After more than a decade as the nation’s most widely used law enforcement vehicle in the nation, the Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor — the Crown Vic, as it has become known — went out of production in 2011. This summer, says the New York Times, Washington State Trooper Randy Elkins was assigned to be the driver of the last Crown Vic bought by the Washington State Patrol. “It's kind of the end of an era,” Elkins said. “My goal is to keep it to the end, right to the last mile.”
As the Times describes it, “Two tons of rear-wheel drive and a V-8 engine up front made for a machine that could feel safe at any speed, a reliable nonhuman partner when things got crazy.” Said Lt. Dan McCollum, fleet manager for the Kansas Highway Patrol: “If you had any severe crash or a hairy situation with a Crown Vic, you could become real attached to it when it performed well and either saved your life or protected you from great bodily harm.” For Trooper Elkins, part of the Crown Vic's appeal is its sheer size, which is one reason, with constricted government budgets, that the Crown Vic's reign came to an end. Compared with lighter and more fuel-efficient designs — notably the Chevrolet Caprice, which the Washington State Patrol is now buying — the Crown Vic increasingly seemed like a relic.