The first Crown Victoria model for Ford Motor Company appeared in 1955. The Crown Vic was a top-of-the-line version of the Victoria, a two-door hardtop model heavily accessorized. The Crown" was a metal band that ran from beltline to beltline over the top of the car, roughly even with the back of the front seats. The buyer could opt for the portion of roof ahead of the "Crown" to be a glass insert. This model was called a Crown Victoria "Skyliner".
The current iteration of the Crown Victoria has changed little since it first appeared in 1992. The Crown Vic is a body-on-frame, rear-wheel-drive sedan that is suited for heavy-duty use as police cars, taxicabs and other fleet users . . . and as a six-passenger family sedan. The vehicle is large and comfortable. The Crown Vic is the last large rear-drive sedan of its type made by a U.S. manufacturer.
The Crown Victoria shares a platform with the Lincoln Towncar and the late Mercury Marquis. The CV and the Marquis share a lot of the same sheet metal. The proliferation of alternative family vehicles including mini-vans, crossovers and the like has relegated the big Ford to being sold only into fleet service. The standard power for the Crown Vic is a 4.6 liter modular V-8 that has a variety of configurations and power output.
Over the life of this model, mechanical improvements have been made to the engine, transmission, suspension, and steering, without altering the basic appearance of the vehicle. It remains today a large, body-on-frame sedan with moderate power and great durability, the last of the breed.
Ford has announced that it is closing the plant in 2011 that makes the Crown Vic (Mercury and Lincoln versions, too) has been made for many years. There are no definite plans to produce another vehicle of this type. Ford hopes to retain some of their fleet business with a beefed up Taurus for police and fire departments and the Transit Connect for taxi use.
Chevrolet Impalas and Chrysler 300/Dodge Chargers are being promoted as the new police cars, but these are both unit-body construction. The Chevrolet is front-wheel-drive, a far less durable option to the Crown Vic's rear-wheel-drive. Unfortunately, in the near future, the vehicle in your rear view mirror, the one with the flashing light bar across the top, will be something other than the familiar Ford Crown Victoria.
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