Ford Crown Victoria

Nowhere else can see this kind of monster. Crown Victoria and its sister car Mercury Grand Marquis are the last breed of American big cars. Not just we outsiders call them "big cars", but American also call them "big cars", so you can see how large they are. Measuring at nearly 5.4 meters, Crown Victoria is one of the longest mass production cars. However, the kerb weight of "just" 1787kg make us wondering if its chassis is made of Aluminium Space Frame like Audi A8 .... just kidding. In fact, this kind of traditional big cars is used as everyday bread and butter transport, taxis, or police cars instead of luxurious cars. Therefore it does not have a lot of sophisticated components or equipment to burden it. 

Its philosophy can be summarized into 4 words : roomy, durable, V8 and cheap. Who buys it ? mostly retired old men, taxi drivers or 85% of America’s police stations. Those insist to have a V8 saloon with 6-passenger accommodation at the same price of a V6 Japanese car should seriously consider it. Who won’t buy it ? you and me. Who loves it but won’t buy it ? American steel industry ! 

Crown Victoria could be seen as a living history. Its body-on-frame separate chassis, instead of monocoque, came from Jurassic era. Not much newer is the live axle rear suspension, in other words, non-independent. Since first appeared in 1978, the platform was changed little. The result is the lack of rigidity to meet today’s requirement for handling, not even the lowest requirement. In terms of refinement, the separate chassis and live axle suspension also performs not very well on bumpy road or fast drive. Chassis noise and bump absorption are not as impressive as the weight of the car suggest. It’s better to drive leisurely.  

The Mustang’s sohc V8, detuned to 215hp, performs much better than the chassis. It output a useful 285 lbft of torque and runs quite quiet.  

Inside, there is a hall for six adults sitting comfortably. The dash board is ugly and built of very poor material, once again remind us its price tag. Police officers will be impressed by its passive safety (really, few cars have so large crumple zones front and rear) so that they don’t afraid of highway tracing.  

In Hollywood’s films, police always crash their cars but never get hurt. This inspire me 3 things : firstly, they always crash because they drive the Crown Victoria like a sports car. Secondly, they dare to drive so dangerously because they know Crown Victoria is safe. Lastly but not least, the American police offers them the Crown Victoria to crash because it is really cheap. 

It seems the old breed of big car will disappear from the planet soon. Ford is unlikely to renew it. GM already terminated its Caprice a few years ago. Chrysler not even offer such car. 

Interior of Mercury Grand Marquis 

The above report was last updated on 30 Dec 99. All Rights Reserved.

Mercury Marauder

Ford Motor Co. under the leadership of Bill Ford Junior really has a strong sense of humor. They first brought the GT40 back, styled it undistinguishable from the old car, then launched a new Mercury Marauder in year 2002 based on a 24-year-old platform (Crown Victoria / Grand Marquis) which still relies on ancient ladder chassis and live axle suspensions. To add more humor, they even drop the 302hp 32-valve V8 from Ford Mustang into its engine bay and call it "performance saloon" ! unbelievable. 

Having to pull some 1900kg of weight, I will be surprised if the Marauder "performance saloon" really does 0-60mph in 6.5 seconds as claimed. That’s not difficult to prove, as we already know a Lincoln Continental with the same power-to-weight ratio does that in 7.8 seconds. But that would have been unimportant if the Marauder "performance saloon" provide exciting handling. Ford said its chassis (like the updated Grand Marquis and Crown Victoria) gets 20% stiff up while rack-and-pinion steering replaces recirculating-ball. Also, new monotube shock absorbers are employed. The end result? still a ladder chassis dinosaur. Long, heavy, bulky, rolls a lot, gearshift interruptive... yes, it does improve a lot from the old Crown Vic, but such comparison is pointless. 

The rest of the package is as appalling. Just have a look into the cabin and you will see how outdated, how poorly-built, how cheap the Marauder is. The price tag isn’t too cheap actually. If it were sold in a third-party country (this is the way AutoZine compares cars), it would have been no cheaper than Volvo S80 T6 and Volkswagen Passat W8. Which one would you choose? 

The above report was last updated on 28 July 2002. All Rights Reserved.


Crown Victoria
Front-engined, Rwd
Front-engined, Rwd
Size (L / W / H / WB) mm
5385 / 1986 / 1443 / 2913
5382 / 1986 / 1443 / 2913
V8, sohc, 2v/cyl
V8, dohc, 4v/cyl
4605 cc
4601 cc
215 hp
302 hp
285 lbft
318 lbft
F: Double wishbones; R: live axle + Watt's link
225 / 60 R16
F: 235/50 WR18; R: 245/55 WR18
1790 kg
1890 kg
Top speed
0-60 mph
6.5 sec (claimed)
0-100 mph

Crown Victoria: related models

Mercury Grand Marquis 
Ford Crown Victoria, Grand Marquis and Lincoln Town Car are derived from the same separate chassis platform dated back to 1978. Suspension configuration of front double wishbones and rear live axle are shared among them. The cheaper Ford and Mercury are actually the same car with different styling. The upmarket Lincoln differs from them by a slightly longer wheelbase, classier packaging and air-filled self-leveling rear suspension.
The above report was last updated on 30 Dec 99. All Rights Reserved.

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