What wasn’t to like? Smooth looks, a great big V8, enough room in the cabin for six adults and a huge boot, er, to boot. Yep, Ford’s flagship, the Crown Victoria, had it all — so much so that it was the car of choice for the boys in blue — and cabbies — all over the US, and it still is today. Large saloons might have been making something of a comeback during the past decade, but the truth is, this car never left the scene following its 1992 debut.
The first-generation model featured a 4.6-litre V8 mated to a four-speed automatic gearbox producing a healthy 200bhp. It was a big car measuring 5,395mm in length and 1,976mm in width and it tipped the scales at 1,746kg. The performance-oriented Touring Sedans were even more popular with the natives, with their two-tone paint, leather interior, dual exhausts, fatter tyres, rear air suspension and tweaked V8s producing 210 horses. Suffice to say, dads all over the US loved the school run.
A year later the car gained minor tweaks such as the introduction of a front grille, but it had to wait five years before it was redesigned.
The second-generation model rolled out in 1998, and it was a massive sales success, with more than 111,000 finding happy homes. They looked a lot smarter than the earlier models and were just as roomy and luxurious. However, they were criticised for looking too similar to the Lincoln Town Car and Mercury Grand Marquis. You could tell them apart thanks to the larger headlights, different styled bumpers and rectangular grille on the Ford.
When the Five Hundred was introduced in 2005 (later renamed the Taurus), the Crown Vic was no longer the company’s flagship. Regardless, it still comfortably outsold the newbie and latter models were produced for export to the Middle East, where it also went on to leave a massive mark. The 4.6-litre V8 was now rated at 240bhp and was pretty quick off the line thanks to shorter rear-axle gearing and an upgraded torque converter.
Production continued until 2011 when Ford decided to pull the plug on the car; no doubt officers all over the US were in tears.
There aren’t many American cars that have proven to be as durable as it — that explains why Ford built more than 9 million of them. Today, they are very much sought after, particularly by hot rodders looking for cheap thrills, as getting the Crown Vic sideways with a plume of smoke from the rear wheels was as easy as pie. Yup, its tiny gauge cluster, the large chunks of plastic on the dash, the bench seating and the column shifter all point to prehistoric DNA — but that’s the whole appeal. These cars are old school; for the ultimate look, slap on some wheel spacers and drop it a couple of inches.
Fortunately for us, we’ve got plenty to select from and for as little as Dh20,000 for a well-maintained example. A word of advice though; try to avoid any painted yellow or you’ll forever be on taxi duty. We recommend black — that way, some people might think you’re a cop.
Maybe even the cops...