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Is thebest car in the world Crown Victoria?

thecougarthecougar Posts: 7
edited March 7 in Ford
Beat to death as taxis and police cars and then continuing to be soldiering on for 300-400k in the third world, any car takes more cruel treatment and still runs faithfully? The live rear axle, body on frame V8 rear wheel drive v8 is something the USA knows how to do real well, and these old cars really can do the job. Best car dollar for mile I ever saw to run, cheap as dirt to care for but tough as an anvil.
Why hasn't this come up before?
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Comments

  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Posts: 1,704
    No it isn't. But a serious contender and competitor would be any Chevrolet Caprice.
  • modvptnlmodvptnl Posts: 1,352
    Since the RWD caprice is extinct and you once thought the 6.5 GM diesel was a great engine......Your opinion is somewhat tainted. LOL!!!
  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Posts: 1,704
    Nice to hear from you again. I trust that you are well. You own a Chevrolet, right? (I do; it's an '87 Nova)
  • coarse they are the only car in there class :)

    Who else makes a car thats seats 6, has a big [non-permissible content removed] truck, a V8, and all for $20k.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,964
    ...but unless you spring for the handling package, it's going to drive and handle about as well as any 25 year old land barge retrofitted with low-profile tires. A friend of mine has a '95 Grand Marquis GS, and he recently looked into getting a brand new one, since his has about 116,000 miles on it now.

    I think his has 215/70/R15 tires, and the new ones are something like 225/60/R16. About the only difference is that the new one rode rougher and was noisier, in addition to the sloppy ride.

    Also, considering their large external dimensions, I don't find them that roomy inside. Even though most of them have bench seats, I wouldn't put anybody bigger than a small child in that spot. The transmission hump is just too big, and the dashboard juts out too far. It might have the shoulder room for 3 across up front, but is definitely lacking in foot/knee/legroom. GM's old B-bodies and Chrysler's old R-bodies felt like they were roomier inside, and better laid-out.

    Another thing that bothered me, when we looked at the new Grand Marquis models, was the sloppy build quality. There was one in the showroom that had a mis-aligned door that you could spot from 50 feet! The mating around the front header panel seemed a bit sloppy too. Inside, I swear not a thing has changed since 1995 (I think in '95 they re-did the instrument panel a bit), except the carpet looked like a cheaper grade.

    My friend ended up hanging onto his '95. I think the realization that he'd be paying $20K+, not to mention rolling over some negative equity, and ending up with the same damn car hit him!

    As for reliability issues though, his car hasn't been too bad. He bought it in '99, with about 55K on it. It needed new lower ball joints around the 90K mark, and a few months ago he needed new front rotors. Something went wrong with the windshield wipers too, where they'd freeze in the up position when you turned them off. And I don't think I've EVER seen a check engine light that came on that often!

    One thing that's always bothered me about the Ford "Panther" body is that a disproportionate amount of them have what I call "shock waves". You hit a bump, and you can actually see a shock ripple go through the hood, from front to back, and then the cowl/dash area shakes. You don't feel it or hear it so much as see it. The older '79-91 style did it, and I've seen the newer styles do it, too.

    Performance-wise, I think the '95's had 190 hp/260 ft-lb of torque. His felt about as fast as my grandmother's '85 LeSabre, which has a 307 with only 140 hp/255 ft-lb of torque. I think his is stuck with fairly tall gearing though, and the 307 hits its peak torque at a lower rpm than the 4.6. Not to mention the old B-body LeSabres were a few hundred lb lighter than the current-gen Crown Vic/Grand Marquis. So all that might explain why there really doesn't seem to be much performance increase. As for the 2002, they have something like 220 hp/265 ft-lb of torque, so I'd imagine they'd be a bit quicker, although we didn't stomp on this one since it was a brand new car with something like 12 miles on it.

