This was my best friends car, and boy was it nice! An excellent combination of power and comfort. If you feel the need for a big vehicle, forget an SUV- get one of these babies!
It was basically your classic full-size 1980s American-made car- fancy hood ornament, big toothy grille, and vinyl roof. Its the sort of car favored by both inner-city gang-bangers and elderly Midwestern white people. Why these two widely different groups of people have the same taste in cars is somewhat of an odd phenomenon, but it does explain how a car purchased from an 80-year old Swedish-American farmer for $1600 would subsequently be jokingly referred to as The Pimpmobile.
This car was basically a more luxurious, nicer-styled version of the more bland Crown Victoria that was and is a standard car for police and taxis.
I was impressed by the cars power, with its 5-liter V8. When I first drove it, I kept inadvertently tearing away with tires squealing, because I wasnt used to it. The engine was very smooth and quiet, however, and never seemed to break into a sweat. I recall once, coming back from a trip, when my friend was late for work, and he drove a considerable distance in excess of 100 mph (not something I recommend on narrow county roads, if anywhere), and the car hardly seemed to break into a sweat.
And boy did it have a smooth ride. Almost to a fault- sunk into those cushy seats, the engine purring softly, the suspension removing all jolt and vibration, it was not conducive to staying awake on long trips.
These cars were by all accounts very well made. Small 80s American cars tended to be junk, but thanks to decades of experience, they really knew how to build big rear-wheel drive sedans, and this car was durable and built like a tank. When it was acquired, this car had 180,000 miles on it, but it drove like a new car- the engine was so quiet you could hardly tell it had been turned on, and oil consumption was zilch (Im sure it helped that the previous owner took very good care of it). Repairs were infrequent. The cars sturdiness was amply demonstrated in the course of its spectacular demise involving a drunk in a Dodge Ram and a couple brick buildings, during which it absorbed a truly impressive amount of punishment without killing its occupants.
The only real drawback was the fuel economy, which while not bad for a big vehicle, was still not exactly Honda Civic-level. Still, it was much better than a Chevy Suburban or whatnot. The EPA figures are 24 hwy and 17 city. I seem to recall getting 20ish on a cross-country trip, but it probably didn't help that my friend is a huge lead-foot and also went 90 mph much of the time.
The handling was a bit floaty and boatish, but it really wasnt that bad- certainly not like a full-size 70s car.
Also, it was kind of low to the ground. This meant that driving with some discretion was advised. In other words, not doing what a certain nameless person did once when he was driving, namely flooring it while going over a steep railroad crossing so that it would fly up in the air like in the movies (which it did), and then claiming that the subsequent disappearance of the muffler was purely coincidental.
Its easy to buy a car like this in the small town Midwest due to all the old folks who like them (in addition to the Grand Marquis, theres the Ford Crown Victoria, the Chevy Caprice, and etc.). They tend to be reasonably priced, and were usually gently driven and well-maintained by their previous owners.
They still make a streamlined version of this car. Theyre just as roomy as an SUV, theyre cheaper, theyre luxurious, and they get better gas mileage- so why dont all those suburban people buy them instead?
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