Ford Crown Victoria Police InterceptorThe "Crown Vic" represents about 85 percent of the police car market, according to Ford.
The Police Interceptor version differs from civilian-use Crown Victorias in a number of respects. It has a higher-output 250-horsepower engine -- compared to 239 horsepower -- and it also has a transmission, tires, brakes and other components designed for high-speed use. Its electrical system is upgraded to deal with all the lights, computer equipment and radio equipment demanded in modern police work. The car's frame is also bolstered for added strength.
The back seats of the Police Interceptor are built with the back and bottom portions as a single piece with no space in between them. That means there's no place there for a back seat "passenger" to hide a weapon. It also makes it harder for the "passenger" to rip out the seat back to access the trunk.
Kevlar-lined doors, which can be used as protective barriers during gun fights, are optional.
The Police Interceptor has been the target of criticism because of fires following rear end collisions, but Sgt. Keith Wilson of the Michigan State Police Precision Driving Team said he wasn't concerned.
Given the large numbers of Crown Vics in police use, and given that these cars are frequently hit at speeds in excess of 80 miles per hour while parked at the sides of freeways, some resultant fires should not be surprising, he said.
Nonetheless, Crown Victoria Police Interceptors now come with an automatic fire suppression system and special "trunk packs" designed to help prevent trunk contents from piercing the fuel tank in a collision.
The image at left was provided by Ford Motor Co. The cars tested did not have police lights and livery.