian use had been reduced. In Canada, the Crown Victoria was no longer available for purchase for civilian use after the 1999 model year, and beginning with the 2000 model year, the Crown Victoria had been sold only to rental car companies and to the fleet market in Canada. In Canada, Ford had discontinued the Mercury brand in 1999, but the Mercury Grand Marquis had continued to be sold in Canada until 2007. The Mercury Grand Marquis was discontinued after the 2007 model year in Canada, replaced by the newly redesigned 2008 Ford Taurus. Due to poor sales, Ford had stopped selling the Crown Victoria to the general public and to civilians after the 2007 model year in the United States. In the United States, the Crown Victoria was only made available to rental car companies and to the fleet market beginning with the 2008 model year. Ford had completely discontinued production of the Crown Victoria in September 2011 due to the 2012 US Federal Safety Standards that had required all new cars to be equipped with electronic stability control and also because Ford was planning on shutting down it's assembly plant in Southwold, Ontario, Canada (where the Crown Victoria was built). The Crown Victoria was discontinued after the 2011 model year in North America. However, Ford had continued to sell the Crown Victoria in the Middle East as 2012 models. The Crown Victoria was discontinued after the 2012 model year in the Middle East.

In the early 2000s, Ford developed the Volvo-derived Five Hundred to replace the Crown Victoria in the retail marketplace. As Ford dominated the market for police cars and taxi vehicles at the time, Ford chose to continue the Crown Victoria for the purposes of securing fleet sales; retail customers still interested in full-size rear-wheel drive cars would be marketed towards Mercury and Lincoln. Sales of the Crown Victoria to retail customers plummeted as a result; only 3,000 were sold in 2006 (outselling only the Ford GT, and only by 1000 cars). When the Five Hundred was updated and rechristened as the 2008 Ford Taurus, the decision was made to end retail sales of the Crown Victoria in the United States entirely. A year later, as part of The Way Forward, Ford announced the closure of the Southwold, Ontario, Canada facility where the Crown Victoria and Grand Marquis were assembled; production of the Lincoln Town Car had been relocated there as part of another factory closure. Production of all three cars would cease by the end of 2011; only the Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor would have a somewhat direct replacement (a modified version of the Ford Taurus). With the end of production of the full-size rear wheel drive body-on-frame platform for the Crown Victoria and Lincoln Town Car, Ford began promoting the Ford Taurus and Lincoln MKS flagships for consumers. Ford is also promoting the Transit Connect Taxicab to replace the Crown Victoria for urban taxi cab usage.[31] Some taxi operators have expressed concerns about replacing the roomy Crown Victoria with smaller, more compact vehicles, due to a "bumpier, more cramped ride" and "knee-bumping back seats and flimsier frames".[32] For police pursuit use, Ford is promoting the Ford Taurus Police Interceptor and the Ford Explorer interceptor to replace the Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor.[33]

All Crown Victorias built after August 31, 2011 are 2012 model year cars. For the 2012 model year the US government required that electronic stability control be fitted on all new cars.[34] Ford did not add this feature to the Crown Victoria, so the 2012 model was not sold in the United States and Canada.

On September 15, 2011, the final Crown Victoria rolled off the assembly line. It was destined for export to Saudi Arabia.[35]

Ford's discontinuation of the Panther platform cars led to the closure of the St. Thomas Assembly plant in Canada and the loss of over a thousand jobs, as well as job losses at suppliers in the U.S.[36] The passing of the Crown Victoria and its derivatives also marked the final demise of the 'traditional' full-size American sedan - Ford's offering had been the last bastion of the format with GM and Chrysler having already discontinued their equivalent models.

Export[edit]

Change of Canadian availability[edit]

In Canada, the Crown Victoria was no longer available for retail purchase or civilian use after the 1999 model year.[37] The Crown Victoria became available only to rental car companies and to the fleet markets beginning with the 2000 model year in Canada. The civilian version of the Crown Victoria could only be purchased is from Ford Motor Company of Canada Limited for the fleet market. Retired Police Interceptors or Special Service Vehicles are available from various auctions. Eventhough the Crown Victoria was made available only to rental car companies and to the fleet market in Canada beginning with the 2000 model year, the Mercury Grand Marquis had continued to retail buyers and to civilians until it was discontinued in Canada after the 2007 model year, as well as the Lincoln Town Car until it was discontinued after the 2011 model year.

Middle East market[edit]

Large American sedans have always been part of the landscape in the Middle East. After the discontinuation of the American-produced Chevrolet Caprice in 1996, the Crown Victoria and its twin, the Mercury Grand Marquis became the car of choice for buyers of large American cars in the region. In 1999, General Motors responded to its loss of market share in the region with a reintroduction of the Chevrolet Caprice. No longer produced in North America, the 1999 Caprice was a left-hand drive version of the Australian Holden WH Statesman/Caprice.

