By on July 6, 2015

00 - 1988 Chevrolet Caprice Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The third-gen Chevy Caprice, made for the 1977 through 1990 model years, was the last of the traditional box Caprices. Those of us who came of driving age during the Late Malaise Era came to fear the rear-view-mirror sight of the grille of this car, the early Panther Ford LTD, and the Dodge Diplomat, due to their popularity among police departments in the 1980s. You don’t see many box Caprices these days, but enough were made that they appear in self-service wrecking yards now and then. Here’s a very governmental-looking example I saw in Denver a couple months ago.
01 - 1988 Chevrolet Caprice Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Made in Texas by Texans! Sajeev would approve, but his loyalty to the Blue Oval is stronger than his love of Texan-made automobiles.

13 - 1988 Chevrolet Caprice Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Carburetors were almost gone by this time, but the Caprice still had a good ol’ Quadrajet on its 305-cubic-inch V8. In 1989, the Caprice got electronic fuel injection (instead of the Holley double-pumper that should have been installed to commemorate the fall of the Berlin Wall).

14 - 1988 Chevrolet Caprice Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

GM had toned down all the heraldic crests and related gingerbread on the Caprice by the late 1980s, probably because police departments and rental-car companies don’t care about such things, but you still got a few fleur-de-lis scattered about the car.

04 - 1988 Chevrolet Caprice Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

85 mph speedometers were no longer mandated by US law in 1988, but we can assume that GM had a few hundred thousand of these things in their warehouses and wanted to use them up.

PCH-SVO_vs_XR4Ti-Merkur-4

The Merkur XR4Ti also had an 85 mph speedometer, but it was presented with a certain amount of winking and nudging.

As you can see in this “Hearbeat of America” add from 1988, the Caprice wasn’t getting much emphasis in Chevrolet’s marketing in 1988.

Not the most expensive luxury car, but the most preferred.

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145 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1988 Chevrolet Caprice Classic...”


  • avatar
    Vojta Dobeš

    Oh, the memories! I had one almost exactly like this, only blue on blue, later wrapped in NYC Taxi livery and fitted with some go-fast parts.

    Daily driving a tire-burning NYC cab in Czech Republic was a lot of fun.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    All hail the County Road Cockroach.

    They were plenty fine for the time.

  • avatar
    spreadsheet monkey

    Good follow up to the early-90s Lumina featured on here recently. Nice juxtaposition of old and new.

  • avatar
    Athos Nobile

    I spent most of my teenage years in one of these, 81 if my memory doesn’t fails me.

    Great ride, comfortable… it had a 305 (unkillable) and the 85 mph sweep speedo, which my dad buried plenty of times. The local spec cars had speedos that went up to 220 km/h (~135 mph)

    I’d love to have one, fitted with a modern LS engine and a 6L80E. But then I remember the Aussies built the WM and the WN, and I go into kermit the frog mode… y se me pasa.

    Love Ford’s naughtiness on the Sierra.

  • avatar
    RetroGrouch

    If you want to know why GM’s market share plummeted from ~50% in the 60s to ~25% by the end of the 90s, drive one of these.

    • 0 avatar
      RideHeight

      That’s a 30-year span beginning 50 years ago. If you’ve lived it you know what a difference 30 post-peak years can make to your own performance. Especially when your competition more than quadruples.

    • 0 avatar

      “If you want to know why GM’s market share plummeted from ~50% in the 60s to ~25% by the end of the 90s, drive one of these.”

      Uh, no.

      These were every bit as competent as their Ford Panther counterparts and with the right options would run several hundred thousand miles – as shown by their extensive taxi/police/fleet use.

      GM’s market share dropped because of poor execution and mediocre presentation, mostly in their small and mid-size lines.

      • 0 avatar
        RideHeight

        So sorry, but big erefant in room here.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Panthers suck too. Neither of these cars was remotely modern in the late 70s, and they did not improve with age. Utter dreck. Cockroach unkillability only really matters to police departments and cab companies, nobody else should have to drive one of these heaps.

        • 0 avatar
          Lack Thereof

          These were the best cars Chevy was selling in the late 80’s. The slow decline of the Caprice from car-mag award-winner into obsolescence wasn’t the problem.

          The problem was the midsize Chevrolet lineup was utter dreck. The Celebrity? The Corsica? After driving one you’d be dreaming of a Caprice!

