Is thebest car in the world Crown Victoria?

thecougarthecougar Member Posts: 7
edited March 2014 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?


  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Member Posts: 1,711
    No it isn't. But a serious contender and competitor would be any Chevrolet Caprice.
  • modvptnlmodvptnl Member 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 Member Posts: 1,711
    Nice to hear from you again. I trust that you are well. You own a Chevrolet, right? (I do; it's an '87 Nova)
  • thedarkwolfthedarkwolf Member Posts: 70
    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 Member Posts: 25,326
    ...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.
  • avalanche325avalanche325 Member Posts: 116
    Answer: NO!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,482
    I think that if you think so, you need to get out more :)
  • badtoybadtoy Member Posts: 343
    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 Member Posts: 25,326
    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 Member Posts: 1,711
    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 Member Posts: 25,326
    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 Member Posts: 23,019
    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.

    2001 BMW 330ci/E46, 2008 BMW 335i conv/E93

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,482
    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.
  • andys120andys120 Member Posts: 23,019
    just as we should be allowed to laugh our butts off

    2001 BMW 330ci/E46, 2008 BMW 335i conv/E93

  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,326 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 Member Posts: 20,341
    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 Member Posts: 23,019
    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.

    2001 BMW 330ci/E46, 2008 BMW 335i conv/E93

  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,326
    ...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 Member 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 Member 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 Member Posts: 64,482
    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.
  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Member Posts: 1,711
    So the most recent Chevy Caprices will also never be classics, right?
  • andys120andys120 Member Posts: 23,019
    A possible exception might be the Impala SS IMO.

    2001 BMW 330ci/E46, 2008 BMW 335i conv/E93

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,482
    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.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member 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 Member Posts: 64,482
    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.
  • badtoybadtoy Member Posts: 343
    The 56 Crown Vic IS a true classic. Later versions simply capitalized on what marketing people like to call "brand equity".
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member 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 Member Posts: 518

    "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 Member 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 :-(.
  • rea98drea98d Member Posts: 982
    I think the CCCA's definition is way too broad. How can a '57 Bel Air convertable not be a classic? Sure, the made a boat load of them, but that doesn't make it any less of a car. Besides, after 45 years, there's not that many of them left, to mass production really doesn't mean anything except that it's a little easier to find all the random bits & pieces. Then there are cars like 68-70 Dodge Chargers, 61-63 Thunderbirds, and other cars, that being fast, and being from that bygone era where engine displacement meant more than fuel economy, become very desirable cars. Sure, a '69 Dodge Charger will never sell for 100K at auction (unless, of course, it's a #1 condition, all original Daytona driven by Richard Petty himself), but the fact that they are out there to choose from doesn't make them any less desirable.

    Back on topic, I think the only thing holding back the Crown Vic from tripling its sales is its "Grandpa car" image. They are relaible, as proven over and over again by almost every police department and taxi company in the country. And compared to the Toyota Camry, you get a bigger, more powerful car for less money. And no one can tell me that the vast majority of Camry buyers bought their car because of it's sporting nature and XK-E rivaling sex appeal.

    Of course, the Marauder may change that, but the price will go way up, so don't look for that car to seriously increase Panther sales. Now if only they made the Marauder convertable, and then made a regular Grand Marquis convertable to help recoup the development costs. A base Grand Marquis with a drop-top...I'd sell my left kidney on E-bay to be able to get one of those!
  • a_l_hubcapsa_l_hubcaps Member Posts: 518

    I just thought of the Bobcat because it's one of my brother's three favorite cars, the others being the European-import Ford Capri and the '71-77 Toyota Celica. Fortunately when he bought his first car, he picked the Celica. Lots of rust, but at least it has a strong Toyota 20R engine :-)


    "A base Grand Marquis with a drop-top...I'd sell my left kidney on E-bay to be able to get one of those!"

