This car is proof that it doesn't matter how many miles are on the car.. It's how hard those miles were driven. I bought it from my girlfriend's dad, who acquired it at 27,000 miles the year before; his grandfather being the original owner.
I considered this car to be a classic, since it has the rare front end design that the basic version LTD's in their early years had (2 seal-beam headlamps rather than 4), and only had 39,000 actual miles. Also, it didn't have the Crown Vic badge like most of these, it's just an "LTD".
The car was in need of a new transmission since the guy had done numerous neutral-drops and blew the tranny. He drove this thing hard. I swapped the tranny from my other '79 LTD I wrecked, and man what a smooth ride.. it drove like brand new, smooth and powerful.. the 302 isn't the quickest off the line (unless it's in a Mustang), but passing someone was never a problem. This thing drove like it had just came off the showroom floor.
I added Cragar wheels and the car looked sweet. Unfortunately, the guy I got it from treated it like crap, and a car can only take so much. Problems began surfacing one after another, and I slowly fixed these one at a time as I continued to drive the car.. The car handled this very well, but after all the abuse, it couldn't take much more. I'd wrecked my Chevy, and after paying for a tranny swap and new carb. that I put in myself (the re-manufactured Holley failed), my bank account was cleaned out, so I continued driving on bad U-joints (lucky for me, the drive shaft didn't drop!) and bad brakes (hey it still stops on a dime), but the head gasket today is what did it in.
I planned to keep this car forever, but I am in way over my head now, and will be forced to part with it.
I've owned 4 of these cars so far (one I wrecked at 40MPH and it STILL got me around for a year), and none have had anywhere near the problems this one has (but they didn't drive quite as nice either), so I chalk it up to neglect, and can only imagine the great car I'd have, had it been maintained properly and treated better.
I highly recommend the Crown Vic/Grand Marquis, because they are safe (crash-tested by myself LOL), easy to work on, comfortable, and deliver great performance. Plus you can get em pretty cheap at a used car lot, and they are usually very reliable. Can't beat that.
I plan to buy another one as soon as I have the money, but this time I'll make sure I get detailed maintenance records along with it.
By the way, this thing STILL starts right up and runs like it always did, even with the bad head gasket. These cars are awesome, and I'd sink every cent I own into restoring this one if I could, because it's worth it.