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Is thebest car in the world Crown Victoria?



  • rea98drea98d 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 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 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 CaliforniaPosts: 56,730
    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.

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  • carnut4carnut4 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 CaliforniaPosts: 56,730
    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.

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  • rea98drea98d 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 CaliforniaPosts: 56,730
    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?

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  • badtoybadtoy Posts: 368
  • ballparkballpark 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 CaliforniaPosts: 56,730
    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.

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  • ballparkballpark 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 CaliforniaPosts: 56,730
    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.

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  • badtoybadtoy Posts: 368
    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 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 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 Posts: 23,025 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 Posts: 1,711
    The Pontiac 301 was not a durable engine?
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,025
    ...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 Posts: 23,025
    ...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.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 56,730
    Yes, yes, 1957, with 289CID and Paxton supercharger, 275HP. Memory fading, how sad. I still have a picture of that car somewhere. Hadn't thought about it in years. Whupped my friend's '56 Chevy real bad, too. Blower finally gave out, very complex arrangement.

    Crown Vics should be rightly melted down to make lighter faster funn-er cars for us and our kids.

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  • badtoybadtoy Posts: 368
    that's what udaman, shifty -- your priorities are in all the right places! =O)
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,025 could take a Crown Vic and do to it what a Mopar rag did to a '65 or so Imperial years ago. Evidently, there was a GM rag that took a '71 or so Caddy DeVille and pulled everything off of it that they could ditch and still make the car run. Basically it was down to just a rolling chassis. They wanted to see how much losing all that weight would improve the car's performance. I forget what the numbers were, but there was an improvement.

    Well, this Chrysler rag tried it with the Imperial, one of the few cars ever to be banned from demolition derbies, and found it wasn't as easy to cut through '60's sheetmetal as it was '70's sheetmetal. See, even back then people were whining "they don't make 'em like they used to" ;-) They timed the car from 0-60 and the 1/4 mile, both with all its bulk and without. I wish I could find that article today. I don't remember what the times were, but I think a typical Mopar muscle car with the same engine was still faster. Considering a musclecar would most likely have a hotter version of the engine, as well as quicker gearing, I guess that isn't too much of a shock!
  • ballparkballpark Posts: 41
    Actualy the average age of a GT owner is early to mid 40's. The kids drive the 6-bangers. But your point is well made that a sportier car will be driven much harder. I am like Jekyll and Hide when I go from my humble Honda Accord to either of my Mustangs.

    And speaking of the Accord, or other popular imports of today, I believe that these cars will someday become "classic" or "collectables" or "value added". That is why I'm keeping mine. Our children and grandchildren (not us) will have a certain amount of nostalgia for these cars when the time is right. Soon our cherished muscle cars will be as irrelevant to them as those pre-50's cars are to us. The kids of today will look back on the era that they grew up in, and when they hit thier Forties they will rekindle thier youth with a bunch of rice rockets. (Or possibly a sled like the current Crown Vic.)

    Getting back to the topic though, I think the sheer numbers of Crown Vics works in thier favor for future restoration consideration. Plenty of cheap parts to be had. Also, if my predictions above are accurate, the "classic" cars of tommorow will be dominated by the small 4 bangers of today. And, just as today anything "different" stands out in a sea of 60's and 70's musclecars and 50's hot rods, these monsters may become the "cool" and "different" restomods on the show fields of tommorow.
    That they are the last of thier kind also works in thier favor. (Did I say that already?)
  • a_l_hubcapsa_l_hubcaps Posts: 518

    "Soon our cherished muscle cars will be as irrelevant to them as those pre-50's cars are to us. The kids of today will look back on the era that they grew up in, and when they hit thier Forties they will rekindle thier youth with a bunch of rice rockets. (Or possibly a sled like the current Crown Vic.)"

    I think you may be right on this one. I would even say that nostalgic tastes sometimes lag a bit behind people's actual ages. For example, many of the adults who now like '40s and '50s hot rods aren't even old enough to remember those cars when they were new.

    Interestingly, my friends (all around 16-20 years old) think my brother's 1977 Toyota Celica is a really cool car, when most people who were teenagers in the '70s would probably hate it, from its vinyl interior to its energy absorbing bumpers. As an 18-year-old, I don't know if I will ever be nostalgically attracted to a 1990s car, but there are plenty of vehicles from the '70s and '80s that already seem cool to me. So I would imagine the people who are just being born now will be the ones who buy "vintage" 2000 models in 40 years.

    -Andrew L
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 56,730
    Ordinary cars can't become "classics" because the special and exceptional cars of 2002 will take that label. You can't put a Viper and an Accord 4-door in the same category, there is no logic to it seems to me.

    As for "collectible", well, any car somebody collects is a collectible. The word doesn't mean very much really.

