autoevolution
Car video reviews:
 
Crown Victoria P-71 Police Interceptor: Making American Drivers Slow Down Since 1998
You often hear people gripe that there aren't any decent used cars around anymore. Well, the chip shortage may have made that a bit less hyperbolic, but that doesn't mean it's a complete fact. There are indeed reliable used cars for sale. It's just not one that's very desirable unless you're a car enthusiast weirdo like the person writing this.

Crown Victoria P-71 Police Interceptor: Making American Drivers Slow Down Since 1998

Ford Crown Victoria Police InterceptorFord Crown Victoria Police InterceptorFord Crown Victoria Police InterceptorFord Crown Victoria Police InterceptorFord Crown Victoria Police InterceptorFord Crown Victoria Police InterceptorFord Crown Victoria Police InterceptorFord Crown Victoria Police InterceptorFord Crown Victoria Police InterceptorFord Crown Victoria Police Interceptor
The Ford Crown Victoria's civilian model is both completely different from its police counterpart in some ways but also exactly the same in others. Firstly, you might be tempted to think the Crown Victoria P-71 Police Interceptor limited edition has some fancy "cop motor" or "cop suspension." To that, we say you really need to stop re-watching the original Blues Brothers movie and reconnect with reality. Why? Because that's just not the case with the P-71, but it still came with a standard 3.27:1 diffs with an option for traction-lock. Moreover, a 3:55:1 gearing was available when compared to the "civilian" 2.74:1 axle ratios.

In fact, one could make the argument that the P-71 Crown Vic police package actually handles worse than the civil model. The two-inch ride height bump keeps the oil pan from hitting the curb when making abrupt 180-degree turns on residential streets but also makes this 3,800-pound (1,723.65 kg) land whale of a four-door sedan have even more body roll than usual.

Produced in small batches at a time on an as-needed basis for law enforcement between 1998 and 2009, the second-generation P-71 police-spec Crown Vic was a car that spent nearly as much time sitting idle as it did patrol the mean streets of Anytown, USA.

The Crown Victoria CVPI is one of if not the most recognizable American cars of the 21st. Thanks to countless appearances in TV cop dramas, movies, and TV shows, they serve as everything from cop cars to detective vehicles and even New York City Taxis. Rest assured, nearly every American driver who sees a P-71 Crown Vic on the horizon or in your rear-view mirror can't help but tense up a little.

Because regardless of whether or not you're breaking the law, if the person behind the wheel decides to flash their lights and blast their sirens, you're rear-ended is thoroughly cooked. It's one of the reasons non-enthusiasts tend to clown on people who buy P-71 CVPIs secondhand as daily drivers. Seeing what clearly looks like a cop car complete with its high-intensity spot lamp only to then see it driven by a spotty teenager in a Nirvana T-shirt is annoying at best and pants-soiling terrifying at worst.

For a lumbering four-door sedan that never managed to crack 275 horsepower from its 4.6-liter Modular V8, CVPIs exude an authority that may as well make it faster than a Bugatti Chiron. Because at the end of the day, there are enough of CVPIs cars all over America, and there's only one of you. Good luck, my friend. You'll need it.

But even with all this in consideration. People can and still buy retired P-71 CVPIs and press them into daily driving use because they're just so darn cheap. Granted, there's really no telling whether you're about to buy a beat-up jalopy with a bent frame or a well-preserved survivor until you come to see the specific car in person. But wheels are wheels, and you can still find P-71s for sale for under $2,000 if you do enough due diligence.

As police departments from New York to LA transitioned over to the Ford Explorer and the Dodge Charger, CVPIs became a more common sight at used car auctions that you could probably amass your own police fleets worth of police cruisers for the price of one $40,000 new car which serves as the current average for new vehicles in 2022. Of course, sitting and idling for hours and hours probably means the Modular V8 isn't all that fresh anymore.

But this is the kind of car you really don't mind breaking out the tool kit to learn how to fix. As one of the very last body on American frame sedans ever made, perhaps no new car ever made will come close to the ease of maintenance that Crown Vics take for granted. So long as you change the oil and don't drive like a maniac, chances are good you'd love a CVPI if it was your only option.

Mind you, people can and do put massive engines, turbos, suspension kits, and all kinds of cool stuff on Crown Vics, including one guy who put a tank engine inside one. Is there anything these cars can't do? We haven't seen it yet.





Editor's note: This article was not sponsored or supported by a third-party.

 
 
 
 
 

Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories