By the time the last few years of the Mercury-ized version of the Ford Crown Victoria rolled around, every single Grand Marquis sold was an Ultimate Edition. Back in the late 1990s, however, Mercury shoppers had more choices. Including, apparently, a Safety Edition. Here is an example I found in a Denver self-service yard last week. (Read More…)
This is an update to a previous Piston Slap query about buying one of the last great American sedans. And there’s no Panther bias here, you insane Rotary guys are free to buy this beast and share your thoughts the same manner. We’ll listen to ANY great story. And go vote while you’re at it…since our opinions can’t help us keep cars in production! (Read More…)
It was a mild winter here in Minnesota, so it promises to be an early spring. And with spring comes the promise of new automotive projects. Right now we are in the pre-spring thinking and planning stages. Attached is a photo of my possible project. Some background would be helpful. (Read More…)
Unlike most of the TTAC community, I am something of a Panther agnostic. To me, the venerable rear-drive Ford sedans are like cigarette ads in back issues of Car and Driver – a quaint relic of an era where “Occupy” was something you saw on the door of an airplane bathroom – because the Occupant was trying to suck down a Camel Light .
Hongqi, or Red Flag, is China’s most famous automotive brand. Owner of the Hongqi-brand is First Auto Works, or FAW. Hongqi always was, and sometimes still is, the car for the country’s leaders – communist party bosses, and the car for the very influential. A Red Flag is not for the very rich – they take a red Ferrari, or a simple black Maybach. The Hongqi was strictly government business. Hongqi’s most famous cars are the CA 770-series, and the Audi-based limousines and parade cars.
There is, however, another less well known chapter in Hongqi’s history: a tie up with good old Lincoln from the USA in the 1990′s and early 00′s. This article will show what cars came out of this interesting marriage.
On the first picture is the first Hongqi CA7460 rolling off the line at the factory in Changchun, Jilin province. It was November 10, 1998. (Read More…)
Hey Sajeev and Steve,
Hope everything’s going well over at TTAC. I’m submitting my 2nd question and hoping you guys have some insight to offer.
I currently drive an 06 xB, and I’ve been very happy with it. It’s fully paid off (I bought it used with cash), and it’s served as a great car for moving and helping friends move. When they were selling these, they really should’ve teamed up with IKEA to offer a gift card because this car is the ultimate IKEA-mobile.
Back in 2005, Ford was ordered to pay some $43m to the Jablonski family whose Lincoln Town Car had caught fire after being rear-ended. According to the Associated Press:
As a result of the crash, according to the ruling, a large pipe wrench in the Jablonski car’s [trunk] was propelled into the vehicle’s gas tank, causing the blaze.
Attorneys for the family argued during the 11-day trial that the fuel tank’s positioning behind axle was among things flawed in the car’s construction, and that Ford should have warned car owners or retrofitted the vehicles with safety devices.
Ford countered that no similar accidents had occurred involving the same Town Car model as the one driven by John Jablonski, that the vehicle’s fuel tank was in “the optimum location for that car,” and that the crash should be blamed on the motorist who rear-ended the Jablonskis.
That ruling, with its echoes of the Pinto fiasco, could have validated a long-cherished belief of the personal injury attorney profession: that gas tanks rear of the rear axle are fundamentally dangerous (see above). Of course that’s not the case, and the Town Car in question was given a five-star safety rating by NHTSA. Accordingly, the Illinois Supreme Court threw out the ruling, finding that
the lawsuit on Dora and John Jablonski’s behalf did not give sufficient evidence for a jury to conclude Ford negligently “breached its duty of reasonable care” in designing the Lincoln Town Car
[Editor’s note: Today, at 12:25 pm, the very last Panther-platform Crown Victoria rolled off the line at St. Thomas Assembly Plant. Ryan Paradis, a.k.a. “86er,” has the honor of eulogizing the beloved beast in his first-ever contribution to TTAC]
It has become beyond trite by this point to say that, with the end of the Crown Victoria, Grand Marquis and Town Car, an era comes to an end. And yet it is thus: the last of the body-on-frame, rear wheel drive and eight cylinder engine passenger cars, once a species unique to North America, have now reached the end of an 80 year span that commenced with the advent of the 1932 Ford V-8.
Having transported generations of Americans through some of the nation’s finest decades, full-size cars like the Crown Victoria, Grand Marquis, and Town Car are now an anomaly. While large V8-powered sedans made a comeback in the 21st century, the Ford Panther chassis was one of the very few full-size, rear-drive sedans that never left. And today we bid it farewell.
