Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor

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Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor
Indianapolis Metropolitan police cruiser 1.jpg
A second-generation Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor of the Indianapolis Police Department in 2008
Manufacturer Ford
Also called Ford Crown Victoria P71 (1998–2009)
Ford Crown Victoria P7B (2010–2011)
Production 1992–2011
Assembly St. Thomas Assembly, Southwold, Canada
Body and chassis
Class Patrol car
Body style 4-door sedan
Layout FR layout
Platform Panther
Successor Ford Police Interceptor Sedan
Ford Police Interceptor Utility

The Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor (colloquially referred to simply as the CVPI, P71, or Crown Vic) is a four-door body-on-frame sedan that was manufactured by Ford from 1992 to 2011. It is the law enforcement version of the Ford Crown Victoria. From 1997 to 2011, the Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor was the most widely used automobile in law enforcement operations in the United States and Canada. They were also used for this purpose on a more limited scale in other countries.


After the discontinuation of the Chevrolet Caprice, the Ford Motor Company held a near-monopoly on the market for police cruisers in the United States and Canada for over a decade, because the conventional rear-wheel drive, V8 power, and body-on-frame construction are advantageous for police use. The CVPI's body-on-frame construction allowed inexpensive repairs after collisions without the need to straighten the chassis. Rear-wheel drive made the car easier to avoid spin-outs during hard maneuvers than front drive rivals, and allowed it to better withstand rough driving over curbs and other obstacles in the urban environment.[1]

Although the Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor was not sold to the general public, they are widely available via secondhand in North America once they are decommissioned and no longer in service in law enforcement and fleet duty. The cars are in demand by taxi companies, those who want a safe, durable and/or inexpensive car, and those who need a car with a bench seat which can take three passengers in the back. The Crown Victoria Police Interceptor came equipped with many heavy duty parts such as a revised transmission, and a 186 kW (253 PS; 249 hp) engine. Used Crown Victoria Police Interceptors are normally stripped of any police decals, computer equipment, police radios, and emergency lights before being sold or auctioned to the public.[2]

First generation (1992–1997)

First generation
North Little Rock Police (3112604311).jpg
Production February 1992–1997
Body and chassis
Related Mercury Grand Marquis
Lincoln Town Car
Engine 4.6 L Modular V8
Transmission 4-speed AOD/AOD-E automatic
4-speed 4R70W automatic
Wheelbase 114.4 in (2,906 mm)
Length 1992–1994: 212.4 in (5,395 mm)
1995–97: 212.0 in (5,385 mm)
Width 77.8 in (1,976 mm)
Height 1992–1994: 56.7 in (1,440 mm)
1995–97: 56.8 in (1,443 mm)

Though the name has been officially in use since 1992, the 1979–1991 full-size LTDs and LTD Crown Victorias used the "P72" production code designation for both fleet and taxi and police models, with the model itself being internally classified as S (similar to LX). From 1992 to 1997, the police car models of the Crown Victoria (both base and LX trims) were officially known as Crown Victoria P71s.

In the 1993 model year, the Crown Victoria was given a chrome front grille and a reflector strip between the taillights. Another minor restyle followed suit in 1995, with a new grille and taillights. To accommodate the design of the 1995's new taillights, the rear license plate was moved from the bumper to the trunk's lid.

Apart from North America, between 1994-1995, 140 Crown Victoria P71's were bought for the Main Directorate for Road Traffic Safety (Russia), popularly known under its historical abbreviation GAI (ГАИ). It is a Russian law enforcement agency which is was part of the militsiya now Politisya. They were operated by the Russian Traffic Patrol (DPS) as highway patrol units around the greater Moscow area until 2010s, being one of the most powerful vehicles used by the DPS.[3]

Second generation (1998–2011)

Second generation
RCMP Ford CVPI 28A2.jpg
Production 1998–2011
Body and chassis
Related Mercury Grand Marquis
Mercury Marauder
Lincoln Town Car
Engine 4.6 L Modular V8
Transmission 4-speed 4R75W automatic 4-speed 4R70W automatic
Wheelbase 114.7 in (2,913 mm)
Length 212.0 in (5,385 mm)
Width 2007: 77.3 in (1,963 mm)
1998–2006: 78.2 in (1,986 mm)
Height 1998–2001, 2006–2011: 56.8 in (1,443 mm)
2002–05: 58.3 in (1,481 mm)
Crown Victoria Police Interceptor with Ohio State Highway Patrol.

