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How to Swap a Cop Car Frame Under an F-100 Pickup

HOT ROD logo HOT ROD 3/20/2017 Hot Rod Network Staff
2007-ford-crown-victoria-frame-swap-1966-ford-f-100 How to Swap a Cop Car Frame Under an F-100 Pickup

This is becoming a popular swap: putting 2003-and-newer Crown Victoria frames under older vehicles, especially pickups. There are several reasons for this. First, starting in 2003, the fullsized fords (Crown Victoria, Mercury Grand Marquis, and Lincoln Town Car) all had rack-and-pinion steering and a coilover-style spring and shock assembly. For several years, they even had cast-aluminum lower A-arms. The entire assembly bolts to the frame, so it's that much easier to remove these components as a unit from a donor car and graft them onto an older vehicle, instantly giving it better suspension geometry, (relatively) big disc brakes, sealed-hub wheel bearings, and a modern, quick-ratio steering system. Second, the donor cars—Ford's Panther Platform—are everywhere. We can't go to a single junkyard in SoCal without tripping over about a dozen used police cars and taxis. Third, the components are tough. Designed for police work, the parts will take a beating. Fourth, replacement parts are cheap and can be found anywhere.

Research

We weren't the only members of the enthusiast media who heard of the Panther Platform swap. Hot Rod Garage stars Tony Angelo and Lucky Costa got the idea by talking with fans at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas. Doing some additional research, they discovered the wheelbase for a Crown Victoria and an early F-100 shortbed pickup are nearly identical, so they hatched the plan to swap the entire frame and drivetrain from a retired cop car to an F-100 they purchased locally. The result is a really cool shop truck that combines the awesome looks of an old car with the modern underpinnings of a new vehicle. It rides, corners, and stops like a Crown Vic, which is actually better than you may think. The last generation of these cars was far removed from the luxo-barges of the 1970s, and longtime Car Craft readers will remember we had our own Panther Platform project car: a 2003 Police Interceptor we bought at an auction and turned into a fun, reliable, and stealthy street machine.

Related Video: Hot Rod Garage Project Crown Hick first start

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Tony and Lucky performed the frame and body swap over the course of three episodes of Hot Rod Garage that are available on Motor Trend OnDemand. In the process, they decided on a name for the project: "The Crown Hick." Watch the videos and read our ongoing coverage of this cool pickup.

Here are the two donor vehicles before any of the work began. The 2007 Crown police cruiser is from the Riverside County Sheriff's Department and it's condition was typical of most retired Crown Victorias: dirty, scratched and dented, but mechanically sound. Hot Rod Garage hosts Tony Angelo and Lucky Costa found the F-100 locally on Craigslist, and it was in great shape for its age. It was a longbed, so the bed would have to be shortened to match the Crown Vic's wheelbase.

Here are the two donor vehicles before any of the work began. The 2007 Crown police cruiser is from the Riverside County Sheriff's Department and it's condition was typical of most retired Crown Victorias: dirty, scratched and dented, but mechanically sound. Hot Rod Garage hosts Tony Angelo and Lucky Costa found the F-100 locally on Craigslist, and it was in great shape for its age. It was a longbed, so the bed would have to be shortened to match the Crown Vic's wheelbase.
© Hot Rod Network Staff

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