By on July 19, 2013

towncar2

Thirty-four months ago, during a “Panther Appreciation Week” that strained the patience of TTAC readers to the breaking point as we celebrated the last full-sized sedan platform to be built in North America, I detailed my purchase of a 2010 Town Car Signature Limited with approximately 22,100 miles on the clock.

As you can see, the Town Car and I have been remarkably busy, racking up an average of seventy-six miles per day for every one of the days between then and now. During that time, I’ve averaged about 21.8 miles per gallon while enjoying Panther Love in what amounts to its final form. But what until you hear what’s broken in the last seventy-eight thousand miles.

towncar1

Well, at about 40,000 miles I had to have the dealer address a left rear door lock that was occasionally refusing to pop up when I hit the power-unlock button. And, um, well, that’s it.

What about consumables? The original equipment Michelin Energy LX4 rubber lasted about seventy thousand miles. I can’t give an exact figure because I swapped in Goodyear’s Ultra Grip winter tires for both of the past snowy seasons. Rather than replace them, I bought a set of take-off 2012 V6 Mustang wheels from Roush and got some free 215-width tires included. It was actually cheaper to do so.

Bad luck befell the Town Car when I lent it out to someone who then hit a deer with it. The deer was cut in half, the car suffered a bit of bash-up to the passenger-side front corner. It turns out that although the big Lincoln weighs well north of two tons, it does have an aluminum hood that is particularly resistant to dent and crease repair. Any day now I’ll get that fixed, I swear. In the meantime, the damaged hood, broken headlight, and cracked grille give it a rather menacing demeanor. Nobody ever fails to yield to it in traffic. Occasionally I’ll leave it at home and take my 911 or Boxster out. When that happens, I usually come very close to losing my front end to somebody’s RX350 because I naturally expect that I’ll be given a right of way that isn’t granted to cars that don’t look like they’ve already rammed someone that morning.

Around Putnam Park last month, my “Signature Limited” proved to be interesting and predictable to drive, but considerable care was needed to keep the brakes from getting hot. Those brakes, by the way, lasted nearly 90,000 miles in front and have yet to be renewed in the back. I don’t drive the car gently, as my passenger can attest. That’s simply quality componentry and consumables from the OEM.

What else can I tell you? Well, the cream-colored leather has suffered considerably from the assaults of child seats, dirty race tires, SWR 4×10 bass cabinets, and various inebriated passengers. It’s still presentable, however. The driver’s floormat has worn to the base threads where I rest the heel of my braking foot (the left one). The touch points are all in good shape. I expect the car to last another two hundred thousand miles. It’s my primary means of transportation and I’ve come to feel a great deal of genuine affection for it. It always starts, it doesn’t give me any trouble, it is fast enough to keep up with traffic, and in rain or snow it can even amuse a bit, tank-slapping on frozen ground like a Mustang GT coming up the hill from the Carousel at Shenandoah.

Now that I think of it, I’ve been dishonest in claiming the sticking door lock as the only “Thing Gone Wrong”. Last month, the “L” of the Lincoln logo on the decklid fell off. So for a moment, it was an Incoln Town Car. My son had an idea. He convinced his mother to buy a Decepticon badge. We then removed the rest of the letters together, rubbed some Goo Gone to remove the sticky stuff, and rebadged the Town Car as an evil Transformer. “It’s a bad guy car,” he told me. “You and I are the bad guys.”

“Sweetheart,” I replied, “that’s only really true about me, not about you.” But even if the six-digit-odometer Town Car is the bad guy car, it’s proven to be a very good car on its own merits. Quiet, reliable, enjoyable, safe. It’s nearly a perfect American car. So naturally they had to get rid of it, right?

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150 Comments on “The Panther In Summer...”


  • avatar
    ash78

    “Panther: Far Beyond Driving” would be a great name for a retrospective book, if not for some entertainment lawyers in Texas who would likely sue.

    I’m very impressed, yet not surprised. Mileage is a common metric, but I always cite age (and more specifically, cycles — engine, doors, windows, switches) as the bigger factor in most people’s driving habits and their cars’ longevity. And the Panther is built for heavy duty cycles — cops, fleets, etc.

    Nonetheless, great job. At this pace, I think you could easily tick the 300k mark in the decade if you so choose. Just watch out for those inebriated passengers, they’ll trash your car quicker than anything else. Don’t ask me how I know.

    And on a related note, I hope you enjoy my post about the Panther from early 2012 on my temporarily mothballed blog:
    http://taketheoutsideline.blogspot.com/2012/03/prehistoric-ford-panther-remains-found.html

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      Also, that kind of mileage/day would take a lot of straight-up hwy driving, which isn’t exactly rough on a car because cycles are fewer. Your brakes are going to look very different after 100k city miles than 100k hwy miles.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        76 miles per day does not mean “a lot” of hwy driving. Dropping and picking the kid up from school can easily account for 40-50 of that with never seeing a freeway.

        • 0 avatar
          redav

          “76 miles per day does not mean “a lot” of hwy driving. Dropping and picking the kid up from school can easily account for 40-50 of that with never seeing a freeway”

          I don’t buy it. (And unless I lived on a farm or my kid went to a special academy on the far side of town, picking them up / dropping them off could not in any way generate that kind of mileage.)

          Remember, that’s an average of 76 mi/day, not once in a while. That’s nearly 28k mi per year. If it’s at 40 mph (not on the hwy after all), that’s 693+ hrs (28.9 entire days – almost a whole month!) just driving. It’s more than double the typical American’s mileage.

          No, I don’t see any way that happens unless it’s at high-speed, and that means on an open hwy.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            At one point I did 40 miles per day just taking the kids to school and picking them up with never getting on a road with a speed limit higher than 45 mph. Yes that was only 5 days per week.

            My wife typically puts over 100mi per day on her car 3 out of 5 week days 40 or so the other two days and the week end can run from 50 to 150. At least 50% of that is on roads with a 50mph or lower speed limit and at least half of the freeway driving is done during rush hour where her average speed is probably 30mph. Throw in a road trip or 3 and her car consistently racks up 30K or more per year. Which is why we did take her out of a Panther and put her in a Fusion Hybrid. Before a change in her work situation her car was doing about 12K per year which is why we went with a Panther at that point.

      • 0 avatar
        GiddyHitch

        @Ash

        Nice Pantera reference.

  • avatar
    Cubista

    I am also a bassist. During my pro days two guys in our band had Caprice Classics, with the ever-popular rusted decklid option added at no extra cost. Nice to know the idea of the “motorized anvil case” lives on thru Ford.

  • avatar
    OhioPilot09

    All I could think about when I saw the instrument cluster with the heralded 100K was how CHEAP the cluster actually looks. Everything is just painted on white…in 2010? Those small kind of details really just bug me and when I see those kind of cheap fixes it makes me wonder what other cheap things abound where I cannot see….

