By on January 18, 2016

06 - 2004 Ford Crown Victoria in California Junkyard - Photo by Murilee Martin

Ford Panthers are easy to find in American self-service wrecking yards, to put it mildly, and the most common Panther of them all is the P71 Police Interceptor version of the Crown Victoria.

I daily-drove an ex-San Joaquin County Sheriff’s ’97 P71 for most of the 2000s and thought it was one of the best car-per-dollar-spent deals I’ve ever had. However, it takes a very special Crown Vic to stand out sufficiently from the junkyard crowd and get into this series.
07 - 2004 Ford Crown Victoria in California Junkyard - Photo by Murilee Martin

I shot a professionally-painted stars-and-stripes ’89 Olds last year, but nicely executed American-flag paint jobs are quite rare on junkyard cars (badly executed flag paint jobs, on the other hand, are easy to find). This ’04 Crown Vic, which started life as a police car and ended it as a patriotic-looking San Jose taxicab, has a pretty good Old Glory costume.

13 - 2004 Ford Crown Victoria in California Junkyard - Photo by Murilee Martin

You’ll find one in every car, sometimes in a puddle of rainwater.

21 - 2004 Ford Crown Victoria in California Junkyard - Photo by Murilee Martin

It appears that this cab was operated by American Cab, which specializes in star-spangled vehicles.

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46 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 2004 Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor, American Flag Option Package...”


  • avatar
    Nick 2012

    Is there any way to get a 12V device to pull the mileage off newer cars with digital odometers? In 7 years, how will we be able to tell if the ragged Sonata made it to 200k or turned in early at 100k?

    • 0 avatar

      Can’t you just put a charge box to the battery (or battery leads) and twist the key?

      • 0 avatar
        Nick 2012

        That was my thought at first, but in my limited junkyard spelunking, only a slim percentage of cars retain the key.

        • 0 avatar
          afedaken

          12V, pry the column and short the acc line should do the job.

          On my CANBUS ODB2 Solstice, I can read the milage with an ODB2 code reader even without the key in the ignition, but that may not be true of all makes.

          • 0 avatar
            ClayT

            BMW’s will show the mileage when the key is out, by pushing the trip odometer reset button.
            You’d think Ford would implement a similar function.

    • 0 avatar
      econobiker

      Yeah,good question!

      I wish the yards would write the last shown mileage on the vehicle especially if someone rips the dash out.

    • 0 avatar

      I bring a 12V battery pack (8 AAA cells in a holder with wire leads) to the junkyard when I’m looking to buy something low-powered-electrical, but it hadn’t occurred to me to try to power up the car enough to read the digital odometer in a car like this. Maybe I’ll give it a shot in the near future.

      • 0 avatar
        tylermattikow

        Those new lithium jump starter packs are really great. I have a couple of them now. It’s really cool that you can start a car with something the size of your hand. The best part is that they hold a charge unlike the old style heavy leadacid jump starters which always seemed to be dead when you needed them most. I have the Anker one and it seems pretty good, you can usually score one on sale for around $50..

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    Having just bought gas at $1.35/gallon, I say let the Crown Vics roll!

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      Cramped interior; floaty ride; awful seats; lousy ergonomics; subpar safety; terrible performance and handling. These were terrible vehicles when they were relevant 20 years ago, and time isn’t on their side.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        Why is it so hard for you to empathize with Panther owners?

        • 0 avatar
          VoGo

          Thanks to Avis, I’ve empathized plenty with Panther owners.

        • 0 avatar
          Luke42

          @alja: “Why is it so hard for you to empathize with Panther owners?”

          I empathize all too well… The Panther drives like my old Ranger with a car body on it.

          Driving like my old Ranger is not exactly the pinnacle of automotive refinement. I’ll put my 2004 Sienna against it for every aspect of its performance, drivability, safety, and longevity.

          Oh, and my Prius has more rear legroom and is better for rear facing car seats than the last rental Panther I drove.

          Like my Ranger, the Panther was in production long after its obsolete. The difference is that the Ranger didn’t have an entire marketplace full of excellent replacements.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            I own a 2014 model year car with 370hp but I still enjoy driving Panthers around.

