Buying a used crown victoria police car

i’ve been told they get great maintenance, very reliable and safe. any comments on this and anything else

[b]My brother worked for the City of Duluth Police Department as the supervisor for the service department. And his advice? Never purchase a used squad or highway patrol vaehicle. Why? Because these vehicles get beat all to hell.

Also, call your local parts store and ask the difference in cost for parts between a regular Crown Vic and a police special. For example, brake pads and rotors. This alone might turn you off to purchasing one of these vehicles.


Tester’s advice is spot-on. The cars do get beat to hell, and parts are expensive.

That being said, a well-chosen copy can be reliable, and can be extremely cheap to buy and insure. Best bet would be to find a very clean car with average mileage (low mileage ex-cruisers often means it’s been in an accident) and after a long test drive, take it for an inspection to an very good independant mechanic to check it bumper to bumper.

All police departments are not equal. You must consider maintenance schedule (many larger departments have larger budgets for maintenance and repair than smaller ones) and what kind of environment the car was used in. Highway patrol cars would have likely higher miles, but mainly highway miles, which would reduce wear and tear dramatically. Urban cars would get abused much more, as well as have many more hours on the engine, from idling a lot. Newer Crown Vics have an engine hour meter in them, I think 1 hour of idling is equal to about 37 miles.

I also think a prudent course of action is to check out and read up on the car, and ask questions. The members on that forum are very knowledgeable. Also, remember that you can get a slightly older civilian Crown Vic with similar miles for the same price, but have more comfort and features, and likely better powertrain and undercarriage reliability.

The engines in police run almost constantly, so they have more wear than the mileage indicates, despite the hoped-for maintenance.

In my opinion they are extremely risky purchases. Instead, look for a Crown Vic SVT, which is the same mechanically as the police interceptor, but has the standard civilian interior.

They can be a good deal if you are an expert used car buyer. I would not attempt it. Grandma and grandpa trade in regularly and used models go for low bucks. Also consider Grand Marquis as they are nearly identical. Then again, that custom vomit and urine in the back seat is pretty hard to get.

There is no SVT Crown Vic. Maybe you are thinking of HPP, Handling and Performance Package. It gives you the same gearing as the PI, dual exhaust (good for 15-20 hp), a much better suspension than either the standard or police/taxi suspension. The LX Sport has some of the same features.

O.P. is a good place to check up on trim line differences and model year changes.

They have great engines when they are new, but there are too many expensive parts in them that are just waiting to become worn out. If you get the car cheap enough it might still be a bargain. I figure that 600 dollars for a car that runs and passes smog check is alright.

I agree there aren’t very many, but there ARE a few SVT Crown Vics. Rare, yes, but they exist.

If you can find one that was a chief’s or detective’s car, and not used for regular squad/patrol work, it might be worthwhile. The regular patrol cars will have been beat to death. Well maintained? . . . maybe, but still beat to death.

only in peoples’ dreams.

They got cop motors . . cop suspension . . . pre-smog non-cat exhausts . . . and we got a full tank of gas and a half a pack of smokes . . . joking, cop cars are only a good deal when purchased by the Blues Brothers in the movies.

Police cars are driven hard, and aren’t sold until they can’t provide reliable service. Do you want that problem?

I’ve seen one parked along the street, and two others for sale on the internet. The DO exist, but there aren’t many of them.

I didn’t believe they were real, either, even when I saw one (I thought it was just someone’s custom car), but they are real, and more than one copy exists. I don’t know how many there are, but there are at least a few.

You can deny it if you wish, but these cars are REAL. Finding one won’t be easy, but there are a few of them out there. As a former Crown Vic owner, I wish I could get my hands on one.

How do you know they were SVT Crown Vics? Did they have an SVT sticker on them? Chances are, some kid just just stuck a SVT sticker off a Focus onto a Crown Vic.

I bought a '96 interceptor a little over two years ago, and have had excellent luck with it. I believe that the reason why is that it was a detective’s car (I expect the SVT model). It has the extra pickup of a standard interceptor, the tranny cooler, etc. (and the switches for those little interior police lights!), but with a standard passenger compartment. The car has been very durable, as it was stolen and wrecked into a fence (lucky placement on the wheel wells) without changing the driving characteristics noticeably. I will say that other commenters are quite correct re: parts. I had to replace my oil cooler lines after I recovered the vehicle, and they were about four times more expensive. Some of those parts are built to stand up to more abuse, and are justifiably more expensive, but I believe some of them were made simply to get money out of police depts. The lines were identical except for a slightly different hydraulic fitting.
Caution is v. important, as you may get one that’s had the everliving hell driven out of it, but a smart shopper can get a great deal (mine was $2k) just be wary and know your repairs will be higher.

I would take it on a car by car basis. There will be some that have been flogged into the pavement and others that are as new. There are several people around here who bought old Crown Vics from the state trooper auctions and use them on a daily basis.

Cab companies also buy used PC Crown Vics and convert them to passenger (unhandcuffed ones) carriers.

Some also have decent mileage on them because some municipalities and state agencies have rules about disposing of their cars when they reach X number of miles no matter if the cars are worn out or like new.


No offense or anything, but I consider myself to have better than average knowledge when it comes to late model cars, and have never heard of or seen an SVT Crown Vic in my life, and I sold P71’s by the dozen when I worked for Ford. The closest thing to SVT Crown Vic would be the Mercury Marauder, it had all the P71 mechanical bits plus the DOHC 4.6L out of the Mach 1 Mustang. There was also a Crown Vic Sport model that was somewhat similar, it had the HPP but only the standard SOHC 4.6L.

Don’t forget… you don’t get the intake or super charger package. But the engines can be rebuilt and rebored out… heads are common. The other thing is suspension (usually sweet) may take some work.

as said above, if you get a good one… body wise and interior.

Some taxi companies buy them and continue to run them for another couple hundred thousand miles or so. I’ve owned two old cop cars. If you live in the rust belt, be sure to take a peek underneath, as they don’t get washed much and the floor and frame may be starting to rust out. Plus the officers will be getting in/out of them all day with salty wet shoes. The floor on one of mine on the drivers’ side rusted out.

If you can find a detective car or unmarked vehicle in an area that uses primarily marked vehicles, then go for it. Cars from rural departments and smaller towns will also likely have not been beat as much and have more ‘highway’ miles on them.

A myth is that police vehicles are fast. Well, a very few of them are, but mostly these are built for reliability and to take abuse, and not high performance. Most of the older police vehicles would struggle to keep up with anything modern. 0-60 in around 7-8 seconds, even for the Ford “interceptor” models-- not very remarkable by today’s standards.


You are absolutely correct about the myth that Crown Vic police cars are fast. A lot of people have the misconception that the P71 Crown Vic has some sort of secret high performance engine in it, it doesn’t, all Crown Vic police cars made in the last 20 years or so have the same 4.6L SOHC that the civy models have, the only difference as far as the engine goes is that the police cars have a dual exhaust (which you can get on the civy model as well), and a slightly different ECU calibration that makes the cooling fans turn on at a lower engine temp that the civy model does. The truth is that V6 Camry will leave a P71 in the dust.

I was thinking about making a used police car my next car for the towing capacity, but I’ve moved away from that, mainly because small pick-up trucks have all the same advantages I was looking for in a used police car and none of the disadvantages.

One advantage of driving an old police car is that people sometimes mistake you for a police officer at night and move out of your way, but that’s balanced by the disadvantage that you could be shot at by someone who mistakes you for a police officer at night.