This brand-spankin'-new yellow New York taxi-ready Ford Crown Victoria fleet I stumbled across yesterday, springing up like a patch of daisies through the cracks of the concrete urban jungle of Hoboken, New Jersey, is both poignant and beautiful.
It's poignant because, after 20 years of production, the Ford Crown Victoria will finally shuffle off this mortal coil at the end of the 2012 model year. Although a replacement for New York's fleet of yellow-painted people haulers has already been found, it's received less-than-stellar reviews from the punditocracy — myself included.
But the negative reviews aren't just coming from the automotive "intelligentsia" — they're coming from the very taxi fleets that will be buying and using the new taxis. These fleet companies love the Ford Crown Vic because they're essentially bulletproof, able to take a beating like no other car currently on the market.
Like Charlton Heston and his handguns, the only way you'll be prying Ford Crown Vics from fleet owners' hands is when the last four-door's engine block dies. And it looks like Ford of Manhattan may be stockpiling a plethora of Panther-platformed Ford sedans to dole out to fleets in an attempt to make sure that that day will be a long time coming.
But that's just speculation on my part. Still, it seems the most likely reason these sedans are sitting in a hidden-from-view lot in Hoboken.
Even Ford's sale numbers would seemingly back that up. Year-on-year sales of the Crown Victoria through May are up 61.6% — from 15,413 vehicles sold to 24,910. It sure ain't because it's a new model year. It's obvious fleets — and dealerships — are stockpiling these dinosaurs of the auto world.
I've asked Ford for a comment and to confirm my suspicions — and also to tell us whether these Crown Vics already have a home. Because if they don't, I can find a lot worse ways to spend $31,000. And yes, according to the Monroney sticker, that's the going price.
But that's cheap to own a piece of history today. But even if it weren't, it wouldn't matter, because I love this platform — whether it be Lincoln, Mercury or Ford-flavored. That's because there's much to be said for a car that does exactly what it's supposed to do — no more, no less. And the Ford Crown Vic has done that.
In my mind, that's beauty.