Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor

The Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor (colloquially referred to simply as the CVPI, P71, or P7B) is a four-door, body-on-frame sedan that was manufactured by Ford from 1992 to 2013. It is the law-enforcement version of the Ford Crown Victoria.

Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor
A 1998 Crown Victoria Police Interceptor of the Delaware State Police in 2004.
Also calledFord Crown Victoria P71 (1998–2009)
Ford Crown Victoria P7B (2010–2011)
AssemblySt. Thomas Assembly, Southwold, Canada
Body and chassis
ClassPatrol car
Body style4-door sedan
LayoutFR layout
SuccessorFord Police Interceptor Sedan
Ford Police Interceptor Utility

From 1997 to 2013, the Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor was the most widely used automobile in law enforcement operations in the United States, Canada, and Saudi Arabia. It was 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. The conventional rear-wheel drive, V8 power, and body-on-frame construction were considered advantageous for police use. The body-on-frame construction allowed inexpensive repairs after collisions without the need to straighten the chassis. Rear-wheel drive was deemed better for hard maneuvers and more robust than the front-wheel-drive competition for rough driving over curbs and other obstacles in the urban environment.[1]

Although Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptors (CVPIs) were not sold directly to the general public by the manufacturer, they are widely available used in North America as used vehicles after they are decommissioned and no longer in service in law-enforcement. The cars are in demand by taxi companies and others who want a safe, durable, and/or inexpensive car, and those who need a car with a large back seat. The CVPI came equipped with many heavy-duty parts, such as a revised transmission, and a 186 kW (253 PS; 249 hp) engine. Used versions 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)Edit

First generation
ProductionFebruary 1992–1997
Body and chassis
RelatedMercury Grand Marquis
Lincoln Town Car
Engine4.6 L Modular V8
Transmission4-speed AOD/AOD-E automatic
4-speed 4R70W automatic
Wheelbase114.4 in (2,906 mm)
Length1992–1994: 212.4 in (5,395 mm)
1995–97: 212.0 in (5,385 mm)
Width77.8 in (1,976 mm)
Height1992–1994: 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-sized 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.

For 1996, the Crown Victoria badge on the front fenders was removed and the cars received a new steering wheel; 1997 models have a lighter blue interior color compared to prior years.

Second generation (1998–2011)Edit

Second generation
Body and chassis
RelatedMercury Grand Marquis
Mercury Marauder
Lincoln Town Car
Engine4.6 L Modular V8
Transmission4-speed 4R75W automatic
4-speed 4R70W automatic
Wheelbase114.7 in (2,913 mm)
Length212.0 in (5,385 mm)
Width2007: 77.3 in (1,963 mm)
1998–2006: 78.2 in (1,986 mm)
Height1998–2001, 2006–2011: 56.8 in (1,443 mm)
2002–05: 58.3 in (1,481 mm)

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, black 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 CVPI 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 until 2004 (when all CVs changed to all-red taillights).

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 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 Ford logo on the steering wheel was blue instead of the interior's color.

The year 2003 brought considerable changes. 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 frame, steering, suspension, and brakes were all significantly 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 CVPI 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 by a cable, but an electronic drive-by-wire set up.

The 2005 models received a new steering wheel, and the AM/FM radio antenna was removed from the rear window and moved to the rear quarter panel (only for the 2005 MY).

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 CVPIs for the 2006 model year. Also introduced in 2006, for P70/P72 Commercial Heavy Duty models and P71 Police Interceptor models is a 17-in steel wheel, replacing the previous 16-in wheels, plus new flat-gray wheel covers rather than chromed wheel covers as in previous years.

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

An unmarked CVPI in Toronto in 2014

For the 2009 model year, the CVPI now had 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.[3] The car gets new styled door moldings and also, Ford placed a "Flex Fuel" badge in the lower right corner of the rear fascia (2009–2011), though they were flex fuel-capable 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 blackened rear fascia like the normal Police Interceptor and 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 VictoriaEdit

Both cars use the same 4.6 L 2V SOHC V8 (both Flex Fuel starting in 2008), Ford modular engine, and Ford four-speed automatic transmission. However, a few notable differences exist between the CVPI and a standard Crown Victoria or Grand Marquis.

