by Garrett Derkovitz
Photos by Brandon McCoy
There is one cop car in America that all have come to fear. The Ford Crown Victoria is probably at the top when it comes to being the most recognizable American car in the world. From cruising the streets to high-speed chases, this infamous car has struck fear in our collective hearts in some way shape or form, whether it’s passing one while pushing the speed limit or when you notice those distinctive headlights behind you after forgetting to signal.
The car was introduced in 1955 when the Ford Motor Company created their new Fairlane model, naming it the Ford Fairlane Crown Victoria. It was one of the fanciest cars you could get in 1955-56. However it only lasted two years, and was discontinued until 1978. Ford then realized the boys at GM were naming cars after carriages and it was working. So they dusted off the name plate and created the Ford LTD Crown Victoria, also named after a carriage style. It was big, it wasn’t powerful, but it was a smooth, comfortable ride that got 15 to 20 miles to the gallon. The Crown Vic was a one of triplet of cars. It’s family from Lincoln and Mercury had fancier versions of this car which of course cost more. The family also consisted of the Mercury Grand Marquis and the Lincoln Town Car, but they had a special fleet use variant of the Crown Vic which was sold only to law enforcement agencies.
The police loved these cars; they patrolled the streets for years catching speeders and other violators. But the model years that everyone knew the best were the 1998 to 2012 Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor. If you saw this car behind you, chances are you were sweating all over trying to get a read on the situation, even though it was probably just another civilian version and you just slowed down traffic for no reason.
The Crown Vic was taken off the assembly line for good in 2012. The question you’re probably asking is why do I still see so many on the road? FLEET SALES! After the police retire a police car, they sell and auction them off to enthusiasts and people looking for a cheap, reliable car. They’ve been cared for, refurbished and probably have another 50,000 miles left in them before they start to break down. With the 5.7 liter V8 engine, you can have lots of fun with these cars.
Here at Hilbert College, we have one of these beautiful cars. Bought from the Town of Evans, the Crown Victoria lives with us every day on campus. Vito Czyz, the director of campus safety, says it’s “dependable.” It serves its purpose but doesn’t get much use until the winter hits. The light set is original, it has a scanner still, and is painted over with decals indentifying it as a campus safety vehicle. On average they put on about five to 10 miles a day added on to its 140,000 miles. “It’s a good car, and it’s holding up well,” Czyz said. The only time this car leaves the campus is for events and to fill up with gas.
So the Crown Victoria lives on with us at Hilbert.. But you probably want to avoid it if you can. College is already expensive enough. Until next time everybody!