The Truth About Cars » panther platform http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Thu, 27 Aug 2015 22:00:13 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.4 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars » panther platform http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Piston Slap: Doesn’t Panther Love do Everything? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/piston-slap-doesnt-panther-love-everything/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/piston-slap-doesnt-panther-love-everything/#comments Wed, 04 Feb 2015 13:44:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=993298 Max writes: Sajeev, After following your and TTAC’s collective wisdom regarding Panthers, I have enjoyed four and a half years of somewhat trouble-free $1000 police-auction 2001 Crown Victoria ownership. The Crown Vic is a wonderful first car and I love it dearly, despite – or maybe especially – because it taught me a lot about […]

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Click here to view the embedded video.

Max writes:

Sajeev,
After following your and TTAC’s collective wisdom regarding Panthers, I have enjoyed four and a half years of somewhat trouble-free $1000 police-auction 2001 Crown Victoria ownership. The Crown Vic is a wonderful first car and I love it dearly, despite – or maybe especially – because it taught me a lot about the finer points of its drive train, front end etc. as I eventually ended up parking-lot and shade-tree repairing or replacing just about every major component other than the exhaust and transmission. However, it might now be time to look into a successor for my trusty ride.

More specifically, I am looking for a vehicle around $5500 or so that 1). Is generally known to be reliable and have low operating expenses, 2). Gets good highway mileage (let’s set the baseline at upper teens) and is comfortable to drive cross-country – my job periodically entails eating up a lot of miles on the road- 3). Has a four wheel drive or is otherwise off road capable– I need to drive up poorly-maintained remote service roads for work – 4). can tow a small camper cross-country, or a livestock or horse trailer ( for low-speed short-haul work), and can stand up to general farmwork – haul or tow a couple dozen bales of hay or more, manure, rolls of fencing, chickens, calves, half a cord of wood, etc. Ease-of repair and cheap parts are a plus. 5). Is comfortable to sleep in, if need be- also a work possibility- and 6). Front bench seat, and stick shift are preferred.

Even though a pickup might be a good fit, I’m trying to stay open-minded and would appreciate any advice: I am not stuck on any one brand or type of vehicle.

Or maybe I could listen to Sanjeev’s advice and go Mad-Maxize the Crown Vic with a 6″ lift and self-leveling kit, transmission intercooler, towing package, 30” offroad tires and roll cage and keep it forever – what’re your two cents?

Thanks for all of your advice over the years!

Sajeev answers:

Thank you for reading all these years. It’s both exciting and horrifying to hear you’ve taken my our advice to heart!

That said, what kind of Lover considers open-mindedness regarding Panther Love? You, as a Crown Victoria owner, are a stubborn traditionalist with a nearly xenophobic reaction to non body-on-frame platforms.  You remain as “unmodified” as the Panther since 1979: toe the autojourno’s line!

Let’s be serious: anyone needing something for “general farmwork” with a career driving on rural roads needs a body-on-frame vehicle to handle the beating and the towing.  Keyword: Towing.  The truck is almost mandatory, but $5500 makes it hard to get one that isn’t beat to shit, packed with a ton of miles or well over a decade old. Good thing you can get your hands dirty, vehicles at this price need something. Always.

What’s the right move?  Get the cleanest, most well maintained V6 Toyota Tacoma, Chevy S-10/Colorado or Ford Ranger in your price ranger (oops). Good luck finding one with a stick, or lose efficiency and get a full sizer (small V8, automatic) from any of the Big Three for the same price.

The full-size is ideal since you might sleep in there: I slept in my Ranger once, next time I’ll splurge for a hotel.

Click here to view the embedded video.

BUT…there’s nothing like taking a nap in the back of Panther Love. Maybe these YouTube videos are right: stick with your current Crown Vic until you can afford a newer truck with all the things you need (for safe and reliable transport to work) and want (for your hobbies, farm duties, etc).

 

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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Junkyard Find: 1981 Mercury Grand Marquis http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/junkyard-find-1981-mercury-grand-marquis/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/junkyard-find-1981-mercury-grand-marquis/#comments Thu, 31 Jul 2014 13:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=875617 Here’s another Junkyard Find that deserves the Sajeev’s Bitter Tears label. It qualifies for the Brown Car Appreciation Society, it’s an early Panther, and it’s a top-trim-level Grand Marquis (owners of which looked down their noses at lowly Marquis Brougham owners). Let’s explore this exquisite example of Late Malaise Era crypto-luxury, shall we? These cars […]

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09 - 1981 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinHere’s another Junkyard Find that deserves the Sajeev’s Bitter Tears label. It qualifies for the Brown Car Appreciation Society, it’s an early Panther, and it’s a top-trim-level Grand Marquis (owners of which looked down their noses at lowly Marquis Brougham owners). Let’s explore this exquisite example of Late Malaise Era crypto-luxury, shall we?
13 - 1981 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThese cars were the same under the skin as the LTD and Continental, and they weren’t bad drivers (by the standards of the time).
07 - 1981 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinOpera lights! Trivia question: what was the last year for factory-installed opera lights on an American car? I’m guessing this feature made it well into the 21st century.
06 - 1981 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis one’s a little rough, though it’s a completely rust-free California car.
17 - 1981 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSo much trim. So much vinyl.
14 - 1981 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinYou see a lot of police-organization and AAA-related stickers on these cars, which is not surprising given the elderly demographic that preferred them.
03 - 1981 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSteering-wheel cruise-control buttons showed a lot of faith in Ford’s ability to make a clockspring and/or sliding electrical contacts work.
10 - 1981 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinFord (and Chrysler) loved these fake vents in the early 1980s. Why?

Created by science!

01 - 1981 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1981 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1981 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1981 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1981 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1981 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1981 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1981 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1981 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1981 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1981 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1981 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1981 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1981 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1981 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1981 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 1981 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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The Panther In Summer http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/the-panther-in-summer/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/the-panther-in-summer/#comments Fri, 19 Jul 2013 13:15:31 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=495884 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, […]

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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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