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Crown Victoria

Early Years

1955 - 1956

1956 Ford Crown Victoria The first "Crown Victoria" appeared in 1955; it was a 2-door 6-seater coupe, part of the Ford Fairlane range, that differed from the regular Victoria model (named after a type of carriage) by having a stainless steel band that 'crowned' the roofline, passing right over the car, as an extension of the B-pillar line. The model was produced in 1955 and 1956.

One version called Ford Crown Victoria Skyliner had the front part of the roof, in front of the steel band, in acrylic glass. This made the car difficult to sell, especially in the southern states in USA. Thus few Skyliners were made. Most of them ended up in Sweden, possibly because the climate was more suitable for an acrylic glass roof.

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LTD Crown Victoria (1979 - 1991)

1979 - 1980 - 1981 - 1982

Downsized two years after its main rival, the Chevrolet Impala, the new 1979 LTD was seven inches shorter than the old one, and four inches shorter than the LTD II. The platform was named the Panther. The interior remained just as large as the previous LTD though, and the whole design became more efficient; the reduced width, size, and bulk all led to improved road manners and maneuverability, which had been major drawbacks in the previous LTD. Ride quality improved as well with the new car, as did fuel economy. Originally, the LTD was offered with the 302 and 351 CID V8s. The deluxe version of the LTD was the LTD Landau, as in previous years. In 1980 the LTD Landau was renamed LTD Crown Victoria. It replaced the previous year's Landau model, and used a stainless steel band over the roof at the B-pillar (the "crown") to evoke the 1950s model. Crown Victoria had been a decor package for the Landau models since 1975. For 1981 and 1982, Ford offered a 255 CID V8. The 302 V8 was supplied with the Variable Venturi Carburetor which was prone to malfunction. Most 1979-1980 LTDs were sold with the three-speed automatic transmission, with the AOD four-speed optional.

1983 - 1984 - 1985 - 1986 - 1987 - 1988- 1989 - 1990 - 1991

1983-1987 Ford LTD Crown Victoria In 1983, when the LTD name was shifted to the mid-size Ford Granada replacement, all full-size LTDs were renamed LTD Crown Victorias. The mid-size LTD was a lesser-known model, as the name is easily confused with its full-size LTD Crown Victoria brother. It shared the same Fox platform with the 1979 to 1993 Ford Mustang, so certain components are easily interchangeable with the more popular "pony car". Perhaps the highlight of mid-size LTD production began in 1984 when the Bondurant racing school, which favored Ford Mustang GTs, transplanted the Mustang's 5.0 L V8 and T-5 five-speed manual transmission into an LTD for use at the school. One result of this was Ford's introduction in mid 1984 of an option package called the LTD LX. Known by some as essentially a four-door Mustang, this car had a centrally fuel-injected 5.0 L V8 engine paired with Ford's AOD four-speed automatic transmission, and included details such as blacked-out exterior trim, a floor shifter, and a tachometer. Police models received the same drivetrain (AOD shifter was column-mounted), 140 mph (230 km/h) speedometer, dog-dish hubcaps, and standard exterior trim. Interiors generally featured vinyl seating and rubber floormats, and many examples were equipped with special push bumpers on the front. The mid-size LTD was discontinued after the 1986 model year to make room for the then-new front-wheel drive Taurus.

1988-1991 Ford LTD Crown Victoria LTD Crown Victoria police vehicles used a 5.8 L (351 cu. in.) V-8. Earlier models utilized Ford's Variable venturi carburetor. Later models from 1986 on utilized a 4 barrel Holley carburetor. The 351 was coupled to the AOD 4 speed overdrive automatic.

Various other changes were made during these years. 1983 saw the introduction of central fuel injection (CFI) on the 302-cubic-inch models (identifiable by a fender badge reading "Electronic Fuel Injection"), which was replaced with sequential electronic fuel injection (SEFI) in 1986 (accompanied by the deletion of said fender badge). Many mechanical changes were made during this time as well, but most importantly it should be noted that all 302/5.0 L engines from 1985-on were equipped with a hydraulic roller valvetrain that allowed the use of improved camshaft profiles across the production line. The Crown Victoria, along with its cousin, the Mercury Grand Marquis, received exterior facelifts for the 1988 model year to improve aerodynamics, followed by an all-new dash, door panels, standard power windows, and standard driver's side airbag and revised steering column in 1990. 1990 was also the first year that Ford used the "10 Cut Key" on the Crown Victoria, this key opened doors and activated the ignition, but a separate key was needed for the glove box and the trunk.

