By on April 23, 2012

“Heritage” is a funny thing. Lamborghini wants to use it to sell you a shopping trolley. Chevrolet hopes you’ll see some of the spirit of the Sixties Impala in their current Azera-like.

What does Ford want?

This photo, sent to me by TTAC reader Pavel, captures a strange duality. In the foreground, you have the new face of the electric Fusion: smooth (except for that odd hood gap), futuristic, brandwashed into a faux-Aston. In the background, you have a Crown Victoria hard at work. Which car, I wonder, will still be on the road twenty years from now, or a quarter-million miles from now?

More pertinently, why is Ford so anxious in general that we, the buying public, forget the Panther? I suggested one reason a while ago, but surely there is something Ford can do with the heritage of reliability and durability they’ve built with the Panther.

Perhaps, in an era where “heritage” is plastered on garbage and used to sell Chinese-sewn clothing, the idea of having honestly built a million-plus durable vehicles simply doesn’t matter. Best to forget it and move on.

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87 Comments on “What’s Wrong With This Picture: Have You Ridden In A Ford Lately Edition...”


  • avatar
    harshciygar

    I love the Panther platform, but let’s be honest here.

    The Panther platform was a relic, and one of the reasons why Ford was able to cease being innovative and relevant. Because the Panther sold well every year with little or no investment, Ford sold crappy compacts, meh mid-sized cars, and lots of body-on-frame trucks-in-SUV clothing.

    The Panther is a reminder that at one time, Ford put everything that had made them a great company on the back burner in order to turn an easy profit.

    The Panther was, and is, a good, reliable vehicle. There’s no shame in that. On the same token, I don’t think Ford would be right for patting themselves on the back for keeping homage for technology and design that is long past its due date.

    Quantity has a quality all its own, but you won’t hear too many military historians praising Stalin’s “human tsunami” approach to warfare.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    “Best to forget it and move on.”

    That’s right. There’s a reason they killed the Panther.

    • 0 avatar
      Carrera

      Yeah really, let’s move on. I drove Panthers for work ( not a cabbie) and I was happy when they junked them to cabbies.

      • 0 avatar
        bodegabob

        Say it louder so all may hear!

        The Panther platform was second-best in class when released and never was really that great. I personally hate riding in them as taxis because they don’t have that much legroom and there’s always a risk of banging my head on the inside edge of the rear door when getting out.

        And “reliable” might apply, but I’ve known one too many people let down by their various foibles (electronic failures, typical Ford mod-V8 sicknesses) to think of them as some monument to American industry that shall never be surpassed.

        Panther love? You might as well weep over the Fox platform while you’re at it. That was a real humdinger when it came out in ’78, and was actually superior in most ways to the Panther.

    • 0 avatar
      acuraandy

      @gslippy:

      ‘That’s right, there’s a reason they killed the Panther’

      I like innovation as much as the next guy, but we as car guys should never forget what came before. Hell, I still like Dodge Demons and AMCs…AND Panthers. :)

  • avatar
    Pch101

    “Which car, I wonder, will still be on the road twenty years from now, or a quarter-million miles from now?”

    Neither.

    “surely there is something Ford can do with the heritage of reliability and durability they’ve built with the Panther.”

    Since most of us have given up on our childhood dreams of becoming taxi drivers, probably not.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      What on earth is the fixation with these cars? My friend bought a mint, used 2004 Grand Marquis, and I wouldn’t trade it for our 2005 Focus SE (so it’s not as though we hate Fords).

      I wouldn’t want to drive the Grand Marquis for one year, let alone 20. And the Focus, with 143,000 miles on the odometer, has been far more reliable than the Grand Marquis.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “What on earth is the fixation with these cars?”

        I don’t know if there is much of a fixation, outside of this forum.

        If Panthers were popular with regular consumers, then the cars would have been updated, instead of discontinued.

        The large mainstream sedan market that was once dominant in the US car market is now largely dead. Today’s buyers have moved on.

        There is a niche market for large luxury sedans, but not for those sold to a moderate price point. The bread-and-butter buyers have either downsized or else have acquired a taste for light trucks (SUVs, CUVs, etc.)

    • 0 avatar
      Volt 230

      Here in So Fla, police retired CV’s become taxis, when taxi drivers discard them, they get bought out as transportation by those that can’;t afford to buy anything new or nearly new and still need to get to work. Warehouse district parking lots are replete with them

    • 0 avatar
      86er

      “There is a niche market for large luxury sedans, but not for those sold to a moderate price point.”

      I agree to some extent, sales figures have borne that out (although declining sales in and of themselves don’t tell the whole story).

      What was all that about the other week when Toyota, Hyundai and Chevrolet were unveiling non-premium large sedans in the guises of the Avalon, Azera, and Impala?

  • avatar
    stryker1

    there are only a handful of people who remember the Panther platform fondly. Nearly all of them write for TTAC.

    • 0 avatar
      tuffjuff

      +1

      I read about it at least once a week on this website.

      “Why would a company want to get rid of the (incorrect) assertion that all the cars they build are crap and will break?!”

      “I have no idea.”

      Common sense.

    • 0 avatar
      tresmonos

      And the editors of TTAC actually own them. They also have enough qualifications to write for a blog that you frequent.

      • 0 avatar
        tuffjuff

        Writing about them is fine, I guess, if they want their information and opinion’s relevancy taken with a grain of salt (which it is), but asking the question “why does a company distance itself from it’s sh*tty old cars that nobody likes or cares about” is like asking “why do you enjoy eating a tasty steak?” – you just do. It makes sense.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    They don’t want panther fans to forget the panther, they want idiots to forget the panther. You know, the idiots that buy most of the cars, airplane seats, and appliances based on terrible criteria and poor judgement.

    I never owned, nor wanted to own, a panther. Still, I saw why it had value to a lot of people and wouldn’t deny them their choice. I also celebrate Ford’s choice to keep making them. Al that in spite of how poorly they were usually driven (and I use driven in the loosest way there).

  • avatar
    jz78817

    “More pertinently, why is Ford so anxious in general that we, the buying public, forget the Panther?”

    because in the end, the only non-fleet use for it was as Heaven’s Taxi cab.

  • avatar
    jeoff

    For years Kodak made big money making film. And, even before the film money went away, the folks at Kodak saw the writing on the wall, and got into the digital camera business, and many of those cameras were very good. But, to the general public Kodak would always mean film, and film would always mean Kodak.
    Ford cannot afford that association with the Crown Vic.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      The Kodak story is far more complex than this. Branding is a part of it, sure, but that’s not the real problem.

      For instance, one of their engineers invented one of the first good still-camera CCDs around the time I was born, but buried the technology internally so as to avoid undermining their film business.

      Then computer technology advanced to the point where this device was a necessity, and their competitors re-invented it, and undermined Kodak’s film business.

      They followed the market, then, and acted like a johnny-come-lately in the photography market — because they were.

      Oops!

      Clayton Christensen’s “Innovator’s Dilemma”, as well as his other books, go into great detail about this phenomenon.

  • avatar
    Toad

    By the same logic, maybe Buick should resume building the Roadmaster or Chevrolet the Caprice. The market for these may be slightly larger than the proverbial diesel manual transmission station wagon, but not much.

    Ford does not care if you remember or forget the Panther; they just want you to buy what they are designing and producing today and tomorrow.

    Heritage may mean something in guitars or firearms, maybe even furniture. But the market for outdated design and technology in new cars, computers, or any other appliance is vanishingly small. And cars are ultimately an appliance. They can be sexy or dowdy, fast or slow, cheap or expensive, but they are an appliance. Just as there are few buyers for Motorola StarTac phones, Zenith console televisions, or rotary dial land line phones, the line of buyers for Panthers is very short. Heritage does not pay the bills.

    People who really want heritage can buy antiques, then preserve, restore, and enjoy them.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    Ford panel gaps and their overstyled new designs are a nauseating combination. Seeing them on the street reminds me of the approximately assembled and garishly tacky personal luxury coupes of the ’70s.

  • avatar
    The Doctor

    Pandering to the masses and continuing to flog cheap, old cars is exactly what led the US auto companies into their current(ish) graveyard spiral.

    The argument in favour of the Panther platform basically amounts to “She’s slow and heavy but she’s strong!” If it were a sustainable business proposition, the US automakers wouldn’t be pulling as much know-how out of the European divisions as they currenly are.