For the 1998 model year, the Ford Motor Company restyled the Crown Victoria, eliminating the "aero" look that the first generation Crown Victoria had from 1992 to 1997; adopting the more conservative styling of the Mercury Grand Marquis. Both cars included restyled front and rear end components. The 1998 police package P71 had a chrome grille, chrome door handle trim, chrome bumper strips, and a chrome-trimmed flat black rear fascia with the "Crown Victoria" badge. At this time, the car was still known as the "Crown Victoria P71".[citation needed]

In 1999, Ford introduced the "Crown Victoria Police Interceptor" name, with a badge on the trunk lid replacing the 1998 "Crown Victoria" badge. A chrome-trimmed gloss black rear fascia, unpainted door handle trim, black bumper strips, and a gloss black slatted grille were also introduced at this time. Finally, the new "Street Appearance Package", intended to make the Police Interceptor look like a Standard (P73) model, including chrome trimming and badging, was introduced.

Midway through 1999, the taillights were also changed. 1998 and early 1999 models had a separate amber turn signal along the bottom edge of each taillight housing. Starting in mid-1999, the extra bulbs were eliminated and the turn signals returned to the combination of stop/turn setup with red lenses found in many North American cars. Although the lenses changed, the housings did not; they still had the chambers for the separate turn signals that early models had. These chambers were now empty, leaving a perfect place to install in police cars strobe tubes that would not affect brake or turn signal visibility. Non-Police Interceptors and Police Interceptors equipped with the "Street Appearance Package" retained the amber turn signal.

For 2000, the rear fascia and tail-lights lost the chrome trim, and the gloss black grille was dropped in favor of a flat black slatted grille. Further alterations were made in 2001, including removal of all trim on the plastic bumper pieces and a new honeycomb-style grille, replacing the slat-style grille as is found on previous standard Crown Victorias and CVPIs. Power adjustable pedals also became an option starting in the 2001 model year, as height diversity among officers joining police departments increased. Ford also relocated the rear window defrost switch from the left side of the dash to the direct left of the HVAC controls.

The year 2003 brought a minor redesign. The interior door panels and seats were freshened, with side-impact airbags becoming an option. The 2001–2004 CVPIs all look the same on the exterior; the way for one to tell the 2003–2011 cars apart from the 2001 and 2002 models is by examining the wheels. The suspension, brakes, steering, and frame all were redesigned for the 2003 model year. Because of the new underpinnings, the wheels for the newer cars have a much higher offset. They look almost flat, compared to the concave wheels on the older model years. Along with a new wheel design, new hubcaps were introduced. Lastly, the 2003 model year was the last model in the second generation of CVPIs to feature a cassette player in the stock head unit. However, the 2011 model did include an optional player.

Police interceptor/Mercury Marauder air intake assembly.

The 2004–2011 Police Interceptor is rated for 186.5 kW (254 PS; 250 hp) mostly due to the addition of a new better flowing air intake system. This system includes a new airbox that is similar to the Mercury Marauder airbox (raised airbox lid, deeper bottom), with an integrated 80 mm (3.1 in) mass airflow (MAF) sensor that is part of the airbox lid (but can be serviced individually). This allows for much more precise flow calibration and reduces the chances of air leakage. The P71 zip tube (the flexible rubber hose between the throttle body and MAF outlet) is also used to reduce NVH (noise, vibration, and harshness) as well as transfer air from the airbox to the throttle body with minimal flow resistance. From 2005 on, the throttle body is no longer manually operated via cable but an electronic Drive-By-Wire (DBW) set up.

