The goal here is to purchase a used 2003+ P71 Crown Victoria for the sole purpose of modifying to drive around on desert trails and forest roads. Why a Crown Victoria? They are cheap, body on frame, V8, rear wheel drive, super reliable, plus with the additional coolers and suspension components for police use it’ll hold up. I have no interest in actual ‘wheeling’ or owning a truck so it’s perfect, plus an off-road car is more visually interesting (to me).
My plan is to install a set of 3-inch lift cups/spacers intended for donks on 28’s and some all-terrain 31’s for the stock 16 inch police steel wheels.
Step one was to acquire the car. I set out to purchase a car that wasn’t too beat up, still had some life left in it, and wouldn’t leave me stranded. I didn’t care about the mileage or the amount of police equipment currently or formerly installed on the car. After scouring Craigslist for a few weeks I found one that seemed decent. It was a black 2003 former Modesto Police Department car with enough police equipment still installed to make me uncomfortable.
I set up an appointment to view the car right before sunset, buying a car at night is always a good route to take. The owner promised that the car had a new paint job (it used to have white doors), which it seemed to, the quality however was a bit lacking (I think the roof may have been painted with and actual orange as a roller). The paint didn’t matter to me, at all, so I overlooked that. Everything else met or exceeded my expectations. The suspension was nice and smooth with no pops or clunks, the AC blew nice and frosty, it shifted and drove much nicer than expected, plus all of the police stuff seemed fun to play with. He was asking $3000 but I was able to work it down to $2000.
It came with a Setina push bumper, all of the GPS and radio antennas, a siren/PA, and strobe lights (no blue or red) with the control box, plus the standard police spotlights. There was also wiring for what I’m guessing was an old VCR style dash cam, and leads running to where the red/blue lights and roof light bar would have been. It had enough police stuff left to easily get yourself into trouble without effort. I never turned on the sirens or lights unless at home, on private property, or out in the middle of nowhere. There is no sense in getting into trouble for something that lame. The way people react to the car makes you uneasy enough as it is.
When you sit behind the wheel of a decorated P71 you are stepping into Pleasantville. Kids will stop their bikes to wave at you and people all of a sudden have working blinkers. When you’re cruising down the fast lane of the freeway cars will actually move over to let you pass, when you flip on the turn signal to indicate that you want to switch lanes asshole drivers don’t speed up to block you, you’re yielded to when getting off of the freeway, and best of all the fake early 20 something homeless beggars with clean socks, new shoes, and a full thirst buster abandon their posts, so you don’t even have to look at their lying faces.
It’s perfect, well, almost perfect. But it’s all a lie.
This is the part where Reese Witherspoon strokes Paul Walkers bits right into Technicolor. People will yield to you when they have the right of way. This has happened 5 times now in 14 days. When at a 2 way stop, people without the stop sign will slam on their brakes to let you go in front of them, that happened twice this week. I also had a guy turning right on a green light stop, completely stop, to let me turn left in front of him. I’ve seen too many accidents from drivers trying to be nice and let people in when traffic is stopped to take up an offer on someones yield when they have the right of way. We have laws for a reason.
Then there are people who go out of their way to drive like an asshole and swerve around you or tailgate to prove a point. Their little brain has realized that your license plate doesn’t start with a government ‘G’, or that your paint isn’t perfect, or that the car is dirty (cops always seem to have clean cars). If being a reckless asshole pleases you, so be it.
95% of traffic treats you differently in one way or another, it’s a strange thing to get used to.
The world is overall a pretty nice place through the lens of a P71, don’t believe it. You’re just another schmuck on the road, if you weren’t fronting as a pseudo-cop you’d have to deal with the real world and common traffic just like everyone else.
I can’t wait to make the car appear more like a former patrol car and not a current one, I can live without all of the fake ‘respect’.
My initial plan for 31’s went out the window after I found and purchased some 33″ takeoffs from a newer Jeep Rubicon. I paid $240 for a set of five, after selling the wheels the tires were pretty much free. How did I get them home? In the backseat and trunk (I had a passenger in the front).
You bought an 03 but the title says 2007? Well guess what? This all happened months ago. My dad wasn’t a fan of ruining such an interesting and complete car, he decided to make me a cash offer with a couple extra dollars to make it worth my time. As I mentioned previously, the police equipment isn’t important to me so I continued my search but with a slightly higher budget. As you have probably assumed I ended up with an 07 for this project.