    Another thing I've noticed about them, is that they don't seem to be as "heavy duty" as they used to be, in respect to how much load they can carry. Now maybe the manufacturers are just doing this to cover their own butts in case you overload them, but I've noticed that, even as curb weights are increasing the GVWR's, and therefore, load capacity, are going down. For example, I saw an '87 Grand Marquis on a used car lot that had a GVWR of around 5400-5500 lb. My friend's '95 is only around 5100 lb, a 3-400 lb loss. But at the same time, the newer cars are a bit heavier, so that's cutting into the load capacity, as well.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,829
    I think that if you think so, you need to get out more :)

    MODERATOR

  • badtoybadtoy Posts: 368
    the truth! =O)

    Actually, they're good cars in the sense that they have plenty of room, are way more reliable than most American cars, and won't embarrass you with blody cladding or other weird styling fads.

    In fact, when the Toyota Avalon was first introduced, my brother in New York asked me to get him a deal on one (I was working for Toyota HQ at the time), but I couldn't get one without a sunroof (that's South East Toyota Distributors for you), so I recommended a Crown Vic, which he bought and is quite happy with.

    Interesting side point, though -- he complained about the lack of rear seat room considering the size of the car, and I've heard the same complaint from other people.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,964
    I think part of that may stem from the fact that, despite the Crown Vic's overall size, it's wheelbase really isn't that big compared to other, comparable cars of the era when it first came out. When the Panther platform debuted for 1979, it rode a 114.3" wheelbase, compared to 116" for the General Motors B-bodies and 118.5" for the Chrysler R-bodies. GM's C-body was on a 119" wb back then, and those 3 additional inches all went into back seat legroom, so these things ended up huge inside. The Caddy back then though was on a 121.5" wb, but its 2.5" over the Electra/98, I believe, were added in front, ahead of the firewall, so you didn't get any extra room.

    My main complaint with the Crown Vic is actually more in terms of foot room than legroom. With the seats all the way back, I can barely fit in the back with my knees just touching the seatback. In that respect, it's about the same as my Intrepid, Grandma's '85 LeSabre, etc. But the driveshaft hump just seems huge compared to other cars of the era, and my size 13 foot just doesn't have that much room down there. Part of the problem is there's no toe room under the seats.

    For some reason, it seems Ford cars in general back in the '70's had unusually large transmission and driveshaft humps, compared to their GM and Chrysler peers. Whassup wit dat?

    Still, it's a good car with a lot going for it (despite my rather lengthy nitpick post above, I actually DO like them ;-)
  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Posts: 1,704
    I was told in the past that the GM B-bodies' production in Arlington, TX was stopped in December of 1996. If that fact was or is true, cars built 8/96 and up would be considered MY '96 cars, not '97, correct? Because the Arlington plant was later retooled to build Tahoes and Suburbans.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,964
    I'm actually not sure when they stopped making them. I remember reading somewhere though, that for 1996 the Caprice/Impala SS, Roadmaster, and Fleetwood only sold about 100,000 cars, combined. In contrast, the Crown Vic, Grand Marquis, and Town Car were usually good for around 125-150K units EACH, in a good year.

    I seem to recall hearing, somewhere, that the '96 model run was actually cut short, so they could start re-tooling for higher-margin SUV's. If that's the case, that might explain the unusually low production of the '96 B-bodies. (trivia note...I'm not sure if the Fleetwood was technically called a B-body by that time. It used to be called a C-body until 1985, and then a D-body when the C's were downsized)
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,620
    If you tell me the Crown Vic/Grand Mrarq is a classic I'll LOL and I'll have plenty of company.
    You really do need to get out more.

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,829
    We have a firm believe in the right of every Town Hall individual to exercise free speech, at least regarding their choice of "best" car. Of course, in Russia they would jail you for saying that about a Crown Vic.

    MODERATOR

  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,620
    just as we should be allowed to laugh our butts off

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,964
    ...in the next couple years, I'm probably going to see first-gen Panther bodies with historic plates on them! In Maryland, you can get historic plates when a car is 25 model years old. Kinda scary to think the same basic platform is going to be driving around both as an antique AND as a brand new car!
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,691
    Notice he didn't come back?

    Funny, though. I happen to like them for some strange reason. For straight line highway cruising they do the job nicely.
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,620
    It's quite another to say it's the best car in the world (if there is such a thing).

    I too have a soft spot for those tanks. I partyicularly likeed the CV when it first came out with the Taurus style streamline styling ('91-'92?). It looked nuch sleeker with no grill and thin C-pillars.

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,964
    ...was 1992, and that was the only year without the grille. I thought they looked nice and clean without the grille, too, and with the thin C-pillars with the quarter-windows built in (as opposed to the thicker, formal Grand Marquis style they both use today).

    I really didn't like 'em once they tried tacking a grille on, probably because it looked just that...tacked on! It seemed like the taillights got bigger and clumsier each year, too. I guess the "Taurus" look didn't sit too well with the traditional Crown Vic buyers, so they had to mess it up to appeal to the masses :-(
  • modvptnlmodvptnl Posts: 1,352
    Buddy just picked up a black '98. Put on 5 spoke Cobraesque wheels and blacked out the windows. I think it actually looks tough. People do get outta your way as you come from behind!!!!

    We're researching if he can replace the air bags with coils and lower it an inch or 2.
  • carnut4carnut4 Posts: 574
    I think this topic is more like those over in the News & Views forum-or maybe in the Sedans conference. I mean, a 90s Ford 4door sedan in the classic cars conference??? To me, the Ford Crown Vic is just a big, bulbous, boring barge-the pillsbury doughboy of cars. Except for its V8 and rearwheel drive, there is nothing there for me to like. It will NEVER EVER be a classic. I mean, we rejected expensive Japanese sedans as a topic in this forum-what's with these huge, Ford barges? Now, if we were talking '55-56 Ford Crown Victorias, that would be different. I think these current big Fords should be called Galaxies-not Crown Vics-to me, it's kind of a ripoff of an old classic model name that deserves better.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,829
    I don't think the poster was claiming "classic" status. In fact, no car built after 1948 has ever made official "classic" status. Modern cars are considered too knew for the term "classic", as the word implies a long, long history of being admired and standing out in people's memories. You might say it has to "stand the test of time".

    No, a Crown Vic will never be a classic, not even in 100 years.

    MODERATOR

  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Posts: 1,704
    So the most recent Chevy Caprices will also never be classics, right?
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,620
    A possible exception might be the Impala SS IMO.

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,829
    No, Chevy Caprices will never be classics--I think one could safely make that sweeping statement.

    Impala SS probably won't be either because they are mass-produced cars made in large numbers, with only some options that differentiate them from normal Impalas. It's hard enough for any 4-door to become a classic (there are a few from the 30s and 40s), but these are all special-bodied cars as far as I can recall.

    MODERATOR

  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    Just my opinion, but it depends on how far you stretch the word "classic". If you think that musclecars are classics (I don't, despite owning four GTOs) then yes, I think the Impala SS will be a "classic". That's based on seeing the kind of emotion these cars inspire in their owners. However, if you think that "classic car" is one of the most abused, overworked phrases in the language (and I do) then the answer has got to be "no".
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,829
    If a 4-door Impala can be a classic, then the word is meaningless to me personally.. Any car would qualify if one broadens to include mass produced 4-door sedans. Why not then trucks and fire engines and bread vans?

    Actually the term classic is very clearly defined by the Classic Car Club of America. So it's more a question of whether one chooses to accept or not accept their "authority" on the matter.

    Your choice, of course. I use the CCCA definition of a classic just for the sake of making sure everyone knows what I personally mean by the term "classic".

    So when I say classic, I mean "a certain list of specific cars between 1935-1948". When you use it, it may mean something else (I don't know your definition but it might be fun for you to think of one) and when someone else uses it, it might mean "anything I think is a classic".

    At any rate, I myself reserve the term "classic" for exemplary cars that outshine everything around it. A '95 Impala is, to me, an ordinary car with a few fun-filled options. I woudn't mind owning one, though.

