Welcome to the Crown Vics ETC blog!

On April 6, 2000, I purchased a 1998 Ford Crown Victoria LX HPP with 23,490 miles. I decided to start a little website for it featuring a running log of my experiences with the car. Vic 1.0 was retired in 2015 due to rust and electrical issues. Vic 2.0 was a 2006 P71 in Blue Pearl that belonged to my boyfriend. It was a Ford demo and never saw actual police use. It was damaged in September of 2018 with well over 186,000 miles. It was replaced by Vic 3.0 in October 2018, a 2008 P71 in Silver Birch with 120,971 miles. To read posts prior to 2010, click a link at right, or go to Crown Vics, ETC.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

12/22/10 UPDATE

We finally have snow here in the Boston area.  Yesterday Vic got covered in salt for the first time this season.  I was not looking foward to the idea of the evil stuff coming into contact with the fenders... Spotted a marked Taurus in Wayland MA the other day... Didn't get a good look at it, not sure if it is an actual '11 Interceptor or just a regular Taurus.  Too much traffic to turn around for a look...

Monday, November 29, 2010

A Vic Takes a Hit...

This thanksgiving, Todd's mother had a little ooopsie with her Vic.  Somehow or another, she managed to hit a parked car.  Long story short, we drove out to help her, and upon arrival, found her car perfectly drivable, with the worst damage being a blown airbag.  The parked car that got hit was a recent Nissan Altima.  All I know is, I would NOT want to get hit in an Altima!!  The trunk lid had popped open, the trunk floor looked all pushed in, and the bumper was all smashed upwards.  It had to be towed away. 

Todd just drove his mother's Vic home.  No drips.  No front end damage.

DAMAGE:  small hole in left marker light, small hole in grille, bent license plate, plate holder wrecked, bumper wrecked, crack in header panel, blown driver's airbag.  So far, the car is perfectly drivable.

But that Nissan..............

(Hood does shut... Todd had it popped open for inspection)

Monday, November 22, 2010

11/22/10 UPDATE

Vic's snow tires are on.  Still need that oil change.  Was planning to attend recent MA state vehicle auction, but it was a good thing I went to the preview... all they had was junk!  Poor P71's all smashed up and picked apart... There were only about 3 whole unmarked cars, and they didn't look all that great.  The sight of all those dead Vics was depressing...

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Beloved police partner headed for retirement

Beloved police partner headed for retirement - Ford to phase out Crown Vic in 2011

Graphic Comparing cruisers

He takes his police cruiser to the car wash at least three times a week. He dangles a yellow “Vanillaroma’’ scent tree from the console to mask the stench of stogies smoked by the overnight patrol officers. And sometimes, late at night when the city is quiet, Montalbano, the son of a cop, will take the 250-horsepower sedan out onto Interstate 93 and hit the gas until he is flying down the open road.

“For years, my father would say ‘You’ve got to take it on the highway and open it up,’ ’’ Montalbano said, grinning as he sat behind the wheel of his Crown Vic during a recent night shift.

Like his father and thousands of other officers across the country, Montalbano is a diehard Crown Vic devotee. For more than 30 years, the hulking, blunt, long-nosed car has been an officer’s battering ram, mobile office, dinner companion, and stoic partner. But now, that love affair is headed toward the scrap yard.

In 2011, the last Crown Vic will roll off the Ford assembly line to make way for a new police vehicle — the 2012 Ford Interceptor, a sleek cruiser with all-wheel drive, better gas mileage, and new gadgets, such as rearview cameras and radar sensors that detect vehicles in surrounding lanes. As the Crown Vics wear out, police departments will have to look for new options, and that realization has left some officers feeling despondent.

“Ford is making a big mistake,’’ said Quincy Officer Mike Foley, who has been driving Crown Vics for at least 12 years. “I will probably shed a tear when the last Crown Vic goes down the assembly line.’’
The first Crown Victoria was rolled out in 1955 as a regular sedan, but it was not until 1978 that police departments began using the car in their fleets. Over the years officers fell in love with the car’s rear-wheel-drive action, its ability to withstand hits and keep going, and the feeling of safety the large frame provided.