Standard on the 2006 is a redesigned instrument cluster, which now sports an analog speedometer, tachometer, digital odometer with hour meter and trip meter features, and cross-compatibility with the civilian version's various features (these are normally locked out, but can be accessed through wiring modification). Kevlar-lined front doors, which might be useful as protective barriers during gunfights, are optional on the Crown Victoria Police Interceptors for the 2006 Model Year. Also introduced in 2006, for P70/P72 Commercial Heavy Duty models and P71 Police Interceptor models is a 17" steel wheel, replacing the previous 16" wheels, plus new flat gray wheel covers rather than chromed wheel covers as in previous years.

For 2008, the Crown Victoria is restricted to fleet-only sales, and all Panther-platform cars are now flex-fuel cars. The CVPI receives some new options, such as the ability to have keyless entry.

For the 2009 model year, the CVPI now has power pedals as standard equipment. Standard equipment across the entire Panther line is side impact airbags and new federally mandated recessed window switches. The CVPI also received upgraded brakes for 2009, although specifics about them are not available. The confirmation flash that occurs when the doors are locked is now automatically disabled when the Courtesy Lamp Disable option is ordered. The confirmation flash was considered to be a safety issue because the lights would flash when officers exited the vehicle and locked the doors, potentially giving their presence away at night.[4] The car gets new styled door moldings and also new for 2009 Ford placed a "Flex Fuel" badge in the lower right corner of the rear facia (2009–2011) even though they were Flex Fuel since 2008. The Street Appearance Package also gets the same new door moldings as found on the civilian fleet only Crown Victoria LX as well as blacked rear fascia like the normal Police Interceptor & Crown Victoria LX.

In 2010, the VIN code "P71" was replaced with "P7B".

The 2011 model year Ford CVPI (P70, P72 taxi/commercial and regular civilian model the P74) received updated larger front headrests to comply with new front crash rating standards.

Comparison with standard Crown Victoria

Both cars use the same 4.6 L 2V SOHC V8 (both Flex Fuel starting in 2008), Ford Modular engine, and Ford 4-speed automatic transmission. However, there are few notable differences between the Police Interceptor and standard Crown Victoria or Grand Marquis.

Engine and drive train

The Police Interceptor is equipped with an external oil-to-engine-coolant oil cooler to reduce engine oil temperatures, allowing the vehicles to operate at high rpm/high loads for an extended period of time without the risk of engine oil overheating and subsequent engine damage. This engine oil cooler can be prone to seeping oil from the O-ring seals after the high mileage operation encountered by Police Interceptors, particularly where damaged by road salt.[5]

The Police Interceptor engine calibration includes a slightly higher idle speed (by approximately 40 rpm) and minor changes in the emissions settings. The computer is tuned for more aggressive transmission shift points, and the transmission itself is built for firmer and harder shifts. The EGR system is controlled differently on 03+ vehicles than on 03+ non-police vehicles.

The 2006–2011 Police Interceptors are equipped standard with an open 3.27:1 rear axle (Axle code Z5), with a trac loc 3.27:1 rear axle (Axle Code X5) optional, and are electronically limited to 140 mph (225 km/h) due to critical driveline speed limitations (the weight of the vehicle with law-enforcement equipment on-board makes it highly unlikely the vehicle could ever reach this figure). An optional 3.55:1 trac loc rear axle ratio with 120 mph speed limiter was also available (Axle code C6). Pre-2006 Police Interceptors equipped with the 3.27:1 rear axle ratio were generally limited to approximately 128 mph (206 km/h). This compares to the standard non-P71 2.73 rear axle ratio with a speed limitation of 110 mph (177 km/h) for all "civilian" Crown Victorias.[6]