        • 0 avatar
          Ryoku75

          So you think B-Bodys and Panthers suck

          What about Chryslers barges of the time? The few RWD unibody ones?

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            Can’t say I have ever driven one of the Chrysler equivalents. I can’t imagine I would enjoy the experience though.

          • 0 avatar
            Ryoku75

            If theres anything I like about Chryslers luxury yachts, its that they aren’t glorified like the other two.

            Doesn’t make them better cars, just means people aren’t obsessing over them.

        • 0 avatar
          86er

          Khrodes, your completely subjective and irrational hatred for these cars never ceases to amaze. Do I come into threads about little sh!tcans and crap all over them? What’s the point, who are you trying to impress and/or convince? I guess Sisyphus just kept on pushing that boulder, too.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            I call them as I see them. The lovefest for these pieces of crap baffles me.

          • 0 avatar
            86er

            Stick to what you know, like how many clowns you can fit into your Fiat.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            I have driven MORE then enough miles in these pieces of crap and the Ford equivalents to have a very valid opinion of their relative worth. How much time have you spent in a modern Fiat, exactly? Or old ones, for that matter?

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “These were every bit as competent as their Ford Panther counterparts”

        And the Archies were just as good as the Monkees. Not exactly high praise.

        • 0 avatar
          Ryoku75

          One should consider that even a base Toyota of the time could out handle either of these barges, even the FWD Yoyos.

        • 0 avatar
          86er

          Pch, the psychic energy of your gratuitous, smug asides could power a small city.

          • 0 avatar
            Ryoku75

            Wow, someones a bit sore over a little B-Body skepticism.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            That bankruptcy sure was gratuitous.

          • 0 avatar
            86er

            You going for a record in non-sequiturs? Being too clever-by-half only works when it makes any sense.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            If you can’t figure out the linkage between GM’s bankruptcy filing and the products that it made prior to the bankruptcy, then you…er, must be a GM fanboy.

            This reminds me of the Black Knight in Monty Python’s Holy Grail who won’t admit defeat even though he has blood gushing from every stump. The denial of the obvious is bordering on the neurotic.

          • 0 avatar
            86er

            Save the pat broadside dismissals for the amateurs, Watson.

            This article is about a Box Caprice.

            I’m tired of your parlour games. You have the nerve to talk to me about neuroses. Christ.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            GM failed because it made subpar vehicles. This is an example of one of them. That you haven’t figured this out doesn’t speak well of you.

      • 0 avatar
        Lokki

        My boss had one of these with that carbed 305. Never ran right, and would. not. start. if the weather was cold or damp. Cheap interior materials. He came to hate it. Just because the Panther wasn’t any better doesn’t mean the Caprice was any good.

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      This car has nothing whatsoever to do with GM’s drop in market share. Now some of the garbage that dear Roger Smith cooked up like the downsized dwarf E-body 1986 Eldorado or the shrunken C-body cars in 1985 like the Deville then I would agree. Increasing competition and swinging and confused shifts in consumer tastes also contributed!

      • 0 avatar
        Ryoku75

        I attribute their market loss to ghastly face-lifts and spotty quality.

        The B-Body was a step in the right direction, but then the glorious Citation showed up.

    • 0 avatar

      Sorry, but the downsized 1977 and later fullsize GM sedans were the General’s last hurrah before X-Car ineptitude set in. Exceptionally well-engineered for the day, they were smaller and lighter than the cars they replaced, yet had better interior and cargo space and they handled so, so much better than previous full-sizers. GM made a lot of mistakes but the B-body wasn’t one of them.

      • 0 avatar
        Volt 230

        I agree 100%. My in-law had the Pontiac version of this, then he traded it in for an ’86 DeVille, thinking he was moving up-market, he soon realized the opposite had occurred.

  • avatar
    Mr Imperial

    Surprised to see a not “donk-ified” one of these in the junkyard. Not too beat up either, so my guess is no one younger than 30 ever owned this one.

  • avatar
    Drzhivago138

    The plural of fleur-de-lis is fleurs-de-lis.

  • avatar
    mcarr

    My grandfather drove nothing but Caprices as long as I knew him. Spend many hours riding around in the back and middle front seat. (Any sedan’s left with a front bench seat?). Very nice cars for the time. Those who say otherwise don’t have the context for saying so.

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    FWIW, the Heartbeat commercial is from 1987 model year, not 1988. You can tell most obviously by the Cavalier Z24.