  • avatar
    Fromes

    yea, the Panther was such a great car, it blended driving dynamics, smooth ride and class much the same way my grandmother’s moth ball smelling, puke green couch really ties the room together. Let’s get real, the Panther is a sub par car in nearly every dimension. Saying you will pick a Panther over a current Fusion because it will be around in 30 years is like saying you prefer twinkies over the new york strip at Peter Lugers.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      After discovering other people’s Panther Love on this blog, I paid attention to the car the last time I rode in a taxicab.

      I owned a Ranger at the time. It occurred to me that, by today’s standards, the Panther is a car body on a Ranger-like truck chassis. I see the appeal of this on commercial duty/maintenance cycle, but it’s not necessary.

      Cars moved on decades ago, for a variety of very good engineering reasons (lighter weight, occupant protection, better design tools, etc).

      My Ranger was obsolete, too. It’s was useful on the day I sold it as on the day I bought it, though, just like all of those obsolete Panthers.

  • avatar
    Crabspirits

    “Which car, I wonder, will still be on the road twenty years from now, or a quarter-million miles from now?”

    How many Checker Marathons do you see on the road?

    • 0 avatar

      Enough Checkers are still on the road that you can pick up a decent driver for maybe $3,000. There’s a “restored” one on eBay now that needs some freshening that’s currently at $4650 and hasn’t met its reserve.

    • 0 avatar
      elmwood

      > “Which car, I wonder, will still be on the road twenty years from now, or a quarter-million miles from now?”

      It’s probably the first time I heard anyone under 65 utter the “Older cars are more reliable and durable than the junk that’s being made now” line.

  • avatar
    Junebug

    Like the guy from the old Twlight Zone would say,” Consider if you will……….and he’d role out a weird situation and entertain you for the next 25 minutes with the “what if”

    Now, look at old cars & trucks, what would you give up having one? Air bags, FM radio, Sat Nav, Power anything, Fuel injection, Computers, etc – but they would still get you from A to B. Now, consider if just one terrorist sets off a nuke in the atmosphere and the accompaning EMP strikes. Which car will still run? Just saying, not paranoid or anything…….

    • 0 avatar
      alluster

      “and the accompaning EMP strikes. Which car will still run?”

      I think neither. They all have electric starter systems which would be rendered useless if said EMP strikes. However, agree with your point in general. I personally prefer everything kept simple. Every new feature is one additional thing that could break.

    • 0 avatar
      86er

      Panthers would make outstanding post-apocalyptic cars. Their wheels/tires are made of durable prehistoric stone, and lack internal combustion engines, transmissions and drivelines.

      Rather, they’re propelled by pedalling one’s feet while yodelling “Yabba Dabba Dooo!”

    • 0 avatar
      bodegabob

      Funny that a neighbor with a beautiful ’04 Crown Vic (the Sport edition one that Pantheristas all drool over) had his car sidelined at night for weeks due to some electronic dashboard failure that kept the lights off. Ford wanted to replace the whole IP at some ridiculous price. The individual part was on back-order.

      These cars were not CJ2a’s or Model T’s or even Volvo 240’s. The Panther was mediocre malaise-era tech that was on life support for the last 20 years of its existence.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    What? Henry Ford was wrong when he said: “History is bunk”? Sounds like Ford means it…

  • avatar
    carguy

    Jack, why do you assume that new Fords will not be reliable? There is no doubt that new technologies sometimes have early problems but, on the whole, cars are getting more reliable not less so.

    My dad assure me back in the 80s that the Japanese manufacturers would come to regret the move to overly complex OHC engines and that this would spell the end of reliable transportation.

    They said the same thing about the NYC Escape Hybrid taxis and many of those are still doing well on their way to 200K miles.

    Let’s see how the new Ford products perform before we pass judgement.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      I bought a 10-year-old V6 Escape with 120k miles on it, and it runs well. I have every reason to believe that it isn’t even half used up yet.

      I have had to put some money in to replacing a couple of worn out suspension components (there was a reason the previous guy sold it), but that’s par for the course with high-mileage used cars — and my purchase price + maintenance is far less than what I would have paid for a new vehicle.

      Do Panthers go so far so cheaply? I’d be impressed if they did.

