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Proposal for F-150-based Police Interceptor

Interceptor: What's Next?

Proposal for F-150-based Police Interceptor
Posted August 31 2009 10:05 AM by Edward A. Sanchez 
Filed under: Opinions, Opinions, Trend Observations, Ford

Ford Police Interceptor

Its basic platform has been around since before Reagan was in the White House, and yet the old soldier still trods on nearly three decades later. Yes, I'm talking about the Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor. Long a favorite of law enforcement fleets nationwide, as well as taxi drivers (many of which are de-commissioned police cars themselves), Ford is giving not-so-subtle hints to the boys in blue that their old faithful may soon be permanently de-commissioned.

2010 Ford Taurus

The suggested replacement? The new Ford Taurus. Size and weight wise, the Taurus and Crown Vic are nearly peers. They both waddle around to the tune of two tons, and are within about a foot of each other length-wise. So it would seem to be a logical replacement, right? Yes...except for the fact that cops are a notoriously traditional lot, and seem to equate body-on-frame construction, and rear-wheel drive as pre-requisites for police duty. The Taurus has neither.

Chevrolet found this out the hard way when it dropped the Caprice back in the mid-90s, and tried to convince cops to buy its new front-wheel-drive Impala. The outcome? Today, Ford owns nearly 80 percent of the law enforcement market with the Crown Vic, with Chevy and Dodge fighting for the remnants.

Well, I have a proposal that may please both police traditionalists, as well as the bean-counters at Ford. It may seem radical, but I think it's a relatively sound business proposition. Build the new Police Interceptor on a modified F-150 chassis.

Think about it...this recipe covers all the bases for the traditionalists: V8 power, rear-wheel-drive, body-on-frame, and tough-as-nails construction.

Would it require some re-engineering of the truck chassis? For sure. Just about everything would need to be lowered about 8-10 inches for use in a car application. But it seems with the advent of CAD, that some virtual prototypes could be mocked up fairly quickly.

Ford Interceptor Concept

But the advantages over the current PI would be manifold: greater ground clearance, greater toughness against field abuse, easier ingress and egress (from the taller body). While we're at it, if it's going to be a fleet-only vehicle, why not design-in a lot of the hardware that was traditionally up-fitted after the fact? An integrated on-board computer, pre-installed lights and sirens, and a modular, hose-out rear compartment.

Would there be any downsides? Perhaps a few. Fuel economy would likely be slightly worse (due to the beefier, heavier construction of the truck chassis), and the fact that departments would still have to re-tool and re-train their service departments for a new model.

What would this new behemoth look like? Look no further than Ford's own Interceptor concept car from a few years ago. Granted, some of the Interceptor's styling cues migrated to the Taurus. Namely its high, pronounced beltline and gun-slit windows. For the actual "production" Interceptor, I'd suggest raising the greenhouse and glass area a few inches for improved visibility and the aforementioned ingress/egress. Also, a slightly higher ride height in the interest of the abuse the vehicle is sure to see in active duty. Aside from that, I'd change very little from the concept's menacing, no-nonsense exterior.

Although substantial re-engineering of the F-150 chassis would be needed, it would save costs over an all-new model, and deliberate parts-bin engineering would ensure the majority of mechanical components from an F-150 would bolt right up. Although there might be some early doubters, my guess is cops would adopt this as their new favorite quickly. What do you think?

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