  • avatar

    The Q-Jet remained on the Olds 307-equipped cars (“Y” serial number) thru 1989. I owned one.

    The Chevy 305s were MUCH better.

  • avatar
    PRNDLOL

    See how the two screws on the speedometer aren’t lined up?
    That would drive me to violent road rages.

  • avatar
    omer333

    Back in the Nineties I wanted to get one of these and put the TPI V8, transmission, and suspension pieces from a third-gen F-Body in it. It would have been so awesome. I doubt it would have won many stop-light drags, but it would have been a cool cruiser.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    When we owned our first dealership during the early 90’s we used to comb the big new car dealers to find these types of cars to put on the front row. They usually sold the next day, especially if they were in really nice shape and clean. The vast majority had the 305 or 307 and were generally very reliable and took much abuse. So did the Panthers and Diplomats.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    What are all those poor people running from in the commercial?! Also that woman was doing an early version of twerking against the Cavalier.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    My grandfather had a Caprice Classic in the early 90’s, which was a former government car. It was flat white with blue vinyl interior. Shortly after buying it developed a very serious dieseling timing issue (with the carb?) and would chug-chug for some time even after removing the key.

    He decided to get something more reliable (ha) so he replaced it with a ’92 New Yorker, grey on grey velour. That thing leaked oil like the Exxon Valdez. But boy did it have lots of buttons for me to push on the inside!

    He became annoyed with the grey beast, so he sold it when he bought the 86 Fifth Avenue in pimptastic red on red velour. 30K miles on it, around 1996.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      How’d the Fifth Avenue work out for him?

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        It was fine actually. He liked it but I think decided it was too old after a while, and he didn’t really need it. Had it for maybe three or four years, and traded it in on a Century Limited, which he had for a year or two, followed by a LeSabre which grenaded its transmission after 30k-ish miles, some ridiculous number. He was done with Buick -cars- after that, so he decided to show GM his resolve, by purchasing from the showroom floor a loaded Terraza. x.x They still have that one.

        • 0 avatar
          Ryoku75

          I thought LeSabres were some of their more reliable models? Then again whenever I see them they’re usually in disrepair.

          I hope the Terraza works out, rode in a few once and could never figure out if they were minivans or SUVs.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I think they’re generally okay, but the Century probably tops the trio for reliability. Since they’re all kind of similar, you just end up with more and more complex electronics (especially sensors which go bad) as you go up from Century > LeSabre > Park Avenue.

            The Century always had that ancient 3.1!

            My other set of grandparents has a similar vintage LeSabre to this day (gently driven and dealer babied and garaged) which has fared better, I believe. I can’t be certain of that though, as they’re a “stick with it even when bad” kind of people.

            The Terraza has had flickery lighting on the interior since new, never gets above 19mpg even on the highway, is a rattle trap, and a wallowy boat to drive. It’s very unpleasant, and it was over $40,000 I believe in 05.

            But it doesn’t break.

          • 0 avatar
            Ryoku75

            Over $40,000? Geez, seems pricey for whats basically a Chevy minivan.

            Centurys are strangely underrated, hear very little about them but yet I see them all the time. GM must’ve done something right with those cars.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Centurys basically took all of the most agricultural, er, “time-tested” mechanicals you could put on the W platform and shoved them into one car. It’s no surprise that they were reliable and no surprise that they were hateful to drive.

          • 0 avatar
            Ryoku75

            At Dal:

            In other words GM successfully figured out how to build a Toyota Corolla.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Dal is absolutely right. Nothing in the Century was even remotely new, save for the materials used to make it. All of the components were at the -end- of their long use cycles by GM. So you end up with a very reliable, very dull, and very slow car.

            Seriously, it’s like an Ambien on wheels. Stomping the pedal only gives you a vague idea of what increasing speed feels like.

            However, if you need a cheap to buy and cheap to run ride, it’s right up there with the 3800. Except cheaper. The Regal version had the 3800 and was a bit nicer inside, but they’re harder to find because everybody saw right through the Century trim level charade.

          • 0 avatar
            Ryoku75

            I’ve heard the A-Body 3.1 variant took 11 seconds to get up to 11 seconds to get to 0-60. Is this accurate?

            Theres that and the brakes, did they get any better for the W-Body variant?

