The last cop car

Local dealership swoops up Crown Victorias

It’s a random sight: hundreds upon hundreds of police vehicles, parked neatly in rows and sparklingly polished, all located in the back of Downtown Ford’s lot on 16th Street.

The dealership recently purchased approximately 600 of these Crown Victoria Police Interceptors. Why? They’re not building an army: Ford Motor Company discontinued the iconic cop car this year, and Downtown pounced on the last remaining Crown Vics in the world.

“We made a business decision,” fleet manager Dave Forbess told SN&R. His thinking is that government agencies and police departments will be wary of switching to the new, possibly inferior Ford Taurus model police ride. “So that’s why we bought these extra cars,” he said, “because I think that the market will be apprehensive.”

Forbess declined to share how many were actually purchased, but another employee said that the dealership swooped up some 600 a month or two ago, and that there are about 240 remaining on the lot.

The general public can’t purchase these vehicles, however, which come in traditional black-and-white, all-silver and all-white, and sell on average for $24,000. Downtown Ford moves a handful of cars at a time and has sold cars to cities statewide—including the ritzy Southern California burg of Brentwood and as far away as Montana and even the nation of Guam.

You can’t actually see these cars from 16th Street or Ford’s sales floor, though—only from the bike trail behind the dealership, along the American River.

Ford Motor Company introduced the Crown Vic police interceptor in 1998 and produced its final one this past September. It’s a rear-wheel-drive vehicle that gets about 14 miles-per-gallon on the street and 21 on the highway. The proposed Taurus cop cars, which have yet to be introduced, will be front-wheel drive, improve on those MPG numbers, accelerate faster and cost a bit more ($29,000).

Neither Sacramento police nor the local highway patrol has put in orders for the new Taurus, according to representatives from each department.

Downtown’s Forbess says he doesn’t know of any problems with the new Ford model, based on the 2010 Taurus, except for “issues when hitting curbs.”

“Which cops do all the time,” he added.

The new Taurus cars also will have electronic stability control, as mandated by the U.S. government, so there won’t be any cop cars doing wheelies or making skid marks any longer, either.