Ford fought tooth-and-nail to fight downsizing in the late 1970s. GM had shrunk the Impala and Caprice and walked away smelling like a rose. The race was on…who would be the next to shrink their full-size car, Chrysler or Ford? Chrysler was a fun house without the fun at the time and really didn’t have much of a plan going and Ford really didn’t want to deviate from the platform that had first appeared in 1969, but with GM’s success, there was no doubt that something needed to happen. Thus begat the 1979 Panther platform, one of Ford’s longest running platforms. The car that was supposed to be a shrunken full-size sedan, the bread-and-butter car, would up being the last full-frame vehicle Ford cranked out, a cop-car icon, and legendary for their durability.
I’ll be honest with you, readers…if any kind of Panther platform Ford product is drifting properly, I will pay attention and will probably share it with you. And the reason for that is simple: the fact that the Crown Victoria, P71, Marquis and Town Car have graduated from geriatric early-bird specials and thrashed-out cruisers into a cult performance icon stuns me. There are plenty of hopped-up versions out there, and examples like the “Project Neighbor” car that Cleetus cuts loose with here is just a taste. Be it a Marauder with the wick turned up, a Lincoln with a Paxton or one of the Bondurant Cobra Vics will always have a special place in my heart. They were never a performance car…no, not even the Marauder…but under the right circumstances and with the right power, it is hard to ignore the fun that one of these can be.