By on June 3, 2013

SAM_1902 Picture by David Hester

Along with the faux cop car 1972 Ford Galaxie Custom 500 that I reviewed a few weeks back, my department has saved two other examples of police cars once used on patrol. I can personally vouch that these two G- rides are the real deal, because they were both in service in 1997 when I started my career.

SAM_1828 Picture by David Hester

First up we have a 1991 Ford LTD Crown Victoria. I’ve never liked the “box” style Panthers. When I was going through the police academy, I had the misfortune to be stuck using one of these when we went through our pursuit and emergency driving training courses. Most of my classmates were lucky enough to have been assigned newer ’92- ’94 Crown Vics. The instructors insisted that there was no difference and that the two different models handled the same.

SAM_1827 edited Picture by David Hester

They lied. Other than being RWD four door sedans that are painted refrigerator white, the two models have nothing in common, particularly when it comes to handling. The design soldiered on basically unchanged from 1979 until 1991. The “boxes” were dinosaurs compared to the “bubbles.” My classmates who were in newer, better handling cars did significantly better on the exercises. I had to come back for retraining… which was done in a newer Crown Vic and I passed easily.

I graduated from the police academy and was assigned to 3rd shift patrol with my first field training officer.  His ride was a ’91 Crown Vic. On my first night, he put me behind the wheel and promptly went to sleep. This was to be the pattern of our time together for much of the next five weeks. I learned how to drive very, very smoothly so as not to wake him.

SAM_1837 Picture by David Hester

Smoothly is the best way to drive a first generation Panther. I have driven them in anger and the only thing worse is to be a passenger in one being driven in anger by someone else because passenger side airbags weren’t an option until the ’92 redesign. I hadn’t driven one at all in well over a decade before taking out P#717 for a spin.

A few weeks ago Murilee Martin asked the Best and Brightest during  which 10 year period they thought automobiles advanced the most. I didn’t participate in the thread, but after driving these two cars back to back (along with the ’72 Ford the same day), I’m convinced that the 1980s saw the most advancement. The ’91 LTD was designed in the mid ’70s and went on sale as a ’79. It passed through the entire decade of the ’80s basically frozen in time.

I was struck by how old- fashioned the car was, with whisper thin A- pillars, offensively fake wood trim, velour upholstery, chrome switchgear, tiny rearview mirrors, and all of the other little details that made the  driving experience of the ’91 model feel closer to that of the ’72 Custom 500 that was 19 years older than to that of the ’96 model that was only 5 years newer.

SAM_1849 Picture by David Hester

The power steering is over- assisted like the steering in the ’72, with the same floating sensation that encourages you to steer with one finger while using the hood ornament as a sort of sight to keep the car between the ditches. As you build up speed, air rushing into the engine compartment through the massive grille makes the edges of the hood start to flutter due to the fact that  the LTD has approximately the same aerodynamic properties as a brick. It serves as a natural speed governor. The faster you go, the more violently the hood shakes until the driver starts to worry that the latch might not keep it from becoming airborne and slows down.

SAM_1856 Picture by David Hester

The ’91 Crown Vics did have a couple of advantages over the redesigned ’92s. The first was their massive chrome bumpers that could actually bump stuff without showing damage the way the painted bumpers of modern cars will. The second one was ground clearance, an advantage I discovered one night my in my first months as a solo patrol officer. Although I was assigned a ’92 model when I finished the field training program, ’89- ’91 models made up the pool car fleet. When my assigned car was down for service, I would have to drive a pool car.

On this particular evening, I decided to drive through a construction area near one of the middle schools in my beat. As part of the school’s renovation the rear parking lot was being expanded. A layer of dirt and gravel had been poured and I decided to drive over it to have a closer look at some of the new construction to the rear of the school.

What I couldn’t see in the dark was that there was a drop of about 9 inches from the edge of the finished parking lot to the gravel. My front wheels dropped off of the end with bone-jarring thud. I had the presence of mind to immediately stop and get out. The oil pan was about an eighth of an inch above the edge of the concrete. If I had been driving my ’92 instead of the older pool car I probably would have been high-centered and unable to move unless I was willing to sacrifice various expensive parts of the undercarriage.  Instead I was able to build a small ramp out of scrap lumber and backed the ’91 up  onto higher ground.

