Why Mark Harmon’s Son Didn’t Want to Drive This Car

Mark Harmon is an Emmy-nominated actor who rose to fame in the ’80s on the TV show St. Elsewhere. He now plays Special Agent Leroy Gibbs on NCIS, a popular police drama on CBS. The show is currently in its 17th season.

Perhaps it’s only fitting that Harmon drives a former police vehicle in real life. It’s not a modern Ford Explorer or a Taurus, but a beige Ford Crown Victoria. The car was originally a gift for Harmon’s son, who decided to get another car instead. The Crown Vic was a popular car in its day, so why would anyone turn down the chance to own one?

The Crown Vic ‘spooked’ his son

Ford Crown Victoria used in Chicago as Police Interceptor models.
The Ford Crown Vic Police Interceptor | Scott Olson/Getty Images

Harmon got his Crown Vic at a police auction. The car was originally owned by a detective, so it has many unique features suited for a private investigator. The trunk has a rifle rack, and there’s a set of police-strength headlights on the front of the car. The interior has a charming “old car smell” and even comes with velour seating.

Harmon thought the car would be perfect for his son because of its safety and durability. The Crown Vic is also quite fast – perfect for high-speed police chases. Surprisingly, this is exactly why Harmon’s son didn’t want the car.

He said he put one foot on the accelerator and felt too intimidated by the Crown Vic’s potential speed. Mark later bought his son a Prius, which usually comes with a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine. The Crown Vic came with a standard modular V8 engine, a big jump in terms of power. Instead of reselling the Crown Vic, Harmon took the car for himself.

The history of the Crown Vic

The Ford Crown Victoria was originally a hardtop convertible in the ’50s, but it quickly went out of production. It was later revived in the ’80s as a two-door sedan with an available station wagon trim. The car got a complete redesign for the ’90s, with a whole new body and chassis. This was also the year it started being used as a fleet vehicle for the police. The car was also commonly used in taxi fleets.

However, its most popular version was released in 1998. The car was redesigned again, this time to look more like the Ford Grand Marquis. It featured a new style of grille and different headlights. 

After the introduction of the Police Interceptor Sedan, the Crown Vic was discontinued. The Police Interceptor was considered safer for police work thanks to the added all-wheel drive. The Crown Vic was only available in rear-wheel drive and had various other safety concerns. In 2011, the Crown Vic was even deemed illegal to sell because of its lack of stability control.

How powerful is the Police Interceptor model?

The Crown Victoria came with a standard 4.6-liter V8 capable of 250 hp and 297 lb-ft of torque. It was paired with a four-speed automatic transmission. The police version also has a specialized air induction system, which cools the engine more efficiently.

This was especially useful during highway chases or other periods of heavy use. The Crown Vic Police Interceptor also has a higher max speed than the civilian model. While the regular car could only reach 110 MPH, police versions could drive from 120-140 MPH.

Where can you buy an older Crown Vic?

If you want to live your fantasy as a 90s private investigator, you’re in luck. There are always a few second-generation Crown Vic Police Interceptors available for sale, most of them for well under $10,000. Used civilian models are also easy to find, but they won’t be as powerful as the police variants.