- Ford Panther platform
As of the 2008 model year, it is the oldest vehicle platform in current use in North America. It uses the
body-on-frameconstruction with live rear axle suspension common when it was introduced, but now almost exclusively found in heavy SUVs and trucks. It was introduced in 1978 for the 1979 model year as the response to downsizing of full-size cars from AMC, Chrysler, and GM. As downsizing continued in the 1980s, Pontiac, Oldsmobile, and Buick, as well as AMC and Chrysler dropped out of the traditional full-size segment entirely. During trying periods for Ford it was scheduled for cancellation on several occasions, as early as 1985. It has outlasted its GM counterpart, the B-platform which was used for the Chevrolet Capriceand Buick Roadmaster, along with its extended-wheelbase version the D-platform used for Cadillac Fleetwood, until their cancellation in 1996. The durability resulting from the robust frame and their relatively simple design make the Panther cars appealing as fleet vehicles, including police interceptors and taxicabs. The Lincoln Town Car appeals largely to older clients and is the most commonly used limousine in the United States and Canada. The Panther platform is still in production as of 2008 and is currently committed to production until at least 2010. [https://www.fleet.ford.com/ShowWhatsNewItem.asp?id=369]
The first Panthers were the Ford LTD and
Mercury Marquis. Both were available in coupe, wagon, and sedan bodies. In 1980, the Lincoln Continentaland the Continental Town Car were introduced on the Panther platform. The following year the Town Car became a model line of its own as the Continental name was applied to the Mark VI for 1981. While Lincoln coupes based on the Panther platform were discontinued in 1983, Ford and Mercury coupes lasted until 1987, and wagons were manufactured until 1991. After that, and an extensive redesign of the Ford and Mercury bodies, only full-size four-door sedans were produced. The Town Car's body was extensively reworked for 1990 and again for 1998.
The Panther platform is currently produced only at Ford's
St. Thomas Assemblyplant in Canada. Prior to its closure on 31 May 2007, the Wixom Assembly Plantwas also a Panther assembly site ( Lincoln Town Car). Assembly of the Town Car resumed at the St. Thomas plant in January 2008 following paint shop and other upgrades. Ford says they will continue the platform until at least 2010.
Vehicles that have used the Panther platform
** Ford LTD (1979–1982)
Ford LTD Crown Victoria(1983–1991)
Ford Crown Victoria(1992–Present)
Ford Country Squire(1979-1991)
Mercury Grand Marquis(1983–Present)
Mercury Colony Park(1979-1991)
** Lincoln Continental Mark VI (1980–1983)
Lincoln Town Car(1981–Present)
Aston MartinLagonda Vignale concept of 1995 also used a modified Panther platform.
Since 2005, both
Chryslerand General Motors have begun efforts for re-introducing rear wheel drive for some premium models. While its new competition has returned the power to the rear wheels, the larger size of the Panther platform (the Grand Marquisis approximately a foot longer than a Charger or a G8) keeps it in a size class of its own.
While there is no real evidence and conflicting reports on the future of the Panther platform, Ford is rumored to be considering replacing the Panther platform with a Global Rear Wheel Drive Platform, which will underpin many vehicles, including Australia's Falcon and Territory, and also the American Mustang, Crown Victoria, Town Car, Grand Marquis, Edge and Flex. This Platform will incorporate parts of the MY2008 (FG) Falcon, which some consider to be superior to the Panther platform currently used in the USA on the Crown Victoria et al. General Motors' Australian subsidiary Holden is doing the same thing with a GM RWD platform called Zeta, which is being produced solely in Australia (as of April 2008), and many in Australia believe Ford will be taking Holden's lead and using an Australian designed platform, as Ford Australia has been continuously updating its platform. With a Global Rear Wheel Drive Platform, Ford can therefore share resources with Australia, who will get the Duratec V6 engine for Falcon and Territory in 2010. This will make available to the USA a Left Hand Drive Falcon, and to Australia a Right Hand Drive Fairlane, which is no longer being produced.
Ford Interceptorconcept ( Ford D2C platform), debuted at NAIASin 2007, was rumoured to be a replacement for the Panther platform, but nothing has been announced.
* [http://www.crownvic.us CrownVic.us]
* [http://www.grandmarq.net/ GrandMarq.net]
* [http://www.mercurymarauder.net MercuryMarauder.net]
* [http://www.crownvic.net CrownVic.net]
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