Today, most cars in police fleets across the country are Crown Vics, which cost between $21,000 and $25,000. In Massachusetts, they are bought through a bidding process. Of the 3,000 vehicles owned by Massachusetts State Police, 1,700 are Crown Vics. In Boston, they account for more than half of the department’s 908 vehicles.

Departments have flirted with other models, such as the Chevy Impala, which is fast but was dismissed by many officers as too small for their bulky duty belts and equipment. The Caprice, which resembled the Crown Vic with its rear-wheel drive and large frame, was wildly popular with law enforcement, but when Chevrolet abruptly stopped making the model in 1996, police departments returned in droves to the faithful Ford.

“We’ve seen a lot of models, but none of them hold a candle to the Crown Vic,’’ said Montalbano, a 13-year veteran.

He recalled the story of one Crown Vic that was almost destroyed after a bank robber smashed into it. Six months later, the car was back on the street, its engine purring, the body gleaming and without a scratch. Foley remembered a head-on collision with a teenager speeding down Quincy Shore Drive. Foley said he walked out of the car, not a scrape on him.

“It’s a great car,’’ said Medford police Officer Harold MacGilvray. “You can’t kill them.’’
But with average drivers now going for smaller sedans, it did not make economic sense for Ford to continue producing the large car for a specialized market, said Ed Sanow, editorial director of the magazines Law and Order and Police Fleet Manager.

“Law enforcement is so traditional. While they would miss the Crown Victoria, they would miss anything that they’re used to,’’ said Sanow, a sheriff’s deputy in Indiana. “It’s a real struggle to get the message across that volume drives choices. If there is no volume for the car, I’m sorry, the police version of that is going away, too.’’

Around 2005, Ford put together an advisory board of law enforcement officials from across the country, including Sanow, to provide feedback on new police models.

State Police Sergeant Mark Caron, who also sat on the board, recalled deep resistance when the members learned the Crown Vic would be replaced entirely.

“I thought there was going to be a mutiny at one meeting,’’ said Caron, the department’s fleet administrator.

Then the officers got to try the two Interceptor models, one a sport utility vehicle and the other a sedan based on the Taurus. They drove the cars on highways, over rough terrain, and through police obstacle courses. They tested the high-tech accessories. They sat in the roomy seats, which are sculpted to fit an officer’s utility belt and gun holster.

Caron said he quickly changed his mind.

“It hugs the corners, it really handles well, and it fits like you a glove,’’ he said of the Interceptor. “What I’ve been telling my guys is once they get into the new car and drive it, I think they’ll like it.’’
Lieutenant Jeffrey Silva of the New Bedford Police Department said the Crown Vic will eventually become a nostalgia piece.

“I think we would all agree that we’re trading in the radio, if you will, for the flat-screen TV,’’ he said. “While no one wants to go back to the radio, our parents and grandparents probably would tell you they miss those Saturday evenings and Sunday evenings with the family all together, huddled by the radio, listening to different programs.’’

It is hard to predict what will replace the Crown Vic. Its demise will encourage police to consider choices beyond Ford’s two new models. Dodge is rolling out its own police car, and Chevrolet is bringing back the Caprice, a potential comeback that has many officers excited.

“This is going to be wide-open bare-knuckled competition. No holds barred,’’ Sanow said. “I don’t know how this is going to turn out. If you’re a car guy . . . this is fingernail-biting exciting.’’

Asked whether a new model will give police an edge in sneaking up on perpetrators, who have learned to be aware of Crown Vics, some officers scoffed.

“Everybody knows what the police are driving,’’ said Boston police Sergeant Detective James Fong, who drives a unmarked Taurus on patrol in his district in Brighton. “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to look in the police lot and see what they’ve got.’’

Whatever hits the road, letting go of the past will be hard, Caron acknowledged.
He predicted he will have to harass many troopers who will undoubtedly drag their feet when they are told to turn in their worn-out Crown Vics.

“We’ll put black flags on the building here,’’ Caron joked. “We’ll have to put black shrouds around the Crown Vic.’’

