Ford Retires the Crown Victoria

Last Updated Aug 24, 2011 11:55 AM EDT

The last of the big cars is retiring.

One of the last last exemplars of the bygone big Detroit sedan -- and a favorite of police departments and taxi drivers across the country -- the Crown Victoria is being put out to pasture by Ford, according to the Detroit Free Press.

The Crown Victoria, which was originally introduced in 1983, hasn't been sold to consumers since 2008; sales have remained strong, however, for the Police Interceptor version.

Now, in the face of increased competition for police business from Chevrolet Caprice and Dodge Charger, Ford is introducing new police vehicles based on the Taurus large sedan and Explorer SUV.

Police officials appear to be unconvinced about the transition: Police departments have been stockpiling the model while they still could, driving sales up 64% through the first seven months of this year, the Free Press noted.

Big and soft-riding, with bench seats and with low gas mileage, the Crown Vic was favored in its consumer years by families, real estate agents and anyone else who wanted to haul passengers in a sedan. But the model's low gas mileage made it less feasible for Ford as the automaker had to meet tightening federal MPG standards. And as for families who needed to haul kids, SUVs and minivans became more practical alternatives.

But for those who owned Crown Victorias over the years -- many of them replacing their old ones with new models -- it will be missed.

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    Jerry Edgerton, author of Car Shopping Made Easy, has been covering the car beat since Detroit companies dominated the U.S. market. The former car columnist for Money magazine and Washington correspondent for Business Week, Edgerton specializes in finding the best deals on wheels and offering advice on making your car last.