Ford used an aluminum metal matrix composite driveshaft for the 1993–2005 Police Interceptors as a measure to allow safe operation at over 150 mph (241 km/h), but it was more expensive than the regular aluminum driveshafts. Ford CVPIs were governed to 129 miles per hour. Ford reintroduced a 3.55:1 rear axle ratio for the 2006 model year Police Interceptors with a 120 mph (193 km/h) speed limitation to reduce the risk of driveshaft failure. Ford built two different gear ratios for police use. One had the 3.27 gear ratio and was built for highway use, the second option had the 3:55 gear ratio and was built for city use. All CVPIs came standard with a 3.27.1 ratio open differential, however departments could order a 3.55.1 ratio locking differential for better acceleration off the line. Also noteworthy is that all cars came standard with an open differential unless Ford's Trac-Lok Differential was ordered with the car. Trac-Lok was available with the 3.27.1 ratio and came standard with the 3.55.1 ratio.

Ford CVPI Performance as per data collected by the Michigan State Police[7]

Model 1/4 Mile
1992 Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor 17.48
1993 Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor 17.29
1994 Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor 17.25
1995 Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor 17.32
1996 Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor 16.89
1997 Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor 17.63
2003 Ford Police Interceptor 16.99
2004 Ford Police Interceptor "3:55" 16.34
2004 Ford Police Interceptor "3:27" 16.44
2005 Ford Police Interceptor "3:27" 16.44
2006 Ford Police Interceptor "3:55" 16.57
2006 Ford Police Interceptor "3:27" 16.73
2007 Ford Police Interceptor "3:34" 16.70
2008 Ford Police Interceptor "3:55" 16.29
2008 Ford Police Interceptor "3:27" 16.35
2009 Ford Police Interceptor "3:55" 16.71
2009 Ford Police Interceptor "3:27" 16.69
2010 Ford Police Interceptor "3:55" 16.42
2010 Ford Police Interceptor "3:27" 16.74
2011 Ford Police Interceptor "3:55" 16.75
2011 Ford Police Interceptor "3:27" 16.82

Body and chassis

Another difference is Ford's "severe duty" shock absorbers that offer a stiffer ride than the standard Crown Victoria. They also have black steel wheels with stainless steel or chromed plastic hubcaps.

All Police Interceptors also come with T-409 stainless steel dual exhaust systems without resonators. Standard Crown Victorias come with a stainless steel single exhaust system, while the Handling and Performance Package and LX Sport-equipped Crown Victorias have the same exhaust system as the Police Interceptor, with the resonators. The resonators further reduce noise, vibration, and harshness without adding any restriction to the exhaust system. Police Interceptors have higher-rate coil springs, approximately 0.8 inches (20.3 mm) of additional ground clearance, and thinner rear antiroll bars (shared with the LX Sport) than the Handling and Performance Package Crown Victorias; the base Crown Victoria does not have a rear antiroll bar.

On 2004 and newer models, P71s have a 200 A alternator and a 78 A h battery.

Ford also offers trunk packages for equipment storage (see below), and as of 2005, has added an optional fire suppression system to the Police Interceptor.

The bulk of police car modifications, such as installation of emergency lights, sirens, passenger seat dividers, and plastic rear bench seats, are offered as aftermarket modifications by third parties.


Police Interceptors came standard with manual cloth bucket seats, despite having the shifter on the steering column. This gap between seats is generally filled by a console holding radios, controls for emergency equipment, large firearms, and often a laptop computer or mobile data terminal (MDT). A velour split-bench was optional, with a power adjustable driver's seat being optional on both the split bench and standard bucket seats. The Police Interceptor also has a calibrated 140 mph (225 km/h) speedometer.