    MODERATOR

  • badtoybadtoy Posts: 368
    The 56 Crown Vic IS a true classic. Later versions simply capitalized on what marketing people like to call "brand equity".
  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    I'd be interested in what the CCCA's definition of a classic is. I suppose they've got a web site and I suppose it would be on that site.

    My definition would be any car that advanced automotive design, either in styling and/or engineering. Sounds pretty straightforward but I can see problems with it. Is the Mini a classic because it was the first FWD econobox? Is the 1977 Impala a classic because it was the first of the downsized Chevies?

    Maybe it should be any car that had superior styling or engineering. That can still be pretty subjective.

    Anyway, I'm really not into '30s cars but I'd be reluctant to call any post-war car a classic--I think the CCCA's 1948 cutoff is in deference to the Continental. Maybe the first Corvettes (through 1967?), maybe the first Thunderbird, the Kaiser Darrin, the hemi 300s, stuff like that. I'm okay with calling a car like a GTO a "special-interest car". Some people find it condescending but I think you have to draw the line somewhere, sooner rather than later, or language loses its meaning.

    Good topic for its own thread.
  • a_l_hubcapsa_l_hubcaps Posts: 518
    Shifty-

    "So when I say classic, I mean 'a certain list of specific cars between 1935-1948'."

    The problem with enforcing such a narrow definition of a classic car is that, by 2048, which is not really *that* far away in the scheme of things, the newest classic car will be 100 years old. There will be so few of your 1935-48 "classics" left that they will be reserved for wealthy upper-class types to park in hermetically sealed garages, and the vast majority of regular people will not know or care anything about them.

    This is already starting to happen. There are plenty of people who know all about '50s, '60s and '70s cars, but how many are really familiar with cars from the '30s? Your "classics" are becoming the domain of a shrinking group of elitists. Are the rest of us just supposed to stop collecting cars, since we can't afford (or don't care about) super-rare obscure vehicles from the 1930s?

    Now, I realize that you are in the appraisal business, so thinking about the market value of a car comes more naturally to you than it does to most. I have no problem with you telling people, "Sorry, but your pristine 1984 Buick Century is not going to be worth a million dollars in 30 years." There are way too many people who see dollar signs whenever they find something that's even slightly old or unusual, and they should probably be set straight regarding its likely actual selling price.

    But where I have the problem is when you (and many other people...I don't mean to single you out here) extend that statement to, "Sorry, but your '84 Buick won't be worth a million dollars, so you might as well run it into the ground and scrap it." If the owner only cares about the money, that's probably what they'll do anyway, once they find out it's not a valuable car. And if they care about the car itself, hearing something like that will only make them angry that you don't care about their car.

    Of course, I don't think that everyone needs to care about '84 Centurys, but I have a feeling that if I expressed the sentiment that all pre-1950 vehicles should be scrapped because I don't care about them, you'd consider me to be rather narrow-minded and arrogant, too.

    All I'm saying here is that, for the sake of the automotive hobby, we need to support car enthusiasts whether they own a million-dollar Bugatti or a lovingly restored 1974 Mercury Bobcat. Both of those are "classics" to the people who own them. Otherwise we will only breed resentment between people who like different types of cars, and what good can come of that?

    -Andrew L
  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    I think we're confusing "classic" with "collectible". 1974 Bobcats didn't advance automotive styling or engineering, but if someone finds a mint low-mileage edition and treats it with tender loving care, more power to him. As for me, I'd think it was a waste of scarce garage space, but that's because Bobcats don't mean anything to me.

    The collectibility of most of the cars we talk about here is highly subjective. I know my father wondered about some of the oddball cars that followed me home when I was a teenager. The losers of the '50s were the budget collectibles of the '60s.

    I had a friend back in the '80s whose father-in-law was a car dealer. The father-in-law offered to give my friend a car. He said "fine, any car as long as it's not a Pinto". So the father-in-law gave him a Bobcat :-(.
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