Whether you love or hate driving a TC, however, you have to admit that they are very durable vehicles. It’s no surprise, then, that “Charlie The Town Car”, a 2004-vintage model used daily as a cab in Austin, Texas, wasn’t laid low just 9,211 miles short of the half-million-mile mark by mechanical failure. No, it had to be rammed by a truck.
A July article in the Austin Statesman tells the tale:
McClung, 48, a native of Bangs, a hamlet just west of Brownwood, said he properly paused at a four-way stop in East Austin (on the way to pay his weekly $235 lease to Austin Cab) and then pulled out. The other guy, in a maroon Ford pickup, ran the stop sign to McClung’s left and slammed into Charlie’s left rear…
And the odometer (the car, sadly, won’t start now and required a jump to get enough juice to light up the electronic reading on the dash) sits frozen at 490,789.5 miles. Just 9,210.5 short of half a million miles. And maybe done.
Any old Ford hand knows that’s the inertial fuel pump at work. Press the button in the trunk (or, in some Fords, the glove compartment) to reset the fuel pump and away you go. I looked for an update to this story and couldn’t find one. I’d like to believe that Charlie’s frame wasn’t bent too badly and that a junkyard door put him back on the road. It’s more likely, though, that the insurance company called time on the whole endeavor and sent Mr. McClung looking for his next Townie.
This kind of mileage is exceptional for any vehicle, but during many trips to Orlando, FL I regularly saw the Town Cars operated by Mears Motor Coach looking quite spiffy with 200,000 miles — or more — showing on the odometer. There’s plenty of evidence that Toyota minivans and the like can’t quite cut the mustard:
“The minivans, the fleets really discovered that they were just not holding up,” said Michael Woloz, spokesman for the Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade, an industry group.
In the long run, no modern car seems to last quite like a big Panther. It can be an attractive purchase for anyone, from a 24-hour-a-day cab company to a club racer… but that’s a story for another time.