When Ford finally phased out the Crown Victoria, police departments stockpiled as many of these cars as they could. At first, it’s difficult to see why: at the end of its life, the Crown Vic was as creaky, old, and as obsolete as cars got. But there were a few reasons why these sedans were (and still are) so beloved.

Much of the love comes from ease-of-use. It’s sort of why Ford kept making the Crown Vic for so long. It was 32 years between the first and the last Crown Vic rolling off of the assembly line, largely because Ford was making too much money off of its already-paid-for tooling to get rid of it, but not so much money off of it that it could justify a radical replacement. It was around, it worked, that was it. Was it the best at its job? Not exactly. But it was long-legged and cheap to run.

And nostalgia certainly plays a role. This was the last body-on-frame, rear-drive V8 American sedan. It was the end of the line for an American institution around since the 1930s.

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But most importantly was how it was made: body-on-frame. The Crown Vic was the last of these holdouts. Built like a pickup truck, heavy hits to the car wouldn’t hurt anything structural. All you needed to replace was, say, a busted fender, while the frame rails themselves were alright.

This meant not that the Crown Vic was necessarily tougher than other cars on the market (though it was tough), but that it was especially hard to total. In heavy-use jobs like being a cop car or working as a taxi, that really mattered. That’s what made the Crown Vic so cherished.

That, and nostalgia.

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