The Crown Victoria Police Interceptor
referred to simply as CVPI or P71
) is the law
enforcement version of the Ford
. It is one of the most widely used automobiles
in law enforcement
departments of the United
States and Canada.
Due to the workhorse nature of the vehicle, it is also used by many
companies. Since Chevrolet
dropped the rear-drive Caprice
, Ford has had a near-monopoly on
the market for police cruisers because of a preference for its
conventional rear-wheel drive
power, and body-on-frame
construction, all suitable for
police driving techniques. As one of the few remaining passenger
cars using body-on-frame
, it is rugged
and enables inexpensive repairs after minor accidents without the
need to straighten the chassis
important benefit for a car frequently used by police forces for
(ramming a car to spin it
out) — making it preferable to unibody
Although the Police Interceptor is not sold to the general public,
these cars are widely available on the used car market in the U.S.
and Canada once they are no longer in service for law enforcement
or fleet duty. These cars come equipped with a heavy duty
transmission, heavy duty brakes, and a engine. Used Police
Interceptors are normally stripped of any police decals, radio and
computer equipment, and emergency lights by law enforcement
agencies before being sold or auctioned.
Though the name has been officially in use since 1992
, the 1978–1991 full-size LTDs
and 1992 updated body style used the "P72"
production code designation for both fleet
/taxi and police models. From 1993–1997,
the police car
models of the Crown
Victoria were officially known as Crown Victoria
Critics weren't fond of the 1992's solid grille
insert (with the blue "Ford" oval) front end.
In the 1993 model year, the Crown Victoria was given a chrome front
grille and a reflector
strip between the
. 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 lid, fitted between the
In 1998, Ford restyled the Crown Victoria, eliminating the "aero"
look that the car had from 1992-97 and 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.
The changes made in 1999 included a new "Police Interceptor"
insignia on the rear fascia, a chrome-trimmed gloss black rear
fascia, black door handle trim, black bumper strips, and a gloss
black slatted grille.
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 stop/turn setup with red lenses found in many North
American cars. Interestingly, although the lenses changed, the
housings didn't; they still had the chambers for the separate turn
signals that early models had. These chambers were now empty,
however, leaving a perfect place to install strobe tubes in police
cars that would not affect brake or turn signal visibility.
For 2000, the rear fascia and taillights lost the chrome trim, and
the gloss black grille was dropped in favor of a flat black slatted
grille. Further refinements 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
Crown Victorias and CVPIs.
2003 brought a minor redesign. The interior door panels and seats
were freshened, with side-impact airbags becoming an option. The
2001–06 CVPIs all look the same on the exterior; the way to tell
the 2003+ cars from the 2001 and 2002 models is by looking at 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.
The 2004–present Police Interceptor is rated for 250 hp
(190 kW) because of the addition of a new air intake system
. This includes a new
airbox that resembles the Mercury
(raised airbox lid,
deeper bottom), with an integrated mass airflow (MAF) sensor that
is part of the airbox lid. 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.
One can easily spot the 2005 model year from its
rear-fender-mounted whip antenna on the passenger side. This is the
only year that the 1998+ CVPI had an external AM/FM antenna.
Previous years and the 2006 model all have the antenna mounted in
the rear glass.
Standard on the 2006 is a redesigned instrument cluster, which now
sports a 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.
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 interesting new options, such as the
ability to have keyless entry. Presumably, this feature was added
because the Chevrolet Impala Police Sedan has had keyless entry as
an option since its inception.
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 the officer exited the vehicle and locked the doors,
potentially giving their presence away at night. No other
appreciable changes have been noted yet.
Comparison with the Crown Victoria
There are few notable differences between the Police Interceptor
and standard Crown Victoria or Grand Marquis. Both cars use the
same Flex Fuel 4.6L 2V SOHC V8, Ford
, and Ford
Engine and drive train
The Police Interceptor is equipped with an external oil-to-coolant
to reduce engine oil
temperatures, allowing the vehicles to idle for extended lengths of
time without overheating. The engine oil coolers are notorious for
seeping oil from the O-ring seals after extensive use .
The Police Interceptor engine calibration comprises 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 2006–present Police Interceptors equipped with a 3.55:1
rear axle ratio
factory are electronically limited to due to the lower
driveline-critical vehicle speed, while the Police Interceptors
equipped with a 3.27:1 rear axle ratio have generally been limited
to approximately . This compares to for the "civilian" model.