1991 was a short production year with the introduction of the first Aero Body (1992) hitting the streets in 1991, but the 1991 Crown Victoria got clear parking lights/turn signals and higher trim LX Models "Turbine" 15" Alloy wheels were all silver instead of the dark titanium paint between the turbines.

Trim Lines included S Primarily used by Police, Taxi and Fleets (P72) the Base Model (P73), and The LX High Trim Model (P74).

Incidentally, the Panther platform has attracted a small but dedicated group of performance enthusiasts, the majority of whom own vehicles from the 1983-1991 time period. It is primarily these "Box body" enthusiasts who frequent online gathering-places, though the later "aero Vic" has attracted a noteworthy following as well.

First Generation (1992 - 1997)

First generation
1992 Ford Crown Victoria LX
Production 1992.1997
Engine(s) 4.6 L Modular V8
Transmission(s) 4-speed automatic
Wheelbase 114.4 in (2906 mm)
Length 1992-94: 212.4 in (5395 mm)
1995-97: 212.0 in (5385 mm)
Width 77.8 in (1976 mm)
Height 1992-94: 56.7 in (1440 mm)
1995-97: 56.8 in (1443 mm)
Fuel capacity 20 US Gallons / 75.7 Litres
Related Mercury Grand Marquis
Lincoln Town Car

1992 - 1993 - 1994

In 1992, along with dropping the LTD designation, the Crown Victoria sedan (production of the station wagon having ceased in 1991) was completely redesigned to the rounder, eight-window shape (which shared many design cues with its contemporary, the newly redesigned 1992 Taurus), and there was a new 4.6 L Modular engine.

Critics disapproved of the Taurus-like front end; consequently, it was given a front grille for the 1993 model year. Also added that year was a reflector strip between the taillights.

1995 - 1996 - 1997

Another minor restyle followed suit in 1995, with a new grille, taillights, and dash. To accommodate the design of the 1995's new taillights, the rear license plate was moved from the bumper to the trunklid, fitted between the taillights. The restyle was better received than General Motors' more radical restyle of the Chevrolet Caprice which may have contributed to its exit and Ford's ultimate dominance of this segment.

The 1996 model year brought two trim levels: Crown Victoria (base) and LX. Dual front airbags and a single-key entry system became standard, along with a hidden audio antenna, rear window defroster and tinted glass. A Handling and Performance Package with touring tires, an anti-lock brake system (ABS), and traction control system were optional and radial-spoke wheel covers were available on the base model. Automatic climate control and a JBL audio system became available on the LX.

For 1997, only slight adjustments were made in anticipation of a 1998 redesign. They included increased responsiveness and improved steering control.

Second Generation (1998 - present)

Second generation
2007 Ford Crown Victoria LX
Production 1998.present
Engine(s) 4.6 L Modular V8
Transmission(s) 4-speed automatic
Wheelbase 114.7 in (2913 mm)
Length 212.0 in (5385 mm)
Width 2007 77.3 in (1963 mm)
1998-2006: 78.2 in (1986 mm)
Height 1998-2003, 2007-present: 56.8 in (1443 mm)
2002-04: 58.3 in (1481 mm)
Fuel capacity 19 US Gallons / 71.9 Litres
Related Mercury Grand Marquis
Mercury Marauder
Lincoln Town Car

1998 - 1999 - 2000 - 2001 - 2002

In 1998, the Crown Victoria's exterior styling, rear suspension, and ignition system were updated, while the interior remained the same. The 1998 to 2002 "Crown Vics" had a revised 4-link rear suspension with a Watt's linkage. The general road handling manners have improved, but towing capacity has been reduced. The Crown Victoria also uses a coil-on-plug ignition design rather than traditional spark plug wires. This design, already being used on the 1996 to 1999 Ford Taurus SHO's 3.4 L V8 engine, was later implemented on other vehicles that used the Modular V8, including the 1999-onwards Mustang GT, and many F-Series trucks. The Crown Victoria also features a 114.7 in wheelbase and the body moved further away from the Taurus-like styling of the 1992 model, borrowing the rear doors and roofline from its Mercury Grand Marquis counterpart. 1998 marked the first year for standard 16" wheels across the model line to accommodate the larger brakes used on the refreshed car. 1998 was also the first year that Ford made center caps available on Police cars that attached onto the lug nuts (sourced from the Explorer SUV). Earlier model CVPIs were equipped with Full Wheel covers or dog dish covers that held onto the wheel by 4 nubs, that were specific to P71 and P72 cars only (HD Steel Wheels).

