The last Ford Crown Victoria rolled off the assembly line at Ford’s Thomas Assembly Plant in Ontario, Canada Thursday; it is the last full-size, body-on-frame, rear-wheel-drive car for ordinary buyers who like the big, old-fashioned sedans that once were king of the American road.
What it lacked in fuel efficiency — rated at 24 miles per gallon — it made up for with plenty of leg room and a powerful engine.
The final Crown Victoria was a white model with tan interior and optional rear-seat air conditioning for a customer in Saudi Arabia. With the long-serving Lincoln Town Car also ending production, only 250 of the plant’s roughly 1,200 workers will be kept through December to help decommission the facility.
It has been around for more than three decades with the same Panther platform that started duty way back in 1979. It has been one of the last remaining US vehicles still featuring a column-mounted gear shift and two-bench, six-passenger seating.
This was once the dominant format for US-manufactured vehicles since the 1950s, but now has been replaced in front by the bucket seats and console mounted shifter made popular by imports.
Possibly the most profitable Ford car ever — thanks to bean-counting that denied it capital for major updates — Ford decided in 2009 that the cost of bringing the Panther platform to 21st-century standards and replacing its worn-out tooling was not worth the trouble.
The first “Crown Victoria” appeared in 1955; it was a two-door six-seater coupe, part of the Ford Fairlane range, that differed from the regular Victoria model (named after a type of carriage) by having a stainless steel band that ‘crowned’ the roofline, passing right over the car, as an extension of the B-pillar line. The model was produced in 1955 and 1956. [wikipedia]