Towards the end of its production life, sales of the Ford Panther platform remained strong in the Middle East, especially in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. As stability control was not required for export for this region, all 2012 model year production of the Crown Victoria was exported to the Middle East.

Models and specifications[edit]

2003 model Crown Victoria LX in Kuwait. Vehicle equipped with Export Handling Package and features Saudi Arabian specifications.

Vehicles destined for the Middle East are referred to as "GCC Spec" vehicles, and the Crown Victoria was available in five different trim levels in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries:

  • Standard (P72 VIN designation)
  • Sport (P73)
  • Standard Long-Wheelbase (P70)
  • LX (P74)
  • LX Sport (P74)

While options and standard features varied from country to country in the region, the following is listed as standard equipment on all 2011 models:

  • True dual exhaust system (except Standard Long-Wheelbase)
  • 17" 5-spoke aluminum sport wheels with P235/55HR17 all-season tires (16" 9-spoke aluminum wheels and P225/60VR16 all-season tires on LX models)
  • Remote keyless entry system with driver's door mounted keypad (rare option on Standard, not available on Standard Long-Wheelbase)
  • 40/20/40 split bench with rear air vents and 8-way power driver's seat, 4-way manual front passenger seat (available in both luxury cloth and leather trim; rear air vents not available on LX Sport models)
  • Speed control
  • Dual-Media AM/FM stereo/cassette with a single-CD player (except Standard and Standard Long-Wheelbase, which come with AM/FM stereo/cassette player)

The warranty for the Crown Victoria was 5 years/200,000 kilometers (125,000 miles) – whichever came first.

2005 Crown Victoria Standard at a Ford-Lincoln-Mercury dealership in Kuwait

A driver's side spotlight assembly was optional on Standard and Standard Long-Wheelbase models. On Sport, LX, and LX Sport models, the body is painted in a monochromatic paint style; with Ford offering Dark Toreador Red, Silver Birch, Tungsten and Black as color choices. A trunklid spoiler available on the Mercury Marauder was standard on the Sport and LX Sport while optional on LX and Standard trims. LX and LX Sport models were equipped with power 8-way driver and front passenger seats. A DVD entertainment system (marketed as "Export DVD Entertainment System") was added for the 2007 model year; it was optional on Sport, LX and LX Sport models.

For GCC-spec vehicles, the optional Handling and Performance Package available in the United States was rebranded the Export Handling Package. In GCC-Spec vehicles, a 2.73:1 rear axle ratio is used and a true dual exhaust is included (standard equipment on all standard-wheelbase export Crown Victorias). Included as part of the Sport and LX Sport trims and optional on the LX, the package includes tuned rear air suspension, revised coil springs, handling shock absorbers and an upsized rear stabilizer bar. On GCC-Spec Crown Victorias, the option is externally distinguished by a monochromatic paint scheme.

In Kuwait, where it was outsold by the Mercury Grand Marquis, Ford sold only the Standard and Standard Long-Wheelbase versions of the Crown Victoria after 2000; the LX was discontinued in 1999. Due to the smaller market size in Kuwait, the authorized importer/dealer focused sales of higher-trim vehicles on the Mercury Grand Marquis.

2008 "Special Edition"[edit]

With no major redesign since 1998, in order to remain competitive, Ford designed a trim package for the Crown Victoria in the Middle East for the 2008 model year. Known as the Special Edition, it was only available on the P72 Standard model; this cosmetic package adds the following:

  • A new 3-bar grille.
  • Mercury Marauder spoiler, also found on models equipped with the Export Handling Package.
  • Chrome trim under the license plate on the front bumper.
  • Chrome trim underneath the Ford logo on the trunk.
  • Special Edition logos on the front fenders, trunk and dashboard.
  • A Premium head unit with single CD and cassette.

Everything else on this vehicle is identical to the Standard model. While this vehicle was not listed in any sales literature, in Saudi Arabia it was available with a choice of different colors. In Kuwait, this model was only available in black (due to market size); the price was approximately KWD 6,000 (approximately $22,000 USD).

Rear view, showing Mercury Marauder spoiler 
3-bar grille 
A 2008 Crown Victoria P70 (Standard Long Wheelbase) at a dealership in Kuwait. 

