Ford Crown Victoria II 21998 - 2012
Model: Crown Victoria (1955 - 2012)
Wikipedia (Crown Victoria): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Crown_Victoria
For the 1998 model year, the Crown Victoria underwent a major styling change; a number of mechanical updates were made as well. In a move further away from the Taurus-inspired 1992 styling, the Crown Victoria now shared its roofline with the Mercury Grand Marquis. To differentiate itself from Mercury, the Crown Victoria was given larger headlights and a rectangular grille. The interior design saw little change aside from a new
Mechanically, a revised 4-link suspension with a Watt's linkage was added to the rear axle; while not a change to independent rear suspension, general road handling manners improved (at the expense of towing capacity). Larger brakes necessitated the standardization of 16-inch wheels. Police cars (P71/P72) switched from full wheel covers and dog-dish covers held onto the wheel by 4 nubs (on HD Steel Wheels) to a design with center caps that attached onto the lug nuts; these were sourced from the Explorer SUV. Under the hood, coil-on-plug ignition replaced the traditional spark plug wires; a first for the 4.6L Modular V8, this was a design borrowed from the 3.4L V8 used in the 1996-1999 Ford Taurus SHO.
The Crown Victoria was replaced as Ford's flagship sedan with the introduction of the 2005 Ford Five Hundred. However, the 5,424 Crown Victorias sold in January 2007 far exceeded the 3,526 of the newer Five Hundred (rebranded as the Taurus in 2008) which was a more technically advanced full-size car with similar passenger space and better fuel economy.
Not much changed for the 1999 model year, with the Crown Victoria receiving three more exterior colors and the previously optional ABS brakes became standard.
2000 brought an emergency trunk release system, child seat anchor brackets in the back seat, the "Belt Minder" chime to the Crown Victoria. This was followed in 2001 by adjustable pedals and increased engine output.
For the 2002 model year, heated exterior side mirrors became available, along with standard floor mats, improved cloth upholstery, and a new trunk storage system option on the LX.
For the 2003 model year, the chassis was again redesigned with hydroformed steel. The front and rear suspension were also completely overhauled. New inverted monotube shocks were now used (replacing the old twin-tube shocks that had been used since the 1960s). In the front, new aluminum control arms, and rack and pinion steering (replacing the recirculating ball units) have been implemented. The rear suspension was redesigned for durability in police-duty applications and the rear shocks were moved outboard of the frame rails for better handling and ease of maintenance. As a result, the road-handling manners of the Panther platform cars had improved significantly. The engine output increased due to the addition of a knock sensor for more aggressive timing. 2003 models also received optional seat-mounted combination head and torso side airbags.
For 2004, Ford altered the transmission, revised the torque converter for better acceleration, and updated the layout of the optional overhead console. Laminated door glass also became available to deter break-ins and thefts, reduce road and wind noise, improve protection from flying glass in a collision and filter out ultraviolet rays, reducing heat buildup and fading of the interior.
The Crown Victoria retained the same exterior styling, but 2005 models received a rear whip radio antenna rather than an integrated rear defroster antenna. 2005 models also received a new steering wheel, optional power moonroof and 6-CD changer. 2005 also saw the addition of electronic throttle control.
The rear whip antenna was removed from the 2006 models in favor of the integrated rear defroster antenna. 2006 models also received a redesigned instrument cluster featuring a more modern speedometer (though again 120 mph (190 km/h) for the civilian models) and a tachometer. Other additions included a standard trip computer on the LX and a perimeter alarm as an option.
For the 2007 model year, the LX Sport trim was dropped leaving the Standard and LX. Most of the LX Sport's components were then made available with the new optional Premium Sport-Handling and Performance Package. Standard AM/FM audio system with CD player and the remote keyless entry system "SmartLock" became available on all models as did daytime running lights. Beginning with 2007 models (built after July 2006), design changes were made to the optional side airbags and door trim to improve occupant protection in side impact crashes.
In 2006, retail sales of the Crown Victoria dwindled to just 3,000, compared to 38,280 of its stablemate Mercury Grand Marquis in the first nine months of 2007. Starting with the 2008 model year, the Crown Victoria became available solely through Ford Fleet; by 2007, approximately 95% of total Crown Victoria sale had been to fleet customers. As of June 21, 2007, the Crown Victoria was removed from the Ford retail website, most likely to promote the 2008 Ford Taurus. This has been the case in Canada since the 2000 model year (see below). Also, with the descent into fleet-only sales across North America, the LX Premium Sport and Handling Package and the Handling and Performance Package (the only Crown Victorias produced for the North American market with dual exhaust, save for the Police Interceptor) were officially discontinued by Ford.
Ford had reportedly announced that it would freshen both the Crown Victoria and the Mercury Grand Marquis for the 2009 model year. Ford had told the Canadian Auto Workers that it would invest $200 million in the vehicles, which are assembled at the St. Thomas Assembly Plant in St. Thomas, Ontario. However, Ford released the 2009 Crown Victoria with few if any changes from the 2008 model, with no announced plans for changes in the future.
For 2009, Ford narrowed the available Crown Victorias in North America by one more model. The Standard (P73) model designation was discontinued in favor of the LX. To make the LX more appealing to future buyers (those who buy the cars after their service in rental fleets) it now uses the 5-spoke alloy wheels once used specifically for the LX Premium Sport and Handling package. These wheels are used in favor of the 9-spoke design the LX has used since 2003, purportedly due to the Lincoln Town Car using 17" wheels standard, as well as the Police Interceptor and the Taxi/Commercial (P72) model. The Grand Marquis underwent a similar change to 17" Lincoln Town Car wheels. Also, the LX Sport wheels were used on all Crown Victorias sent to the Middle East(save for the LX). For the Police Interceptor, there are two pieces of standard equipment added to its list. The power pedals are now standard on all models, presumably to cut manufacturing costs (Crown Victoria LX, Grand Marquis LS and Lincoln Town Car all had them as standard equipment previously) and side impact airbags are also standard. There are also new, federally mandated recessed window switches. 2011 would mark the final year of the Crown Victoria in the United States, as its lack of stability control made it illegal for sale for the 2012 model year; all 2012 models would be produced for Middle East export.
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