            To me they’re those strange Twinkie knock-offs the grocery store, not quite a Toyota, but they’re usually cheaper and close enough.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Per this video, yep about 10 seconds. The early 00’s Century had 178HP, but the gearing was just so lazy, and it was a pretty heavy car.

            Brakes are spongy, and the car nosedives every time you touch the pedal. I think here is where a Regal with sportier suspension would make a difference as well.

            https:// www. youtube.com/watch?v=3cBBYSK6prI

    • 0 avatar
      ixim

      Shopped Century in 1999. Optioned it was more than an LS Regal. N/A 3800, Monsoon tunes 4 wheel discs and leather. Compared to the Century it drove great- faster on less gas with decent handling. My nephew still drives it.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        A 99 Century Limited was $20,225. Regal LS was $21,795 so they were indeed close.

        What were people doing opting for that Century 3.1 then?! You see so many Century models all over the place, and very very few Regals. And in that time, fuel economy was certainly not top priority anyway.

        • 0 avatar
          ixim

          The base Century had a lot of cash on the hood that June. Plus a bench in front = six people. OTD, you got a Buick for Chevy money. The Regal was a very competent, trouble free car with lots of gadgets/content. I even liked the looks a lot.

        • 0 avatar
          Ryoku75

          I’d personally take an Impala instead, same thing as a Regal without the ho-hum styling.

          Century sounds like they kept it there just to have a cheap car around. 4-cylinder performance with V6 gas mileage!

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            BUT!

            The Impala is more likely to be trashed by a younger VatoZone former owner, and much more likely to have been a fleet. Also less well-equipped.

          • 0 avatar
            ixim

            Don’t know about the Impala but the Regal had a nice firm ride- very in-Buick. The supercharged GS was a bit of a Q-ship-invisible to cops and pretty fast. Oshawa built them both pretty well although body panel gaps were much wider than you see today. Heavily decontented when discontinued in 2004, I believe, in the grand tradition of the old GM.

        • 0 avatar
          Ryoku75

          Thats very true, last Impy I saw was a ratty ex-cruiser driven by some youth.

          Centurys are so under-the radar they dont get grabbed by curbstoners and re-sold for a couple grand.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    One of my favorite early 90’s wheel designs was on the Caprice Classic, I shall find it. The chromed dog dish with black centre detail.

    http://www.curbsideclassic.com/wp-content/comment-image/95096.jpg

    This one! I think it may have been the police wheel option and on lower trim specs? Since the upper trims probably got the wire wheels.

    I think I’d rather have a Parisienne though, because fender skirt.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    I always wanted a 89 or 90 model just for the combo of TBI and the old school body.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    http://www.classiccarstodayonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/1977-Chevrolet-Impala-donk-c.jpg

    HAHAHAHAH

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    I still see plenty of these.

    Brougham models in two tone blue are quite fetching…but my Caprice would have to be blacked out GNX style and fitted with the hottest small block I could afford.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      http://www.curbsideclassic.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/87-Brougham-and-Brougham-LS.jpg

      Shazam!

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Love the roof. Broughamtastic.

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        I saw one of those LS Broughams recently, actually! They’re fairly easy to spot because of the roof and the LS etching on the back little windows. Whatever you call the windows that are behind the back windows…

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Now I have a question:

          If it’s in the door as we see here, can it still be called an opera window? Or does an opera window necessarily have to be within the C-pillar? I think if it isn’t called opera, it’s just a quarter light, part of the window which doesn’t roll down.

          • 0 avatar
            bumpy ii

            Yep, has to be in the pillar and not attached to the door.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            By the way, the WORST implementation of brougham quarter light window is found on the 1979-1980 New Yorker.

            https://www.flickr.com/photos/that_chrysler_guy/6202156512/in/photostream/

            It’s gross, and the interior execution offends me as well.

            https://www.flickr.com/photos/that_chrysler_guy/6201643467/in/photostream/

            Get that G-D grab strap out of my face.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Also, That Hartford Guy should come here and visit, because he has excellent automotive tastes, leaning toward large and broughamed.

            https://www.flickr.com/photos/that_chrysler_guy/19427416692/

            This is so elegant.

          • 0 avatar
            bumpy ii

            Chrysler had basically zero money at the time, so this was as much as they could pull off. We’re lucky they didn’t just grind the name off the leftover Cordoba medallions and plaster those all over the car.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I’m surprised at the same time then, that they spent all that money on the Imperial coupe!

