JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Ford Crown Victoria is a workhorse for law enforcement, but after 30 years it has reached the end of the road.
Troop G of the Florida Highway Patrol has 140 vehicles; most are Crown Vics, as they're called.
"It has been a very dependable vehicle for us," said Lt. Bill Leeper.
Police like the blue oval vehicle because it is roomy.
"We've had Mustangs, Chargers, Camaro, they're all good vehicles, but smaller and harder to get equipment in," he said.
In 2008, Ford dealers stopped selling the Crown Vic to consumers; they are sold exclusively to law enforcement.
But the vehicle has a troubled past; the position of its fuel tank made it susceptible to fires during a rear-impact collisions.
And that led to fatalities and lawsuits against Ford over its design.
FHP has since decided to retro-fit its vehicles with a box between the rear bumper and the gas tank.
"That part is made out of kevlar material to keep from puncturing the tank," said Leeper.
And fire suppression systems were installed within the driver's reach.
"It just a matter of punching it out," said Corporal David Bazinet.
Bazinet, a homicide investigator, would hate to lose his Crown Vic. In spite of its dark past he says the vehicle is reliable, even at 110,000 miles.
"My vehicle I've only had in the shop twice for any time," said Bazinet.
Duval Ford is one of Ford's top 15 dealerships that sell Crown Vics. Government Sales Director Jeffrey Eason said the replacement is a better vehicle. The replacement is based on the Taurus.
"It is going to have some aspect that you don't have in the Crown Vic: it is going to be available in a front-wheel drive, all-wheel drive, in a turbo and it is gonna get better gas mileage than the Crown Victoria did and it will have some other features," said Eason.
But the new vehicle won't be available until next year. In the meantime law enforcement agencies are snapping up the 2011 Crown Vics before the iconic police car disappears.
First Coast News