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Thread: Prudence, my 87 Town Car

  1. #1
    Carthago delenda est Lutrova's Avatar
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    Default Prudence, my 87 Town Car

    This is my 1987 Signature level Town Car, named Prudence by my wife. I bought it back in June of 2019 for $1200 from a guy who had bought it the previous year from his neighbor, who inherited it from his father, who I believe was the original and longstanding owner. (It took all summer to sort out the title between the two of them, but that's a story for a different time.) It seemed the car more or less sat between the original owner's passing and my purchase, but before that had received fairly regular maintenance. Coming from Tacoma, it was rust free with a good vinyl top. The paint was redone in a somewhat middling fashion at some point in the last 5-10 years and is currently single stage.

    The first few projects after buying the car were getting all the windows working and replacing a lot of light bulbs. Pretty must all the exterior lights but turn signals, head and taillights had burned out, and I've been swapping out those and all interior bulbs out for LEDs. The car came with chrome window vent covers, but they were a little beat up and I didn't care for the look, so I removed them. It also had an aftermarket tint that had long since turned purple. That was replaced with a ceramic tint, which I hope should resist color fading and provide better UV blocking. I also had a 2" hitch receiver installed. My wife drives a Honda Fit, and while it's remarkably roomy for such a small car, I figured it would be prudent for one of our vehicles to be able to tow a trailer.



    In November 2019 my wife and I moved from Tacoma to the Mojave, driving the Town Car down the coast in an abbreviated honeymoon. We lost the ignition pickup just south of Eureka, but otherwise the car held up well. This move took us from three blocks away from a mechanic to about 40 miles. I had next to no experience with auto mechanics up to this point, but out of necessity have been picking it up since. But while I have exterior photos posted, I should mention the things I've changed. Prudence originally came with the fake wire wheel covers. I picked up a set of "luxury wheel covers", which I believe were an option on Continentals in the mid 70s. They seem to highlight the need for whitewalls, but the current tires are only two years old so it may be awhile before that happens.



    Removing decades of oxidation from the grille has been an ongoing project, currently about 3/4 done in the picture below. I also pulled apart the headlight bezels and cleaned up the reflector lenses that sit between the headlights. The headlights themselves were swapped out with e-code housings and LED bulbs. I tell myself the sharp cutoff of the e-codes mean the brighter LEDs aren't too irresponsible, and I definitely appreciate the improved light levels, but I'm sure Daniel Stern would disagree. This was also done without a headlight relay, which I don't think is necessary for the LEDs, but is probably still a good idea for the headlight switch.



    The interior is in pretty good shape. There are the typical issues: cracked dash pad, both front door armrests are starting to go, and the ATC sensor has gone out. The leather is solid, apart from some splitting on the outside ends of the driver's seat 'pillows'. It received the Leatherique treatment this spring. I bought a set of floor mats from a whale TC to replace the generic Wal-Mart mats the car came with. The newer carpet isn't nearly as thick as the 80s stuff, but it gets the job done. I also swapped out the radio, which was some cheapo aftermarket head unit when I bought it. The replacement unit is also cheapo, but with a matte black finish that's less offensive, and includes bluetooth, aux, and SD card inputs. I have a stock premium sound unit sitting on my desk right now, but its day has yet to come.



    The engine bay has received the most love this summer. A 3G alternator swap happened in February, right after the stock alternator's pulley bolt worked itself out on a return trip from Phoenix. This was followed in May by a loose vacuum hose to the MAP sensor, which quickly escalated into an intake manifold gasket replacement, which spiraled into sanding down and polishing the intake manifold. I also replaced the hood insulation, PCV valve and filter, most coolant hoses, vacuum lines, and a lot of the emissions stuff. There are still leaks from the rear main seal, transmission, and the power steering has been giving me grief. But all in all, the engine bay is a lot cleaner than when the year began.



    At this point the car is in decent shape. I'm currently hunting down an exhaust leak somewhere up front, and will continue to deal with anything else that breaks over time. I don't have a particularly strong desire to modify the engine right now. Not after having spent dozens of hours on the intake manifold, anyway. Future projects will probably involve restoring small features that have been lost and making aesthetic improvements - paint, trim, leather, etc.

    Mileage currently sits just shy of 85,000, or almost 15,000 more than when I bought it. Hopefully the car will last long enough to see the odometer turn over a couple times.

  2. #2
    GMN Regular DerekTheGreat's Avatar
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    Nice! Short of the interior color, wheel covers and digi dash, it's a pretty good ringer for my car.
    1985 LTD Crown Victoria - SOLD
    1988 Town Car Signature - Current Party Barge

  3. #3
    Lost and driftin' Arquemann's Avatar
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    That is one sexy box you've got! Definitely saving the first pic for personal use...
    The black on black plus those wheel covers almost reminds of a japanese mafia car or so on, like an older Toyota Century. If I had that, I'd do nothing to it's looks.
    1985 Mercury Grand Marquis LS, "Maisa"
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  4. #4
    I'm an air-conditioned gypsy gadget73's Avatar
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    black interior is kind of rare, and good black Signature leather is a real unicorn.