Ford used an aluminum metal matrix composite driveshaft for the
1993–2005 Police Interceptors as a measure to allow safe operation
at over , but it was more expensive than the regular aluminum
driveshafts. Ford reintroduced the 3.55:1 rear axle ratio in the
2006 model year Police Interceptors, and set the speed limiter at
to reduce the risk of driveline failure.
Police Interceptors also have a reinforced frame and body mounts,
an aluminum drive
(aluminum metal matrix composite for the 1999–early 2001
model years), and an optional limited slip rear
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
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
, 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
, approximately of additional ground clearance, and
thinner rear antiroll bars than the LX Sport or Handling and
Performance Package Crown Victorias; the base Crown Victoria does
not have a rear antiroll bar.
On 2004 and newer models, P71's have a 200 amp (A) alternator and a
78 ampere-hour (Ah) battery
Ford also offers trunk packages for equipment storage (see below),
and as of 2005, has added a fire suppression system to the Police
The bulk of police car modifications, such as installation of
emergency lights, siren
passenger seat dividers, and plastic rear bench seats, are offered
as aftermarket modifications by third parties.
The front seats have a steel "stab plate" built into the back so
that a suspect being transported in the back seat cannot stab the
officers in the front seat with a knife or other sharp object.
Also, most Police Interceptors have a break in the front "bench
seat" 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 used as a mobile
(MDT). The Police Interceptor also has a
The easiest 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
Police Interceptors forgo the badge, using the standard Crown
Victoria marking. However, the Police Interceptor badges are now
available for purchase online, so this identifying technique is not
as reliable as it once was. A near surefire way to tell if a Crown
Victoria is a Police Interceptor is to see if it has the keyless
keypad entry above the driver door handle. If the said Crown
Victoria does have a keyless keypad then it is not a Police
Interceptor, since the only Crown Victorias with keyless keypads
are civilian ones. Additionally, the Police Interceptor has the
interior trunk release in the center of the dashboard, while the
civilian version has it in the driver's door. The only completely
infallible way to identify a Police Interceptor is to look for the
code "P71" in the VIN.
Police Interceptors will have the characters "P71" as the model
code in the VIN, instead of P70 (Stretched wheelbase), P72
(Commercial Heavy Duty/Taxi), P73 (Base), P74 (LX), or P75 (1992
Problems and criticism
Following the criticism of fires following rear-end collisions
, 2005 and later model
Police Interceptors now come with an optional automatic fire suppression
and special "trunk packs" designed to help prevent trunk contents
from piercing the fuel tank in a collision. Each agency must pay an
additional $150 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 (≤10K miles). This was not limited to the Police
Interceptor; some 2004 Mercury
were also affected. A recent recall (04M05) affects
the steel wheels used on 2003–05 Police Interceptors.
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 Transportation 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 can 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
- Ford has decided that 2011 will be the final year for the Crown
Victoria, and is actively promoting a replacement based on the 2010
Ford Taurus. The Dodge Charger
"Police Package" vehicle has been touted as a viable contender,
with more power than the CVPI if equipped with the Hemi, but in its
first two years of service, it has been found to be lacking the
mechanical reliability and sturdiness of the CVPI. GM has also
recently decided to revive the Chevrolet Caprice as a police only model
- The Carbon Motor Company , run by ex-Ford employees, has
released details of the E7 prototype car in
late 2008 for planned production in 2012. Designed from the ground
up for police duties after extensive research with U.S. police
departments rather than as a conversion of mainstream cars, it has
received considerable publicity.
- On November 13, 2009 Ford Motor Company announced that it would
release an all-new version of the Police Interceptor which will be
available when the CVPI ends production in late 2011.
Image:Police car with emergency lights on.jpg|Crown Victoria Police
Interceptor with activated emergency lightsImage:New york police
department car.jpg|Police Interceptor of the NYPD
.File:2009 Oklahoma Highway Patrol car.jpg|2009
Police Interceptor of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol
Ford Crown Victoria Massachusetts State Police.jpg|2005 Police
Interceptor of the Massachusetts State
.Image:MTA Police Crown Victoria Cruiser.JPG|Police
Interceptor of the New York Metropolitan
Transportation Authority Police
.Image:Jordanian Police Car.jpg|Jordanian
Police Interceptor in Karak, Jordan.Image:Fairfax County Police car.jpg|Police
Interceptor of the Fairfax County, Virginia police department.Image:Police car Palm
Beach FL at Lake Worth.jpg|Police Interceptor of the Palm Beach,
Florida police department.