Police may not pull over a car simply because two passengers are riding in the back seat, according to a September 2 ruling of the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York. On December 30, 2009, a trio of New York Police Department officers had a hunch that a passing gold-colored Ford Crown Victoria with New Jersey license plates might secretly have been charging for rides.
The vehicle broke no traffic laws, but the officers became suspicious because in the dark at 1:30am, the officers only saw dark silhouettes of people in the back seat — and nobody in the front passenger seat. At trial, the officers were unable to provide a description of the vehicle, or identify any unusual activity from its occupants. None had ever seen this Crown Vic before. Officer Trent Narra testified that he had a “hunch” that the car was violating the New York City Administrative Code that fines individuals who operate cab service on the side without paying the $686,000 fee for a taxi medallion.
Panther lovers will be sad to hear that this, the last of the black-and-white Crown Vic Interceptors, has gone down the line according to the Ford St Thomas Assembly Plant’s Facebook page. The last Panther (reportedly a Town Car) is scheduled to be built on Monday, and the plant’s “about 1,500” workers will be laid off on the 12th of September. If you know someone who loves the Panther chassis, please be sensitive to their needs in this difficult time. Remind them that there’s always the used market, and that someday their beloved brutes will tear ass across a post-apocalyptic landscape, and be known as “the last of the V8 Interceptors.” This is going to be OK…
Sajeev and Steve,
My buddy is in college and needs a used set of wheels. After 2 years of depending upon Baltimore’s awful public transportation system and the generosity of friends, roommates, frat brothers, and total strangers for car rides, his school work is starting to suffer and he’s decided to buy a car. Unfortunately, his budget is about $2000. His living situation and total lack of mechanical skills rule out anything German, Swedish, or otherwise maintenance intensive.
His criteria for the car are reliable/durable, fuel efficient, and cheap to run. Working AC and heat would be a bonus, but he really only intends to drive the car about 15-20 minutes per day for school. He has absolutely no pretensions about the car’s badge, perceived coolness, sporty driving dynamics, etc., but he probably won’t spring for a total crapcan like a metro or echo. Also, he’s currently unemployed, and I don’t think he intends to find a job due to his course load.
Steve and Sajeev: I was hoping to pick your brain for a second regarding the used Prius market right now. Help a Hammer Time follower out! I own a 2010 base Prius (Model II), and I have been seeing listings at local dealerships for base model Prius’s (????) selling for 3-4K above new MSRP prices. For instance there is one with 15K on the clock selling for 27K, when new the MSRP was around 24K.Is this actually occurring right now or are these people out of their minds? My wife and I were debating on selling it and buying a cheaper car with a smaller payment if we could actually make a decent profit on it. On the other hand, 50 MPG in the era of $5 a gallon gas is pretty great. Its a gas! Thanks for your time.
And Sajeev, I always wanted a Mercury Marauder!
Ur-Turn is your weekly opportunity to contribute to TTAC. Every Weekend we select a piece submitted to our contact form, and publish it as a showcase for the diverse perspectives of TTAC’s readers. Today’s contribution, from Jag Singh, reveals that, for an Indian immigrant in post-9/11 America, love of the Panther chassis could hold hidden dangers.
Coming out of India two decades ago, I had a broad experience with 2 wheelers of various types. But, my experience with 4 wheels was limited to micro Suzukis that still rule the road over there. When I bought an old Integra it was everything I could ask for, and provided more hoonage possibilities than I could muster courage for. I used to travel every week, and Taurus was my default weekday rental car. Soon I had a gold plated card from Hertz, and could walk into the rental car lot to pick up any car available there. There were always some Town Cars or Grand Marquis’ in the lot, most people seemed to ignore them. And so did I, initially. Jaguars were rare, but Maximas quickly became my favorite. I tried Mustangs but did not like the rattling noises or the cheap plastics used. Also, they felt way underpowered compared to a Maxima.
Dan Joseph writes in:
How do I choose which Panther to start with? The 2002 Grand Marquis I was looking at (and loving on) sold before I could make it to the car lot on Saturday. Now I’m struggling to decide between a 1996 Crown Vic and a 1991 Lincoln TC. There’s also a 2003 CV, plus a few CVPI units that tempt me. The main issue is a new baby (12 weeks) that has a car seat that pushes mama into a claustrophobic area in the back of her Saab 9-5. Wider car, here we come.
I’d go for an Interceptor… but then, I’m hardly TTAC’s Panther authority. So let’s hear it, Pantherphiles: how should Dan begin his very own love affair with the classic American rear-drive chassis?