    "Classic" is a term that has to be earned. An owner can't label the car himself. Well, he can, but who would believe him?

    Honestly, do you really think a 1980 Toyota Corolla or a Ford Fairmont deserve the term "classic", just because a few survived or Uncle Harry repainted his? Kind of makes a joke of the word IMO.

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  • mminerbimminerbi Posts: 88
    Well, a Corolla, no, no, never, but a Ford Fairmont, on the other hand... I'm joking about the Fairmont, of course. However, not quite so fast; the Fairmont Futura Coupe, with it's uniquely styled B pillar and forward slanting back, coupled with relatively low production numbers, could make an interesting low budget collectible. The Mercury Zephyr counterpart to that Fairmont model (XR-?? maybe) is even more rare. Come on, Shiftright, you can come clean with us, don't you secretly want one of these, rattley dashboard and all?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 56,730
    Nah, I like cars that are exciting or really interesting. Just because a certain car has a funny kind of hood ornament, or pink sun visors or styling that is considered "goofy " or "weird" (which a young driver likes, I know), doesn't mean I'm going to kick in cold hard cash to preserve it. It's throwing away money and labor on a dubious project at best.

    Why aren't some very rare cars valuable? WELL, because nobody wanted to buy it when it was new! That's why it's rare, kind of like asparagus ice cream.

    Now one of my cars, for instance, is a very clean, exceptionally nice Mercedes 300D. I love that car because it takes me everywhere and doesn't break down and is comfortable and still good-looking, etc.

    Now when that car throws a rod or gets rear-ended, I"m certainly not going to fix it. I'll give it a pat on the butt and send it to the shredder.

    Cruel? Inhumane? Perhaps, but it's just an old used 4-door car, all used up. Goodbye and thanks from the bottom of my heart.

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  • ballparkballpark Posts: 41
    I would say that "ordinary" cars can be classic. Look at the Model-A. They don't come any "ordinarier" than that. The 49 Mercs, 55-57 Bel Aires, 65 Mustangs, and 67-69 Camaros come to mind. There are others like the 56 F-100 and the 53 3100 pickups from Ford and Chevy respectively. Aside from the Mustangs and Camaros, the other vehicles I've mentioned didn't arouse any particular passion in thier owners when new. They were bought for utilitarian reasons and discarded for the most part by thier original owners after they had served thier purpose. I would call these cars "classics" today. They are widely restored and/or resto-modded and viewed as highly desirable by most of the general public. Eventualy these cars will become rare as more and more "cores" rust out of existance. when this happens thier dollar values will rise higher and higher. At some point they will reach the critical mass or "Shiftright" point where they qualify for the official designation of classic. I just see no reason to wait that long to declare them as such, nor to attempt to disqualify any car because it was "ordinary" when new.

    Under your qualifications they only American cars of today (or the recent past) that could possibly qualify for future classic status would be the Corvette, Viper, Prowler, and perhaps (but probably not)a few Lincoln and Cadillac products.

    Jeez I can't believe I forgot to mention the GTO and 'Cuda, early T-birds,....let's just say I forgot to mention a lot of cars.

    I agree that you cannot currently put the Viper and Accord in the same category, but 40 years from now there could be a lot of people who will want the Accord for what it represented in it's day, or what it personaly represented for them in it's day.

    I have a feeling you only view as classic, cars that are beyond the ordinary mans ability to obtain. I view such cars as irrelevant relics since I believe it is the ordinary man that determines what is or is not a classic. And he determines that by what he chooses to ressurect or preserve. And when he collectively chooses to do so en 'masse to a particular automobile, then that determines it's bona-fide inclusion into the world of "classic" automobiles.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,025
    ...with a 302 and a console shift (I guess you could get 'em with floor-shift automatics, couldn't you?) Considering how light those things were, I'm sure they moved pretty quickly with even those de-tuned 302's they had back then. Just imagine transplanting a more modern Mustang GT powerplant in there!

    Speaking of which, I wonder if, as the Panther bodies age enough that they are exempt from emissions testing, if we might start seeing some crop up with high-performance transplants. I think it'd be kinda cool to see a '79 LTD Crown Vic coupe with a Mark VIII or Mustang GT drivetrain in it! Heck, I'm sure they're actually lighter than the Mark VIII, so it should be enough to move it!

    Unfortunately with emissions testing, it seems they're getting stricter and stricter, at least here in MD. I remember when I started driving, when the '88 models came out that fall, anything '73 and older was exempt. They moved it up a model year every year, but for some reason stalled out at 1976 years ago. Kinda makes me wonder though, if you get historic plates for, say, a '77 LTD (which you can now do in MD, and you don't have to take it through inspection), would you still have to go through the emissions test?
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