            I don’t know what it is I’m missing about why these suck so bad (maybe I need to crash one or something?), but until I figure it out I’ll keep on liking them.

            I also love how modifiable they are for a 4-door. That is certainly something your Prius and Sienna lacks.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Your Charger has similar build quality to Panther as well! :D

        • 0 avatar
          VolandoBajo

          Because VoGo hates anything that consumes more than minimal resources in the interest of making the owner’s existence more enjoyable. And those damn Panthers don’t consume that many resources that they can be considered useful for solving the “problem” of an energy glut.

          Ergo, to him, Panthers and their owners are persona non grata.

      • 0 avatar
        Nick 2012

        Have you sat in its Taurus replacement?

      • 0 avatar
        BalmyRodLincoln

        Woah woah woah… Cramped interior? Compared to what, a Yukon?

      • 0 avatar
        scottcom36

        The rear door sure is narrow!

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Must have still been a good running car since someone pulled the engine out. These cars will run as long as you want them to. I would say most of these Crown Vics and Grand Marquis that hit the junkyard are still mechanically sound.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    I thought the P71’s had a better , non floaty suspension package ? .

    This old war horse looks pretty solid after all these years of duty .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    The worn out P71 ex-cruiser is a favorite hood ride round my way, they usually sport body damage and peeling paint, along with dark tints and the stock steel wheels. Yesterday I saw one in “peak beater” status: cruising down I70 with a taped over passenger side window, a crumpled front corner, and it was leaving a trail of white smoke from the engine bay, which I assumed was an overheating condition. These things are tanks and will keep running in that state for an unsettlingly long time. The 4.6 mod motor will cycle air through cylinders in an alternating fashion to keep an engine without coolant from overheating. The panther is ghetto approved. Grand Marquis are also common, especially with a vinyl top and rolling on Rim Tyme’s finest $50 a week set of 20 inch Chinese junk.

  • avatar
    Balto

    More importantly, how is there a puddle of rainwater in a California junkyard find? Seems like that’s the real rarity here.

    • 0 avatar
      -Nate

      Might not be _rainwater_ Balto……

      Ew .

      -Nate

      • 0 avatar
        econobiker

        “Maybe leaking radioactive heavy water?”

        I, too, have witnessed the aftermath of vehicles at self serve parts yards being used as relief stations…yuck!

        • 0 avatar
          -Nate

          Yeah and most often when there’s a good carpet or something I need up under the dashboard…..

          I was in Nevada over the Holidays , naturally I was walking the local Junk yards looking for good stuff (bingo) and they had the entire front suspension cut off a nearly new P71 and for sale complete , almost $1,000 IIRC ~ someone must be needing these things .

          -Nate

          • 0 avatar
            Ostrich67

            Those front clips are a popular bolt on swap to Ford Trucks from the mid Fifties and later to replace the solid front axles and the Twin I-Beam. Interesting fact-the front frame sections on Ford full-size cars and trucks has been 36 inches wide since the mid ’50s.

          • 0 avatar
            -Nate

            Thanx Ostrich .

            I figured something like that .

            -Nate

    • 0 avatar
      Ostrich67

      That’s pee. Don’t think the car freshener will make that fresh.

  • avatar
    NikkoCharger

    Sad to see a Marauder in the background.

  • avatar
    econobiker

    Re.: Little Tree Air Car-fresheners- “You’ll find one in every car, sometimes in a puddle of rainwater.”

    Miller to Otto: “Find one in every car. You’ll see.” Repo Man, 1984

    Viva the full-interior coverage, rubber floor mat!!!

  • avatar
    STS_Endeavour

    That’s a 2004? The instrument cluster configuration suggests it’s a 2006 or newer.

  • avatar
    Ostrich67

    Look under the hood, it still has the siren!

  • avatar

    Yes ‘Murica!

    I just found a Phoenix Suns car (click my name).

    Gotta love the strange paint schemes and wraps. Every once in a while you might even find an art car.


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