One way to distinguish most P71s is the small "Police Interceptor" badge that replaces the standard "Crown Victoria" markings on the trunk lid, although the Street Appearance Package (SAP) Police Interceptors forego this badge, using the standard Crown Victoria marking. Police Interceptor badges are now available for purchase online, so this identifying technique is not as reliable as it once was. Street Appearance Package (SAP) cars also use chrome trim rather than the black trim of normal Police Interceptors. P71s can also be identified by the dual exhaust and an analog 140 mph speedometer. The Police Interceptor has an additional interior trunk release in the center of the dashboard with a prominent warning decal right below it, while the civilian version has it only on the driver's door.[citation needed] All 1998 and newer Crown Victorias made for civilian (non-fleet) use have a five digit horizontal keypad (known as SecuriCode) above the driver side door handle which can be used to lock/unlock the car and open its trunk. All P70, 71, and 72 Crown Victorias are assembled without this keyless entry system so unless the driver door was damaged and had an improper replacement door installed any Crown Victoria you see with a keypad is a civilian one, while any one without a keypad is a P70, 71, or 72 fleet Crown Victoria. The only completely infallible way to identify a Police Interceptor is to look for the code "P71" in the VIN, or "P7B", as it was renamed in 2010.

Police Interceptors will have the characters "P71" as the model code in the VIN, or "P7B" for 2010+ models, instead of P70 (Stretched wheelbase), P72 (Commercial Heavy Duty/Taxi and fleet vehicles), P73 (Base), P74 (LX), or P75 (1992 Touring Sedan).

Only Police Interceptors were available with black front grilles from the factory.

Problems and criticism

Following the criticism of fires following highway-speed rear-end collisions, 2005 and later model Police Interceptors now come with an optional automatic fire suppression system and special "trunk packs" designed to prevent cargo from penetrating the fuel tank in a collision. The customer must pay an additional $150 per car for the trunk packs. For a more detailed discussion of the fuel tank leakage concerns that prompted these changes, see Ford Crown Victoria.

There were also some problems with early 2003 Police Interceptors. The newly designed steel wheels would rust prematurely, and the rack and pinion steering units would fail early (≤10,000 miles). This was not limited to the Police Interceptor; some 2004 Mercury Marauders were also affected. A recall, initiated on March 1, 2007 (07S48) affects the steel wheels used on 2003–05 Police Interceptors.[8]

Another issue with the wheels have been weld points that come loose, causing rapid air loss in tires and the potential for loss of control. A recall was issued after an investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. However, the company has created anger among civilian owners of 2003+ Police Interceptors by refusing to honor the recall unless the vehicle is still being used in fleet service. The only way this problem could be addressed is if the civilian customer complains to a dealership about air leakage problems, an inability to balance the wheels properly, or a "nibble" or excessive vibration in the steering at speed. The issue is then addressed through the "Customer Satisfaction Program" that Ford has initiated for the same wheels. Ford ultimately resolved this issue on production cars in 2006 by introducing new 17″ steel wheels for their heavy duty models. These wheels may be of interest to those who have 2003–2005 Police Interceptors, 2003–2005 P70/P72 Commercial Heavy Duty models or 2003–2008 Standard (P73) models with 16″ steel wheels and are concerned about the safety of these wheels.

The steel body-on-frame Crown Victoria Police Interceptor fares better in crashes than current unibody counterparts such as the Chevrolet Impala and Dodge Charger. Many law enforcement officers and departments swear by the proven Crown Victoria, and are reluctant to purchase other police sedans in spite of the Crown Vic's departure. Some departments have purchased the Chevrolet Tahoe 9C1, a full-size SUV, due in part to its body-on-frame construction.

Discontinuation and future

On March 12, 2010, Ford Motor Company introduced the 2013 Police Interceptor as a rebadged and reengineered version of the current Taurus. This new vehicle is on an all-wheel-drive unibody platform (with optional front-wheel drive), and it bears no relation to the rear-wheel body-on-frame Panther platform that underpinned all previous Crown Victoria Police Interceptors.[9]

In response, police departments began buying reserve supplies of the last Crown Victorias to allow them to maintain a fleet of reliable police cars into the future. The police department of Austin, Texas, has stocked up on parts on the existing CVPIs that could be used interchangeably on different model years of the Crown Victorias, and also noted that Ford had not set a price for its new Police Interceptor which was still in an untested prototype stage.[10][11] The London Police Service (Ontario) which had been stockpiling extra CVPIs, noted that while potential replacements may use less gasoline, the CVPI may be easily and cheaply converted to run on propane, giving it lower running costs than its competitors and the Taurus that Ford is touting as a replacement.[12] Others have reluctantly shifted to other models and manufacturers.[13]

In April 2011, the Ford Motor Company stopped accepting new orders for the CVPI, instead offering a version of the Ford Taurus.

