Cops pick their cars based on what’s around them. In more rural areas, police have used Jeep Cherokees and Ford Ranger Raptors. Where officers need to chase quicker criminals, they use BMW M cars or even full-on supercars. And here in the US, trucks, and SUVs have also been prepped for police duty. But perhaps the most iconic cop car is the Ford Crown Victoria. And recently, YouTube team Throttle House got up close and personal with one.
Police Ford Crown Victoria Interceptor specs
The biggest draw for the Ford Crown Victoria, especially as a cop car or taxicab, was its design. It was body-on-frame, with a live rear axle and rear-wheel drive. Today, only pickup trucks and a handful of SUVs use that setup. It meant that even if the Crown Victoria was damaged in the line of duty, repairs were simple and cheap. Over the years, though, Ford did update the sedan, Car and Driver reports.
Initially, the 1992 Crown Victoria cop car offered a 4.6-liter V8 making 210 hp, thanks to dual exhaust, and a modified 4-speed automatic. Up until 2011, when the car was discontinued, it kept using a 4.6-liter V8, but in 2004 it was upgraded to 250 hp.
Over the years, Ford also upgraded the sedan’s suspension and exterior design. Arguably the biggest change for police came in 2003 when the Crown Victoria got revised rear suspension, a front-mounted aluminum cross member, and a new steering mechanism. That was when the police started doing proper high-speed training, Car and Driver reports.
Police vehicles also got an upgraded cooler, stiffer suspension, strengthened driveshaft, and an optional limited-slip differential. Throttle House reports the seats are stab-proof, too.
How does the iconic cop car drive?
Although Throttle House couldn’t legally use the Crown Victoria’s lights, the duo enjoyed their time with the cop car.
With a 4-speed automatic and only 250 hp, the Crown Vic isn’t exactly fast. But it builds power linearly and controllably. And despite the live rear axle, the ride is smooth, and body motion well-controlled. Car and Driver notes the seats are comfortable—at least in the front—and there’s more interior space than in a modern Dodge Charger police car.
More importantly, though, the Crown Victoria is durable. The interior has a lot of cheap, hard plastics, but it’s meant to be utilitarian and long-lasting. California Highway Patrol Officer Amy Walker told Car and Driver that CHP personnel thought nothing of driving their Crown Vics over medians. She said, “Nothing hangs below the car so there’s nothing to get damaged.” And although CHP retires the cars after 100,000-150,000 miles, they often saw further miles in civilian hands. Said Walker, “Those cars just kept going and going. They loosened up, but they kept on going and going.”
How you can get one
Used Crown Victorias aren’t particularly hard to find. But neither are the Police Interceptor versions.
There are many dealers in the US who sell decommissioned cop cars. They’ve also popped up on sites like Bring a Trailer: a 96,000-mile 2003 example sold in March 2020 for $6,400. And CarGurus lists many examples for less than $10,000.
So, it’s easy to pick one up. Just make sure you can hold off from blasting the siren.
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