Friday, November 5, 2010

11/5/10 UPDATE: Tired...

Yesterday I spent money I didn't want to spend to get two new snow tires for Vic.  They will go on the rear, while the best used ones will go up front.  Vic has been feeling a little "loose", so I may take it in for a check-up soon.  Also needs an oil change...

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

10/26/10 UPDATE: Windowerks...

Well, today, out of nowhere, my back window started working.  No idea why.  Thing is, it only goes down about half way, then it starts to bind.  When I got home, I took the door panel off and sprayed grease along the track the window rides on.  This helped a lot, but if I put it down too far, it stays there.  I can grab the glass and pull up, and it will start again.  I think maybe while struggling to install the window motor, I may have messed up the regulator a bit. 

Oh, and Vic hit 118,000 today...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

10/21/10 UPDATE: New Windshield

Vic got a nice, new, pit-free windshield this morning.  I just couldn't stand in any more!!  I was going to get it replaced last year, then said "EH!  I'll wait until winter is over...".  Well, the other day the sun hit the glass just right, and all I could see was pits... no road... Soooo, yesterday I made the required phone calls, and I can't wait to take a drive tomorrow and actually see where I am going!  One thing I find interesting is that for the first time, they put in the newer style that has the black dots by the rear view mirror. 

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

10/5/10 UPDATE

Well, Fall is officially here.  And with Fall comes thoughts of snow tires.  I need to replace two of my Goodyear Ultra Grip Ice tires.  I have been asking local tire shops when I can expect to be able to order some, and no one seems to have a real good grasp on when snows will start to ship. 

Mom's Town Car is back from the body shop.  The less said about their work, the better.  Let's just say that if it were MY car, I'd be on the phone with the insurance company demanding they do something about it.  At least I know not to go to them myself...

Vic is up to about 117,500 miles now.  Front left fender is starting to get more rust bubbles.... poor thing...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

9/22/10 UPDATE: Window Pains...

I finally bought and installed a new window motor for Vic's rear-passenger door.  Thankfully, Todd (aka: Mystery Mechanic) had bought me a bunch of tools a long time ago.  The bolts holding the old motor in were those star/hexy things.  I put the right bit in a ratchet, and out the bolts came.  The hard part was getting the pump off the regulator.  After much prying, off it came.  Installing the new motor was a lot simpler.  Though there was one drawback...

The window still won't work.  That means I will most likely STILL have to take it somewhere to get it fixed.  Not happy...

Mom's Town Car is in the body shop having it's side-swipe repaired.  I wonder how it will come out...

Old & New Parts
Works better with a ratchet...

Monday, September 6, 2010

9/6/10 UPDATE: What's Next???

After a week of awful car-luck, things got worse Saturday.  Todd's parents were set to leave Maine for home after their annual stay.  But they couldn't leave... because the transmission in their '03 P71 stopped working.  Todd and I had to borrow a car trailer, bring it 80 miles to home, re-wire part of it, then drive north 3 hours.  It took a while to get the dead car onto the trailer and tied down.  We left at about 2:30AM.  Some time after 4AM, one of the 4 tires started coming apart.  I noticed the sparks in the darkness.  We found a rest stop and... well... stopped.  It just so happened there was a man on duty with a roadside assistance truck (a very small one).  Eventually, we decided to just take the bad wheel off, chain up the axle, and drove home with only 3 tires on the trailer.  Both of us were falling asleep at the wheel... Yes, I had to drive for a while.  By the time I got home, my dad was getting out of bed.  I fell asleep so fast, I barely remember putting on my jammies.  

Getting more gas... with 4 trailer tires

The bad tire...

Friday, September 3, 2010

9/3/10 UPDATE: Bad Things Happen in 3's

Holy Cow!  The moon must be perfectly aligned with some planet or another to have such bad luck!  It all started with my Mom's 1999 Town Car leaking coolant from somewhere.  We dropped it off at my old mechanic, but by the end of the day, Dad's 1995 Town Car was smelling like smoke.  So his went there that night.  Next morning, knowing things happen in 3's, I expected something to happen to my car.  It did.  While driving Dad to work, the car was running awful and the engine light went on.  Bad coil pack, which my mechanic fixed.  BUT, I was told it burned out because of COOLANT leaking onto it.  In other words, there is a very good chance I will need an intake as well. 

