By the time you read this, the Ford assembly plant in St. Thomas, Ontario, will be closed for good. The last Panther-platform Crown Victoria police car rolled off the assembly line on Thursday, marking the end of two eras: not only is it goodbye to the venerable Crown Vic, darling of police departments and cab companies nationwide, but it’s also the end of the body-on-frame sedan.
Ponder that for a second. The body-on-frame sedan, long the staple of Detroit automakers, is no more. A design favored for its strength and long term durability has gone the way of the dinosaur, leaving only unibody-construction sedans to prowl the American highways.
“Unibody is better,” we’ve been told. It’s lighter, which makes it easier on fuel, and it’s less complex, which reduces the number of parts required and puts more money in the pockets of automakers. Some will even tell you that unibody cars are just as durable as their body-on-frame counterparts, but try telling that to the thousands of police departments and cab companies nationwide who swear by their old Crown Vics.
Ford has alternative solutions for fleet buyers, but the Escape Hybrid and (now) the Transit Connect Taxi aren’t selling like the old Crown Vic did. Worse, police departments are largely ignoring the Ford Taurus Police Interceptor, despite Ford’s lengthy efforts to prove its advantages over the Crown Vic.
If someone were smart (and wealthy), they’d approach Ford about buying the tooling for the Crown Vic, and they’d put the car back into production for fleet buyers. There’s no need to update the styling, but you could easily offer the car with Ford’s 5.0-liter Coyote V8 (good for 412 horsepower) or its 3.7-liter V6, good for 305 horsepower. With the right seven-speed automatic transmission, fuel economy probably wouldn’t be half bad.
This is just my guess, but I suspect you’d be able to sell all the cars you could possibly build. Like the classic Checker Cab, the Crown Vic is an icon of the American road, and it deserves a better end than just fading into automotive obscurity.
Source: Left Lane News