A replacement for Ford’s US Crown Victoria police cruiser, hit by allegations that it is prone to catching fire after rear-end collisions, could come from Ford Australia, whose Falcon family is rear drive, offers an optional 390bhp 5.4-litre V8 and is already a firm favourite with Aussie police forces, The Car Connection (TCC) website suggested.
TCC says the high-tech plastic fuel tank mounted between the axles would enable the Falcon to avoid the outboard tank hassles blighting the Crown Vic.
A number of US policemen have died after their Crown Victorias caught fire after rear-end collisions and Ford is currently retrofitting a modification kit.
TCC noted that the Australian Ford Falcon’s arch-rival, the Holden Comodore family, powered by the 5.7-litre Gen III V-8 Corvette motor mated to a six-speed gearbox, already does police duty with Australian forces [New Zealand cops too] as well as those of many Middle East countries, notably Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
Ford Australia does not yet build left-hand-drive Falcons but Holden does do left-hook Commodores along with the long-wheelbase luxury Statesman and Caprice derivatives.
Two years ago there was a substantial investigation into the feasibility of bringing the rear-drive Holden sedans into the US to sell to police forces, TCC said, and the forces that turned up to several test drives held by private importers went away more than keen.
TCC noted that, felled by import regulations that effectively barred the car from the US through official channels, private entrepreneurs had hoped to import several thousand a year, but nothing came of the plan. This was possibly because Holden had bigger supply issues to focus on, not the least of which was the Holden Monaro-based Pontiac GTO coupe programme.
TCC reported that the Middle Eastern Commodore/Caprice police supply programme has so far dispatched more than 2,000 police cars annually at the last count and suggested that Ford’s Falcon platform, while unique to Australia, could also help the Mercury brand, which is struggling to find a strong icon car.
There are rumours in the US that Ford will soon axe the recently launched sporty Marauder derivative of the Grand Marquis, itself a derivative of the Ford-badged Crown Vic, due to slow sales.
TCC suggests the Falcon GT sedan, just unveiled, would be worth consideration with rear-wheel drive, decent four-door, five-adult accommodation, a 390bhp V8 engine with 384 lb-ft of torque, a close-ratio Tremec TR3650 five-speed manual gearbox and massive Brembo brake package.
However, The Car Connection says Ford has not been in any rush to pull Falcons into the US from Australia even though four of the new BA-series range are in Detroit now and Ford Australia president Geoff Polites plans on shipping a GT over as well.
“It’s a demand pull not a supplier push,” Polites told TCC. “If they wanted it they could have it. We will send a GT over there anyway.”
TCC said the Australian Falcon GT, badged as a Mercury, would avoid potential conflict with the Ford Mustang, appeal to family buyers with back seat access issues and thrill enthusiast US drivers.
“If Mercury is truly searching for a quick-fix icon car, the Falcon GT must be worth a trial,” the website concluded.