SAM_1871

Ultimately, except for their innate ability to take a beating, there is nothing to recommend a ’91 Crown Vic over the ’92- ’97 models. The ’92 and later models feel and drive like modern cars. They’re equipped like modern cars as well, with airbags, ABS, and traction control. The steering isn’t completely numb, although it could use a little more feedback. Drive the ’91 and a later model back to back as I did and the newer car just feels so much more capable.

SAM_1896 Picture by David Hester

’92 and ’93 models came equipped with bench seats, but bucket seats were available for police package models beginning in ’94. The gap available to fit a console between the seats was just over 9 inches wide, a distance that Ford continues to pretend exists between the buckets in a new Ford Police Interceptor Sedan.

SAM_1888 Picture by David Hester

Most of my time as a patrol officer was spent in ’92- ’97 Crown Vics. I was assigned a ’92 (wrecked), a ’95 (wrecked, but not my fault), a ’94 (wrecked), another ’92, another ’94, and a ’96 (See. I got better.) before being entrusted with a brand new 2001 (which was also wrecked, but it also wasn’t my fault.) I managed to walk away from all of my misadventures without injury, something I’m not sure would have been true in one of the old boxes.

SAM_1878 Picture by David Hester

The model pictured here is a ’96, which was the last year that Ford would have any real competition in the police market for nearly a decade. Chevrolet would be dropping the Caprice until the Caprice PPV returned in 2011. Dodge had already given up the market and wouldn’t return until the police package Charger dropped in 2006. From ’97 until ’06, Ford had the RWD police sedan market sewn up.

They’ve abandoned it now, trying to push the Taurus as a worthy successor. GM and Chrysler both returned to the market with RWD sedans, for now at least. Perhaps Ford will as well.

 

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58 Comments on “Cop Drives Classic Cop Car: 1991 Ford LTD Crown Victoria and 1996 Crown Victoria...”


  • avatar
    danio3834

    Having owned a few box and aero Panthers over the years, there was definitely a huge leap in refinement all around for ’92 with other improvements for ’98. The final big leap forward was for ’03 with suspension, steering, brake and frame changes.

    Anyone who says the last of the Panthers are a 1979 design doesn’t realize how much they really did change over the years. The final PI models handle like spec-Miatas compared to the early models.

    • 0 avatar
      luvmyv8

      While I’m one of the few who do like the looks of the “box” Crown Vic LTD, the ’92 up Crown Vics are far superior cars, hands down. We’ll stick to the police models.

      The Box Vic had the choice of the 302 or the 351 Windsor (police only option) At best the 302 had 160 hp and it was NOT the HO version found in the Mustang. The 302 was meant for patrol duties. While not as horrid as the ’81 Dodge St. Regis with a 318, you couldn’t call it fast either. It was acceptable for general patrol duties, but poor as a pursuit unit. The other engine available was the 351 Windsor ‘HO’. It made 190 hp. That’s it, all from 5.8 liters of V8! Sadly this was America’s most powerful police sedan in the late 80′s, but it wasn’t the fastest either, the Caprice was. It topped out at 119-120 MPH. The reason for the relative low power was the miserable Variable Venturi 2 barrel carburator on it, no fuel injection here.

  • avatar
    Mr Imperial

    I earned my learner’s permit back in 1996.

    I quickly memorized the headlight appearance of Police Interceptor Crown Vics.

    It’s going to take a long time to de-program my brain to now expect Chargers, Impalas and Taruses!

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I have the Impala committed to memory as well as Panther, but Charger/Tauri are throwing me too at the moment. Although occasionally I’m thrown by a Merc Mountaineer.

      • 0 avatar
        kjb911

        had a statey in a k5 blazer yesterday which seemed odd to me the gist in RI is

        State Troopers: black/black chargers with base rims
        Chevy Caprice (gray)
        New Ford Explorers

        Upper Class Municipalities (Newport, East Greenwhich, Portsmouth, etc): Taurus/Charger/Tahoe
        Lower Class Municipalities (Providence, Cranston, Johnston): Crown Vics/Last Gen Explorers

        the undercover tauri still throw me for a loop in the early morning when I head to work

        • 0 avatar
          Lichtronamo

          Took a road trip from Minneapolis to St. Louis this weekend to pick up a 2003 Marauder for my Dad. The trouble now is the variety and too many options to look out for. And also the Tahoe’s blend into traffic too well. Drove his Expedition there and back, which proved to be a stealthy way to travel compared to my GTI.

  • avatar
    Jean-Pierre Sarti

    I don’t know how the velour upholstery holds up for police duty but I for one loved velour upholstery. It got a bit more dusty than modern interiors but man where they comfortable.

