Have you ever gotten interested in an obscure car — and then suddenly started seeing them all over the place?
This happens to me a couple times a year. I’ve decided this could be because the universe is built on a firm foundation of irony.
Or it could be that I stumble around not noticing a lot of things.
I’ve decided to blame the universe.
The latest manifestation of Universal Irony struck a few days ago. A friend sent me a video of a Mobil 1 commercial, which featured a guy who turned old Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptors into taxi cabs.
Here’s a link to the video: https://www.ispot.tv/ad/7Zy_/mobil-1-police-car-turned-taxi
“I want one of these bad boys so badly,” he wrote.
I watched the commercial a few times, and I remembered seeing it on television. After the third time, I realized that these old police cars were pretty cool — and pretty iconic.
After all, what’s not to love about a sturdy car with a fire-breathing 4.6-liter V8 — with a special oil cooler that helped the engine survive the stresses of revving up toward redline while chasing a speeder on the highway?
These cars, which were built from 1998-2011, also have loud dual exhausts, a long wheelbase and massive brakes. They were built to chase down prey.
The car in the commercial was black over black, and it looked like it had broken bad after its years on the police force. For the past couple weeks, I’ve been thinking about how much fun it would be to have an old cop car that was designed to hit 129 mph over and over again. They also have bucket seats in front, mostly so all that cop gear — computer screens, riot shotguns and who knows what else — was handy for the officer behind the wheel.
The only time I ever sat in a Crown Vic Police Interceptor was way back in the late 1990s, when I was working at The Olympian newspaper in Olympia, Washington. My regular job was city editor, but I ended up pulling a evening police beat shift when one of my reporters called in sick.
I went out on a call — a guy riding a meth high had taken a couple hostages in a local gas station. It was a freezing, rainy night, and I was shivering at the police incident headquarters down the street from the gas station.
A police officer I kind of knew pulled up in a Crown Vic and rolled down the window.
“Hey, get in here and warm up,” she said. “You can listen to the radio in here.”
I got in, and that bucket seat felt great. So did the heater. The idling car rumbled all around me like a big cat.
Anyway, I had been thinking about Police Interceptors for a few days when I drove down to the McKenzie River in Oregon to fish for wild cutthroat and rainbow trout.
I pulled into a obscure river access spot — a dead-end road near Springfield, Oregon — and there was a big, black car crouching in the shade of the massive alder trees.
It was Ford Crown Vic Police Interceptor. Black over black. Big brakes. Dual exhausts. A Police Interceptor badge on the trunk lid.
It looked just like the car in that Mobil 1 commercial.
Chills ran up and down my spine.