We knew it was coming, but not when. Ford has announced that they will close the plant currently building the Ford Crown Victoria and Lincoln Town Car in a little more than a year. Currently the Crown Vic is only sold to fleets while the Town Car is available for public purchase. This will be the official end of body-on-frame car construction in North America as they are the only two models still assembled that way.
The most interesting perspective on the loss of this long running vehicle platform comes from the taxi industry in New York City. Police departments have other options to chose from in the form of police package Chevy Impala and Dodge Charger models. Taxi companies however are left in a lurch and by all accounts, having the â€œPantherâ€ platform cars pulled away from them is akin to stealing a kidâ€™s wubby.
The big rear-wheel-drive sedans really are decent people movers and although the Mercury Marauder was not a massive sales success, it was an interesting mild-performance car that looked good and spun the correct set of tires (the ones in the back).
Fordâ€™s reasoning is a projected drop in sales due to stricter environmental standards that police and taxi vehicles will be held to over the coming years. In our feeble minds weâ€™d guess that Ford would have an upper hand with this market simply based on their buyerâ€™s familiarity with the model, ability to score cheap parts and ease of repair, but what the hell do we know?
Ford has announced the Taurus police package and weâ€™re guessing that they could cook up a taxi version of that which could include all the heavy duty suspension and handling pieces, engine durability enhancements, and maybe even the shotgun rack for flair.
Itâ€™ll be a sad day when Ford puts the Panther down. Itâ€™s been a good piece of equipment for some time and frankly, who among us hasnâ€™t felt the smooth surface of a vinyl rear seat in a police car before?