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Police Interceptor Package: 1990 Ford Crown Victoria

Ah, the Panther Platform: has there ever been a car that has been so synonymous with so many things? From police cars to taxicabs to the vehicle of choice for 80s gumshoes, the Crown Victoria has earned its place in automotive history. However, what was once a model we saw seemingly everywhere has slowly begun to disappear, making examples like this police package-equipped 1990 Ford Crown Victoria listed here on eBay more noticeable than ever before. The seller is absolutely correct in stating that this has become a very hard car to find. Bids are sitting at $7,600 with the reserve unmet.

I will freely admit to growing up on a diet consisting of nearly any 1980s movie involving detectives, both comedic and serious, as those films typically had a robust assortment of cars and trucks in both starring roles and the background. Who can forget Leslie Nielsen’s squad car careening out of control with the ridiculous balloon-inspired airbags deployed, causing chaos as it ricocheted off one curb to another? The Blues Brothers wrecked a stunning amount of Dodge Monacos in its various chase scenes, which I believes still holds the record for number of police cars destroyed. Suffice to say, cars like the Crown Victoria have been seen as disposable for a while, which is partly why they are so hard to find in decent shape.

The transition away from the Crown Victoria of the 80s to the Crown Victoria of the 90s didn’t do much to diminish the presence of Ford’s bread and butter sedan, as many of the older models remained in service years after the updated offering saturated livery and police fleets. That being said, after a time, even the most nonplussed police lieutenant wants something new, and the old models are sold off for near scrap prices at local auctions. This car, which looks like a detective spec model, has some needs but is said to be an easy restoration project for anyone looking for a car that will be right at home in the town 4th of July parade.

The Ford comes with the venerable combo of a 4-speed automatic and a 5.0L V8 under the hood, which I believe made about 150 horsepower in 1990. The police-spec equipment is fairly subdued on this car, including a spotlight on the driver’s side-view mirror, fog lights on the bumper, additional antennas mounted to the trunk lid, and the plain-jane hubcaps that usually went flying off the car about 30 seconds into any Hollywood film involving a police chase. I wonder if it still has strobes in the headlights – or if the seller has even checked! The fact that this car is still a bit of a project yet is commanding decent money at the moment tells you everything you need to know about how depleted the supply must be at the moment for these cars, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it clear $8,000 before the auction is done.

Comments

  1. Avatar photo Bob_in_TN Member

    When an economy car shows in good shape up on Barn Finds (think Pinto), sometimes the comment is made that it is an opportunity to be involved in the hobby at a low price. And how you would draw attention at Cars & Coffee. It struck me that this Crown Vic has similar qualities….

    Very well-known due to being in production for decades. Bulletproof drivetrain. Parts available at your local chain parts store. Many of us had experience with them (perhaps, in not-pleasant circumstances). Attention-grabber at Cars & Coffee; you would hear some entertaining stories. And even if it wasn’t perfectly clean or in pristine condition, who cares; that’s how they were in real life. All of this for not much money.

    Like 21
    • Avatar photo TorinoSCJ69

      Agreed here on the “bulletproof”: dozens and dozens of upgrades.
      * Frame: heavy duty
      * Transmission – 1st gear lockout and aux. cooler
      * U Joints: heavy duty
      * Insulation underwood delete
      * Wheels: hvy duty
      * suspension: hvy duty high rate springs with unique upper + lower control arm bushings
      * Dual exhaust
      * Brakes and Cooling: hvy duty

      The LPO (Limited Prod. Opt)
      351 HO had an engine oil cooler, special cam & timing chain + special valves and springs.
      Note here that the 351 HO engine pkg (180 hp/ 285 torque) required Dealers to register with the IRS for exemption from Gas Guzzler Tax.
      I have a 4 pg spec booklett on the 1990 LTD “Police Packages” (55A) that I kept from when
      my Father was an engineer with Ford for 38 years. He worked on the LTD platform for many years. When he worked at the Louisville plant he would bring these Interceptors Home from time to time. I even worked that assembly line in ’78 on those big Fords.

      Love them!

      Like 42
      • Avatar photo Boatman Member

        That’s great stuff, SCJ! I’ll bet a lot of Ford fans would like your e-mail!

        Like 5
      • Avatar photo Big Schwag

        Very interesting info, thanks.

