What makes someone want to own and drive an American police car in the UK? Ewan Howieson has several answers to the question. “I really wanted one, having seen so many movies that these Crown Victoria police cars were in. It’s an iconic shape and watching them slide around in car chases looked like a lot of fun. Plus, so many have been wrecked in service or in movies that the cars are getting rare and they’re actually quite practical to own.”
Ewan’s is a 2011 Ford Crown Victoria P7B Interceptor. “I asked the owners’ club if anyone was selling one and in August 2018 one of their members, Scott Blazer from R&S Motorsports in Largo, Florida, said a local police force was selling four cars. Another club member, Matt Keefe, was on holiday nearby and offered to check the cars. We did a video call where Matt pointed out what he felt was the best example and I bought it there and then. He ended up buying two of the others. I found out later that after I’d put down a deposit another police force tried hard to buy the cars.
“Crown Vics are really in demand since they’re one of the best police cars ever made and police officers are always reluctant to let them go.
“I’d wanted a low-mileage example and being a 2011 this is one of the last Vics built. From 2008, they were only available to fleet sales and government agencies, although a small number went to the Gulf. I was very lucky the Florida Police let me buy this car virtually complete – it’s just as it was in service including the Whelen lightbar, Go Rhino pushbar, Setina prisoner partition and shotgun rack. Usually the lights and all decals would have been removed before the car was sold – an American civilian can’t own one with police markings on − but all they did was pull the radios and computer equipment.”
Ewan had his car containerised and shipped to Felixstowe. “When I first saw it on the docks I thought ‘wow’ because it was really shiny and polished. It turned out it was the officer’s takehome car at night and he’d really looked after it. The glovebox was full of his business cards. They even included a servicing kit with all the oil and air filters etc. – the whole thing was $21 since parts are so cheap out there. I’ve heard stories of buyers finding bullets in their cars and even bullet holes, but these Vics were used in Indian Shores, a small town where the speed limit was 30mph, so likely never saw serious action.
“The only aspects I had to get used to were the size of the car and the steering column gear change – all police cars were built with column shifter since the centre console houses the computer and controls. I was surprised how fuel-efficient the car is; it’s a 4.6-litre V8 with four-speed automatic ‘box, but I get about 30mpg. It helps that we have higher octane petrol in the UK. Since 2008, Vics were built with Flex Fuel, which is petrol and a percentage of ethanol mixed in, but I just run this on normal unleaded.”
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