Variants[edit]

Police Interceptor (1998–2012)[edit]

Starting with the 1998 model year, the police version of the Crown Victoria, previously named Crown Victoria P71, was changed to Police Interceptor and new rear badging was assigned instead of the civilian Crown Victoria badge. Though the Crown Victoria badge is still affixed to Police Interceptors equipped with the Street Appearance package for vehicles that require civilian styling (undercover cars, office/city motor pool, fire departments, etc.). Police Interceptor models come with a black front grille and a black rear fascia on the trunk lid, with chrome trim under the tail lights through 1999 models and black trim under the tail lights on 2000 and later models. 1999 through 2000 models have a blacked out version of the standard chrome bar grille, while 2001 and up models have a black honeycomb type grille. They also have several "heavier-duty" mechanical upgrades and newer models have additional safety features to deal with fuel tank safety concerns. Ford has replaced the Crown Victoria Police Interceptor with upgraded & heavy duty versions of the Ford Explorer and Ford Taurus.[38] In response, many police departments like that of Austin, Texas, are buying reserve supplies of the last Crown Victorias to allow them to maintain a fleet of reliable police cars into the future.[39]

Long-wheelbase commercial version (2002–2012)[edit]

Extended Wheelbase Crown Victoria (US Spec)

In 2002, Ford introduced a long-wheelbase version of the Crown Victoria, available only to commercial fleets (mostly used by taxi companies) in North American markets. This version gives six extra inches of wheelbase length, made possible by a new frame and extended body.

This version is not available to the general public, nor is there a stretched version of the Police Interceptor. However, there was a special service version available for the police market from 2002 to 2006, with an available street appearance trim option from 2002 to 2004, due to its targeted use mostly in the taxi and livery market.

In the Middle East, long-wheelbase versions of both the Mercury Grand Marquis and Crown Victoria were available to the general public.

Safety concerns and controversy[edit]

Fuel tank[edit]

While the car has been highly rated for safety, there was some controversy and lawsuits in the 1990s and 2000s over Ford Crown Victoria gas tank leaks after certain types of high speed impacts, specifically when being hit in the rear end at high speeds. These impacts caused fuel tank failures in the Crown Victoria. The leaking fuel in combination with friction between the vehicle and the road was found to be the cause of fires.[citation needed]

The reports that the cars were more prone to fires during a rear collision were a simple combination of three things. First, most law enforcement agencies rely heavily on the Crown Victoria as their primary vehicle, meaning that any police-related auto accident is very likely to involve a Crown Victoria. Second, the accidents occurred as the result of the officers intentionally parking their vehicles close to active traffic to shield a stopped motorist—something most civilians would never do. Third, the impacting vehicle was often traveling at, or above, the posted legal limit (65 to 75 mph (105 to 121 km/h) in most jurisdictions).

The condition was exacerbated by police equipment installers drilling over the package tray in the luggage compartment. Due to the gas tank's orientation, drilling through the package tray may result in drilling into the gas tank. Installers also used screws set directly into the bulkhead and facing the fuel tank. In the event of a high-energy collision, these screws could be forced into the tank, both rupturing the tank and possibly acting as a spark source. Long bolts for mounting heavier equipment were also directly suspect. The manufacturer provided an aftermarket shield to help prevent these items from puncturing the tank during impact. Further, many investigations, both performed by federal/state agencies, and the police department themselves, have found that removable items in the trunk were improperly stowed. These items became tank-piercing projectiles during the rear-collision scenarios. Ford's second solution came in the form of a recall kit including patterns to mark unsafe areas (to drill) in the luggage compartment. Also included were rubberized kevlar and hard ballistic nylon shields for the differential cover lower shock bolts. They also included a kevlar-based trunk liner.[40] Ford used similar kits on early-1980s model passenger vehicles. For 2005 and newer models, Ford offers an optional on-board fire-suppression system for the Crown Victoria Police Interceptor units. The system itself is integrated with the anti-lock braking system as part of the activation, and can be activated manually. However, Ford does cite several system limitations regarding fuel loss and impact speeds.[41]

Despite numerous court cases charging Ford with partial liability for fires caused in accidents, the company has never been found liable in a Crown Victoria accident.[citation needed]

Notably, only the Ford Crown Victoria and new Ford police car have been certified for high speed rear impact collisions, adding credibility to Ford's statement that fiery crashes are a result of extreme and unfortunate situations.[citation needed]

Intake manifold defect[edit]

Model years 1996 to 2001 inclusive, using an all-composite intake manifold, are subject to coolant leaks. Late in 2005 Ford settled a class action lawsuit. See Intake Manifold Defect for details. This problem can be remedied by upgrading the intake manifold to the 2002 and up version.

Sales[edit]

Calendar year American sales
1993[42] 101,685
1994[42] 103,040
1995[43] 98,163
1996[43] 108,789
1997[44] 107,872
1998[44] 111,531
1999[45] 114,669
2000[45] 92,047
2001[46] 95,261
2002[46] 79,716
2003[47] 78,541
2004[47] 70,816
2005[48] 63,939
2006[48] 62,976
2007[49] 60,901
2008[49] 48,557
2009[50] 33,255
2010[50] 33,722
2011[51] 46,725
2012[52] 4,429

References[edit]

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External links[edit]