End of the Line for the Ford Crown Vic

The grand daddy of American sedans finally makes way for the new kids on the block.

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    You may never have owned one, but you've probably been in the back seat, for better or worse. After 32 model years, the last Ford Crown Victorias rolled off the St. Thomas Assembly line in Ontario, Canada on September 15th, marking the end of the longest-running automotive platform in American history with over 9.6 million units sold. We take a look at how the model evolved through the years.
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    What was then called the LTD Crown Victoria hit the road in the 1979 model year on Ford's all-new "Panther" rear-wheel-drive platform, along with its near twin the Mercury Grand Marquis. Nearly half a million cars were sold in its first year. The pair would be joined by the Lincoln Town Car in 1981. Its hard to imagine today, but these vehicles were considered downsized compared to the ones that they replaced, in an effort to increase fuel economy. Ironically, their relatively gas-guzzling ways are part of the reason they are going out of production today.
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    In 1992 the Crown Victoria (now without the LTD name) received a radical makeover, forgoing its boxy design for a sleek aerodynamic shape inspired by the then-popular Taurus sedan. It also shrugged off its ancient V8 engines for an all new "modular" 4.6-liter that would later find duty in the Ford Mustang. Despite turning its back on tradition the car was a hit with sales going through its curvaceous roof.
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    1998 brought yet another major redesign that created the signature look that the Crown Victoria would wear through the end of its life. 
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    In 2002 Ford begins offering a long-wheelbase version of the Crown Vic Taxi with extra rear legroom that's embraced by city-dwellers nationwide.
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    Although its body remained largely unchanged, in 2003 the Crown Victoria received major mechanical upgrades to improve durability, handling and safety in large part to the demands put on it as America's most popular police car.
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    Facing dwindling retail sales and with the all new full-size Five Hundred sedan to promote, in 2008 Ford moved the Crown Victoria to its fleet sales division, effectively turning it into a full-time taxi and police car.
    © 2007 Ford Motor Company
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    Proving the Panther is hard to kill, the Grand Marquis unintentionally outlives the elimination of its Mercury brand at then end of 2010 when a late parts shipment pushes production of the last cars into 2011.
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    Sales of the Crown Vic and Town Car increase in 2011 as police, taxi and limousine companies scramble to stockpile as many as they can before it reaches the end of the line.
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