    86 Lincoln Town Car (Galactica).
    5.0 HO, CompCams XE258,Scorpion 1.72 roller rockers, 3.55 K code rear, tow package, BHPerformance ported E7 heads, Tmoss Explorer intake, 65mm throttle body, Hedman 1 5/8" headers, 2.5" dual exhaust, ASP underdrive pulley

    91 Lincoln Mark VII LSC SE, triple black (Timewarp) - poly front bushings, KYB struts and shocks, Holley SystemMax1 lower intake, SilverFox AOD valve body,

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    Quote Originally Posted by phayzer5 View Post
    I drive a Lincoln. I can't be bothered to shift like the peasants and rabble rousers

  5. #5
    The Brown Blob 87gtVIC's Avatar
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    Wheel covers look nice on that. Nice job on bringing her back up to snuff.
    ~David~

    My 1987 Crown Victoria Coupe: The Brown Blob
    My 2004 Mercedes Benz E320:The Benz

    Quote Originally Posted by DerekTheGreat View Post
    But, that's just coming from me, this site's biggest pessimist. Best of luck

  6. #6
    Member of the Orb Alliance packman's Avatar
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    That is beautiful! Really like how you polished the intake and cleaned the engine bay; looks like a resto now.

  7. #7
    Carthago delenda est Lutrova's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DerekTheGreat View Post
    Nice! Short of the interior color, wheel covers and digi dash, it's a pretty good ringer for my car.
    When I first got the car I was disappointed it didn't have a tan interior, as that was the setup I had on my 01 Town Car back in grad school. But over time the black has grown on me, and after putting in 'daylight' LEDs the interior has felt much less dark and lair-like.

    Quote Originally Posted by Arquemann View Post
    That is one sexy box you've got! Definitely saving the first pic for personal use...
    The black on black plus those wheel covers almost reminds of a japanese mafia car or so on, like an older Toyota Century. If I had that, I'd do nothing to it's looks.
    That reminds me of the time last year when a coworker and I were driving through Seattle traffic to get to a jobsite meeting. We finally arrived and my coworker told the contractors that if we'd had diplomatic flags on the car we might've made better time. Well, after the meeting we were walking the site and foreman saw our ride. "That's not a diplomat's car," he said, "That's a mafia car!"

    And at one point, I guess these cars were...

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Castellano Crime Scene.jpg 
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  8. #8
    GMN Regular DerekTheGreat's Avatar
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    Hah, when I first saw pics of what was soon to be my Town Car, I almost didn't buy it because it didn't have a red or blue interior or black. I thought it was blah bland gray until I saw it in person and noticed it was tan. 2nd strike against it was not having a digital dash, at that time I thought that was a must have.. However, it was still a Sig Series with the leveling rear air shock option, was sporting factory turbines and was rather minty. When I sat in it and took the interior/exterior color combo in I was hooked. Come to find out my '88 is something like 1/38 built that year with that color combination.
    1985 LTD Crown Victoria - SOLD
    1988 Town Car Signature - Current Party Barge

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    Member of the Orb Alliance packman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lutrova View Post
    When I first got the car I was disappointed it didn't have a tan interior, as that was the setup I had on my 01 Town Car back in grad school. But over time the black has grown on me, and after putting in 'daylight' LEDs the interior has felt much less dark and lair-like.



    That reminds me of the time last year when a coworker and I were driving through Seattle traffic to get to a jobsite meeting. We finally arrived and my coworker told the contractors that if we'd had diplomatic flags on the car we might've made better time. Well, after the meeting we were walking the site and foreman saw our ride. "That's not a diplomat's car," he said, "That's a mafia car!"

    And at one point, I guess these cars were...

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Castellano Crime Scene.jpg 
Views:	30 
Size:	111.7 KB 
ID:	55248
    In the '80s; if somebody showed up with a 3-piece suit and climbed out a TC like the one you have; you knew you were in trouble.

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    Member WagonMan's Avatar
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    How many bodies in the trunk????? WagonMan
    1990 Colony Park
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    fomoco panthers !
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    Quote Originally Posted by WagonMan View Post
    How many bodies in the trunk????? WagonMan
    "Louie the lumper" didn't tell him. Just told him to drive to the river, close his eyes and wait.
    "Tony two fingers" will tell him when to leave. Don't ask him why he is called that. He likes to demonstrate.
    Last edited by Mainemantom; 11-24-2020 at 01:03 PM.

  12. #12
    GMN Regular DerekTheGreat's Avatar
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    Willie the Wimp. He lived like he lived in a lively manner. They laid him to rest in a special way.. ..that casket mobile really drove 'em wild..
    1985 LTD Crown Victoria - SOLD
    1988 Town Car Signature - Current Party Barge

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    Nice ride! Does it still have the original spare tire?
    '79 Continental Town Car
    '90 Crown Victoria LTD
    '94 Crown Victoria

  14. #14
    Carthago delenda est Lutrova's Avatar
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    New tires were put on within the year before I bought it and the best old tire was put on the spare. How old that tire is I don't know - haven't looked at it too closely to be honest. I do remember that it's a whitewall. But the way everything else was cared for on this car, I'd be surprised if the tires weren't replaced a couple times in the last 33 years.