    I think that would be very cool. I'm not a big fan of the Marauder's everything-black paint scheme and huge wheels, and I bet the old people in Florida would just love a convertible to go with their sedan :-)

    -Andrew L
  • rea98drea98d Member Posts: 982
    " I bet the old people in Florida would just love a convertible to go with their sedan :-)"

    So would this young person in Texas!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,482
    I'm not at all invested in the CCCA definition. I just use it so that the word "classic" has a particular meaning, rather than being a totally subjective term. It's like the term "software" or "furniture". I need the term "classic" to mean something when I communicate to people, but I'm not enforcing that definition on anyone. As long as you know what *I* mean by it, then I've gotten my point across.

    I'm not sure what someone who calls a 5 year old 4-door a "classic" has in mind for their logic , definitions and parameters, so in essence I can't understand them. To me it sounds like a classic is "whatever you think it is", and so then the word is meaningless. I have nothing to hang my hat on when the word is used without pretty tight discrimination.

    If everything is "beautiful" the nothing is. It's all the same.
  • carnut4carnut4 Member Posts: 574
    Seems like it belongs in the Sedans conference, or News & Views, like the "Used Japanese Luxury Cars" topic that got rejected.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,482
    yeah, you're right we got sidetracked. Someone was wondering if the Crown Vic was going to be a classic, and it went downhill from there. Modern cars don't belong in the Classics Board.
  • rea98drea98d Member Posts: 982
    Maybe they mean classic like 2002 Thunderbird classic. A car that is new, but generally thought to be a cool car. "Classic" in a timeless sense, not in a "1948 or older" since. Like building a brand new Queen Anne style house. It looks like a classic Victorian, but its new.

    Of course, I wouldn't put a Crown Victoria in that category either. It's a very good car, but a very '90's car. It will never be "timeless" IMO.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,482
    More like "time-full" as in very quickly dated.

    I mean, look at say a '52 Chevy 4-door. Hardly worth anything and who even looks at them?
  • badtoybadtoy Member Posts: 343
    in East LA.
  • ballparkballpark Member Posts: 41
    Perhaps not the '52 but the '53 Chevy 2-door makes a beautiful custom lowrider. It's popular enough out here in SoCal to warrant a 1/24th scale die cast replica.

    About the topic being here, who cares? Any topic that generates good conversation should be allowed to exist anywhere. At least as long as it continues to draw a response.

    I find it interesting that the Crown Vic and it's 4.6 are touted as super reliable in this forum but the Mustang and it's 4.6 get trashed as "unreliable" in other forums. (No need to respond I just throw it out as an observation)

    Will the Vic be a classic. I suppose it has a chance. The 57 Bel Aire was just another car in it's day. The tastes of people in 30 years will actualy determine which of todays cars are worth restoring. Who knows, perhaps it will go down as the "last" of the American land barges, and therefore become prized for this in the future.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,482
    Impossible, I'm afraid. There are too many of them and too few people who care.

    The Golden Rule, never known to fail in 100 years of automotive history, is-- "If they didn't care when it was new, and they didn't care ten years after it was new, they are not going to care in 30, 50 or 100 years." Of course, there's always someone now and then who will restore a car that shouldn't be restored, lose his shirt, get no respect, and learn better next time.

    However, some old cars that nobody really wants to restore are sometimes modified as street rods, like for example old Henry Js, Model T Fords or 60s 4-door sedans which make great low riders.

    But these are "valued-added" old cars that have been radically altered and made valuable not for what they are but for the artwork and craftsmanship that has gone into making them attractive and interesting (which they were not to begin with).

    It's a nice way to make an old turd into an interesting car, and a great hobby.
  • ballparkballpark Member Posts: 41
    >>It's a nice way to make an old turd into an interesting car, and a great hobby. <<

    I might not have worded it his way but I agree with the sentiment. Plus I now have a new word I can use in these forums. I think I'll head over to to the Camaro forum and tell them what "turds" thier cars are :)
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,482
    Actually, it's not polite if you are addressing a particular person's pride and joy, but it came to my mind when I recalled what my dad told me once. I was trying to "restore"and "enhance" a '47 Chevy 4-door on the cheap and he told me "You can't polish a turd, son". He also had some nice things to say about the car (how well it was built, for instance), but basically what he meant was that the car was what it was.... a common, humble, honest, everyday car meant for getting you from one place to the other. It wan't the kind of car one should try to glorify beyond its purpose and origins.

    I got the point, and I think he was right. The car wasn't pretentious, so why should I be that way about it?

