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N Sperlo
N Sperlo MegaDork
9/23/14 11:54 a.m.

Recently there was an incident in front of my house involving... well... all of me vehicles. The Ranger was totaled out and hopefully I'll get enough to pay for a cheap car.

"What cheap car", you ask? Why a P71 (or another model in which I'll just make the necessary modifications). I miss my old one, and I need a 4 door again. P71s are priced decently. I would prefer not to have the "police look", but I may deal with that later.

I'm thinking I'll try to go 2003 or later, but is there anything else I should keep in mind? I won't have much to spend.

bluej SuperDork
9/23/14 12:19 p.m.

I can't help you on picking a panther, but we're gonna need to hear that story if possible.

N Sperlo
N Sperlo MegaDork
9/23/14 12:31 p.m.
neon4891 UltimaDork
9/23/14 12:32 p.m.

How cheap are '03+ Gran Marquis?

N Sperlo
N Sperlo MegaDork
9/23/14 12:35 p.m.

In reply to neon4891:

In most cases, more expenseive. I'm just as open to them if they can be had for the price. Getting them up to P71 specs shouldn't be any harder and they look even less policey. The suspension may be a roadblock, but I'm cool with that.

captdownshift HalfDork
9/23/14 1:00 p.m.

I've always liked the executive trim level of the town cars, in triple black of course (then do the P71 upgrades)

N Sperlo
N Sperlo MegaDork
9/23/14 1:38 p.m.

In reply to captdownshift:

Thought about that as well, but didn't really search on them. I'll add them to my list and see how that search comes up.

failboat UltraDork
9/23/14 3:53 p.m.

i have been researching panthers a lot lately too and looking at craigslist...Im also in the market within the next several months...some food for thought

base model civilian models likely have an open 2.73 rear end. (and single exhaust tip) better fuel economy. I think most of the civilian models in general have open rear ends. kind of sucks getting going from a dead stop in the snow.

from what I have read the crown vic sports also have an open rear end but its a 3.27. here is a rundown of the crown vic sports.

at least locally, it seems most P71s are a couple grand cheaper than a somewhat comparable civilian panther. listed locally to me are an 03 and 04 vic sport, around 100k miles, asking $6 and $7k respectively at a used car dealer. there is also a very nice still listed 08 P71 around 110k miles, with the street appearance package, toreador red paint, and other options (tan interior with carpet, no holes in the body that i can see), private party sale asking $4.5k. I have seen a few other comparable P71s come and go over the past month or two....(Like an 06 P71, 62k miles, $4600, someone already swapped in leather seats, tinted windows, marauder wing, mustang 18's, touchscreen stereo...)

If you consider that the P71 pretty much has all the greasy bits underneath that you would want (I assume), Just get a P71 with the street appearance package and no bullbars or spotlights, and swap some seats and interior trim if necessary if you want something a bit less like a cop car inside.

Thats exactly my plan when i get to shopping. I plan on lowering the car 2+" on some staggered 18's to make it look even less like an undercover cop.

btw I was seeing 27mpg highway on my grand marquis gs. being a former p71 owner, is 24-25mpg highway something reasonable I can expect out of a P71 with 3.27 rear end?

sorry for teh threadjack

ebonyandivory SuperDork
9/23/14 4:03 p.m.

Oh great, just when I talked myself out of one!

My only question is snow travel. One voice (in my head) says "you need a 4x4" while the other voice says "snow tires and/or chains".

It's really hard to vote against a. Panther in practical terms. They're not the fastest, the wont corner like The Answer but they are RWD, V8, comfortable, safe, cheap, lots of new parts, lots of JY parts, cheap upgrades.

And if you de-cop it, you won't look like a DB!

N Sperlo
N Sperlo MegaDork
9/23/14 4:15 p.m.

The 99 P71 is lowered. I'll probably go after those springs. Very helpful info, failboat. I just got quoted double what i paid for the Ranger, but am getting out what I put in, so... Meh.. Could be worse. I'll be back to searching...

tjbell Reader
9/23/14 4:16 p.m.

I too am in the market for another Panther based vehicle. I had a 2001 P71 that had a slipping transmission, and bent frame. drove it 1600 miles in 6 days with no problems. and got 24 mpg to boot. it was rough...very rough but oh so much fun

failboat UltraDork
9/23/14 4:16 p.m.

the weather yous guys deal with may be different than mine. the past couple years where I live it has really only been 1 or 2 days a year that the roads werent cleared enough for 2wd vehicles. I just called out of work instead of risking the 90 mile round trip trek on those days.

they definately dont handle like a miata but they are predictable when you push them. I autocrossed my stock suspension 99 marquis with 245 width tires on mustang rims several times. I just locked that bitch in 1st gear. brake enough for turns then steer a little with the right foot.

The 21mm HPP rear sway bar (also found on the Marauder) is worth EVERY PENNY. if you get a vic that will take it.....EDIT: it appears these may be NLA, used to be you could buy them new for $50. look for em used.

N Sperlo
N Sperlo MegaDork
9/23/14 4:27 p.m.

The 99 wasn't going anywhere on untreated roads, but that's what I keep the F150 around for. I'm liking this Panther shopping way too much already.

Contradiction Reader
9/23/14 4:29 p.m.

sigh I still want to own one of these someday. I'd love to slap a Kenny Bell supercharger on it and keep the full on "sinister" cop car look at the same time. I just bought a brand new Mazda6 recently though so that further distances me from a dedicated winter beater any time soon.

Nick_Comstock PowerDork
9/23/14 4:55 p.m.

Can't help on the panther front but I will add my 2cents on the snow front. My 96 Impala SS was a BEAST!!! in winter conditions with a set of winterforce tires on it. It was rock steady in anything from 6"+ to hard packed icy slush. It was unstoppable and always in complete control. Given the similarities of the two platforms I certainly wouldn't worry about winter conditions with the right tires on it.

failboat UltraDork
9/23/14 4:57 p.m.

I did some maths, I figured could pay cash for the cleanest P71 I can find, turn around and sell my current Hyundai Accent and break even. Ill be getting 10mpg less, the monthly fuel cost difference will be around $80 a month. I can eat that cost to have a big comfortable car again. Its less than half what my monthly car payment was on the Hyundai. After buying 2 new cars within the past 6 years...I am TOTALLY ok with a used car and no car payments and lower personal property taxes..

moar random panther trivia/info i have picked up over the years and/or recently

Mercury had their own version equivalent to the Vic LX Sport. The Grand Marquis LSE. http://mercurygrandmarquislse.com/

05 was the only year for a rear fender mounted fm radio antenna. all the other years the antenna is in the rear glass.

03-04 appear to have the same gauges/steering wheels as the 98-02 panthers. 05 has the newer steering wheel and older gauges. 06 appears to be first year for the analog tach next to the analog speedo. even the civilian models without the digital dash have them although they look more fancy.

if your panther has the rear airbag suspension, you can lower the car for free. I've read more than a few people cut the front springs +/-1/2 coil, adjust the rear sensor height to lower the car with no issues. They do make proper lowering springs for the front if you want to go that route. If your car has rear springs/shocks you cant cut them as the coils are wound tighter on the ends and they wont seat properly if cut.

N Sperlo
N Sperlo MegaDork
9/23/14 5:28 p.m.

Found what sounds like a damn clean 05 Captain's package for under 5k... Wonder what the mileage is...

I was wondering about those with air suspension.

ebonyandivory SuperDork
9/23/14 5:38 p.m.

So "we" think a Panther with Winterforces under it will do good in New England winters?

(Plus I see myself lifting one 3" with all terrains and rally lights on the bumper)

N Sperlo
N Sperlo MegaDork
9/23/14 6:32 p.m.

In reply to ebonyandivory:

Air suspension. Raise it for the rally. Lower it for the streets.

SyntheticBlinkerFluid PowerDork
9/23/14 7:04 p.m.

Get a P71 that's not black or white. Get either a chrome or body colored grille, then throw some CV Sport wheels on. There's a good look.

ryanty22 Dork
9/23/14 8:05 p.m.

Early 90s caprice with the 9c1 pkge

ebonyandivory SuperDork
9/23/14 8:09 p.m.
ryanty22 wrote: Early 90s caprice with the 9c1 pkge

In theory, yes. But in practice there's about a 300:1 P71 to 9C1 ratio out there.

Wally MegaDork
9/23/14 8:18 p.m.

The police here just through snow tires on them and run them all winter. They plow nicely through damn near anything.

chada75 New Reader
9/24/14 3:13 a.m.

Ok. Here's some personal experience with the Panthers:

The best Panthers overall is the 2004 Model P71 because it's the last model year of using a cable Throttle, The second year of the Rack and Pinion, And the First year with some of the Marauder goodies minus the 32v 4.6. After 2005, the Trans became less reliable.

A 1995-1997 P71 would be a great choice too since it has the Aluminum Hood, It's 200 lighter than a 98+, and upgrading the brakes to a 98+ is easy and cheap to do.

dean1484 UltimaDork
9/24/14 6:13 a.m.

What about town cars. How are they optioned compared to the ford?

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