The comments on yesterday’s review of the Caprice Classic Estate reminded me how fundamentally deep the Ford-vs-Chevy rivalry is among American auto enthusiasts. Even in the modern era, when both iconic brands are on the run from Toyota, Hyundai, and (soon) the Chinese, there’s still time to catch one’s breath and take a swing at the other guy.
So. The “Panther” platform is scheduled for termination within the next year or so. The General Motors B-body departed nearly a decade and a half ago. There will likely never be another American car of the size and proportions of those two. Which was your favorite? My thoughts, and a link to a credible source, after the jump.
I’ve owned both the B-body and the Panther personally, and I expect to own another Panther within the year. My feelings on the topic can be expressed as follows:
- GM was always the leader, until they weren’t. The 1977 B-Body not only beat the Panther to market by a solid year, it was a much better car. It was roomier, quieter, better-made, better-looking, and never suffered from the God-forsaken Variable Venturi Carburetor. The redesigned Caprice beat the aero Crown Vic to market again and offered the LT1 against the tepid early “mod motor”. Only GM’s decision to gradually quit the market let Ford take over the police and taxi markets. Until they left the field, they were in front.
- The Panther has suffered from persistent safety questions. Cops seem to keep dying in Crown Vics, with a reported “more then 30” dying from fuel tank explosions. There have also been allegations of brake failure or simply inadequate braking performance.
- If you want a newer car, you have no choice. I’d love to have another Bubble or Roadmaster, but if I want a sub-50,000-mile car in like-new condition, my next Town Car is only an eBay click away.
The folks at Texas Interceptors give the nod to the Crown Vic. While noting the many superior qualities of the Caprice, the reliability of the Crown Vic seems to carry the day. Of course, they could be wrong. What say you?