The Last Ford Crown Victoria Cop Cars Have Finally Retired From the California Highway Patrol

The sedan's tour of duty lasted 36 years in the Golden State.

via Facebook | California Highway Patrol

For decades, the single most notable headlight pattern in the U.S. was that of the Ford Crown Victoria. I can't think of another vehicle that would make my heart jump as quickly as the Crown Vic would when it popped up on my rearview mirror. But now—after 36 years of faithful service—it's time for Californians to wave goodbye to a piece of nostalgia, as the very last Crown Victoria Police Interceptors are being decommissioned from official duty.

As of Tuesday evening, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) has officially retired all Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptors from its fleet. The few remaining cruisers were celebrated by the department and given a proper sendoff, marking the long-deserved retirement for a tired platform.

It was only a matter of time before this day would come. The clock has been ticking on the Crown Vic's lifespan since Ford ended production of the Panther platform in 2011, meaning that officers have been switching to more modern platforms like the Ford Police Interceptor Utility (based off of the Explorer), Taurus SHO, and Dodge Charger for years. For what it's worth, the LAPD (not CHP) even tried the BMW i3—although for what it's worth, those i3s are being retired as well and are up for sale.

Surprisingly, there appear to have been quite a few Crown Vics still in commission peppered across California. For example, local news reports that CHP headquarters in Sacramento had eight units still being used for patrol until being retired on Tuesday, while the Central Division's single remaining Crown Vic went on its last watch on Monday. 

If it makes you feel any better, this Crown Vic didn't ride off into the sunset alone. Just two weeks earlier, the same division retired its very last all-white P71 (which is affectionately called "Polar Bear") and replaced it with—you guessed it—a brand new patrol-ready Dodge Charger.

Likely, these small slices of history will make their way to auction where they will be bought off by the public and re-purposed into various roles. One can hope that at least a single example from this retirement will be restored to commemorate their iconic presence in American policing, though not many drivers will remember their experience with these cars fondly.

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