  15. #15
    Carthago delenda est Lutrova's Avatar
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    Took the car out for some errands Saturday. Somewhere along the way I lost the right rear wheel cover. Don't know if I hit a pothole or someone in the Costco parking lot liked it a little too much. I guess I can't bolt them to the wheels like the stock wire wheel covers. But maybe some zip ties would add a little insurance?

    At any rate, on Sunday afternoon the weather was nice and I thought I'd spruce up the tail light and rear reflector trim. It's hard to tell whether this was still original paint or if it'd been touched up at some point, but either way it was mostly gone.



    I masked off the raised part and roughed up the plastic with 400 grit, cleaned off the dust, and applied two coats of a metallic oil paint with a paint marker, waiting maybe 15 minutes between coats. Time will tell just how long the fix lasts, but for five bucks and an hour or so of time, I guess I'll take whatever I get.



    For now, though, I'd say it looks pretty slick. Those little silver lines really tie the rear lights together.




  16. #16
    Wagon Addicted Tiggie's Avatar
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    Looks good. Little details make a big difference.
    1990 Country Squire - weekend cruiser, next project
    1988 Crown Vic LTD Wagon - waiting in the wings

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  17. #17
    fomoco panthers !
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    If you want a replacement wheelcover, there is a place in Pearsonville California. Up HWY 395/14. about 1/2 hour north of Ridgecrest, toward Bishop. Nice drive. Pearsonville Auto Wrecking. They have tons of hubcaps. I used to know the owners.(not my favorite people) If I can find my Hollander book I can tell you exactly the Hollander number. I think your Wheelcover is from a 74-75 Lincoln Continental.
    Hope that helps.
    Wheelcover probably got stolen. You might secure your out of state license plates with hard to remove screws. I had my Alaska plates stolen twice when I was in the military, stationed in CA. Heck I got my four wire wheelcovers stolen in broad daylight in my driveway. Came home from work,after working a graveyard shift, in Bakersfield Ca. Was driving my 85 CV. Parked in the driveway, went to sleep. Later went outside. All four wheelcovers gone.
    Last edited by Mainemantom; 12-16-2020 at 10:31 PM.

  18. #18
    The Brown Blob 87gtVIC's Avatar
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    Nice work. It should last a while...depending on how rough you are on washing teh car. I did the same to my crown victoria bumper rub stripes (they are inlayed so more protected) and the front which takes abuse from road debris and the like has help up really well for the last few years I had it on there.
    ~David~

    My 1987 Crown Victoria Coupe: The Brown Blob
    My 2004 Mercedes Benz E320:The Benz

    Quote Originally Posted by DerekTheGreat View Post
    But, that's just coming from me, this site's biggest pessimist. Best of luck

  19. #19
    GMN Regular DerekTheGreat's Avatar
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    Nice work, I dig the Lebowski reference by the way. I need to do that to mine. 87gtVIC included a silver paint pen along with a TB I purchased from him yeaars ago when I was considering the HO intake swap. Never did the swap but still have the TB and pen!

    I try and go easy when I wash my car, so it hasn't gotten any worse since when I bought it years ago, or much worse that is. I like that tail panel too, the reverse lights combined in the center is a unique look. Haven't been able to find a minty one to swap onto my car though.
    1985 LTD Crown Victoria - SOLD
    1988 Town Car Signature - Current Party Barge

  20. #20
    Carthago delenda est Lutrova's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mainemantom View Post
    If you want a replacement wheelcover....
    I did a little searching last night and came up with a few sources in the last 10 years claiming the Personville hub caps were gone. The website painted on the side of their building is down too.

    I'm kicking myself too because a Continental with these same wheel covers came into a yard in Anaheim a couple months ago. I didn't grab them then because I already had a set and it was all the way down in Anaheim. Now I'm wondering if I should pick up a second set of something easier to find, just to use for as long as I'm in California.

    There's a hubcap shop in Santa Paula that has a replacement available, and three or four other sellers on eBay. Seems $50 is the going rate. But my wife has told me to hold off on replacing it for now - Santa might already be on the job.

    Quote Originally Posted by DerekTheGreat View Post
    ....I like that tail panel too, the reverse lights combined in the center is a unique look...
    I wasn't crazy about the middle piece for a long time, but I feel like the silver trim really does a lot to unify the whole back. Before that it always bugged me how the reverse lights weren't vertically centered due to the two angles the reflector makes. (Not that the trim lines change that, but it puts the emphasis elsewhere.) The 80-84 triple box reflectors seem like a sharper looking design in my mind, but I don't think you can swap that piece out without also doing the tail lights. And figuring out different reverse lights.

    If only plastics were easier to do one-offs for. You could have a field day with these Panthers in body kits, swapping out the front and rear ends.

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