Monday, March 25, 2013

Old Man Package

For the last twenty years, the Ford Crown Vic has been the pre-eminent police car.  Ford made millions of them and they gave good service to police agencies all over the US.  Rather than yearly model changes, they continued to refine the vehicle over the life of the model and the car became a staple of police departments everywhere.  Everyone drove Crown Vics.  Sadly, Ford discontinued the Crown Vic in 2011, but the vehicle will continue in police service until the rolling examples reach the end of their service life.  I have driven dozens of Crown Vics over my career and I'm comfortable in the drivers seat of the big Ford.

Ford called the car a Police Package, which had a larger radiator, a stronger alternator, and stiffer suspension.  Even after Ford discontinued the Crown Victoria as a consumer product, they continued to make the vehicle and badged it as the Mercury Grand Marquis, with some creature comfort upgrades.  It is a vehicle platform with lots of aftermarket support, a proven engine, good drivetrain and plenty of room in a classic sedan.

I'm a pickup truck guy.  I've been driving pickup trucks my entire adult life, but several months ago I began jonesing for a smaller vehicle, not to replace my aging 2001 Ford F150, but to complement it.  I wanted a spare vehicle, something to run errands, something that didn't suck as much gasoline as that big 5.4 truck engine, something a little shorter that I could park in a standard parking lot without having to plan where I'd park.  That long-wheelbase pickup requires a 10 acre field to turn it around.

Just about the time I began my search  for a smaller, more nimble vehicle, my sister-in-law decided to sell her car.  She had a stroke nine months ago and she and brother-in-law decided that they didn't need two vehicles. I mentioned that I was looking for a smaller vehicle and they made me a heck of a deal on a good clean used car.  A 2001 Mercury Grand Marquis.

It's low mileage for a 2001 sedan, with 87,000 miles on the odometer.  Because it's a Mercury, it isn't a Police Package, and I can feel the difference in the suspension and the handling.  The ride is a lot smoother than the police version, and I bet that if I took it through the pursuit driving course, the cones would have to be further apart in the turns.

In a strangely accidental alignment of the cosmos, both my truck and the Mercury are painted the same color and they're both built in 2001.  I've got a matched pair.  I've got to dig out the owner's manual on the Merc and acquaint myself with some bells and whistles on the dashboard of the sedan.  It's got a lot of gee-gaws that I'm not familiar with, but it should meet my needs nicely while keeping the miles off the pickup truck.  I think I'm going to enjoy this ride for several years.

It ain't a Police Package, it's an Old Man Package.


Termite said...

Add dark window tint, a front bumper push guard,
and a short black antennae to the trunk.
Then go cruise down lower 3rd street on a Saturday night and watch the punks disappear.........LOL

Old NFO said...

LOL, it's close to the PP, but no cigar! And probably leather interior too! :-)

Gerry N. said...

There's something to be said for a Geezer car large enough for a fighter aircraft to land on the hood. I like it.

My ride is a '91 F150.