        Like 2
      • Avatar photo Ford500guy

        I’ve had 2 later model Crown Vics, 1992 base model that I used to deliver newspapers and a 1994 P71 Police Interceptor that was an Ozaukee County sheriff’s detective car that would run down just about any thing on the road at the time. Great cars built to last.

        Like 4
      • Avatar photo Davo

        “Those were the days” And in relation to that I often wonder what happened to my 1965 Oldsmobile 442 which I purchased new.

        Like 0
  2. Avatar photo Bill W

    Do you not read the original ads, or proofread your own text? You say its a 5.0 (302) motor, the OP has it listed as a 5.8 (351) motor.

    Like 15
    • Avatar photo Boatman Member

      I wondered if this wasn’t a 351 car. And no, they sometimes don’t.

      Like 5
      • Avatar photo Frank Drackman

        it’s a 351. had an 84

        Like 8
    • Avatar photo Todd Zuercher

      Nice correction! If it had been a 5.0 car, it would’ve had the familiar EFI upper intake. The 351W’s in this generation were still carbureted – one of the last carbureted cars sold in the US.

      Like 8
      • Avatar photo Peter Pasqualini

        85s didn’t have the EDI you are talking about. That didn’t start until 86. 85 carb cars had throttle body efi. Still would have a conventional air cleaner like this car.

        Like 2
    • Avatar photo Randall Tefft Sundeen

      Was the Police Package interceptor (1990) 5.8 a Windsor or a Cleveland? I owned several civilian Crown Vic’s and those had 302s with Multi-Port injection ( that Saved the panther platform from cancelation) and I have wondered about Cleveland/Windsor reliability?

      Like 5
      • Avatar photo Michael Berkemeier

        It’s a Windsor w/a 2bbl “Variable Venturi” carburetor.

        Like 4
      • Avatar photo Ford500guy

        Most of the mid 80’s p71 cars had 351 Windser engines. By the late 80’s they all the 302’s. What about the reliability? 351 and 302 Ford’s were much better than any of the gm engines of day and would see 250,000-300,000 easy. These cars were also used as taxi cabs after their police duty.

        Like 3
  3. Avatar photo Barzini Member

    Back in the late 1980s I borrowed a Crown Vic that was owned by my employer. Running late and driving above the speed limit, other drivers erroneously assumed it was a state police car. It was like parting the Red Sea, everyone slowed down and moved over.

    These were good, reliable cars

    Like 23
    • Avatar photo Boatman Member

      If you ever drove an ex-police car, you know how frustrating it is to have someone do that all the time.

      Like 7
      • Avatar photo chuck

        So true. I had an 89, ex Ohio State Highway Patrol car. People were afraid to pass me on the interstate. LOL.

        Like 4
  4. Avatar photo Elwood Blues

    It currently DOES NOT have a RESERVE! So it is SELLING to highest bidder at this point. Did you just glimpse at the ebay ad and start babbling. You have several errors. It’s a 5.8 not a 5.0. The 5.8 was only available in the US to police in the Crown Victorias due to emissions.

    Like 5
  5. Avatar photo Tommy T-Tops

    As soon as I saw this car I thought of the movie Bad Lieutenant with Harvey Keitel. Yup, they were everywhere- now you don’t see them anymore like everything else that was once good. GLWTA

    Like 11
    • Avatar photo nlpnt

      Not Men in Black?

      Like 2
  6. Avatar photo Matthew

    Police cars didn’t have the 5.0, this can be clearly seen in the engine photo that it has the 5.8 liter HO engine which made 180 hp. The police cars were one of the last North American production vehicles with a carburetor. The 5.0 civilian cars had fuel injection. Do some research before writing an article. This is a very misleading and uninformative article that was very lazily written.

    Like 4
  7. Avatar photo Boatman Member

    No strobes in those headlights. They are sealed beam.

    Like 8
  8. Avatar photo mp775

    “The Blues Brothers wrecked a stunning amount of Dodge Monacos in its various chase scenes, which I believes still holds the record for number of police cars destroyed.”

    No, Blues Brothers 2000 beat the record. The Bluesmobile was one of this generation of Crown Victoria in that movie, but the big pileup was mostly ’92-’97 Vics, Tauruses, and a couple of Luminas and Caprices.

    Like 4
  9. Avatar photo Mark

    I owned a 1989 Mercury Grand Marquis GS, it was that coppery brown with a chocolate brown half vinyl top. It had the aluminum turbine style wheels, and brown velour interior. That was one fine car. The only trouble it ever gave me was the fuel pump relay quit, and the transmission gave up in the high 100 thousand miles. I had it rebuilt and within 6 months, the car was totaled when I was broadsided by a conversion van as I was waiting to pull out of my subdivision. Sad to see it go, but it kept my entire family safe in that crash.

    Like 12
  10. Avatar photo RICK W

    Among my favorite vehicles is an 89 Crown Victoria LX (with optional formal roof. White with plush red velvet interior. Easily comparable to other Lincolns and Grand Marquis that I have owned. When rear ended at a stop, the impact resulted in destroying the driver seat (body weight bending it beyond repair) BUT the only body damage was a small dent in the CHROME bumper. When I had it, friends with a 91 Crown Victoria wanted to trade. Obviously declined!

    Like 9
  11. Avatar photo timothy r herrod

    Its a 351 and carberated, ford did not have a FI unit that would clear the hood. I bought a 90 like this at the nebraska state surplus auction in 1997 after being up for almost 24 hours, I worked nights back then. When I was walking thru the lot looking at the cars I started this one up and shifted from forward to reverse thinking everything seemed fine but the aircleaner looked a little odd to me but never thought anything of it till after I bought it and got it back home the next day, yep, a two barrel. Still the best 1700 I ever spent

    Like 11
    • Avatar photo Michael Berkemeier

      Only way they came! It was the “HO” version…and that carb worked very well…when it worked, lol.

      Like 3
  12. Avatar photo Steve

    Well I skimmed through twice and didn’t see a location.

    Like 1
    • Avatar photo Michael Berkemeier

      Arizona

      Like 2
  13. Avatar photo RoadDog

    Been there, done that w/my dad’s ’84 Bonneville. Cop car lookalike, especially at night! 😋

    Like 2
  14. Avatar photo Herr64

    Windsor. Clevelands were pretty much “extinct” in Ford cars after 1979.

    Like 3
    • Avatar photo Peter Pasqualini

      74 was the last Cleveland. 351m/400 was used up to your date.

      Like 1
  15. Avatar photo se smith

    ‘‘Twas a comfortable cruiser to spend eight hours in.

    Like 3
  16. Avatar photo Car Nut Tacoma

    Lovely looking car. I remember this generation LTD and Crown Vic. This had my favourite front end of any LTDCV.

    Like 2
  17. Avatar photo wes johnson Member

    Bought my local sherriff’s ’89 Cr. Vic 5.0 while visiting family in Iowa. Truly “all highway miles”. Had to return to Pa in current car, then flew out on a Friday after work to pick up at Des Moines Airport. Then proceeded to cover 1200 miles in less than 2 days. Drove most of night, slept in car, and was at the PA border at sun up. Took off and as NO traffic on turnpike decided to see if that 135 MPH was accurate. Topped a hill and started down around 125 (started to float alittle so didn’t go further), when fuzz buster went off. Figured the cop already had me so didn’t slow down. Came around curve and there was PA State Police. He looked at me, looked at radar gun, then back at me, and waved. We both had the same car. One of the many tickets that car saved me from. Got totaled by ex-GF. ONLY had 273K miles. Great Car, wish still had it.

    Like 7
  18. Avatar photo Flip

    Glad the comments sorted out the 302 vs 351 question I had. I love the looks of these things and the less abused detective spec seems to be a winner.

    Many years ago I wanted to buy one of these at a used car lot and I swear it had an aux gauge by the radio, maybe oil pressure or battery volts? Is my memory off because I didn’t see it on this one in the dash?

    Like 3
    • Avatar photo jwzg

      I know the Caprice did.

      Like 1
  19. Avatar photo Troy

    5 digit odometer this rig pre dates any of the auto history site’s so if it is a former law enforcement vehicle chances are that odometer has rolled at least once still a nice find

    Like 3
  20. Avatar photo jwzg

    These were not terribly quick, but could run 95 all day long, and got surprisingly good fuel economy numbers. Next door neighbor had an unmarked state trooper unit and was gracious enough to allow a 10 year old kid to “pop the hood” and help him wash the car. His son had a pristine 1980 Turbo TA. Nothing really fast, but a beaut nonetheless.

    Like 2
  21. Avatar photo chuck

    I had an 89, 351, ex Ohio State Highway Patrol car. People were afraid to pass me on the interstate. LOL. One of my all time favorites. Not fast off the line with 2:73 gears. Great ride. Huge trunk.

