You’ve seen them in movies, on TV, and maybe even in your rear-view mirror. The last, ubiquitous Ford Crown Vic California Highway Patrol car just got dumped. Last night was its final prowl. It has been a staple of California freeways and highways for 34 years. Now the last Ford Police Interceptor has been retired.
In some ways it is amazing it lasted through most of 2020. The Crown Vic was based on the Panther platform which saw its final vehicle was built in 2011. So it has survived in the wild almost a decade after the last one was made.
Ford replaced the Crown Vic with its Police Interceptor Utility Explorer
Ford replaced the Crown Vic with its Police Interceptor Utility Explorer, Taurus SHO, and Dodge Charger. It also bought a large fleet of BMW i3 EVs which it is selling off right now. That venture didn’t end well.
But soldering through the search for a good replacement, the Crown Vic carried on. Last month the last all-white Crown Vic was retired. These are mostly used for things other than patrolling highways. We used to call them “Narc Cars” for narcotics divisions of police departments. It was replaced by a 2020 Dodge Charger; the last American sedan made besides its sister Chrysler 300.
We don’t know whether the last retired Crown Vic will be identified at auction
We don’t know whether the last retired Crown Vic will be identified at auction but that is probably where it is headed. That is how the California Highway Patrol sells off its out of service cars. Private parties purchase them and they continue as daily drivers from then on. If you travel the LA freeways with any frequency you’ll see these repurposed Crown Vics from time to time.
They were a familiar part of the landscape not only as patrol cars but as taxis, too. Crown Vics still get used for NY scenes in movies they are that much associated with Manhattan. Those Crown Vics were not optioned the same as the Police Interceptor, however.
The Highway Patrol sedans have always been brutal machines
The Highway Patrol sedans have always been brutal machines. From Buicks in the mid-1950s with nailhead engines to the iconic Dodge Police Pursuit sedans of the 1960s and 1970s with 440 engines. Even AMC got into the act with sedans that had 401 V8s stuffed under their hoods. Those were prominently featured in the Adam-12 TV series in the late-1960s and 1970s.
If you would like to see Crown Vics in action take a look at any of those LA police chases captured by local TV news stations. YouTube has a gang of them that define both LA TV, the LA southland, and life in the Big City. Don’t forget your popcorn!