    Also, something you said struck me as common sense. For all the hub-bub about seat room for utility belt wearing officers why don’t the car makers still offer the bench seat for the police cruiser? Even if it is one of those bucketseat/bench seat combos that we see sometimes trucks.

    • 0 avatar
      David Hester

      Having buckets gives you more room for equipment. People are expected to fold themselves up into pretzels to make room for Mobile Data Computers, shotguns, etc.

      Personally I’ve always preferred a bench and one of the perks of being a detective with an unmarked Crown Vic is having one in my current ride. The ’92 models I was assigned had bench seats as well and I always felt like I sat higher and was more comfortable in one of those than I was in a ’94. The bucket seats got better with the ’95s and later models.

      Sadly, the overall market has spoken and now you can’t get a bench seat in a new car at all. Just another reason why I like having pickup trucks so much for my personal vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      Alexdi

      I too loved the velour. My family had an ’84, ’91, ’00, and ’01. The first two had velour. I have fond memories of it as a kid. It was like sitting in velvet. It never got too hot even if the car was roasting all day. The ’00 had some sort of mouse fur, and the ’01, a rubber plastic finish that could only have been considered leather in some other universe. Not nearly as nice.

      I learned to drive in the ’01. The impression at the time was of an inexplicably torqueless V8 that’d run out of steam past 5000 revs, coupled with shockingly high cornering limits and rear wheels that seemed to be part of the car behind me. Entertaining stuff to a teenage hooligan.

    • 0 avatar

      +1 on the seat fabric. In Brazil, that kind of seat could be had until the mid 90s then it all went downhill. Guess the low point was some 5 to 8 yrs back where the seats were all grey or black with just little spots for “decoration” and almost nil design. On newer cars the seats are now available in color and have some interesting design. I’m crossing my fingers that this trend continues.

    • 0 avatar
      west-coaster

      Years ago my father had a Chevy Impala (from the “downsized” generation that started in the late ’70s) with basic vinyl seats.

      Whereas a friend of mine’s father had a fully-loaded Caprice Classic of the same era, but with super-plush velour seats as part of a greatly upgraded interior. It was hard to believe those two cars were the same underneath. I loved riding in that car, with those comfy, pillowy seats and thicker carpeting. A bonus was that his father smoked a pipe (yes, I know, that’d now be considered child endangerment), so the car also smelled luxurious and elegant.

  • avatar
    prancingmoose

    As a native of Lexington, I always enjoy your posts a lot. I remember seeing both of these often growing up!

  • avatar
    3800FAN

    I’ve got an 01 MGM but have never driven the 79-91 box panthers. Can anyone give us a review on how the 92+ mod motor 4.6 stacked up against the fuel injected 5.0?

    • 0 avatar
      mike1dog

      The regular 302 was a pig. It had decent torque, but above about 3000 rpm it made extra noise instead of more power. I think it made maybe 200 h.p. at the time, maybe 190 if it wasn’t the police interceptor. The Mod motor, apart from some plastic intakes in later cars is pretty bulletproof. Didn’t really get a whole lot more power, but was more flexible. Of course, you can make a 302 perform with different heads, supercharging, etc., but by now you can do quite a bit with the mod motors, too.
      I remember when they came out there was a lot of nashing of teeth by hot-rodders that it was the end of the world. There were dealers who bought up a bunch of the last year 1995 Mustangs with the 302, hoping to cash in.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        The non HO EFI 5.0L engines made 150 peak HP. You’re right, they were torquey, but didn’t make much in the way of power when pushed. The HO engines were much better, but once the PI headed mod motors came out there was no contest, the 4.6L performed better all around after that.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    Good report , thank you .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    Spartan

    I’m sure the ’91 Vic sounded better than the ’96 Vic. That 302 V8 sounds so damn good, a sound that the mod motor could only wish to have.

    • 0 avatar

      The non-Mustang 302 only sounded good at idle. They just wheezed as the revs built up. The 4.6, OTOH, had a nice cammy sound as you wound it out.

      Too bad there isn’t a new 5.0 Panther to show ‘em all up.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        “Too bad there isn’t a new 5.0 Panther to show ‘em all up.”

        Not a production one anyway. A while back there was a coyote/6R80 powered CVPI mule at the Livonia transmission plant that I’m told ran like a raped ape.

