Tag Archives: State

An Ocean Of Crown Vics – Ford LTD Crown Victoria

The saying in the li’l ol’ England was that everything in the USA and indeed North America was bigger than anything ever seen in Europe and to a greater or lesser extent that was verified on my first trip to North America in 1988, the buildings the cars and even the average height and build of the people seemed to dwarf anything I was exposed to on a regular basis in London or anywhere else in Europe.

Ford LTD Crown Victoria, Indiana State Police, Indianapolis Motor Speedway

What I was not expecting on my 24 hour trip from Toronto to Indianapolis for the Indy 500 was the overwhelming number of race fans camped out in every suburban nook and cranny surrounding Indianapolis Motor Speedway. In Europe most race tracks don’t attract even half of the 250,000 fans IMS can hold and even then the fans are usually spread out over several miles of country side and so never approach the kind of concentration seen at Indy.

I had expected a pretty wild, read friendly if a little drunk, crowd and was not disappointed, though I am glad I did not take my girl friend with me, I think she may have felt just a little intimidated by the rowdy vibe. Soon after getting into the IMS infield just after dawn on race day I found an apparent ocean of Indiana State Police pre’88 face lift Ford LTD Crown Victoria’s and was so impressed with the scale of the law enforcement presence I took the photo above.

The pre ’88 face lift Ford LTD Crown Victoria, also known as the Crown Vic was launched in 1983, from what I have been able to discern police package Crown Vic’s were available either 160 hp 5 litre / 302 cui EFI V8’s or 180 hp 5.7 litre / 351 cui HO V8’s driving through four speed AOD (Automatic Overdrive) transmissions around 1987, never enough to beat the Chevrolet Caprice in the Michigan State Police tests run at Michigan International Speedway, but close enough to keep the order books open until the introduction of the Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor in 1992.

These cars were particularly popular with law enforcement agencies because they were rear wheel drive, RWD, having a perceived more predictable handling and because they featured a separate chassis onto which the body was attached offering the advantage of lower repair costs because the chassis was less likely to get damaged in inevitable collisions which law enforcement work would expose these vehicles to.

Thanks for joining me on this “A Field Full Of Crown Vics” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow for Ferrari Friday. Don’t forget to come back now !


50 Foot Special – Mercedes Chevy 300SL

Mercedes Chevy 300 SL, Sacramento State Capital C d'E

Back in the 1950’s US Mercedes Benz importer Max Hoffman is credited with encouraging Daimler Benz AG to build the Mercedes 300 SL (W198) based on the successful 1952 Le Mans Winning 300 SL (W194).

Chuck Porter amongst a few other US racing drivers took wrecked 300 SLs and turned them into full blown race cars giving them the ‘SLS’ moniker.

Mercedes Chevy 300 SL, Sacramento State Capital C d'E

The body of today’s car owned by multi championship winning driver and owner Dave Wolin is thought to have possibly started as such a project. The body is said to have been abandoned in a San Gabriel Valley back yard for 50 years after incurring the legal wrath of Daimer Benz AG for being too close a copy of the original.

Mercedes Chevy 300 SL, Sacramento State Capital C d'E

When Dave found the body it had a tree growing in it ! After the body was rejuvenated it was fitted to a modern chassis powered by a Chevrolet small block crate motor. The power is transmitted through a four speed Richmond T 10 gearbox and Speedway Engineering Quick Change rear axle.

Mercedes Chevy 300 SL, Sacramento State Capital C d'E

Dave successfully competes with this cool car in races, hill climbs and surprisingly, given that he modestly calls his Merc a 50 Footer*, also enters his Mercedes into Concours events such as the Sacramento State Capital Concours as seen here.

* Looks good from 50 feet but it’s a racing car not a show car.

My thanks to Geoffrey Horton for the photos, for introducing me to Dave Wolin and to Dave for the additional photos and information about this ultra cool 300 SL.

I hope you have enjoyed todays Gull Wing edition of ‘Gettin a lil’ psycho on tyres’ and that you will join me again tomorrow for a trip to the Donnington Park Museum. Don’t forget to come back now !

PS Recommend aficionados of the 1930’s era Silver Arrow’s visit my friend Paul Chenard’s blog about his limited edition book ‘Silver Clouds‘ on the 1934 season.