New York City’s taxi fleet finally said farewell to the Ford Crown Victoria earlier in 2023, but the big, body-on-frame sedan lives on as a police car in Los Angeles. The city’s sheriff department bought 600 examples of the Crown Vic before production ended, and 429 are still in service.
“The Crown Victoria is a rugged and durable platform that has held up great over the years,” Sergeant David M. Davis of the LASD Fleet Management Unit told our friends at The Drive. While it’s not the most modern patrol car in the department’s fleet, it remains popular among older law enforcement officers, who have spent the majority of their career behind the two-spoke steering wheel and the wide dashboard.
One reason why the LASD has managed to keep older Crown Victoria patrol cars around for over a decade after production ended is that the sedan is pretty much built like a truck. It uses body-on-frame construction (it shares its Panther platform with the Lincoln Town Car and the Mercury Grand Marquis), and the last examples made were powered by the tried-and-true 4.6-liter V8 engine also found in pickups.
And, as The Drive points out, it helps that these patrol cars operate in one of the nation’s warmest and driest climates. While the sun bakes the clearcoat and creates Grand Canyon-like openings in the dashboard, the lack of road salt keeps the frame and the body rust-free.
Keeping the Crown Vic around is becoming a challenge, however.
“The biggest maintenance challenge we have encountered is the growing obsolescence of some mechanical parts that are needed for repairs,” Sergeant Davis told The Drive. He didn’t specify which parts his department is having a difficult time finding. He added that it’s hard to predict when the final Crown Victoria will earn a well-deserved retirement because the remaining cars vary in mileage and overall wear.
Ford ended production of the Crown Victoria in September 2011, the final examples built were 2012 models, and the 4.6-liter V8 remained in production in the E-Series van through the 2014 model year. The model wasn’t directly replaced, and the Panther platform died with it.
Los Angeles will be out of options if it wants to replace the Crown Victoria with a sedan. Dodge is ending production of the Charger in 2023, so the law enforcement-ready Pursuit model will likely retire at that time as well. We’re left with the Ford Police Interceptor Utility, which is based on the Explorer, the Dodge Durango Pursuit, which isn’t long for this world, and the Chevrolet Tahoe Police Pursuit Vehicle (PPV).