    Either way, congrats on getting a domestic up to 100K ;)

    • 0 avatar
      Crabspirits

      It is quite depressing. It’s a luxury car, and it should surpass commoner vehicles from the perspective of the operator’s position. Instead, it uses a part that would be more at home on a Focus…the base trim model.

      The Panther has the benefit of being around nearly unchanged for a very long time. With time, anything can be perfected…except for window regulators.

    • 0 avatar
      tallnikita

      Cheap? Jack is laughing your cheap all the way to HIS bank. How’s that non-domestic holding up for you – want to give us your 100K report?

    • 0 avatar
      probert

      a chevy spark can go well over 100,000 miles. What’s your point?

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I agree with your basic point on the sarcasm of getting a “domestic” to 100K. However if we define domestic as designed and/or built in N.A., Panther is 100% domestic. Spark is neither being foreign in both design and assembly according to the Wiki.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chevrolet_Spark

        • 0 avatar
          3Deuce27

          reg; “defining a domestic as designed and/or built in N.A.”

          Would that ‘NA’ include Mexico?

          I have stripped the drive train and other parts out of two of these cars, and a lot parts are from Mexico, with assembly in Ontario, Canada.

          While Canada and Mexico, geographically, are part of the North American continent, it is a reach to include them in the domestic(a national and political entity) content ledger, since no official body does.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        The Lincoln gets you there in mind-numbing solitude and deprivation chamber comfort

        • 0 avatar
          Lorenzo

          You make that sound like a bad thing. If you’re in the back seat with a hired driver – and Jack has done just that – it’s luxurious. If you have a glass divider you can raise and block out the driver yelling “HOO-EEE! Just missed sideswiping that semi!”, it’s downright serene.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          More like ass-numbing – those seats are terrible. And I just LOVE a ride that manages to wallow over the large stuff and jiggle over the small stuff. And they are NOT particularly quiet by modern standards. With the handling prowess of the Queen Mary added no extra charge. Sign me right up for some of that.

          Unless they are wearing a uniform and getting paid, nobody should have to drive a Panther. Jack is just strange.

    • 0 avatar

      “Either way, congrats on getting a domestic up to 100K ;)”

      Neighbors Joe Domestic and Jim Import are in the market for a compact car. Joe Domestic buys a Caliber for $14K and Jim Import buys an equally POC Corolla for $16K. Joe takes his Caliber for routine maintenance at 50,000 miles and the service manager at the Dodge dealership notices that a tie-rod is wearing out. Since the tie rod could easily last another 30,000 miles, he decides to not charge Joe $250 to change it at this time. He informs Joe and advises him to bring the car in the next 20,000 miles to get the tie-rod changed. Jim Import is also at his dealership getting his Toyota serviced. The service manager at the Toyota dealership notices that the alternator is wearing out. He decides to go ahead and change it even though it may last another 2 years and charge Jim $800 for it. The service manager tells Jim that the alternator costs $1200 and since Jim was a repeat customer they are going to do it for $800. Jim is pleased with the discount he is getting and also for the dealer looking out for him.

      Two years later, Joe is driving to work and the tie-rod gives out. Joe is frustrated, waits an hour for a tow truck and has to take a cab to work. He is at the dealership later in the day fuming about it, so the dealership fixes his car for free due to the inconvenience caused. That weekend Jim is having a barbecue at his house. Joe tells Jim that his POS Dodge left him stranded and cost him 200 bucks for a tow and cab, plus he was late to work by two hours. Jim tells Joe, “My Toyota never left me stranded and I’ve had no problems with it. The dealership is also very friendly and they really care for me. “. Joe is convinced that Toyota is an awesome car and tells Jim that he will check it out when its time to replace his car.

      • 0 avatar
        SaulTigh

        I’ve long owned domestics, and taken them all to mileages approaching 200,000. I’m also big on maintenance and pay attention to my vehicles. I replace a lot of stuff that isn’t broken, but looks worn and I think parts and service for my domestics is relatively cheap compared to what I hear people paying for “foreign” brands. I’ve long suspected that most people really, really don’t want to pay any attention to their cars, they just want it to work when they want to go somewhere. In the early to mid 80′s, when the Japanese makes were demonstrably better than their domestic peers, they could simply take more abuse from careless owners, and cemented their reputation with that breed of cat, as my dad would say. Even though I think domestics have clearly closed the quality gap, try convincing people to change their minds.

        My mechanic will do a tremendous amount of maintenance work on my 1996 Panther for $300. That makes my cheap-a$$ heart go all pitter patter.

      • 0 avatar
        Tim_Turbo

        alluster-That was just awesome, and in my opinion, spot on! The Toyota guy is my Uncle to a T in that story. Thanks for the laugh.

      • 0 avatar
        GiddyHitch

        So the moral of your story is that domestic dealerships are charitable, benevolent entities while foreign dealerships are crooked swindlers? And that domestic tie-rods suck. Got it.

      • 0 avatar
        Hoser

        You’re very close. I don’t think the Dodge dealer would fix it free. You are right on with the import smugness and conveniently forgetting maintenance with price tags higher than I’ve purchased complete cars for. Take a drive by the local Honda/Toyota shop. See how full the bays are? They’re not all in there for oil changes and brake pads.

        I had an almost sister-in-law gush about how she loved her Honda, and in the next sentence, said it just came back from the scheduled 60k timing belt/water pump change for $900. I’d have come unglued.

      • 0 avatar
        kkt

        I’d be very interested in any citations that domestic dealers are any more honest than import dealers, on the average. Or that Toyota alternators are less reliable than Dodge tie rods.

        And very interested in dealers that give away service for free because it was inconvenient, that sounds about as plausible as the tooth fairy.

        Maybe the lesson of your story is that dealers shouldn’t give owners a choice, but pressure them to do what needs to be done right away lest it leave them stranded?

      • 0 avatar
        claytori

        +1. A long time ago in 1991 during one of my poor phases I went carless for a year. I bummed a ride to work with an Asian gentleman who had just purchased a brand new Camry, for about $13,000. He took it in to the dealer for its first scheduled 10,000 mile service. The bill was $1,300 or 10% of the purchase price. I also remember the poor quality of the upholstery material, which was a very skimpy velour. The engineering department where I was working was about equally divided between VW drivers and Toyota drivers. The VW drivers drove like they were trying to break them, which they sometimes legitimately did (my group). The Toyota drivers drove like they were afraid there cars would break. Remarkably, their cars also broke. I once did the valve stem guides on my Scirocco alongside a friend who was replacing the timing chain and head gasket on his Celica. All of these were perfectly normal repairs for the era. VW later recalled the valve guide thing, I got nothing back because I did the job myself. While the repair job was going on, I had to listen to claims of how “reliable” the Toyotas were. In addition to the aforementioned, we had a failed rear differential on a Corolla SR-5 and at least two rollovers (supposedly from black ice, something I have never encountered in 42 years of driving in Canada). I suggested that the Toyota guys should install a roof rack with four casters to cover for this occurrence. For some reason, they didn’t take my advice.

