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Old 01-12-2016, 11:36 PM   #54 (permalink)
Planecrazy
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Join Date: May 2009
Location: Buffalo Grove, IL
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Ok ... here's my take, and I say this as someone who is a great fan of the styling of "classic" cars.

If you're planning to cart your entire family around on a regular basis, going with an old car is a mistake, if only because newer cars are SO much safer in a crash, even if you don't count modern advances like air bags and anti-lock brakes. Just the structures themselves absorb much of the energy in a crash, unlike older cars that transmit those forces to the occupants. In my opinion, no amount of energy efficiency in an older, lighter, vehicle is worth the trade-off.

That said, I'd suggest that even though you have experience with the Crown Vic / Grand Marquis twins (and may even be bored with them), I'd go looking for one of the recent stretched police/taxi versions and use that as a starting point. The newer ones have the extra safety features you'll want to protect your family in a collision, and the extra few inches of length in the cabin will provide some "stretch-out" room for the rear passengers, as well as giving you a slightly more aerodynamic version of the car than the slightly shorter cabin provides. An interesting alternative would be a late model Town Car, which would be even more spacious and quiet. A huge trunk is a bonus, and any variant of the platform offers so many possibilities for alternative power.

Obvious choices would be a small diesel, though I think a really cool new option would be to find a totaled F150 with the twin-turbo V6 drivetrain and transplant that into the Panther. I suspect that mileage would easily hit your projected mark without any loss in power or drivability. A clue into this is the same powertrain in a Ford Flex, which isn't as aerodynamic but is capable of highway mileage in the mid to high twenties.

Whatever you choose to do, good luck with it! I look forward to reading about the project as it progresses! ;-)

Regards,
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