    So then I sold it and bought a '56 Packard supercharged Golden Hawk. Boy, was he ever sorry.
  • badtoybadtoy Member Posts: 343
    I lOVE those Golden Hawks!! I never knew you owned one. You and I could have had a contest about which of our cars was more flamboyant -- your Packard or my 57 DeSoto!!
  • rea98drea98d Member Posts: 982
    At the risk of being way too stereotypical, let me oversimplify. Your average Mustang GT driver is likely to be a 16-17 year old who received a cool car as a gift from parents unaware of the consequences of putting Junior in a muscle car. Junior will rev the engine to red line at every stoplight, especially with a girl in the car, and a chance to humble his rival for her affections in the Camaro in the next lane.

    Your average Grand Marquis owner will likely be a card-carrying member of the AARP, live in south Florida, and may push the engine over 2,000 rpms if he/she is in a really really big hurry, but not all that often. He/she will have outgrown stoplight drag racing 50 years prior, and be more concerned about getting to church pot-luck without spilling the beans all over the upholstry.

    I know, I know, I'm perpetuating myths and stereotypes, but this is just an oversimplification to prove a point. The point being, which car do you think will last longer, Junior's stoplight steed, or Grandma's bean-barge?
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    Shifty, if your Packard Hawk was blown it was a '57 with the Stude V8. Mine was a '56 with the Packard 352 boat anchor and OD. Just keeping you honest--I know it's been a few years ;-).
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,326 may be stereotypical, but you do have a point. In fact, used car guides for years have warned about high-performance editions of various cars, citing that they may have been raced, abused, and in general, ragged out. I have an old Consumer Guide used car book that reviews cars from '77-86, and they warned that about nearly every single high performance car in there...Camaro/Firebird, Mustang/Capri, and the Roadrunner/Aspen RT, and probably others I've missed.

    Also, Buicks and Oldsmobiles tended to rate better than equivalent Pontiac and Chevy models. I think this is partly because the Olds 307 was a more durable engine for the most part than the Chevy 305 (and definitely the Pontiac 301!). But another good reason is the average Olds and Buick buyer tended to be a bit older and more conservative than the typical Chevy or Pontiac owner. Again, I'm stereotyping a bit here, but in general I think it's true!

    Back to the Grand Marquis versus Mustang though, I wonder if another problem is that the Mustang 4.6 is a higher-output model, which might just put more strain on the engine, drivetrain components, etc.
  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Member Posts: 1,711
    The Pontiac 301 was not a durable engine?
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,326
    ...I forget exactly what its weak spots were, but I've heard it was trouble prone. It was loosely based on the same block as the Pontiac 350 and 400 that were still in use, but they found ways to "modernize" (i.e.: cheapen it). I think it was a short deck version of the block, but also had a thinner cylinder walls to save on weight (and cost), and didn't they skimp somewhere in the bearings?

    There was another version of this engine that came out around 1980, the 265, that was fairly durable, but that might be partly because it ony had about 120-125 hp, so it's not like it was overly stressed-out or anything!
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,326
    ...just found this tidbit, at ...

    " The base GP engine for '77 was the new 301 Pontiac V8. It was a short-deck whose basic block dimensions were quite similar to the old 303 Trans-Am race motor, though it was not nearly as beefy. Its deck was 1.12 inches shorter than the 350 or 400. Connecting rods measured 6.05 inches&#151;vs. 6.625 inches for its larger brothers. The new engine shared the same 3-inch main journal diameters as the 350 and 400. The block, heads and intake manifold were very lightweight castings, and the crankshaft only had eounterweights on each end in the interest of weight reduction. The result: The 301 came in at a very svelte 452 pounds, or about the same as Buick's 231 V6! It produced 135 net horsepower at 3800 rpm, with 240 lbs.-ft. of torque at 2000. While not earth-shattering, the power level was similar to other 5-liter V8s of the time, and it had the weight advantage. Less weight is the same as more horsepower."

    Considering this engine ended up weighing about as much as the Buick 231, another engine not known for long-term durability (at least not back then...the current ones are a whole new breed), I wouldn't expect it to be particulary durable.
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