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Car Features


My First V8 American Car – Ford Crown Victoria

18 Apr , 2014  

Something struck me funny when I first saw it.  It’s not my usual type of car.  I had owned three Mr2’s in the past, but this time I wanted something different.

Eventually, I had made my choice.  I took home a gray, 2006 Ford Crown Victoria, the Police Interceptor edition.

Gray Ford Crown Victoria - Front - carwitter

Experian Autocheck

Sure, I’ll lose some credibility on my twitter name (@Canyondriver), but I definitely gained some jalopy cred.

Ford Crown Victorias are common police vehicles. They have been on the road as law enforcement vehicles for over two decades.

The Police Interceptor edition includes an upgraded air intake, struts with stiffer damping, steel wheels, and an oil-cooler for the transmission. Additional rigidity was added to the chassis as well.Those are functional modifications that all gear-heads can appreciate.

At over 122,000 miles, the car has been well maintained. It has a 4.6 liter V8, with 250 horsepower and 297 lb.-ft. of torque. It’s also my first V8, front-engine, rear-wheel drive combination vehicle.

Now I truly feel American.

Most people think of these cars in connection with senior citizens, with the front bench seating and boat-like ride.

This edition however, rides better than expected. The stiffened damping actually allows a degree of road feel, but the chassis is so well-braced, that rough bumps are well muted.

Compared to my Mr2 Spyder, it drives like Rolls Royce.

2006 Ford Crown Victoria - Front - carwitter

Sure, that comes off as an extreme, but it is surprisingly quiet. Road noise doesn’t seep through into the interior. The seats are well-cushioned and provide no lateral support. Trunk space isn’t measured in bags of groceries or laundry baskets, but rather, in body count. It. Is. A. Cavern.

At 40 miles per hour, the transmission shifts straight to 4th gear, and drops to 1,500 rpm. At 70 miles per hour, it’s still at a quiet 2,200 rpm. Compared to the Spyder, which hovers at 3,500 with a lot less chassis structure, the car is a library.

It is surprising how much respect the vehicle gets on the road. Sure, it looks like a cop car, but it isn’t. There is no black and white color; it’s all gray. There are no sirens on the roof. There is no additional spotlight for the baddies.

The only tell is the 16″ steel wheels that came with the car. Driver behavior has changed around me. Others purposely cruise just above the speed limit, or lay off the accelerator pedal to get below it. The few times I have been cut off on the road, the offender takes a peek back, and switches away from my lane. At four-way stops, everyone signals me to go through first, when it’s not the right of way.

Outside of normal errands, I rarely take the car out. Drives to the beach or the canyons just aren’t enticing. I tried a beach drive once, only to find the experience incredibly abstract. I couldn’t see the beach goers through my tinted windows.I didn’t hear the laughter or joy of people on the sidewalks. I couldn’t hear the ocean waves from the road from the pure insulation.

This is a definite 180 degree turn from what I’m used to with the Mr2 Spyder. Canyons are not an option. While the rear drive setup with hard compound tires allow a small degree of fun, the road feel is so unpronounced, that nothing is ever dramatic.

Still, I have to admit, while it’s not the most outrageously fun car to drive, it has it’s perks. The seating position allows for a relaxed position only. The lazy V8 with the 4-speed automatic leans toward a more relaxed side of driving. Commuting is more stress-free, regardless of how dense the traffic is in front of me. I’m calm and alone with my thoughts, heading to point B.

2006 Ford Crown Victoria - Side - carwitter

Now, I truly understand it.

Not everyone is out looking for the most fun car on the road. Not everyone wants to drive a canyon and lean on the edges of tire grip. Some people just want to take it easy, and lead a path as stress-free as possible.

The Crown Victoria doesn’t look the greatest. It doesn’t sound the greatest. It’s not the most responsive car on the road. It is, amazingly serene. The stiffer damping just allows things to be interesting enough, so I don’t fall asleep behind the wheel.

The best part is, I never had to worry about it. There are no creaks and rattles. It’s not attractive enough to be stolen. There is always room to bring other people. It’s not underpowered.

And there, lies the soul of the vehicle.

Little did I know, it would be the coolest car I’ve owned to date!

 

Written by – Mike Garcia

By  -  
Mike Garcia - Feature Writer / US Correspondent


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