        • 0 avatar
          Nick 2012

          When I was at Ford, they were quite far along with a program to fit the 4.6L 3V (300 hp) motor to the CVPI. Cost and the execution of the Panther killed it.

          I heard a rumor (never confirmed) that Ford stuffed some 6.8L V10s of the 2 and 3 valve variety in the CVPIs for testing with some PDs.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            “they were quite far along with a program to fit the 4.6L 3V (300 hp) motor to the CVPI. Cost and the execution of the Panther killed it.”

            That would have made sense around the ’03-’04 model years when the Marauder was in production, but I would agree that cost would have been prohibitive. Plus, the performance difference between the Marauder and PI headed CVPIs really isn’t much on the street anyway.

          • 0 avatar
            Nick 2012

            Ford considered this in ~’05 for the 06-07MY, probably to compete with the imminent arrival of the Hemi Charger.

          • 0 avatar
            luvmyv8

            Ford also had a “just for kicks” Police Interceptor with the Mustang Cobra “Terminator” 4.6 DOHC SC engine under it’s hood…. now that’d be the ultimate Panther….

          • 0 avatar
            sgeffe

            Thought that the Marauder was essentially a Merc. CVPI with a civilian interior, floor shift and triple-black paint.

    • 0 avatar
      Shawnski

      Hmmmm. I have built a couple 5.0 roller cam hot rods, to say the mod does not sound good does not fly IMO. A high lift cam SBF has great tone, but the 4.6 or 5.4 is less thrashy and more sophisticated sounding. I have a blown Lighting with a built 5.4 with cams, easily the best sounding Ford I have ever heard.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “Dodge had already given up the market and wouldn’t return until the police package Charger dropped in 2006″

    Dave this isn’t totally accurate, Daimler-Chrysler attempted to market a police spec Intrepid for about 20 minutes in 2002, but they didn’t sell well evidently because the brakes caught fire. The only ones I ever saw in person were purchased by the Allegheny County Police to cruise the four county parks @ 25mph looking for new sleeping spots.

    http://www.allpar DOT com/squads/dodge-intrepid.html

    http://www.streetfire DOT net/video/dodge-intrepid-police-fires_173604.htm

    • 0 avatar
      David Hester

      Well, yeah, but they’re rarer than hen’s teeth. I think there were more police- spec Intrepids used on television cop dramas of the time than were actually sold to police departments.

      Chevy was still pushing the Lumina and then the Impala between 1997- 2006. They were more popular than the Intrepid, but their police package volume was still almost a rounding error compared to the Crown Vic.

      The aftermarket really tells the tale, IMO. The Ford Crown Vic became the iPod/ iPhone of the police vehicle market during those years. Sure, you can buy a Zune or some other type of MP3 player, but the number of accessories available for it compared to the Apple products is really limited.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        In the couple years they sold the police spec Intrepids, I think only one of my local PDs had one, and only one. It was a dark blue color and they used as a ghost car in traffic duty. Other than that one, I didn’t see a Chrysler police spec vehicle until the Charger in ’06.

        Now the Charger appears to be the preferred replacement for the Crown Vic in all but one of the local PDs. The one uppity PD who tried to get the tax payers to foot the bill for a fleet of Volvos a few years ago now drives the Taurus based cruisers. So I guess they got their wish after all.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I’m sure they regret their wish based on Det Hester’s analysis.

          Unless those were rebuilt 240s or 960s I can’t quite see the logic in using Volvos for police use. The MY2000+ seem quite fragile compared to their predecessors and I know from experience they are a PITA to do any serious work on.

          • 0 avatar
            FuzzyPlushroom

            I know there were some trial runs of S70-based cruisers, but I agree – the old RWD bricks would’ve made far more sense. The 740/940 Turbo is adequately powerful, passably roomy (or could be modified to be, in police duty), and tough for a unibody car; the non-turbo cars and the 240 were similar in principle, just slow. Plenty of old 245 panda cars in the UK, though, and Scandinavia’s always used ‘em.

          • 0 avatar
            WRohrl

            CHP had a small test fleet of 850 Turbo Wagon’s in the mid-90′s. Spotted them several times on I-5 north of the Grapevine.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            CHP was onto something with the whole blending in and appearing innocent, today I’d do it with Subaru Outbacks.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            And yet S/V70s are pretty much THE police car across a huge swath of Europe. Then again, I suspect European cops are better about not off-roading the things quite as much.

      • 0 avatar
        kjb911

        I still find NYC with it’s altimas to be the most unusual…who the hell is deciding that what the department needs are a few CVT Nissans

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Maine State Police have a TON of plain-wrap Impalas. Also a lot of Mustangs, surprisingly. They bought a few Chargers, but have seemed to settle on the Taurus as the new Statey-mobile of choice. One hint – if you see any of the above in the State of Maine with dark tinted windows all around – it’s a police car 99% of the time! Window tint is otherwise illegal here, and an annual inspection failure item.

        My hometown of Yarmouth, Maine just traded most of its fleet of Crown Vics in on kitted out marked Explorers. They do make mean looking police cars.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      As of the end of 2012, the City of Detroit had some Intrepid police cars they had leased since 2003. God only knows the mileage and condition of those cars.

  • avatar
    Nick 2012

    Det. Hester – do you have any experience with the bordering-on-mythical 1994-1996 LT1-powered Caprices? I’d love to see how the CVPI fared against those at the time.

    From my scientific number-of-cars-I-see-on-the-road measurements, the Panther seems to have won the durability war as there are a number of ’92-97 body styles around me no longer inspiring terror in the hearts of motorists.

    • 0 avatar
      David Hester

      Other than a couple of rides in 9C1 Caprices, I don’t have any experience. I’ve never driven one professionally, so to speak.

      My understanding from people who experienced both back in the day is that the Caprice would run circles around the Crown Vic and was considered more comfortable to boot. However, the LT1 was less durable than the 4.6L Ford, although I suspect some of that probably had to do with how they were driven. I understand that the Fords were cheaper as well.

      My fantasy garage that I intend to build and fill someday when I have time and money includes a ’94- ’96 Impala SS. I looked at a’96 model that was painted the grey- green color shortly after I completed my probationary employment period, but I bought a red ’96 Firebird Formula instead. If the Impala had been black, I’d have probably bought it. If I’d known my wife would be pregnant two months later, I would have definitely have bought the Impala. That’s one automotive choice I regret to this day.

      • 0 avatar
        luvmyv8

        The 9C1 Caprice with the LT1 was the top dog in the 90′s as far as police cars go. In fact the 9C1 pretty much killed off the Mustang 5.0 SSP; it made it pointless. The 9C1 had 2 extra doors, a functional rear seat, a useful trunk, more room and comfort, 4 wheel disc brakes, similar acceleration to the Mustang and even a higher top speed even. The Mustang 5.0 SSP with the 5 speed stick topped out at 137 MPH, the Caprice exceeded 140+ MPH. If you needed a faster car, your only choice (if you wanted a legit police car) was the Camaro B4C, but you had the same drawbacks as the Mustang, with the exception of brakes.

        The “aero” ’92-’97 Crown Victoria Police Interceptors proved to be more durable, but it played 2nd fiddle to the Caprice. However they still performed quite well. The CVPI with the right gears could go up to 136 MPH, it’s just that you have to push the 4.6 SOHC to the limit to do so. It was however faster then the 9C1 Caprice with the 4.3 V8.

    • 0 avatar
      mike1dog

      It seems like half the Crown Vics I see around here are decommissioned police cars in various states of repair. Of course, in Mississippi, they’ve probably have odometers that read in light years instead of miles. Didn’t somebody once write a book called the car that wouldn’t die about his crown vic once?

      • 0 avatar
        David Hester

        There was an article in the Lexington Herald- Leader a few years ago about the high number of old Crown Vic police cars being used in eastern Kentucky and the rest of Appalachia. The owners called them “Magoffin County Cadillacs,” Magoffin County being one of the poorest in the state.

        The do- gooders at the Center for Automotive Safety were in an uproar about it because of the perceived risk of fire in a high speed crash. I didn’t mention it in my article because it’s pretty morbid, but there was a rash of officer deaths in the late 90′s when their Crown Vics got rearended at high speeds and burst into flames. Ford came out with a plastic piece to protect the gas tank.

        The fear was that the old police Crown Vics that had already been auctioned off wouldn’t get the new piece, leaving the poorest among us set up to become hillbilly flambe. Of course, the new owners of the old police cars shouldn’t have been in any high speed pursuits or parked in a lane of traffic to get rearended either, so it was kind of a tempest in a teapot, IMO.

        • 0 avatar
          Compaq Deskpro

          My 03 has the plastic impact guard thing on the axle, and after I rebuilt my diff I forgot to put it back on. Who cares, I’m not taking the cover back off and wasting $50 of diff fluid.

  • avatar
    DownEaster

    I agree that the 80s was one of the decades when cars most improved. I think the 1986 Ford Taurus had a lot to do with it for American cars. It raised the bar for handling and comfort for US cars to a more European standard. The BMWs, Saabs, and Volvos of this era also helped. The Panther were a good platform and Ford tried to improve it over the years since being introduced in 1979. The 1980s saw the Boulevard Ride die and the firmer suspension set up come into being.

  • avatar
    Windy

    Dave when I first saw your name here on TTAC I was afraid the powers had signed on one of the more unpleasant performers on a low rent ‘reality’ TV show dealing with auctioned storage units… I do hope that show has not caused you too many problems at work.

    You have moved very quickly up my list of favorite TTAC writers and I wonder if a future piece from you might dwell on the things that most concern you about the way people drive their cars even those things that are not actionable…

    And as a plain clothes detective if you have ever witnessed driving so egregious and dangerous that you have either pulled them over your self or at least trailed them and called in a patrol unit

    Cheers

    • 0 avatar
      David Hester

      I went 36 years in relative anonymity until that stupid show came out. Now everytime I hand out one of my business cards, somebody’s got to say something cute. I figure the best thing to do is roll with it. As David Herman’s character Michael Bolton replies in the movie Office Space when asked why he doesn’t change his name:

      “No way! Why should I change? He’s the one who sucks.”

      I make 1- 2 traffic stops a month these days. My definition of “egregious” is pretty high after 16 years. Of course, people also tend to be on their very best driving behavior when there’s an unmarked, silver Crown Vic around.

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    Panthers are called Box or Aero. B’s are called Box or Bubble, if you like them, Whale if you don’t. The Whales did not handle worth a darn and shredded brakes to no end since they did not get any chassis updates with the new body, like Ford did with the Aero cars. Whales also gained a significant amount of weight in the process, hence the term Whale, while the Aeros lost weight vs their predecessors.

    The police spec power steering setting on Panthers has less feel than the standard cars. I have now idea why they would add more boost to the police spec but they did. The Boxes were the worst but the P71 does not have the road feel of the HPP cars or even the base models. It got worse when too many officers complained about the speed sensitive steering used on the Aero cars and dropped it giving the cars full overboost all of the time instead of only during slow speeds with a high steering angle change rate. It did get better with the rack and pinion they switched to in 03.

  • avatar
    mkirk

    The Brick Vic gives you the 351W and the horizontal speedo that would allow you to bury the needle past 140 MPH if you build said 351W enough. That is enough to sway me alone.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      The Brick Vic had the option of having a 351, not all police versions were so equipped. On the other hand a HO 5.0 will drop right in and “unlock” access all those Mustang power parts.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    When you drive a box Panther you don’t turn the wheel so much as spin it and hope the car goes where you want it to, and you keep moving the wheel to compensate for the cars tendency to wander everywhere but straight.

    You brake hoping to stop only to have the back end lift up and the brakes overheat, you hit the gas to drag race that ricer-Civic only to be left in the dust, you go into a corner only to understeer into a poorly parked SUV.

    That pretty much sums up how the ’91 Marquis drove that I tried on, it wasn’t smooth so much as just isolated and not terrifically roomy for the cars size, the engine sounded good at idle though.

    Ideally I’d take a “fat” Mercury Marquis for the boxy styling but improved engineering, I’d also get a proper manifold and a plastic gas tank protector and…

    Ah forget it, I’ll just go buy a Lexus if I want an overly dull but reliable luxury car.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      What are you doing trying to drag race and turn in a box Panther?

    • 0 avatar

      “When you drive a box Panther you don’t turn the wheel so much as spin it and hope the car goes where you want it to, and you keep moving the wheel to compensate for the cars tendency to wander everywhere but straight.”

      This is how you also drove an early 70′s Ford Granada, which I had early in my driving youth. Wanna keep your young driving children safe? Put them in a boat!

  • avatar

    Great read. I did lots of driving in an ’83 Country Squire (white w/ wood sides). Ponderous and floaty but very very comfortable and extreamly crash worthy. It beat the hell outa the ’76 Valiant it replaced.

  • avatar
    Athos Nobile

    Can you make a B-body comparo? I am not a Panther fan (sorry Sajeev), and those “boxes” were downright fugly.

    And yes, I even like the “whales”. Those were known as platillo volador in Venezuela


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