Recently I've had a mental block as far as answering one question: If I could only get one car, what would I get that could satisfy my needs (being fun, fast, torquey, cool, drivable both near and far, and ballsy - I'd want to be able to use it as a daily driver and still drive it on a track) while still being practical (safe, drivable in all weather conditions, people friendly, comfortable, ability to haul my crap, good in the city, and dare I say, mileage?) and something I wouldn't have to sell if I get married and have kids? What could rocket down the strip, rock the curves in road racing, and still pick up kids from places (in the future) without making me look like an idiotic fool in any of those situations? ..... Nothing comes to mind. Enter the platform vehicle: '98-'03 Mercury Grand Marquis.
Yes, a Grand Marquis. And I picked the cloth-iest roof-ed "old man blue"-est picture I could find too. Let me finish.
This car may appeal to the old men of our society who drive it into things at a blistering 20 MPH frequently, especially when in reverse or while getting out of the car, but this is one of the last nods at how things should be, but will most likely not return to in a long time. This car has a full frame with rear wheel drive, a live axle, and coil springs for better handling. If you get an '03+ it even has the shock mounts farther out on the axle for less wheel hops on uneven bumps. And it gets better; the drive train is a modern 4.6L SOHC V8 that is found in most '94-ish to '09 V8 Mustangs as well as a whole host of police cars. taxis, pickups, vans, and SUVs. Add to that a wide band automatic overdrive and you have a decent starting point. Personally, I would get one with no cloth on the roof and a moon roof too, just for fun.
I say starting point because to fit the criteria, it needs a big overhaul. For starters, I would swap in a police frame because it is fully boxed and more sturdy for the driving I like to and want to do. from the outside in, I would remove the door trim, weld over any holes that uncovers (which it will), swap the back bumper for that of a Crown Vic, and if it fits with the older headlights, the front bumper with that of a Marauder because of the epic fog lights. I would black out the taillights and panel leaving it a little light on tint around the center of the taillights while also leaving the chrome strip untouched. The front lights I would try to fog and possibly black out the background pieces like they do for the Marauders. I would also tint the windows good and dark and paint the entire car black with the option of a flat black stripe on the hood or side and grille.
Moving inside, I would install the complete black interior from a Marauder, and I would paint the trim panels two-tone to match the paint scheme outside. I would have top beef up the stereo and add gauges, but that would be hard to describe where, and I don't quite know what yet.
Under the car, I would add stiffer lowering springs all around with fairly stiff shocks and a set of Marauder rims unless I find something cooler. The exhaust would be dualed out with the H-pipe like the police version, but it would have Flowmaster 40 or 44 series mufflers along with high-flow cats and headers. I'd try to find a way to smooth out the transition over the axle because stock it's really tight and has to have poor flow. I would have chrome turn-down exhaust tips in the factory location fairly in conspicuous, like a cop car, so It is more of a sleeper, but for the moments I want to show them my car means business, I'll install electronic cutouts right after the cats with turn-downs, for safety, so I can rev that thing like an unholy terror.
Mechanically, I'd use a 5.4 block from a truck and rebuild it into a GT500-type motor. I'm still looking for a stroker kit, but I may have to consult with someone about making my own one of those. I would add that to a set of DOHC, 4 valve (per cylinder) heads from cars such as a Continental, Marauder, Navigator, Aviator, Mark VIII, Mustang Mach 1, SVT, GT500, or Cobra Jet. Then I would get an aftermarket twin screw supercharger with intercooled intake manifold. Now I haven't done any research on which one is the most efficient and adds the most boost, but they're around 2-5 grand anyway, which I don't have, so why research now on what will be obsolete parts when I can afford to do this? Same goes for cams. I would follow this whole thing up with a rebuilt version of the police transmission with all the extra cooling gear and the J Mod shift kit. I'd also upgrade to the police brakes with vented, slotted, and drilled rotors, and an upgraded limited slip differential in back too.
If I don't break something within 6 months of rolling this out of my garage, I must be too old by the time I've built this car because I'm not driving it right.