Engine and drive trainEdit

The CVPI 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 CVPIs, particularly where damaged by road salt.[4]

The Police Interceptor engine calibration includes a slightly higher idle speed (by around 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 and older vehicles than on nonpolice vehicles.

The 2004–2011 Police Interceptors are equipped standard with an open 3.27:1 rear axle (axle code Z5), with a traction-lock (Trac-Lok) 3.27:1 rear axle (axle code X5) optional, and are electronically limited to 129 mph (208 km/h) due to critical driveline speed limitations. An optional 3.55:1 traction-lock rear axle ratio with 119 mph speed limiter was also available (axle code C6). The 1999-2001 CVPIs equipped with the 3.55:1 rear axle ratio were limited to about 124 mph (200 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.[5]

Ford used an aluminum metal matrix composite driveshaft for the 1999–2001 CVPIs as a measure to allow safe operation at 126 mph (203 km/h) with the 3.55:1 gear ratio, but it was more expensive than the regular aluminum driveshafts. Ford CVPIs with the 3.27:1 gear ratio were governed to 129 miles per hour after the 3.55:1 gear ratio was eliminated midway though the 2001 model year. Ford reintroduced a 3.55:1 rear axle ratio for the 2004 model year CVPIs with a 119 mph (192 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, but departments could order a 3.55.1 ratio locking differential for better acceleration off the line. Also, 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:[6]

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 chassisEdit

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 CVPIs 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 CVPI, with the resonators. The resonators further reduce noise, vibration, and harshness without adding any restriction to the exhaust system. CVPIs have higher-rate coil springs, around 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 CVPI.

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.


CVPIs 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. A velour split-bench seat was optional, with a power-adjustable driver's seat being optional on both the split bench and standard bucket seats. The CVPI also has a calibrated 140 mph (225 km/h) speedometer.


CVPIs at an incident in Toronto

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) versions 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. SAP cars also use chrome trim rather than the black trim of normal CVPIs. P71s can also be identified by the dual exhaust and an analog 140 mph speedometer. The CVPI 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 (nonfleet) 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 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 CVPI is to look for the code "P71" in the VIN, or "P7B", as it was renamed in 2010.

Police Interceptors 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).

Problems and criticismEdit

Following the criticism of fires following highway-speed rear-end collisions, 2005 and later model CVPIs now had 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.

Some problems also arose with early 2003 CVPIs; the newly designed steel wheels rusted prematurely, and the rack and pinion steering units failed as early as 10,000 miles. This was not limited to the CVPI; some 2004 Mercury Marauders were also affected. A recall, initiated on March 1, 2007 (07S48), affects the steel wheels used on 2003–05 CVPIs.[7]

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-in 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-in steel wheels and are concerned about the safety of these wheels.

The steel body-on-frame CVPI fares better in crashes than unibody counterparts such as the retired Chevrolet Impala and the current Dodge Charger,[citation needed] though its successor the Ford Taurus can withstand rear-end collisions of up to 70 miles per hour. Many law-enforcement officers and departments swear by the proven Ford Crown Victoria, and are reluctant to purchase other police sedans in spite of the Ford Crown Victoria's departure. Some departments have purchased the Chevrolet Tahoe 9C1, a full-sized SUV, due in part to its body-on-frame construction.


2013-2019 Ford Taurus Police Interceptor Sedan (unmarked)

On March 12, 2010, Ford Motor Company unveiled the 2013 Police Interceptor Sedan. While sharing a nameplate with the Crown Victoria Police Interceptor, the Police Interceptor Sedan was a variant of the sixth-generation Ford Taurus, shifting from the long-running Panther chassis to an all-wheel drive version of the D3 architecture.[8]

In April 2011, Ford stopped accepting orders for the CVPI. Following the 2011 model year, due to its lack of stability control, the Crown Victoria was no longer legal for sale in the United States and Canada; a short 2012 model year was produced solely for GCC/Middle East export. On September 15, 2011, the final Crown Victoria (destined for Saudi Arabia) rolled off the assembly line, as the final vehicle assembled by St. Thomas Assembly in Ontario.[9]

In a design decision, the Police Interceptor Sedan did not adopt the Taurus nameplate, as it was sold alongside the Police Interceptor Utility (derived from the Ford Explorer, 2013–present); neither has been sold at retail. Along with heavier-duty components and a redesigned interior, the Police Interceptor Sedan adopted higher-performance suspension tuning (from the Taurus SHO). The standard engine was a 3.7-L V6 (shared with the Mustang) and an optional 3.5-L twin-turbocharged V6 (shared with the Taurus SHO).

