On sale for roughly 32 years, the Crown Victoria was a mainstay of the Ford lineup that refused to modernize. Aside from the Lincoln, it was the only rear-wheel-drive, body-on-frame sedan left on sale in America. You could get it with a column-mounted shifter. You could order two bench seats and seat six comfortably (front bench seats in passenger vehicles are now officially dead in America). It rode on the oldest continuously produced platform on sale in America, Ford's tough-as-nails Panther platform that was first used back in 1979. Lastly, it always offered a V8 no matter what gas was going for at the corner station. Click through the jump to continue reading...
Perhaps the biggest testament to the Crown Victoria's significance is how many different vehicles it will take to replace it in our daily lives. Since 2008, the Crown Vic has only been sold as a fleet vehicle to its bread-and-butter customers: police officers and taxi drivers. With its death, law enforcement is flush with options for the first time in decades. Dodge had already been stealing market share away from Ford the last few years with a cop-spec version of the Charger that's been redesigned for 2011, and General Motors is re-entering the fray this year with a long-wheelbase version of Australia's Holden Commodore (formerly our Pontiac G8) that fittingly resurrects the Chevrolet Caprice name. Lastly, Ford is hoping that law enforcement embraces its own replacement for the Crown Vic – an all-wheel-drive Taurus Interceptor with beefed up mechanicals and a twin-turbo EcoBoost V6.
Like the police, taxi and livery companies are also going to miss the Crown Vic's innate simplicity, sturdy construction and wealth of replacement parts. There are many companies waiting in the wings to fill the Crown Vic's role as taxi cab, including Ford itself with a taxi version of its Transit Connect Van commercial van. A mandate by some large municipalities saw hybrid vehicles like the Toyota Prius and Ford's Escape Hybrid begin to chip away at the Crown Vic's ubiquity on city streets, and the largest municipality of them all, New York City, has chosen the Nissan NV200 van as Gotham's next official ride to the airport.
All of this is to say that even though the Crown Victoria was a dinosaur, what it lacked in refinement, efficiency and style it more than made up for in utility, ruggedness and sheer volume. An era has truly ended.