Fast foward a bit, and Ma's car is home.  She and Dad are on the way to a doctor appointment... and he car starts stinking of coolant.  Now it is getting a new heater core.  Half the car is ripped apart.  I think Dad's needs a new instrument panel (digital), if we can find one...

Which brings up the question:  how long do you keep a car?  All three have over 100,000 miles and are over 10 years old.  We won't even go into rust...

My parents are renting a car for a few days.  For the first time in years, a Chevy is spending the night in our driveway...

Monday, August 30, 2010

8/30/10 UPDATE

Today Vic got a new set of tires.  Since it may be the last it will get, I decided to FINALLY try out some Goodyear RS-A's.  They are the H speed rated version.  Some folks love these tires, some hate them.  My boyfriend Todd has had many sets, and feels usually they are good on dry pavement, can be OK in the rain, but are AWFUL on wet Boston roads.  I am hoping that since I don't drive in Boston, I will be OK.  Time will tell.  And I can't pass judgement until the new-tire-squidgies are worn off.  I tend to go through tires rather quickly, so the low tread-wear rating should be interesting to follow.  Todd's current V-rated set has lasted a very long time!

Still have to deal with the window motor in the back door.  Also, I realised that the same dealership that worked on that door didn't do the coolant change I got charged for.  I need to get up the nerve to talk to the service manager on that...

(yes, that is rust on the wheelwell...)

5/25/2010 UPDATE

I have been meaning to type an update for some time, so here it is. Vic is still chugging along, and that is a problem. Why? Because it continues to rust. What do you do when you have a car you like, runs fine, but is starting to look a little rough around the edges? I have some decisions to make in the future...

Todd and I figured out that my non-funtioning rear window is most likely due to a bad wiper motor. I keep forgetting to order a new one. Looks like a trip and a half to replace, too!

Vic now has its summer wheels on, and they still look pretty darn nice. Thing is, the Goodyears are wearing out. So again, I have to think about if it is worth buying yet another set of tires. I have some money saved up for some, but with my unemployment benefits almost over, I don't think I will be able to do 4 new ones. I'd hate to only have 2 new ones. I hate mis-matched stuff...

I recently did a cheap engine-bay spiff. The results are below, along with a shot of Vic getting its 2010 inspection sticker. Readers may recognize Dad's old '95 P71, which used to belong to Todd. Our mechanic is still using it for parts runs, etc. So it is still alive. So is it's twin in central MA, though it is soon to be retired due to rust.
Compare to engine views from the past!

All inspected and legal for another year

2/5/2010 UPDATE

The other day Vic hit 110,000 miles. Snapped a photo of the event while on Rt2. And we are coming up to our 10th anniversary. Time flies...

1/25/2010 UPDATE

A couple of weeks ago while wasting time looking for trains to photograph, Vic's battery light came on. Instead of heading home, I figured it would be OK as long as I kept the car running. I was wrong. Long story short, the alternator went... again... Somewhere in my long running log you will find it already being replaced. I should have done it myself again, but I was about 35-40 miles from home, and only 1 mile from a Ford dealer. So I got a ride home, and Vic got a new alternator, a coolant flush, and the DOOR AJAR issue fixed. That was a bad door latch. Of course, now the door's window doesn't work. I may be able to fix that myself, but it just goes to show you can't go anywhere without something else breaking...

1/6/2010 UPDATE

It's a new year, and I sure hope it gets better soon. Poor Vic is being eaten by salt. I repainted the winter steel wheels with semi-gloss Rustoleum before it got cold outside, and so far they are holding up.

Forgot to mention that this summer Dad's '95 P71 (ex-Mystery Mechanic) was retired, and he now has Mom's '95 Town Car. Mom now has our mechanic's '99 Town Car.

Mom's new/used 1999 Town Car

Unemployment means more miles... WHY??