Use outside North AmericaEdit


In Russia, the Main Directorate for Road Traffic Safety, popularly known under its historical abbreviation GAI (ГАИ) purchased 140 Crown Victoria P71s from 1994 to 1995. Part of the militsiya (now politisya), the vehicles were operated by the Road Patrol Service (DPS) as highway-patrol units around the greater Moscow area. The most powerful vehicles purchased by the DPS at the time[10] (replacing Chaika-engined GAZ-24-10 Volgas), the Crown Victorias were used by the agency through the early 2010s. Its reliabity and comfortable seats were well-liked.[11] Their use took place when Yury Luzhkov purchased the vehicles for the GAI.[12] Second generation CVPIs were reported to be used in other regional police forces such as in Sochi.

In 1999, the Ukrainian Militsiya in Chernihiv were provided first generation Crown Victoria as humanitarian aid from Washington DC.[13] According to official documents provided by the Militsiya, the vehicles were not widely used since June 2011.[13] These vehicles were used by the local State Traffic Inspectorate.[14] There was documentation submitted in 2014 regarding the potential write off for the first gen CVs in Cherihiv.[13] There also sightings of CVPIs used by the Ukrainian Military Police.[15]

In 2003, three CVPIs were bought by the French city of Montpellier.[16] Purchased as part of an upgrade of the local Police Municipale, the Crown Victorias were selected for their durability, security, and safety.[17] In 2008, they were put up for sale, as the American-designed police cars were found to be too wide for the city streets and too long for PM garages.[16]

Belarus purchased first generation Crown Victorias and Tauruses in the 1990s for the Belarussian Militisya. Most were later replaced with second generation CVPIs. In 2017, it was reported from Belarus that at least one of their 2003 Ford CVPIs formerly used by the Militsiya were being sold under $USD3,994.00 through the Belarussian Ministry of Internal Affairs.[18] They were formerly used by the Brest Regional Executive Committee.[18]

Middle EastEdit

CVPIs are used by Middle Eastern law enforcement agencies, including those from the United Arab Emirates (via Dubai),[19] Saudi Arabia,[20] Kuwait and Jordan.

In popular cultureEdit

A CVPI 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 1990s through the 2010s followed suit and as a result the Crown Victoria and fictional vehicles resembling it became a common set-piece in television, cinema, and video games with a North American focus. This was especially true 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 mid-1990s Crown Victoria became a symbol of Moscow's road militsiya for over a decade; the P71 is pictured on a DPS badge awarded for 15 years of service.[10] 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.[10]


  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. ^ Gratson, Tony (July 2008). "Ford CVPI extended through 2011". Police Fleet Manager Magazine. Archived from the original on 2009-02-20.
  4. ^ "Police Interceptor Oil Cooler Information".
  5. ^ Hagin, Matt/Bob. "FORD CROWN VICTORIA LX (1999)". The Auto Channel.
  6. ^ "MSP — Michigan State Police".:
  7. ^ "Ford Recall No. 07848" (PDF). NHTSA.
  8. ^ "The New Ford Police Interceptor (Formerly the CVPI / P71) Law Enforcement Vehicle". Ford. Archived from the original on 2010-09-21. Alt URL
  9. ^ "The Last Crown Vic Rolls (but Not as a New York Cab)". New York Times. 2011-09-15. Retrieved 2011-09-16.
  10. ^ a b c Ford Crown Victoria DPS GAI, "Avtomobil Na Sluzhbie", Nr. 59, DeAgostini, 2014, ISSN 2223-0440, p.10-14 (in Russian)
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ a b c
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ a b 2/22/15 10:54PM. "That one time a French city bought cars too big for its roads". Retrieved 2020-02-26.
  17. ^ Un mot à ajouter ?. "Voitures "Starsky et Hutch" pour la police montpelliéraine - Libération". Retrieved 2020-02-26.
  18. ^ a b
  19. ^
  20. ^

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit