Tuesday, January 3, 2017

MEN IN BLACK edition Crown Vic

On the tony hills of Park Slope I found this throwback. Once ubiquitous as a fleet vehicle for taxis and cops it is becoming more scarce with every year. I hereby present to you: the 1980s!
This is a 1983 Ford LTD Crown Victoria in Dark Blue Poly. This represented Ford downsizing just in time for the '80s and they did so with huge success. This car is built on the Panther platform which provided such hits as the Lincoln Town Car and the Mercury Grand Marquis. The Panther platform was versatile enough that it lasted from 1978-2011.
Under the skin is 100% old technology; V8 engine up front driving the rear wheels. The 1991 version of this ride with the larger 5.8 liter V8 was the very last American car built with a carbureted engine.
The name Crown Victoria harkens back to the 1955 Ford Fairlane Crown Victoria Skyliner. That original car had a chrome band going over the roof from between the front and rear windows just like this one, but the Skyliner had a glass panel replacing the roof from the band forward to the windshield. As lovely a concept as it was the reality was that you couldn't keep the car cool in summer! It lasted only 2 years but the legacy can be seen in that chrome band.
*If you really want to go back the name Victoria was originally given to a type of horse driven passenger carriage with a half roof from 1870.
These pretty cool turbine-style wheels were available on various Ford and Lincoln products over the years and might just be original to the car. The missing centerpiece would hold the clue as it always contained the logo of the division. 
This little crown lets everyone know you're royalty. 
Oh look at that plush padding on the landau vinyl half-roof! Nothing says "I'm around or past retirement age" like this cushy detail. By the way this is Dark Royal Blue vinyl in faux elk grain.
This is such a straightforward cop-car ride.
You can see the third brake light through the back window in this pic. It wasn't a federal requirement until 1989 so this is an early addition. 
In the 1980s domestic auto design tended to be totally squared off crisp lines. One advantage is that those huge bumpers look like they belong on the car rather than being a late addition.
This car is just a collection of rectangles right down to the taillights.
The chrome trim surrounding the wheel wells and running along the rocker panels denotes a passenger model rather than fleet. 1983 is a strange moment in the history of this name as the LTD was also a smaller car based on the Fox platform (like the '80s Mustangs and Fairmonts). However it was still employed in the stand-alone model shown here. Unlimited limiteds? 
We can see this beast is loaded with options from the split front seat to the cruise control buttons on the steering wheel and power windows. However I can't for the life of me figure out what is coming out of the dash just past the 2 o'clock position on the wheel. Whatever it is is installed where the passenger side center vent opening ought to be. I looked into optional CB placement but those were mounted to the left of the radio.
In addition to serving the police departments of the U.S. these were ultra popular as taxis. Checker stopped production right around when this ride was built and even though they drove side by side for years the yellow fleets eventually became Crown Vics or Chevy Caprices.
Well there we have it; an unlikely survivor on the city streets 33 years after it left Detroit. It's always a bit strange to see the luxury edition of what was mostly a fleet vehicle, and this one hails from a blind spot on the classic car timeline. Some 1983 cars are getting a second look (first generation Iroc Camaros and Knight Rider edition Firebirds) but for the most part people couldn't care less. Due to such ambivalence cars like this are almost always destined for the crusher. Give it another 10 years through and while I doubt it will be very valuable this thing will probably turn heads.

No comments:

Post a Comment