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During Ford's 2007 concept car ride at its Dearborn Development Center, the third and final concept on hand was the Ford Interceptor. The Interceptor was the American Muscle representative of the trio, and like the Lincoln MKR it is also based on the Mustang's platform. In the fall of 2006, rumors began to swirl that Ford would take advantage of the popularity of the Mustang and build a four-door version. Mustang fans around the world howled in protest.

There have been many variations of the Mustang over the past four decades, but none have ever had more than two doors for occupant ingress/egress. The idea of a four-door 'Stang was completely anathema. Ford quickly denied they were even considering a Mustang sedan, and once December 2006 rolled around and the print magazines began breaking press embargoes weeks in advance of the auto show, everyone breathed a collective sigh of relief.

Continue reading our impressions of the Interceptor after the jump.

Although the mechanical underpinnings of the Interceptor were derived from the Mustang, the visible parts are totally different. The downside is that even though it's not a Mustang it still looks derivative. The obvious direct comparison is to the Chrysler 300 and there are certainly similarities -- particularly in the shape of the greenhouse.

Although the Interceptor and 300 have a similar chopped greenhouse look, on closer inspection the Ford definitely sits lower and looks longer. The Ford three-bar grille is smoothly incorporated into the upright nose in a manner different than what's seen on current production models. Aside from the the general proportions, heritage can be seen in design details like the taillights, which are shaped like what Peter Horbury has described as "squircles". The squircle is a design element that goes back to Fords of the sixties and seventies like the Galaxie 500 and Torino and has been repeated in the interior with the instruments and steering wheel. Although the overall look of the car's exterior is that of a classic, muscular American sedan, it comes across as thoroughly modern rather than retro.

On the inside, the leather-covered seats have absolutely no lateral bolsters at all. Although they're curved to provide a reasonable driving position and back support, they would be completely useless in any kind of aggressive driving were it not for the seat belts. The Interceptor is equipped with the four-point belts currently being promoted by many safety advocates. They feature belts over both shoulders and buckle in the center of the passenger instead of off to one side. The biggest problem is that the seats have to be engineered to provide the necessary structural integrity.

Fortunately, aggressive driving was completely off the table during our drive because this car was not happy running on such a hot day. The Interceptor is powered by Ford's 5.0L Cammer crate engine that's been offered for several years now and unlike all modern production engines, this one had a carburetor and was suffering major vapor lock. Between short "bursts" around the track it had to sit and cool down for a while before the next driver took off.

The Interceptor has a front-hinged clamshell hood with a big hole in the middle where the rear-opening "Shaker" hood scoop sits. From the front seats, the engine has a mighty rumble and the big scoop rocks back and forth when you manipulate the throttle. Unlike most concepts, this one actually had a manual gearbox and it featured one of the stiffest, notchiest shifters I've ever experienced. Outward visibility was actually pretty decent in spite of the low roof.

In January at the Detroit Auto Show, Ford insiders told Autoblog that there was no intention to build anything like the Interceptor, which left us wondering why they'd bothered at all. Unlike many concepts, the Interceptor was not some out-of-left-field design like the Airstream, it was actually reasonably practical. Out in the sun, it even looks better than it does rotating on a show stand. In spite of similarities to Chrysler's sedans, it's handsome and looks like a Ford. It seems that the reception to the concept has caused Ford to reconsider.

The Crown Victoria is already several years past its sell-by date and a replacement will hopefully appear by the end of the decade. Peter Horbury has acknowledged that a lot of the design of the Interceptor will show up on production models in coming years. Now, if they did build something like this concept with the 4.4L diesel that's coming to the 2009 F-150, they would have a killer full-size family sedan. But please put some decent seats in it.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      Best Wishes to Ford on their recovery, but this is stupid. Why be a follower instead of a leader? If this this would actually go into production it would be a disaster. How many people would buy a 300 wanabe 5+ years late? If it was introduced before the 300, it would have prevented many of Fords problems, now it would only add to them. If Ford wants another image car, build a decent affordable sports car. The mustang is not a sports car.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Is this the ugly cousin of the 300C? (not that the 300C is great looking) Lose the overly-rounded toy car-like front end and 1970's dash. Thank god this is only a concept, lets keep it there.
      • 7 Years Ago
      i like the look of the car but am tired already of the 300c looking cars.
      the inside still reminds me of of the dash Mr Brady had back in the 70's.....

      interesting seats also
      • 7 Years Ago
      This would be an ideal police car. I believe one brand had a car called a Police Interceptor. It would certainly beat a 63 Ford.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I think Ford should look at going back to round tail lights. Look to the 61 starliner, 63 & 64 Galaxie's for inspiration.
      To Alan Mullaly, throw anyone out of your office that uses the word squircle!
        • 7 Years Ago
        The squircle thing probably comes from the later '60's editions of the big Fords, like the '65 and up. The roofline evokes the '65 Galaxie. The decklid is beveled between the taillights, like the '65. The taillights remind me of the ones on my dad's '69 Galaxie 500. The squircled steering wheel is a bit much, though. I like the way this car has heritage to it without being retro, but I think the 427 concept was better looking.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Looks great in that last rear/side shot.

      Tweak the front a little, and it could make a good Crown Vic replacement. The car could liven up the Mercury brand, too.
      • 7 Years Ago
      A BOLD MOVE would be to manufacture this thing.

      I think it is the most exciting concept this decade from the Big 3 and one of the tops in the entire auto industry.
      • 7 Years Ago
      It looks decent from the rear 1/4 shot, but the front end reminds me of a school bus or transport truck. I'm in the camp of it being horrendously ugly.

      I would say that it is definitely polarizing and that if Ford builds it, the company will sink even faster! Here's a thought... maybe Ford should think about building a better small/mid-size sedan, especially with the way gas prices are going.
      • 7 Years Ago
      It's not like they're going to build anything remotely close to it. Why bother driving it? Still, that would be a hot cop car.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Could we get away from the "chromed-band" look on the front? It's absolutely fugly! I hate it on the Edge, Taurus (formerly 500) and now this car. Body colored or black grill please!
      • 7 Years Ago
      I was going to start investing in Ford stock, but after seeing this concept being taken so seriously by Ford has kept me from buying.

      It is a stylistic nightmare, looking like something that was cobbled together in the 70's.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Add me to the list of those polarized on the side of "This is awesome". I can't think of any good reason for them not to make this car. Especially if they can produce it at the same manufacturing facilities as the next generation Mustang.
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