  • avatar
    alluster

    Ford may have a tough time selling the new Fusion. Many car shoppers are going to think its too expensive and way out of their price range even before pricing it against the competition. A lot of other buyers other in this segment prefer to not garner any attention while driving. They don’t like people turning heads and looking at them on the road. They like to blend in and disappear into a sea of silvery beige steel blandness. Why do you think Toyota and Honda sell boatloads of Camcord’s and Corollvic’s.

    • 0 avatar
      salhany

      This is a pretty silly assertion. The new Sontana is selling quite well despite the radically different styling.

      The new Fusion is gorgeous and I suspect they’ll have no trouble moving them by the boatload. It provides the perfect alternative to the Camcords of the world.

      • 0 avatar
        jimmyy

        People buy camcord for 2 reasons:

        1) Guaranteed hundreds of thousands of trouble free miles;
        2) Good resale because of the hundres of thousands of trouble free miles;
        3) In case of Camry, best real world gas mileage, even though Detroit does a great job of claiming best in class mileage.

        Detroit has had some recent success selling subpar reliable vehicles ( according to consumer reports ) with extreme price tags. Why? Vehicle shortage due to earthquake and flood in asia. But, this party is over. I hope people in Detroit realize this fact. I laugh when Detroiters think their vehicles are selling because the are “Superior” to Toyota and Honda.

  • avatar
    Brantta

    Car in the foreground is Ford Focus Electric, not Fusion.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    I just need to ask one question, if this new Fusion is electric why does it need a grille?

    • 0 avatar
      aristurtle

      The battery is liquid-cooled, with a radiator.

      Although, even if it wasn’t, there would still be a grille for styling reasons, I’m sure.

      • 0 avatar
        fincar1

        …by the same reasoning that the instrument panel used to be called the dashboard, and many car dealers are named So-and-so Motors. Old usages do not disappear from the language very fast, or from products either.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        I think the grille is actually cosmetic (for better aerodynamics), but I haven’t seen enough close-ups to know for sure. The battery pack is temperature-controled (both heating & cooling, IIRC), but I don’t know if it uses a traditional radiator.

        Also, on the reg Focus, the radiator is mounted very low (below the bumper), so if it does have a radiator, it is probably in the same spot, in the second opening below the Aston Martin styled faux-grille.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      At Redav: Having no grille is more aerodynamic than having one for cosmetics, here it looks like between the chrome bits in the grille we have black black inserts.

      I’d rather just have no grille than a fake one.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        I mean the grille has no vent holes and so is not actually a grille. In my Pro/E world, “cosmetic” is merely a superficial, sketched/illustrated feature that doesn’t actually exist, e.g., sticker headlights for NASCAR.

        The depth of the fake grille features seems slight, so it would likely function the same as a near-smooth front end. The look certainly is to tie it to the rest of the Ford line up.

  • avatar
    wstarvingteacher

    Two thirds of my three cars are old enough to vote. It really doesn’t matter to me what anyone thinks of my selection. I would expect the owners of the remaining panthers feel the same way. BTW, I owned a couple panthers. Had either of them had a pickup bed I would still be driving it more than likely.

    I would expect that nobody driving a new focus would really care what I think of their ride. Seems to me that opinions are in abundance and I think that’s ok. Just feel l ike saying that because it seems that people are frequently surprised when there are opposing viewpoints. There are always opposing viedwpoints. If there weren’t, most of us wouldn’t need a brain.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      My comment was driven by the sentiment – which posters have expressed often on this site, and which is echoed by Mr. Baruth’s short piece – that the Panther cars are somehow crucial to Ford’s future success.

      While Panthers are durable and reliable, their sales have dwindled to nothing, and the majority of buyers do not want a car with those driving characteristics.

      For the record, everyone I know who owns a Panther-based car bought it USED, which isn’t exactly helping the Ford Motor Company.

  • avatar
    28-cars-later

    The Panther’s legacy from about the ’92 MY on will be ‘cheap and effective’. This is what set it apart from other cars on the road no other model from 1996 onward could offer its size, interior/trunk space, relative fuel economy, reliability, and RWD for the price, either new or used. Few models offered today could meet both the cheap and effective prerequisite, and none could match the amount of car you got for your money.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    “In the foreground, you have the new face of the electric Fusion”

    That’s the Electric FOCUS, not Fusion.

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    The hood gap bothers me as well. I don’t know what it is with Ford and weird gaps. It was the gap where the trunk lid meets the body that turned me off the 1999 Taurus.

  • avatar
    kevnsd

    Jack a great idea that FoMoCo should take seriously. Carve out the Panther, Ranger and E350 into a stand alone publicly traded company… Mercury Commercial Vehicles. With talented leadership, creative design team, aggressive marketing department, competent engineering group and effective manufacturing capabilities the men and women of this new brand could most definitely carve out a solid 200,000+ vehicles per year slice of the automotive industry. There’s obviously a need for these sorts of commercial vehicle “tools”. And there’s definitely a need in this country for the solid middle class jobs this new company would create!

    • 0 avatar
      Toad

      Not a bad idea. GM could have done the same with Pontiac, grinding out rental cars and fleet vehicles only. No damage to other brands in the “family” and a great source for cheap dependable transportation.

  • avatar
    200k-min

    Can we just put all this Panther love to rest already?!? Ford wants people to forget that senior citizen of a model line because people associate it with taxi cabs, cop cars, old people and chauffer cars. Has anyone ever ridden in a Crown Vic taxi, stepped out and said “damn that was a nice ride, I’m buying me a Crown Vic”??? Heck no, and I doubt anyone in the back of a police interceptor is thinking about the vehicle. The people getting chauffered around usually drive German luxury vehicles when they are behind the wheel. Face it, the car has a public stigma and it’s high time it’s gone.

    BTW, most of the newer taxis I’ve been in have been hybrids…Camry or Prius most often. City MPG counts in those things. So, for all the “I got 30 MPG highway in my Panther” comments reality is that thing sucks on city MPG. The love of it for fleets was dying before Ford pulled the plug. Ford did the smart thing people.

  • avatar
    windnsea00

    The last year of the fleet only 2007 Taurus was durable too but just as the Panther lineup, it was severely outdated from driving manners to amenities.

  • avatar
    SteveMar

    Amen to those wondering about the endless font of Panther love here. Things sometimes look better in the rear view mirror. I think that’s the case with the Panther. When they were introduced, they played second fiddle to GM’s B and C cars. Ford improved them over the following 15 years and, unlike GM, chose to continue to support them with newer technology going forward. That said, by the late 90’s, the Panther was lagging behind other models in space utilization, fuel economy and driving dynamics. Sturdy? Yes. But certainly not the top of the market. Things only got worse over the intervening years. Really, beyond the folks who relish big, body on frame RWD cars, who in the general public was crying when the last Grand Marquis rolled off the line last year?

    Let’s honor the Panther for what it was — emphasis on WAS. And let Ford try to design and market cars that try to keep it competitive in the in the world where average people decide what to do with their next $20-30K. Believe me, if the Panther had been tearing up the sales charts, they would still be produced today. They didn’t and now they are gone from production.

  • avatar
    SteveMar

    Amen to those wondering about the endless font of Panther love here. Things sometimes look better in the rear view mirror. I think that’s the case with the Panther. When they were introduced, they played second fiddle to GM’s B and C cars. Ford improved them over the following 15 years and, unlike GM, chose to continue to support them with newer technology going forward. That said, by the late 90’s, the Panther was lagging behind other models in space utilization, fuel economy and driving dynamics. Sturdy? Yes. But certainly not the top of the market. Things only got worse over the intervening years. Really, beyond the folks who relish big, body on frame RWD cars, who in the general public was crying when the last Grand Marquis rolled off the line last year?

    Let’s honor the Panther for what it was — emphasis on WAS. And let Ford try to design and market cars that try to keep it competitive in the in the world where average people decide what to do with their next $20-30K. Believe me, if the Panther had been tearing up the sales charts, they would still be produced today. They didn’t and now they are gone from production. Makes sense to me.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    The Panther was perfect for fleet buyers that weren’t so concerned with its truck feel or resale value. Yes, retail customers want and deserve better, but what’s your point?

  • avatar
    Dan

    As a personal vehicle, why would you ever buy a new one? Ford’s neglect means a new one had absolutely nothing that a 2005 model didn’t and little enough that was missing in 2000.

    As a fleet buyer, the depressing reality is that an overbuilt, 300K tank of a car like the CV now costs as much to fuel up as an entire replacement car at the 150K mark.

    I liked old Ford a lot better than new Ford. That doesn’t do any good because the world that old Ford lived in is gone forever.

  • avatar
    bomberpete

    I drove a Ford Focus Electric hatch in Manhattan this past Saturday at the Green Expo. It’s just like the one pictured this past Saturday.

    Ever drive a pure electric car? It’s eerie quiet. It’s hardly the answer for most Americans, but I like it and have to admit I’m impressed. Ford has put together a compelling package. And the front-end design is very Aston-ish, not a bad thing unless you actually own a late-model Aston.

    Like many of you, I’m really sick of all this Panther fanboy whining. Like nature, commerce abhors a vacuum. There’s plenty of good and reliable fleet choices out there to fill the CV/GM/TC void.

    • 0 avatar
      aristurtle

      Exactly. Police forces have a number of vehicles to choose from, and taxi services (outside of NYC) will do what they always do and buy used police cruisers at auction.

      • 0 avatar
        Landcrusher

        What great choices, specifically, and will they last as long in years and miles?

        Also, plenty of taxis are bought new. I would say used cruisers are a small minority. Many of the police here are going to body on frame SUVs and Pick ups. Cabs are going to minivans mostly. I am not sure the minivans are as cost effective as the panthers.

        Some fleets are using Prius, but I am not sure if the fuel savings is beating the durability for overall cost of operation.

        I am no Panther fanboy, I am a body on frame guy. the panther was just the last one. Hate the Panther all you want, but there are good reasons such a crappy car lasted so long. I totally get the panther hate. It’s the same as SUV hate, luxury car hate, AWD hate etc. Just because YOU can’t benefit from something is no reason to hate it.

      • 0 avatar
        28-cars-later

        I doubt the minivans will be in any way cost effective over time, the hybrids may save the dollars early on but the platforms they are fielded in are not designed for durability (Camry, Altima, Escape?), let alone the powertrain. Taxis will just have more vehicle turnover I suppose, and you’ll pay for it.

  • avatar
    JaySeis

    Great question. Having a vehicle last 20 years requires a durable power train system and body corrision protection (here on the Pacific NW Coast). Given that EV’s will likely have way fewer moving parts, my guess that some present/future EV will hit that note of reliability and shame any ICV’s. All bets are off if battery tech stays in the stone age.

  • avatar
    Maniacmous

    I know part of my Panther Love is straight up sentimentality – my first car was a Grand Marquis, which I loved thoroughly. That car was a rusted out claptrap when it was given to me, and it dutifully endured over 120k painful miles with me, and then, another 30k or so with my younger sister before it was finally replaced by my parents who wanted something smaller and more fuel-efficient for her. When they were rid of it, it had over 250k on the clock and still ran like a top, with little to no downtime and virtually nothing but regular maintenance.

    The other aspect of Panther Love, at least for me, was the sheer comfort of the car. Was it a canyon carver? No, but 95% of my driving doesn’t need anything that is. Most of my driving was (and is) plain, boring, straight highway commuter mileage. And it was that at which my Grand Marquis excelled. It had ample power, plush seats (and interior in general), was quiet, absorbed bumps such that you could practically hit a speed bump at highway velocity and not feel a jolt. You just don’t get that sort of ride quality today – all lost in the name of sportiness. For sporty driving, I’ll get a sporty car, but for my daily commute – I want relaxing comfort, and there really was not (and is not) anything better for that 95% of driving that I’ve come across.

    • 0 avatar
      jimmyy

      My mother had a 96 crown vic. Junked at 130K. Repairs:

      1) Cracked plastic intake manifold. $700
      2) Broken lower ball joint. Not sure of the bill.
      3) Computer that controlled exterior lights. Hundreds.
      4) Something went wrong with turn signals in steering column. Hundreds.
      5) Brake line rusted out. Hundreds.

      Ford dealer told my mom that these problems were all common.

      What a piece of trash. When I see people posting hundreds of thousdands of trouble free miles on a 96 crown vic, I know their nose is growing real big.

      • 0 avatar
        28-cars-later

        96-02 have the plastic intake manifold its a known and common issue, the steering thing I had in my Town Car was a minor fix there was a TSB for it where the turn signal lever clicked or something. Rest of that is routine, brake/fuel lines esp in the Rust Belt where I live. At some point the big American cars stopped using steel lines and its not as much of an issue.

      • 0 avatar
        Ryoku75

        A plastic intake manifold? Yeesh, thisis a full size car yet it has sub-par materials for the intake.

        The people that get good miles out of these and Cavaliers often spend good money fixing things for a good amount of time.

      • 0 avatar
        Maniacmous

        I did have my rear brake lines replaced – but I’m in the rust belt, and road salt isn’t really kind to such things. It was an ’88 – the lines went in…2004? Not too bad I don’t think. Did that work myself, so the cost for the brake lines was nothing really to worry about.

  • avatar
    Spike_in_Brisbane

    Crown Victorias, Marquis and Town Cars are like old Mustangs, swimming pools and boats. I.e. Best when the guy next door owns one.

  • avatar
    FromaBuick6

    I’m so freaking sick of hearing about the Panther. Through sheer cheapness and neglect, Ford sold the Crown Vic essentially unchanged for over a decade past its sell-by date. Ditto on the Ranger, Econoline, Fox/SN-95 Mustang and Taurus. If Ford actually had updated its products in the ’90s and ’00s, there’d be no need for this tedious sentimentality every time one of these clunkers finally gets the axe.

    Chrysler switched its full size cars to unitized construction over 50 years ago. Fleet popularity is a weak excuse for Ford to field such an outdated car for so long.

    • 0 avatar
      Landcrusher

      And we bailed out Chrysler TWICE since then. First team with a real million mile car wins. Even with all the new tech, unibody isn’t solid enough. Sorry.

  • avatar
    SV

    I’m surprised nobody’s pointed out that the car in the picture is actually a Focus Electric, not a Fusion.

    Edit: nevermind, philadlj actually did.

  • avatar
    wmba

    Ford missed the big chance to keep the CV platform afloat, and please all the TTAC commentariat who like to buy used barges whose technical merit was moot in 1978 when this thing first came out.

    They should have made it into a van like the Nissan Alex Dykes reviewed last week. Yup, just cut off the roof at the B pillar and add a cube box out back.

    Voila, mon ami! The Ford Transit XtraConnect.

    “Ford thinks outside the box! ” Car and Driver

    “The comfy-hauling Car, Van and Truck of the Year” Motor Trend

    “Parcel-delivery Grand American Style!” Road and Track snippets.

    “Beat that XtraConnect, cheese eating surrender socialist monkeys!” Autoweek editorial of the, ahem, fortnight.

    “Ford’s new van reflects solid American values” Guns and Ammo.

    “Wallows in tight turns and returns poor gas mileage” CR

    “We’re waiting for the Lincoln MKG version.” Automobile

  • avatar

    I live in NYC and see many Towncars and Crown Vics every day, the picture is changing rapidly, more and more Camry’s are replacing those huge cars, smart move, on average, a cab driver is saving about $5000 a year on gas with any Hybrid, Camry, Escape or Altima, do the math.

    • 0 avatar
      28-cars-later

      Ford wanted the platform dead plain and simple, but it would have been interesting to see something done with Panther, either a hybrid of some kind, or a six cyl turbodiesel.

  • avatar
    MMH

    You know, the Panther thing might be a little (and just a little) tongue in cheek. Or rooting for an underdog workhorse just for the sake of doing it. Hasn’t anyone watched Rudy lately?

  • avatar
    Ben Brown

    Why do you think Ford is anxious that we forget the Panther? Do you think it was a mistake that a Crown Vic is in the background of that picture? I think the picture is intentionally communicating that Ford has a proven heritage and an innovative future. It is silly to think that a corporation or agency would overlook the entire background of their marketing images.

  • avatar
    dtremit

    Hard though it may be for some to admit, Ford’s decision to kill off the Panther has everything to do with money and almost nothing to do with branding. The car was profitable thanks to fleet sales, but not profitable enough to make major changes. Hence, when updates were required (various new crash standards in particular, I believe), the cost of updating the car would have made the car unprofitable at current/projected production rates.

  • avatar
    chicagoland

    So sick of hearing about these darn cars. Toyota can make a FWD car that lasts maybe longer than a Panther. Why can’t Ford?

    RWD is for sporty or luxury cars now, move on.

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