Not much changed for the 1999 model year, with the Crown Victoria receiving three more exterior colors and standard ABS brakes. 2000 brought an emergency trunk release system, child seat anchor brackets in the back seat, the "Belt Minder" chime to the Crown Victoria. This was followed in 2001 by adjustable pedals and increased engine output. For the 2002 model year, heated exterior side mirrors became available, along with standard floor mats, improved cloth upholstery, and a new trunk storage system option on the LX.

2003 - 2004 - 2005 - 2006 - 2007

For the 2003 model year, the chassis was again redesigned with hydroformed steel. The front and rear suspension were also completely overhauled. New inverted monotube shocks were now used (replacing the old twin-tube shocks that had been used since the 1960s). In the front, new aluminum control arms, and rack and pinion steering (replacing the recirculating ball units) have been implemented. The rear suspension was redesigned for durability in police-duty applications and the rear shocks were moved outboard of the frame rails for better handling and ease of maintenance. As a result, the road-handling manners of the Panther platform cars had improved significantly. The engine output increased due to the addition of a knock sensor for more aggressive timing.

For 2004, Ford altered the transmission, revised the torque converter for better acceleration, and updated the layout of the optional overhead console. Laminated door glass also became available to deter break-ins and thefts, reduce road and wind noise, improve protection from flying glass in a collision and filter out ultraviolet rays, reducing heat buildup and fading of the interior.

The Crown Victoria retained the same exterior styling, but 2005 models received a rear whip radio antenna rather than an integrated rear defroster antenna. 2005 models also received a new steering wheel, optional power moon roof and 6-CD changer.

The rear whip antenna was removed from the 2006 models in favor of the integrated rear defroster antenna. 2006 models also received a redesigned instrument cluster featuring a 175 mph (280 km/h) speedometer (civilian models) and a tachometer. Other additions included a standard trip computer on the LX and a perimeter alarm as an option.

For the 2007 model year, the LX Sport trim was dropped leaving the Standard and LX. Most of the LX Sport's components were then made available with the new optional Premium Sport-Handling and Performance Package. Standard AM/FM audio system with CD player and the remote keyless entry system "SmartLock" became available on all models as did daytime running lights. Even with the 2007 Crown Victoria, the overall design remained relatively unchanged from the 1979 design. It still used front independent suspension with a rear live axle on a body on frame design, using a traditional rear-wheel drive drive train.

2008 - 2009 - present

Starting with the 2008 model year, the Crown Victoria became available solely through Ford Fleet. As of June 21, 2007, the Crown Victoria was removed from Ford's website, most likely to promote the 2008 Ford Taurus. This has been the case in Canada since the 2000 model year (see below). Also, with the descent into fleet-only sales across North America, the LX Premium Sport and Handling Package and the Handling and Performance Package (the only Crown Victorias produced for the North American market with dual exhaust, save for the Police Interceptor) have been officially discontinued by Ford.

Ford had reportedly announced that it would "freshen" both the Crown Victoria and the Mercury Grand Marquis for the 2009 model year. Ford had told the Canadian Auto Workers that it would invest $200 million in the vehicles, which are assembled at the St. Thomas Assembly Plant in St. Thomas, Ontario. However, Ford released the 2009 Crown Victoria with few if any changes from the 2008 model, with no announced plans for changes in the future.

For 2009, Ford narrowed the available Crown Victorias in North America by one more model. The Standard (P73) model designation has gone by the way side, in favor of the LX. To make the LX more appealing to future buyers (those who buy the cars after their service in rental fleets) it now uses the 5-spoke alloy wheels once used specifically for the LX Premium Sport and Handling package. These wheels are used in favor of the 9-spoke design the LX has used since 2003, purportedly due to the Lincoln Town Car using 17" wheels standard, as well as the Police Interceptor and the Taxi/Commercial (P72) model. The Grand Marquis has undergone a similar change to 17" Lincoln Town Car wheels. Also, the LX Sport wheels were used on all Crown Victorias (save for the LX) sent to the Middle East. For the Police Interceptor, there are two pieces of standard equipment added to its list. The power pedals are now standard on all models, presumably to cut manufacturing costs (Crown Victoria LX, Grand Marquis LS and Lincoln Town Car all had them as standard equipment previously) and side impact airbags are also standard. There are also new, federally mandated recessed window switches.