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1990 Ford Crown Victoria - Trophy LTD

Posted in Features on March 3, 2015
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What makes an off-road rig cool? Some might argue that big gnarly tires or huge lifts can do the trick. Others might tell you that a well thought out build is the most important part. Whatever the case might be, sometimes your brain just knows when something is flat-out cool. So now you might be asking yourself why anyone would even consider taking a ’90 Ford Crown Victoria and turning it into a desert ready off-road beast. That’s the same thing we asked the owner of this gnarly car known as the Trophy LTD. Jon Baker was quick to respond: “Who wants to see another run-of-the-mill, long-travel Ford Ranger when you can build a four-seater whoop-eater?”

Who wants to see another run-of-the-mill, long-travel Ford Ranger when you can build a four-seater whoop-eater?

When he got the car, Jon’s original plan wasn’t to build the wildest ’90 Ford Crown Victoria. In fact, he bought the car originally after seeing one ripping around in a sci-fi movie one night.

“I was sitting on the couch watching Men in Black with a friend of mine, and we were talking about how cool the car in the movie was. That’s when I decided to look for one on Craigslist, figuring that an old Crown Victoria couldn’t be that expensive.”

Jon wasn’t really thinking about ditching the stock Ford mill, but when Ryan called him up to know whether he wanted to change his mind before he started caging the car, Jon decided the 6.0L LQ9 V-8 was the best bang for the buck to get the big LTD moving in a hurry. Of course, you can’t have a car made for hooning if you can’t disturb the peace a little, so Ryan built a custom set of fender-exit ceramic coated headers to give the Trophy LTD the right amount of awesomeness.

After finding the right car and hashing out a killer deal of $500, Jon drove the LTD home in the rain and got it sideways more than a few times, but the big LTD held her ground just fine. It wasn’t long before Jon was taking the car out to the desert with his friends. Eventually he learned that the stock suspension handled fairly well in the desert, hitting rocky trails, whooped-out roads, and even high-speed runs on the lakebed in Lucerne Valley.

The front suspension cycles 13 inches of controllable wheel travel thanks to the custom J-arm long-travel suspension that uses a Ranger style spindle. Kibbetech made a custom bulkhead that holds the lower control arms but also integrates into the lower skidplate to keep rocks away from the engine and transmission. The wheelbase has been stretched 2 inches, while a set of 8-inch-stroke King 21⁄2-inch remote-reservoir coilovers with single-rate King coil springs soak up the whoops like they’re not even there.

Jon says he had a blast in the car, but when a friend offered him a handful of cash for the LTD, he decided to part ways with it. As luck would have it, the car ended up getting impounded a short time later. Jon didn’t think he’d ever see the car again, but three months later he was looking for another car to take off-road on his next desert trip when his dad suggested that he check the impound and see if the LTD was still there. Fortunately for Jon, the car was being auctioned off that Saturday. Jon placed the winning bid for the car and soon had it back in his stable ready to go for the next desert trip.

After countless desert trips, the car had taken a beating and the suspension was pretty clapped out. Once the engine quit running, it was sink or swim time. After deciding not to junk the car, Jon convinced his dad to help him build the car into the ultimate desert romping machine. After having no luck convincing a shop to bring his ultimate dream to reality, Jon called up Ryan Kibbe at Kibbetech in Simi Valley, California, and it didn’t take much to convince him to build Jon’s dream, the Trophy LTD.

A custom skidplate ties into the TIG-welded front bumper just behind the black valance to protect the CBR radiator from any flying rocks or other foreign objects in case Jon decides to race the Trophy LTD. Rigid Industries LED lights in the turn signals help light up the desert when the sun goes down and the 40-inch Rigid Industries rooftop LED light bar comes on. A set of trick Kibbetech Gold Anodized steering links give the Trophy LTD a little style under the unassuming ’80s Mercedes-Benz gunmetal-gray exterior.

Tech Specs
1990 Ford Crown Victoria

Drivetrain
Engine: 6.0L LQ9 GM V-8 with custom fender exit ceramic coated headers
Transmission: 4L60 automatic
Transfer case: None
Front Axle: None
Rear Axle: 8.8-inch Ford limited slip with 3.55 gears and 28-spline axleshafts. Soon to be Currie 9-Inch rear axle

Suspension
Springs & Such: 8-inch-stroke, King 21⁄2-inch remote-reservoir coilover shocks with compression adjuster knobs and single-rate King coil springs; custom Ranger-style J-arm long-travel front suspension with 13 inches of wheel travel; 12-inch-travel 4-link rear suspension with 12-inch-stroke King 21⁄2-inch remote-reservoir coilover shocks with compression adjuster knobs and dual-rate King coil springs

Tires & Wheels: 33x10.5R15 BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/As, 15x8 Rock Crawler steelies

Steering: Stock steering with Gold Kibbetech steering links, factory ’90 Crown Victoria steering wheel

Other Stuff: Rigid Industries 40-inch single-row rooftop LED light bar, Rigid Industries 6-inch LED light bars in the turn signals, flush-mounted amber and clear LED light pods in trunk, Racepak gauge cluster, Holley EFI system, Hoon Handle turning brake, Custom Kibbetech Beard suspension seats, Beard 5-point harnesses, Fuel Safe fuel cell, 33-inch spare tire mounted in the trunk, Optima RedTop battery

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