On September 15, 2011, the final built Crown Victoria, a civilian model destined for Saudi Arabia, rolled off the assembly line at 12:30 PM, concluding assembly operations of the St. Thomas, Ontario, plant.[14]

In popular culture

A Police Interceptor used as a prop car in the filming of Live Free or Die Hard

As the Crown Victoria became increasingly ubiquitous within North America as a police vehicle, media from the late 1990s up to at least the mid-to-late-2010s began to follow suit and as a result the Crown Victoria has become a common set-piece in television, cinema, and video games with a North American focus. This came especially after the discontinuation of the Chevrolet Caprice 9C1. Even years after its discontinuation, the Crown Victoria continues to hold a reputation as a tool of authority within North America.[citation needed]

In Russia, the Crown Victoria became a symbol of Moscow's road militsiya from mid-1990s for over a decade.[3] The Crown Victoria is pictured on a badge awarded for 15 years of service in the DPS.[3] The cars were featured in several movies and in a 1997-1998 TV show Perehvat (The Intercept), where they tried to intercept target automobiles on Moscow streets.[3]


  1. ^ Brian Freskos (April 23, 2011). "Ford to retire Crown Vics; police cars to get makeover". Retrieved 2011-04-24.
  2. ^ "Article Archive — Law and Order, Police Fleet Manager, Tactical Response, Public Safety IT". Hendon Publishing. 2001-09-11. Archived from the original on 2012-03-09. Retrieved 2013-10-09.
  3. ^ a b c d Ford Crown Victoria DPS GAI, "Avtomobil Na Sluzhbie", Nr. 59, DeAgostini, 2014, ISSN 2223-0440, p.10-14 (in Russian)
  4. ^ Gratson, Tony (July 2008). "Ford CVPI extended through 2011". Police Fleet Manager Magazine. Archived from the original on 2009-02-20.
  5. ^ "Police Interceptor Oil Cooler Information".
  6. ^ Hagin, Matt/Bob. "FORD CROWN VICTORIA LX (1999)". The Auto Channel.
  7. ^ "MSP — Michigan State Police".
  8. ^ "Ford Recall No. 07848" (PDF). NHTSA.
  9. ^ "The New Ford Police Interceptor (Formerly the CVPI / P71) Law Enforcement Vehicle". Ford.
  10. ^ Isadora Vail (April 17, 2011). "Austin police ask for $4.5 million to stock up on Crown Victorias". Statesman. Archived from the original on April 21, 2011. Retrieved 2011-04-24.
  11. ^ Gurliacci, David (2011-03-31). "Norwalk Police Buying Eight of the Final Batch of Crown Victoria Patrol Cars". Norwalk Patch. Archived from the original on 2011-08-23. Retrieved 2011-04-24.
  12. ^ Sher, Jonathan (2010-09-09). "Stockpiled Crown Vics defended". London Free Press. Retrieved 2011-04-24.
  13. ^ David, Brennan (2011-04-16). "Police switching to Tahoe SUV". The Columbia Daily Tribune. Columbia, Missouri. Archived from the original on 2011-04-21. Retrieved 2011-04-24.
  14. ^ "The Last Crown Vic Rolls (but Not as a New York Cab)". New York Times. 2011-09-15. Retrieved 2011-09-16.

Further reading

  • Sanow, Edwin J (1997), Ford Police Cars, 1932-1997, Motorbooks International Publishers, ISBN 0-7603-0372-X

External links

  • Ford Crown Victoria (U.S.): Police Interceptor | Commercial Version (includes long-wheelbase version)
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