    Like 2
  22. Avatar photo Kirk

    If anyone hasn’t seen the 80s movie ‘to live and die in L.A ‘ check it out has an excellent chase scene between a Crown vic and Chevy Impala both police vehicles. We used to watch it over and over to listen to the Chevy go woo woo every time the 4 barrel opens up and the crown Vic goes weee weee every time it’s pedal is slammed to the floor ! LOL Very accurate sounds of the 2 cars for anyone whose driven both hard will recognize it right away. The rest of the movie is not too awful , worth watching at least once I’d say

    Like 6
    • Avatar photo RICK W

      TV series In the Heat of the NIGHT featured 80s Crown Vics and Impala as police vehicles, as well as a Diplomat for Mr Tibbs. Some fancy driving. Nash Bridges Cuda was actually one of the stars of the show.

      Like 4
  23. Avatar photo Randall Tefft Sundeen

    THE BEST car chase I have ever seen was in an obscure 70s film called the seven-ups, the featured vehicles were a Pontiac Grand Ville and the Pontiac version of the Nova! That car was either a Phoenix or Tempest! Some of the footage was shot on Conn. Route 5 ( the movie is set in NY and NJ! Simply the most awesome chase !

    Like 6
    • Avatar photo Ford500guy

      The Pontiac your referring to was the Ventura, not a Tempest as that was a larger car like the Cutlass. Phoenix came out much later in the 80’s

      Like 2
    • Avatar photo Tony Catania

      That Was A Pontiac Ventura In That Chase Scene. It Starred Roy Scheider Who Was Gene Hackmans CoStar In The French Connection.

      Like 0
  24. Avatar photo Harrison Reed

    I used to enjoy the Pontiac Ventura television ads. in the very early 1970s — the same type of (computerised?) animated lettering seen in “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”. Some of the comments here are a bit mean-spirited toward mistakes in the initial writeup: c’mon, Guys!– NONE of us is “perfect”. It is good to correct the errors; but can’t we do so KINDly? — without the gratuitous references to sloppiness and lack of proper proof-reading! Those write-ups most often are intelligent, witty, and entertaining — and without those who are willing to write them, we might not get to see these cars in this forum. So, let’s be nice and encouraging and appreciative, not snipingly-critical. Writers who go to these efforts also have FEELINGS — and who wants to put in the work, only to have a few of the resulting words slammed back into your face? To Mark: my ’88 Grand Marquis has 370,000 miles, and I think the transmission is beginning to go, sadly. Although it uses no oil, the engine still seems a bit “tired” now. If I put Sunoco 94 in it, the car recovers its former power and smoothness — except for that bumpy-shifting tranny. The quandary becomes: do I make the repairs? — or, do I look for another car? My only real complaint is, this Mercury stands too LOW: and at my age, it is crippling to get down into it, then climb back out. — and nearly every vehicle on the road blocks my view. Should I look for a 1959 Ford Galaxie?

    Like 1
    • Avatar photo Boatman Member

      I sold my prized C/V for the same reason- too low.

      Like 1
    • Avatar photo Ford500guy

      You mean 1959 Ford Fairlane 500 Galaxie as my mom’s first Ford was a 59, white tudor hardtop, over red interior. Really nice car that she bought for $35.00 in the early 70’s. Really nice car.

      Like 1
  25. Avatar photo Harrison Reed

    To Boatman: what did you GET, then?

    Like 1
    • Avatar photo Boatman Member

      Ford Escape. Love it.

      Like 1
  26. Avatar photo Lance Platt

    Followed the link. Stated the car was sold on 30 Mar 24 for $7600.

    Like 1
  27. Avatar photo chrlsful

    this AND the Fury from a day ago are NOT what I remember.

    The ’98/9 – ’11 ARE however. I saw the ubiquitous paired
    (either side of the plate) upside down triangular back-up
    lenses ! every-where-forever ! it seemed. Just to leave my
    windshield view within the last few days. Hey!?!
    Where’d they go?
    (I have their lill bro, same era – fox-bodied LTD but in wagon livery)
    ’83/6, is also the marquis (not panther’s Grand marquis).

    I like any fleet vehicle ford. Also – all white w/a shoulder line
    dual (1 red, 1 blue) stripe. Any color vinyl (or leather)
    inside (I hate the cloth cept for temp extremes). The whole
    bit (poverty hub caps/not wheel covers, lill to no chrome, etc,
    etc. BUT…
    performance oriented (pep, low MPGs, handling, breaks,
    etc).

    Like 1

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