      • 0 avatar
        tekdemon

        I’ve never taken my Toyota to the dealership for repairs other than to have the brake light switch adjusted when it was virtually new since it was loose from the factory and had slipped down a bit so your claims about overly aggressive repairs is pretty implausible. In ten years of driving my Camry through the Northeast with eight in the rust belt (Buffalo and Rochester) the only non-wear parts I ended up having to fix outside from accidents (idiots keep rear ending me so my rear bumper is on its third repaint) has been the fuel tank neck which suffered from too much rusting-and since I didn’t fix it for quite a while this apparently screwed up a vacuum solenoid valve. To be fair this is a Toyota defect since this was in a TSB at one point but mine didnt really rust out until I’d owned it for nine years and this was with driving in very rust prone areas. Regardless, it cost less than $500 to fix even with my mechanic insisting that I spring for an upgrade OEM VSV. I suspect that Denso must have had fairly high VSV failure rates on the original part as well because the new part was upgraded heavily from the factory version and weighing about twice as much. I need to clean out my throttle body when I have time but over ten years it’s just been brakes, oil changes, transmission fluid, tires, etc. and I’ve definitely pushed the oil change interval limits while on synthetic

  • avatar

    The broken door lock and 70k tire life has those of us in BMW’s, Audis and MB’s foaming at the mouth. Although I hear that the Panther transmissions need special care to go much past 150,000 miles. RIP Panther.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Um no. The 4 speed auto that Ford hooked to the 4.6V8 that was put in all Panthers since at least the mid 90s had a reputation as follows: “Shifts like crap for 100s of thousands of miles.” (Meaning shift “feel” kinda sucks but the trans is just as durable as the rest of the car.)

      • 0 avatar
        SaulTigh

        165,000 miles on a 1996 Panther. Do a transmission service anytime she starts to slip a little off the line (about every 25,000 miles) and I’m still on the original tranny.

      • 0 avatar
        TwoTone Loser

        Principal Dan has it right. 4R70W shifts like its being controlled by a ham-fisted idiot but at 300k it still barks the tires going into second like a champion.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      I think you’re referring to the AOD transmission used in earlier models, like most Fords its a tough piece with one plastic bit that will break if it isn’t taken care of, usually at 100k.

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      Your are perhaps referring to Ford’s older DOA (aka the Ford Automatic OverDrive) trans that came in the cars during the late 80′s and early 90′s? Even in the relatively light fox cars they were not particularly durable.

      • 0 avatar
        Hoser

        I burned up the OD band in my ’86 Mustang AOD. Bought some parts from Baumann to upgrade it to the wider AOD-E band and put a shift kit in it as well. Acts much better than OEM now.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Lots of Taxis and Town Cars used as Town Cars get 300-400K out of them.

  • avatar
    mankyman

    I’m not at all surprised. I just hit the 100K mark on my ’07 CVPI. I bought it with 65K miles 2 years ago and since then, maintenance repairs have been … $0.
    No repairs, just routine maintenance like oil changes, spark plugs, trans fluid and differential fluid. My previous CVPI was the same.

    I use it to haul a boat and it hauls with ease. It does 0-60 in roughly 8.5 seconds, plenty fast enough for me. It easily cruises at 90-100 mph but if you keep it at 75 it will get about 22 mpg. It’s safe and with the police package, it handles a lot better than you might think for a car of it’s size. Oh, and I can put more stuff in its trunk than I can put in my station wagon.

    I am occasionally mocked at work for my choice of an ex-police car but I care not a whit. I’m laughing all the way to the bank.

    I’ve gone the European route in the past: A4s, Citroens, VWs, and all required spending thousands a year in maintenance. It seems like something expensive and hard-to-access was always breaking on the VW. And these cars always required things like the high octane fuel and exotic motor oil.
    I went the Honda Accord route 10 years ago and it was the same story. My story is ancedotal, but I spent roughly the same in unexpected maintenance on the Honda as I did on the European cars. That thing was always breaking down.

    • 0 avatar
      Numbers_Matching

      Given this design’s simplicity and length of the production run, nothing really *should* go wrong. So heralding the panther as some kind of technological and engineering masterpiece that only Americans can achieve – is kind of ridiculous.

      • 0 avatar
        Summicron

        America got there first with the most for this market until Toyota. And Toyota had to usurp this uniquely American market of an enormous middle class to expand their global empire.

        So, by virtue of continuous technological and engineering advances over the decades of domestic passenger car mass production it was an American masterpiece.

        Mass production of safe, fast and comfortable passenger cars was pioneered and perfected by American manufacturers. Simply an historical fact and of course meaningless today, but a fact nonetheless.

        • 0 avatar
          Numbers_Matching

          ‘And Toyota had to usurp this uniquely American market of an enormous middle class to expand their global empire.’

          - with more modern, reliable and sophisticated products.

          When the panther was introduced in 1979, it wasn’t exactly the paragon of reliability – at least for a few model years (check out old CR reports). Nor was the panther even that contemporary a design back in ’79. That distinction goes to GM for the ’77 B/C platforms.

          • 0 avatar
            Summicron

            Well, yeah, I’m the last one to argue against Toyota’s genius for and commitment to quality. But that doesn’t detract from American prowess and advancement prior to the malaise years.

            The fact that there is still significant loyalty to the BOF V-8 highway mattresses shows how perfectly they met American needs for much of a century. And I agree that its apogee were those GM B/C cars.

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          “Mass production of safe, fast and comfortable passenger cars”

          The Lincoln Town Car is the pinnacle of everything that WAS America

          • 0 avatar
            Summicron

            So are we :-D ….oh, wait….

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            Moving forward, taking the good and leaving the bad behind…

          • 0 avatar
            Numbers_Matching

            That pinnacle period was only after the debut of the GM B/Cs in fall of ’76. The full-size BOF RWD American car had finally matured and evolved into something that was confortable, reliable, somewhat responsive and very stylish and distict across all divisions – not an easy feat.

            The fords and mopars of the day were hopeless compared to them. Even the ’79 panthers were rather slab-sided and boxy comapred to the GM’s, with virtually no distinction between LTDs and Marquis variants. Ford was on the ropes…this is evident when you see so few used Fords from that period in time (’79-’82).

            The ’80 refresh of the GM B/Cs basically reinforced GM’s leadership in large cars. All were very well executed and remained contemporary well into the ’80s.

            The panther (at least in my mind) was never really a contender until the ’92 makeover. Until then, it was always playing second fiddle to GM.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            But Lincoln (panther) was the last out the door and asked to turn out the lights… Perhaps “Grand Finally” would have been a better term to what WAS America as opposed to pinnacle

      • 0 avatar
        DC Bruce

        The famed VW Beetle was also known for its reliability and its relative simplicity for the time . . . and its basic design dated back to 1939. In fact, its advertisements would tout the things that it didn’t have and could fail . . . like a water cooling system. Ultimately, the inability to get decent emission performance out of an air-cooled engine (and probably increasing customer demand for air conditioning, which really didn’t work well with a rear-mounted, air-cooled engine)forced VW to abandon the air-cooled rear engine concept in its cars by the mid-1970s . . . but not before VW sold a number of more modern looking variants than the original Beetle.

        There is something to be said for perfecting a product.

        Fact is, with the exception of Hondas, which always were FWD cars, the original Japanese cars that were sold here by Toyota and Nissan were just scaled-down American cars with front engines, rear wheel drive and, except for the famous Datsun 510, solid rear axles. From an engineering standpoint, they were very conservative.

        • 0 avatar
          Summicron

          ++ Excellent points.

          From ’63-’75 my family was VW-centric except for the old man’s & brothers’ pickups. In addition to your reasons I’d say the 30′s KdF template was just devoured by the realities of modern American driving. Underpowered, terrible… I mean deadly terrible brakes.

          And yeah, those early Japanese RWDs were just scaled-down GM cars. I loved a couple examples like the 70′s 626 and Celica. But by the time I could afford a used one they were just rusted shells.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    I’ve been shopping for a clean example of the last of the Town Cars for someone who wants one. Has to be white or pearl. Finding good deals on them is getting hard…presumably because other members of the Panther Appreciation Society are snapping them up and holding on tight.

  • avatar
    DeeDub

    My first car was a ’79 F150 that had also kissed a deer on the front passenger side. It truly was amazing how fast people got the F out the way of this 17 year old boy in his battlescarred basher.

  • avatar
    jz78817

    articles like this are what make TTAC more engaging than e.g. Autoblog.

  • avatar
    crtfour

    I didn’t realize you could get a tach in a Town Car. I occasionally drive my grandmother’s ’05 and it only has a speedometer. Was the tach optional?

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      The tach became standard in ’06. Before that, the only Panther I’ve ever seen with a factory tach was the Marauder.

      • 0 avatar
        Sam P

        Indeed it was, the Grand Marquis and the Crown Vic got standard tachs later in life as well.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          Yes I always chuckled at the standard tachometers in later Town Cars, although for several years GM was putting tachs in Park Avenues and Roadmasters. Some manufactures seem to think they should be standard equipment regardless of the target audience for the vehicle.

          • 0 avatar
            Sam P

            Even with an automatic transmission, I like seeing a tachometer.

            GM anecdote: My grandpa’s last car – 1990 Cadillac Seville – had a goofy digital tachometer in the trip computer that displayed a 4-digit RPM readout. I borrowed that car a number of times when I was a new driver in high school and it was fun to watch the numbers rapidly change when flooring it in first gear, all the way to the 4,800 rpm shift point. Diesel-like redline FTW.

  • avatar
    Syke

    I look forward to the day when the last of these overrated barges finally reaches the crusher.

  • avatar
    Immanuel Transmission

    With the missing L, sounds like it became a Limited Signature model.

  • avatar
    dolorean

    I have to ask, with the purchase of this lovely land barge as a used car, do you believe that most of what could have been issues had already been addressed by the previous owner or the dealer before selling?

  • avatar
    Beerboy12

    Eventually tried and tested needs to give way to not so tried and not so tested. it’s nice, but not unexpected, that such an old design like this can go the distance. I believe it is the peak of it’s design and unfortunately there is very little that can be done to make it better. A more modern engine would improve fuel consumption but most likely mean more maintenance and higher cost. BOF design is heavy, it has to be to be safe and have reasonable handling. Interior space cannot be improved due to the intrusion of the drive shaft and extra weight.
    Sadly, 22MPG is too much for me. I am no raging liberal tree huger, I just don’t feel comfortable with that kind of consumption, in what is essentially a family sedan, when I can get better. I would pay more for better consumption to, but that’s just me.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      A next generation Panther with a modernized powertrain, like the 5.0L coyote and 6 speed auto, or even the 3.7L would have gone a long way to keeping these cars soldiering off the lots into the next decade. There was a coyote powered 6R80 equipped CVPI mule at Livonia transmission that I’m told was pretty bad ass.

      • 0 avatar
        Sam P

        This. If a Mustang can get 31 mpg highway with the 3.7 liter V6 and 6-speed auto, I’m sure an updated Panther could have managed 25 or 26.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          The 4.6 powered Panthers did get 25 or 26 hwy and sometimes even more as Jack has shared in the past. Actually I think he quoted 27 or 28 on a long road trip.

      • 0 avatar
        Numbers_Matching

        ‘keeping these cars soldiering off the lots into the next decade.’

        - soldiering off into fleet use only. The ‘intended’ non-fleet buying demographic for this type of car is either too old to drive or have been sent off to the big landau-roofed, loose-pillow-velour paradise in the sky.

    • 0 avatar
      revjasper

      I did the gas mileage math in 2011. Assumed 20mpg for a Panther purchased at $3000. Did the numbers for a 2000 vintage Camcord, and again for a 2003 Prius. Turns out that the “payback” for buying the more efficent car was far enough in the future that I quickly purchased my own wallowing freeway sled. 2000 Grand Marquis, $2600. 133K miles on the clock, with the new intake manifold. Two years and 28K miles, it’s needed a heater core, brakes and shocks. That’s less than $300 in parts and only three bottles of premium hootch to my shade-tree…

      • 0 avatar
        mankyman

        That’s a really good point. I did the same math comparing a 25-30 mpg $10,000 used Camcord with a $3K 20 mpg Panther and it turns out the Panther would have swallowed something like $500 extra in gas a year.
        That’s a payback period of roughly 14 years. Didn’t make sense to me then and it doesn’t now.

        Obviously it doesn’t work if you want to save the environment or if you really only need the tiniest econobox you can find. Then, I dig it.

        But if your vehicular requirements include occasionally trailering boats and you need to carry 4 in comfort, there’s nothing else that matches it. Not a used SUV or truck. Those cost way more. But I’m willing to hear comments on what vehicle can do everything that a Panther can at the same price and cost of ownership.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          @mankyman, a W-body can pretty much do it too with better fuel economy than a Panther but you know it only took GM 30 years to perfect the W too.

          Personally I find the back seat of the Panthers more comfy but some find the Ws better. Personally I’ve always been disappointed by how low the cushion on the Ws is to the floor making most adults go “splay-legged”. OTOH the CV and GM make you adopt a bolt up right seating position if you expect back seat leg room.

          (And yes I know the W won’t tow what a Panther tows, I was just commenting that a W body GM can do the rest of what a Panther can do.)

          • 0 avatar
            mankyman

            Yes, that’s a fair point, and if I never towed I would probably get a later model Impala. Some of them have some serious grunt and parts/maintenance appears to be somewhat reasonable.

            I could probably get a crew cab truck and it would do everything my CVPI does, but it seems excessive and expensive. There’s just something I find obnoxious about driving a 6000 pound jacked up vehicle to work.
            Driving the 4000 pound crown vic ain’t as good as driving to work in a corolla, but it’s a lot better than the pickup.

          • 0 avatar
            mankyman

            One thing the panther can do with the RWD:
            donuts in a parking lot and fishtailing around corners!

            A lot of us have fond memories doing this. Some of us (me) have never grown up.

          • 0 avatar
            revjasper

            I checked into the W and H bodies, specifically looking for a 1997-1999 Buick LeSabre. My deadline (bad idea) was looming and the first LeSabre I saw had ugly under the oil filler cap. The 2000-2005 Impalas all looked a little worn.

            The Mercury Grand Marquis I found was owned for the past four years by a mechanic at the local Ford store. He’d replaced the diff with a limited slip cop unit, and the rear springs were upgraded for towing. He’d had it up for sale a few weeks before and the manifold crossover cracked during a test drive. One manifold later…

    • 0 avatar
      MadHungarian

      I spent most of the 80′s and 90′s using huge 60′s and 70′s vintage land barges as daily drivers, so a modern TC seems like an economy champ to me. Interestingly, the ’92 TC I owned from 2004-08 did about 1 or 2 MPG better than my current ’05.

  • avatar
    DeeDub

    “It’s nearly a perfect American car. So naturally they had to get rid of it, right?”

    It’s the automotive equivalent of Marilyn Monroe or James Dean. Better that it remain forever young than waddle into its Fat Elvis years – porthole windows and a Baleen Whale grille on the front.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    The gauges in this version make me sadface a little. They are too chunky-SUV like for an elegant town car. Where are the thin needles and watch styling of the 80s versions!?

    Also: Too many of this version of TC have the light interior with GOLD handles and switch surrounds. Gross.

    I go back and forth about wanting one for a secondary car. Considering I drive <50 miles a week though, I can't justify the expense.

    • 0 avatar
      afflo

      Hmmm… I’d guess that they are designed for the core demographic, who needs high contrast, simple guages.

      Dad gets a new Accord every few years. I’ve joked that the cars are going after his aging boomer demographic, as the numbers on the dials grow in size. He didn’t notice them getting bigger. “No, I suppose you wouldn’t!”

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    This July, while crossing Kansas on I70 I got passed by a Grand Marquis towing a Model A on a double axle trailer. The GM had to be at least a 2003+ judging by the grille. I know that early Panthers had a 5000lb rating and later Panthers had a wimpy 2500lb rating but this gentleman (who was quite elderly) obviously didn’t give a crap about what the manufacturer thinks.

    I wasn’t all that surprised by a Panther towing I was simply surprised that he was trying to do 80mph while doing it.

    • 0 avatar
      mankyman

      Later Panthers got further downgraded to a 1500lb rating. I have engaged in lengthy discussions with a tow hitch installer who tells me that it’s all horsesh$t and crown vics are capable of the 5000lb, easy.

      Regardless, you don’t want to be involved in an accident while hauling a 3000lb load. If you’re sued, there’s a legal doctrine called negligence per se that provides that if you injure someone while violating a law designed to protect against the type of injury that did occur, it’s basically game over except for causation and damages.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Of course the reality is that none of the items that made up the class III tow package really had anything to do with the safety of the combination. OK maybe the stiffer springs and sway bars did help but you could get similar items with the HPP package. Most of it was to help it pull the load, IE better gears and dual exhaust for more pulling power, and to help the car live longer while towing those loads like aux trans and power steering cooler and a separate wiring system for the trailer so if the trailer has electrical problems it doesn’t affect the lighting on the car or its charging system.

        But yeah get in a wreck and the lawyers will be right up your you know what if there were any injuries to the others involved.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        The vast majority of states make no mention of manufacturer tow ratings in their laws. Kansas is one of these states. In fact it seems Kansas has extremely loose personal towing laws.

        There are a few states where it is illegal to exceed you axle rating or tire load rating.

        So you could still lose a lawsuit if you go over weight, but it likely won’t be a negligence per se case.

        • 0 avatar
          mankyman

          Agla,
          Thanks for that comment. Extremely interesting. I’m not a PI lawyer but we all learned torts, you know. I wonder if this has been brought up in a towing accident case. I know I wouldn’t feel comfortable towing 5000 pounds with my CVPI.

      • 0 avatar
        Numbers_Matching

        Manky – 1500 lb is nothing. Why were they downgraded so much?
        I remeber the last iteration of the GM B-bodies (’94-96) being rated for 7-8000 lbs ?? (when properly equipped.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          Fear of lawyers and CAFE, plus they’d prefer to sell you an 40K Explorer/Mountaineer if you want a 4K or 7.8K tow rating than a 30K Panther for your 5K rating.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Its not a bad car but I feel like there are cars that can do everything it does while burning a lot less gas. 100,000 miles in gas a 22MPG with gas at $3.50/gal is $15K in gas. A 30MPG car would have haved $4K over that period. Just seems like a waste as you aren’t getting above average performance for the fuel economy penalty.

    • 0 avatar
      Sam P

      I’d drive a Panther over a dreadful Camry irregardless of fuel economy, but I’d take something more responsive like a 2008-2012 Accord over either of those cars.

      • 0 avatar
        Quentin

        For the pure purpose of being a car, a Camry does a great job. It is reliable, easy to drive, spacious, and efficient (35mpg all day long on the interstate).

        Irregardless is not a proper word.

        • 0 avatar
          Sam P

          Maybe not, but “pedantic” is.

          A late model Accord four cylinder delivers Camry fuel economy and reliability along with responsive handling, nicely weighted steering, and brakes with great feel.

          I’d happily buy an Accord, but there’s no way in hell I’d settle for a Camry when better choices exist.

        • 0 avatar
          Slave2anMG

          Regardless, I’d drive almost anything but a Camry. Life’s too short to drive an appliance that severely dull.

    • 0 avatar
      morbo

      Only the 300C/Charger have the same level of interior space/comfort, and even they lack the golf club/luggage/dead body swallowing trunk. Where I live there numerous black car (executive car) drivers. Used to be almost all TCs. These cars live a hard life, 100,000+ annual miles, so they get replaced frequently. Some have switched to E-Class Mercedes, a couple Hyundai Genesis/Equus, some 300Cs, majority are switching to Tahoes or Suburban. I’ve seen maybe one or two MK-Flex (whatever letter it is, which was Ford’s preferred replacement.

      Unfortunately, only the Tahoe/Suburban/Expedition meets the size, road isolation, and luggage requirements, but at a huge gas economy, ride height, and TOC penalty.

      • 0 avatar
        Sam P

        See, I didn’t think the 2010 Grand Marquis I rented a couple years had a huge excess of passenger space. Granted, it had a gigantic trunk, but rear seat legroom didn’t seem that hot for such a big car with the seat adjusted for my driving position – I’m 5’10″ btw.

        A front drive Japanese D segment car like the current and previous generation Accord has more “usable” space for passengers to stretch out, even if the interior volume measurement of the Accord (106 cubic feet) is smaller than the Grand Marquis (128.1 cubic feet).

        • 0 avatar
          morbo

          I had the opposite opinion. I’ve had the ‘previous’ generation Altima (last years), Taurus, Fusion, Impala, Charger, Grand Caravan, and Journey as rentals within the last 8 – 12 months, plus my ’11 300C owned car. They all feel cramped, especially width-wise, other then the Chrager, 300C, and Impala. The Fusion and Altima were tolerable, the Taurus, Journey, and Caravan were not.

          Haven’t been in an Avalon or Maxima in 3 geenrations, but I remember them as being comfortable for width and legroom. What’s odd is that my friends ’02 Accord, the last of the ‘mid’ size fat engineered ones, is crazy comfortable, despite being appreciably smaller than some of these other cars. I think it just depends on how the OEM configures the car, and Honda specifically does an excellent job.

          • 0 avatar
            afflo

            I prefer low seats, with my obscenely long legs as horizontal as possible. It does make it hard to find a good fit at times.

            The obsession with massive consoles, especially with a trapezoid shape where it meets the dash, intrudes heavily into my knee-room. I’ve found the best cars tend to have low seats, expansive legroom, thick bolsters, and enough vertical space in the footwell for my size 12′s.

            Some cars are surprisingly bad, some are surprisingly good. The Scion tC surprised me with how comfortable it is for my frame.

            It seems that carmakers want to provide a huge console for styling purposes, a high seat to make women feel empowered and for boomers’ aging knees, and still be able to brag about back seat space. That means limited rearward seat travel, uncomfortably high seats, and a plastic dashboard shell intruding on your leg space.

        • 0 avatar
          MadHungarian

          The 1990-97 generation of TC has more interior room and comfort. I’m not sure how different the numbers are, but in front, the dash and steering column are WAY less intrusive, and in the rear, the seating height is better. Of course, if you just want rear legroom, get one of the long wheelbase versions.

      • 0 avatar
        afflo

        I’ve never driven a TC, but I’ve driven my Grandmother’s Grand Marquis before she had to hang up the keys (and eventually sell it) I was honestly surprised by just how bad it was.
        - It was big in all the wrong ways (long hood, weirdly shaped trunk, wide seats but limited legroom).
        - The ergos were goofy. The seats didn’t hold you in place
        - they weren’t kidding about the word “bench.” They were like heavily padded pews!)
        - the steering was terrible – overassisted, numb.
        - The suspension somehow handled large impacts, but felt jittery over small road imperfections.

        All in all, it didn’t feel luxurious at all. It didn’t have the poise or feel of precision engineering that I would associate with even a pretension of luxury. It basically felt like what it was: a shiny version of an old car.

        More than anything, it felt like a really, really low full-size SUV with a car body.

        The ’12 Impala I rented last summer was the exact opposite. I couldn’t believe just how GOOD it was!

      • 0 avatar
        cfclark

        The livery company that I use to go to the airport a couple times a month has a fleet of Panther Town Cars, a couple of Tahoes, and maybe a couple of the new MKT “Town Car” editions. I happened to glance at the odometer in one of the Panthers when I got picked up a couple of nights ago. 479,000 miles. No idea how many rebuilds of what components that included, but pretty impressive.

        • 0 avatar

          I have just reviewed a local cars for sale website here in Toronto and there are lots of Airport Limo’s for sale with mileages in excess of 500,000 kms (310,000 miles), mostly LTC, examples are: 2004 LTC – 1,021,000 kms (633,000 miles) for $1200 Cdn. There are also some private sales:2010 LTC – 46481 kms (28,818 miles) for $23995.

          Even though some do say they have replacement engines/trans, these things sure are durable. I really can’t imagine any modern car being this durable (Except maybe a V8 truck)

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            That is cheap for the 04 I see former livery TCs with that kind of mileage on the local craigslist and they frequently want 3-4K for them, though who knows what they actually sell for.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          At 479K it should have had it’s transmission replaced once and the engine may or may not be the original.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        The short wheelbase Panthers are ludicrously cramped for their size – the seats don’t go back far enough for my little short 29″ inseam legs, and there is no room in the back either. They are wide, but so what? You just end up sliding around on that park bench of a seat, even at the feeble cornering they are capable of. The space in the Town Car is MUCH better, I will admit. But the size is even more ocean liner like.

        I am SOOOOOOOO happy that they are all likely to be gone from the Hertz fleet this year – if I never have to suffer an “upgrade” to one of these turds I will be perfectly happy.

    • 0 avatar
      noxioux

      I’m sure just about any soul-less V6 appliance in the car world can outdo your average Panther on the numbers. In the same way a robot can weld a nicer seam than a human being. And it’ cheaper to order online than give the little ma-and-pa store on the corner your business.

      Doesn’t mean the heartless vanilla boxes win.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Yeah and a car that gets 30mpg combined will be a much smaller car that can’t carry a car seat in the back. Go over to fueleconomy.gov and compare what owners report the average MPG of a 2010 Camry when equipped with a V6 and you’ll find it is 20.9, in other words less than Jack’s TC at 21.8. So by driving the TC he is saving the planet and a lot of money since the TC will cost much less to service and repair.

      • 0 avatar
        Sam P

        @Scoutdude:

        - 2013 Nissan Altima 2.5 liter, 29.4 miles per gallon combined per fueleconomy.gov. EPA ratings of 27 city. 38 hwy.

        Fits a rear facing car seat too and still has room for a normal sized front passenger: http://blogs.cars.com/kickingtires/2012/07/2013-nissan-altima-car-seat-check.html

        “The rear-facing convertible had plenty of room — the front passenger seat didn’t need to move forward”

        “Infant-safety seat: The front passenger seat had to be moved forward about 2 inches for the rear-facing infant seat to fit. An average-size passenger will still have enough legroom.”

        And as far as performance goes, the 4-cylinder Altima runs 0-60 in 7.4 seconds. The last of the Panthers – the Grand Marquis Ultimate Edition – runs 0-60 in 9.0 seconds.

        http://www.edmunds.com/mercury/grand-marquis/2010/road-test.html

        http://www.motortrend.com/roadtests/sedans/1205_2013_nissan_altima_sl_first_test/

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          The problem with that comparison is that 34 months ago, it would have been a little hard to purchase a 2103 Altima. So if you use an Altima of the same year with the 4cly you find drivers reporting 23.8 MPG. Unfortunately there isn’t good data on the V6 version. Fuelly lists 2 2010s and they have returned 21.8.

          Plus Jack is not an “average sized” individual and where would the set of track tires, his axe(s) and amp go in an Altima and leave room for that car seat?

          • 0 avatar
            afflo

            “The front passenger seat had to be moved forward about 2 inches for the rear-facing infant seat to fit. An average-size passenger will still have enough legroom.”

            I have yet to ride in / drive any car that allows a rear facing carseat without sacrificing the front seat travel. Well, except for the Honda Element, but suicide doors make the seats difficult to access.

            Try to convince a new mother to put a rear facing carseat anywhere other than the “SAFEST!!!!!” seat in the middle of the back. Try whatever logic about “What do families with two children in carseats do?” No dice.

            With the carseat in the middle, unless it’s a VERY wide car, the seat will prevent BOTH front seats from sliding back and reclining. I’m only 6’1, but it’s all in my legs; I’ve never slid a seat forward to drive in my life. It was a long year.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Afflo-

            Both our Focus and C-Max don’t restrict my seat travel with the car seat in the middle. Now I can’t lean back like a gangster, but the seat is in my normal position, pre-child. The C-Max is better at this though. It has a ton of headroom and better interior packaging.

            If you want to have two rear facing car seats, you are screwed, unless you buy a CUV or minivan. I am in the process of buying a used MKT, and the six passenger version is fantastic for car seats. I can be OG with two infants. I could also pay the thing off in a year if it wasn’t for daycare.

  • avatar

    Jack,

    at 76 miles/day, you’re running far short of Irv Gordon’s 173/day in the ’66 P1800 for the last 47 years.

    But who’s counting???! (Besides me and you)

    Anyway, thanks for a fun romp in a true American car. It would make me feel proud to be an American if they still made the damn things.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    I wish I could say the same for a Town Car down the road from me, its a 90′s model with a collapsed rear suspension, major leak under the engine, a hood that can’t close all the way, missing door panels, missing or collapsed window holder for the rear-left side, faded paint, missing trim bits, and I’ve never seen it leave from its parking space.

    To be honest I only hold much respect for the previous 80′s Town Car, it looked like a Rolls Royce with an elegant exterior and a neat interior, even if the handling and everything else was a bit flawed for the time. New Town Cars make no attempts to hide that they’re just Crown Vics with a few trim changes.

    Like a few others I do consider Panthers bit overrated with only a few merits, but I am glad to hear that yours is doing alright Jack.

    Waiting on Krhodes to post about their experiences.

  • avatar
    wstarvingteacher

    Owned a couple of the bricks *85 and 86). The 86 was the better of the two and I expect they continued to evolve. Pulled a small tool trailer and the car was my “go to work”, “moonlight” and everything else. I think they could have been smaller without sacrifice but they were what family cars used to be.

    To get the same utility and durability today one needs a four door truck.

  • avatar
    2011TCCE

    Jack’s story of buying his TC helped push me to get my own. I like all the out of date touches, shows it roots. The Town Car was the best selling Lincoln even in its final years. And for the most part, all the blogs say bring it back. Yeah, it should have had a bigger V8 or the DOHC, more speeds in its transmission, more tech, but because it didn’t get all those changes, might be why they seem to last forever. Going with friends next week on a road trip. Guess who they asked to drive?

  • avatar
    walleyeman57

    I would hope in the roughly 16 years from yours to the 1990 I had they made some significant improvements. I purchased mine used at about 15,000 miles and the brakes and A/C were constant trouble spots. The front rotors warped without fail about every 15,000 and the A/C went out twice in the 60,000 I owned her. I believe it was the compressor once and the evap the next time. I also remember the massive hood shake when crossing railroad tracks and the non-existent brake feel. The lack of steering feel made drives in icy weather pretty scary too-although since then I have used winter tires a few months per year. I traded the TC for a new ’93 Intrepid based partly on Consumer Reports favorable reviews and projected average reliability. The TC was a model of reliability compared to the Dodge-of course the next year CU panned the Dodge as worse than average.

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    Come on Jack 215s? You really need to step up at least to 235/55-17s in a proper ultra high or max performance summer tire if you’ve got a set of winter tires.

  • avatar
    jfbramfeld

    I sold my 1990 Towncar to my neighbor in 1998, when I bought a new one. It had 98,000 miles and I was a little nervous. In 2008, neighbor’s 1990 Towncar being at 250,000, he was a little nervous and he bought my 1998 Towncar, then at 140,000 miles. It sits outside everyday where I can see it, looking about like it looked the day I bought it. Maybe I’ll buy it back.
    John

  • avatar
    jimbob457

    As a proud Panther owner, I say “bring on the Panther Love”. Despite its obvious ancient design shortcomings, it can easily be modified to be a fun, fun, fun cop car or an excellent turnpike cruiser – but not both – and for not much money, and it lasts forever, or as long as you want it to, depending on how you drive it.

    However, PRICES ARE STARTING TO CLIMB. Six months ago the price of one Acura TL 3.2 (probably the best in its class) = two comparable Panthers (Town Cars excepted). Now the gap has become much smaller. This is a very realistic outcome from the perspective of one who owns both a 2002 Acura TL 3.2 and a low miler 1999 Mercury Grand Marquis (oxidized bits restored and as to rust – in north Texas, what is this rust stuff? No comprendo even the concept.).

    Damn the internet! It exposes and eliminates market imperfections in no time at all.

  • avatar
    ajla

    “as we celebrated the last full-sized sedan platform to be built in North America”

    Brampton is no longer in North America?

  • avatar
    myheadhertz

    Does the Mercury Mountaineer with the 4.6L V8 warrant “panther love” ?
    Same reliability as the Crown Vic and Town Car?

  • avatar
    MadHungarian

    Go Jack. I’ve had my ’05 TC for exactly four years and it’s going to surpass 90K before the weekend is over (had 39K when I got it). I occasionally have that thing where one of the door locks doesn’t work when I hit the lock button. I notice it because it makes a different sound. So, I just hit the button again. It’s occasional, so I know it will work fine at the shop.

    I have had three unexpected repairs. One was the cat converter, which was free because the emissions warranty was still in effect. One was the starter, which is the only one that ticked me off because it stranded me. The last was an airbag light that was traced to the driver’s seatbelt pretensioner. Unfortunately the dealer’s only solution to that was to replace the entire seatbelt and retractor assembly at a total cost including labor a bit north of $500.

    And I’m on the OEM brakes, as far as I know. Having had several GM FWD cars that eat brakes, this freaks me out.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      My A-body Celebrity ate front brakes every 30,000 miles the entire time it was in my family which was from being purchased used at 45,000 miles and then being demo derby-ed at around 250,000 miles. (Only needed a complete engine rebuild at 100,000 miles to get there! [sense the sarcasm kids?])

      My 2004 F150 Heritage on the other hand is going strong on four wheel disc brakes approaching 100,000 miles. I’m baffled by the seemingly poor brakes on modern Ford products it seems that roughly 10 years ago they had it figured out.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        Ford seems to have the habit of not putting big enough brakes on their large cars and CUVs. They addressed a lot of it with 2012 and 2013 refreshes. The Taurus SHO was a notable offender.

        • 0 avatar
          -Nate

          No kidding ! .

          The L.A.P.D. began buying Panthers in the (IIRC) 1985 model year and they’d grind the brake rotors to dust in under 19,000 miles (” A Check “) ~ we had to up grade the calipers & rotors on each and every one .

          Likewise my old ’65 Lincoln was the first year of disc brakes and they were HUGE & easily locked up with minimal foot pressure ~ this back before radial tires were normal to have .

          -Nate

  • avatar
    -Nate

    Will Panther Love _ever_ die ? .

    Our fleet (L.A.P.D. is still mostly Panthers and they’re the Timex of automobiles .

    I’m still pi$$ed off at Generous Motors Corp. for dropping the BOF Impala/Caprice but then I’m a Bowtie Guy .

    Mileage ? feh ~ my old Mercedes Diesels have well over 300,000 miles and run like tops , get 25 ~ 36 MPG’s depending on which one .

    The stupid hippies in Sta. Monica killed the engine in my Diesel Sports Coupe by running it on unfiltered veggie oil (used to be COSTCO sold 5 gallon jugs of Canola Oil for $5) , I rebuilt the engine , re sleeved the block and it’s going strong…

    It’ll be a long time before all those Panthers are gone , the BOF Police Spec. Chevys faded away some years ago =8-( .

    -Nate

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Pardon, but how did hippies get ahold of your diesel-powered car…?

      • 0 avatar
        -Nate

        Who knows ? .

        Could have bought it , could have been a gift from rich parents .

        A few years back there was a HUGE wave of coolness if you procured an old Mercedes Diesel with the OM616 or 617 engines & ran them on veggie oil ~ ‘ free fuel and it _NEVER NEEDS ANY TUNE UPS_ !!! ‘

        These dolts filled out local junkyards with once fine automobiles , run hard into the ground .

        There was a die hard local group of folks who ran a co – op of properly processed and filtered WVO but sooner or later the *intense* labor of properly processing the waste oil to fuel plus the inevitable oil slick caused by the big drum of ” free fuel ” in your garage , basement , driveway or back yard , gets to be too much hassle so they use what ever’s at hand and the car soldiers on a while before it’s literally ground to junk .

        In mine , the # 5 cylinder had crystallized veggie oil in the ring lands that gouged a 10 MM wide by 4MM deep furrow in the cylinder proper so it smoked beyond belief , as the same time the lack of routine hot oil & filter changes caused the turbo charger to seize up …..

        I bought it off a goofy used car lot on Olympic Blvd. that was selling off misc. cars they’d dragged out of back yards , they said it was junk & wouldn’t run , I made a $weet junk price deal and drove it off the lot and squeezed some 20,000 more miles out if it before it died @ 0-Dark:30 at the very Northern end of the Pasadena Freeway , then I rebuilt the engine and am still driving the wheels off it , a terrific car if ever there was one .

        It’s now European Spec. and has R-12 AC for those hot days .

        hippies ~ feh ! they killed millions of VW’s back when I had my Indie. VW shop too , I hate ‘em .

        Dirty lazy unwashed kids for the most part .

        -Nate

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Up here there is a company that does complete bumper to bumper rebuilds on Crown Vics for police depts that weren’t happy with the Charger. It was about 20K for the top package that included a rebuilt engine, trans, rear axle (including diff and axles), front and rear suspension, light bar, paint job and driver’s seat. The top package includes headers, a flow master exhaust, K&N intake, Addco sway bars, beefier rear control arms (don’t remember which brand) and lowering springs. It ended up only being about 5K less than what the last P71s sold for and just about $2500 less than a brand new Charger. Talk about your Panther love. So yeah we’ll be seeing them for many years to come.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    If I remember correctly, the main reason that the Panther platform was discontinued so soon is that it would have been extremely expensive to modify for new safety requirements. Now whether that figure was more expensive than having to support a now-irrelevant luxury brand is another question…

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Yes the fact that it wasn’t going meet safety standards was a large part of it. That is why they did produce 2012′s Crown Victorias as export only. There was also the fact that those few pieces of tooling that dated back to the first aero cars, were just plain wearing out after being used for a couple million cars. Since those were things like inner, and door structures they would have pretty much had to do a 100% new car.

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        @Scoutdude
        Where were they going to exported?

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          They went to the GCC states Ford dealers United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait. The actual last one was destined for a dealer in Saudi Arabia. Search AutoBlog Last Crown Victoria for pictures of it during assembly where everyone on the line autographed it underneath the door panels, carpet and even side molding.

  • avatar
    Power6

    The chassis of these cars age well but not the interiors. Been in so many of these, if you have the light colored leather good luck. This is one area where the “true” luxury cars have you beat. But the car is so cheap to maintain, the cost of a proper quality leather upholstering wouldn’t be out of order.

  • avatar
    tklockau

    Great to know the car has been so solid. I still want one of these–test drove one at the local L-M dealer back in ’09. It will be a big switch from the V50, but more and more I am thinking about a TC.

    Last night I saw an immaculate burgundy ’06 Designer with the cream interior (and most importantly, no fake convertible top) and a for sale sign, $13,500. Hmmm…


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    CoreyDL - They were cheaper than the Supra, 280ZX, or Z28 because it was a class down, FWD, with a much smaller engine, and entirely less sporty. The Scirocco was...
  • Re: Galhotra Takes The Reins As Lincoln’s New President

    PrincipalDan - Kumar Galhotra, Lincoln Motor Company and Carriage Works LTD, INC. a Division of the Ford Motor Company. I think your first move...
  • Re: Rental Review: Cadillac ATS 2.0T AWD

    carguy - I have posted this before, but it bears repeating here… One of the unkindest deeds GM ever did to the ATS is to allow its marketing department to hail...
  • Re: Junkyard Find: 1982 Volkswagen Scirocco

    Superdessucke - Yea, the last owner was broke a-s and the car got towed after he drunkenly left it in a no parking zone in some city somewhere, or something like...

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