Title: Ford 300 HP Police Interceptor
By L&O Staff
One of the best things ever to happen to the Ford Police
Interceptor rolled into the parking lot at Grattan Raceway without fanfare-it
wasnít even a police car. But it was one of the highest performing full size
sedans since the Chevrolet Caprice with the 5.7 LT-1 engine: the 2003 Mercury
No longer a concept car, the Marauder is scheduled for
production release in April 2002. What makes this monochromatic Grand Marquis
with big tires so special is the power plant: a 4.6L DOHC V-8 rated at 300 HP.
The Police Interceptor uses a 4.6L SOHC V-8 with 235 HP.
For the first time in a decade, Ford Fleet acknowledged it
was seriously considering a new police engine. Ford has steadily increased
power from its 4.6 SOHC engine since its 1992 introduction. However, since the
demise of the 260 HP Caprice in 1996, police officials have continued to
request better acceleration from the full size Ford. The early emphasis was on
the 5.4L SOHC engine, which has more torque for bottom end responsiveness than
the 4.6L SOHC V-8. The 5.4L engine, however, will not fit in the Crown Victoria
due to interference from the windshield wiper assembly.
The 4.6L DOHC engine from the Mustang Cobra and Lincoln,
however, will fit in the Crown Victoria. Higher engine costs, emissions
certifications, and other engineering and development costs made it prohibitive
to put a Cobra engine in a Police Interceptor for just the 4,000 units per year
Ford Fleet thinks it can sell.
Enter the retail Mercury Marauder, an Impala SS type of
performance sedan based on the Grand Marquis, and developed for the lucrative
retail market. While the Marauder engine has 28% more horsepower than the
Police Interceptor, it only has nine percent more torque. The performance
change will happen at the top end, where the state police and highway patrol
want it, not the bottom end. With 300 HP, the 4.6L DOHC V-8 has far more horsepower
than the 260 HP 5.4L SOHC V-8, and rivals the 310 HP 6.8L SOHC V-10. It still
has less torque than either, which means the performance from the DOHC engine
comes at the mid and top of the rpm range, not at the bottom of the range.
The 300 HP Marauder comes with a 3.55 rear gear and is
limited to 120 mph. The police version will use the 3.27 rear gears. A Police
Interceptor with the Marauder engine and Police Interceptor gearing is
estimated to reach 0-60 mph in 7.5 seconds and have a top speed of 140 mph. The
three year average of the LT-1 Caprice was 8.2 seconds and 138 mph
respectively. The five year average for the 4.6L Crown Victoria is acceleration
to 60 mph is 8.7 seconds, with a range from 8.4 to 9.0 seconds.
For a number of years, Ford has had the goal of a zero to 60
mph time of eight seconds and a top speed of 130 mph for its Police
Interceptor. The top speed has been achieved. However, the zero to 60 mph and
zero to 100 mph acceleration goals have been elusive with the 4.6L SOHC V-8. Since
its 1998 remodeling, the Police Crown Victoria has had an increase from 215 to
235 HP, used two different rear axles and two different torque converters,
among major changes.
Driveshaft harmonics limit the rear gear ratio to 3.27. The
Crown with quicker accelerating 3.55 gears are limited to 119 mph. The
composite driveshaft, which dampened the harmful harmonic vibrations and
allowed higher top speeds with the 3.55 gears, is no longer available. The 3.27
gears allow top speeds up to 129 mph but at a slower acceleration.
Each platform has a harmonic resonance that prevents
accelerating above a certain speed. These are the harmonic vibrations that
resulted from premature transmission oil seal failures and fluid leaks on
Crowns in the late 1990ís. The result was to limit those 3.55 geared cars to
119 mph and use a composite driveshaft.
Each platform and drivetrain is different. For example, a
5.7L Caprice could use 3.42 gears and run well over 140 mph without
encountering such harmonics. The Crown Victoria platform is different.
The in service maintenance on the 4.6L DOHC engine, proven
in muscle and luxury cars, should be similar to the 4.6L SOHC engine currently
used in the Police Interceptor. The initial cost of a Crown Victoria with the
DOHC engine will be higher and the higher performance engine will not be as
fuel efficient as the SOHC engine.
The use of the 4.6L DOHC V-8 in the Police Interceptor is by
no means certain. However, 80% of the development to place the engine in the
police car is already done in installing the engine in the retail Marauder. To
express interest in this powertrain, Tony Gratson, Fordís new national
government sales manager, can be reached at (313) 390-0791 or via e-mail at