            I’m tired of excuses for flagship vehicles, get it together 1980’s Chrysler!

          • 0 avatar
            bumpy ii

            They didn’t, really. It was largely a reskinned Cordoba and probably wouldn’t have been made if Lido hadn’t insisted.

            http://www.allpar.com/cars/imperial/1981.html

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I will certainly read this, and I want a Mark Cross umbrella.

            I sort of want an Imperial, but I don’t think it to be worth the electronics hassle and rust (and boy did these rust badly).

            Probably would rust like the cherry 84 Coupe De Ville 4100 my dad said I should buy the other day. I’m like noooo 4100.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Mark Cross, not Marc.

            Oh and MY84 Deville is RWD so it will take a swap.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I fixed it, sheesh.

            Here’s that DeVille. 82, not an 84, so first year (yay) of the 4100.

            https://cincinnati.craigslist.org/cto/5097468324.html

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            Ha, the 4100 looks so tiny!

            I’d recommend looking for a pickup truck with a 350. Sure it’s a Chevy motor, but it also has torque and doesn’t catastrophically fail.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I see Corey buying this. The fact it was so early and even made it to 58K without the block melting (yes) suggests the motor is not original to the car and was previously replaced. The car looks clean enough to be worth doing a swap on when the second 4100 chokes up.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Problem is:

            1) It would get parked outside, and I know it’d be rusting within a year. I would ruin it.

            2) I actually find the mid-90s Park Avenue better looking.

            3) Item 2) has twice the HP, more space inside, is more practical, and twice the MPG. And much more rust resistant.

            Oh 4) I just spent a bunch of money getting my house painted a week ago, lol.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            1. Krown

            2. Yes, BUT not nearly as pimptastic. Also not a coupe, RWD, etc.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I don’t think I’m up for a classic car at this juncture, though I would enjoy driving it to the store and to car shows.

            She’d also need a name, which would be Bethany.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I am not so much disappointed as I am blinded with rage.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Bahahah.

            Oliverrrrr!

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            You do need an Oliver.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            I love it. “All gauges work.” The car has a speedo and a fuel gauge — that’s it.

      • 0 avatar
        bumpy ii

        Needs a 350 and a tow package.

        Local used car sales/junk lot has one of these in a once-metallic sky blue. Too bad it has a huge rust hole below the C-pillar on one side.

        • 0 avatar
          NoGoYo

          Did the box Caprices even come with a tow package?

          I know the whales had a tow package that used some bits of the 9C1 package, like the heavier duty suspension and the transmission cooler.

          • 0 avatar
            Power6

            I believe they did have a tow package, likely nothing more than the f41 suspension and HD cooling.

            No 350 though, only the cops got that one.

  • avatar
    Spartan

    These tanks are still on the road today, nearly 30 years later. When I was living in Richmond, VA, an old guy at work had an early 80s Coupe that looked like it left the showroom a week prior. He always parked in the very back of the parking lot.

    They ride extremely well too. I wish GM would would have done a better job of evolving these over time.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      @Spartan

      How can you say these ride well? Have you ever actually ridden in a decent car? With the normal suspension, they wallow and heave in a nautical manner that will make me car sick inside of 15 minutes, while still jiggling and juddering over every little imperfection in the road. “Busy” doesn’t even begin to describe it. With the cop suspension, the wallowing is toned down considerably but the stiff jiggling is 10X worse, with added slamming. And neither has even a trace of steering feel, like holding a Frisbee up in front of you.

      I used to have to drive these heaps from the motor pool at my university. Ugh. Terrible even when brand new.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    These composite-headlight models are ruined for me by the fact that one of them was the first police cruiser ever to pull me over when I was 16. I see that face and all I can think of is having to explain to my mom why there was a cancelled check from the local court enclosed with that month’s bank statement on the account she had set up for me.

  • avatar
    e30gator

    Holy crap, it’s Pappas and Utah’s car! Gnarly!

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    The old man got one of these for our mother when they first came out. Burnt orange or copper with the velour interior and every possible option, It replaced a Cordoba.

    I had a ’75 Caprice Classic with the ‘big’ engine and although it was a lovely highway cruiser and you could almost stretch out and sleep in the back seat, these new ‘downsized’ cars were light years ahead of what they replaced.

    The 305 didn’t produce much but it was reliable. The sightlines were good as was the interior room, particularly when compared to the exterior size.

    Eventually totalled when one of my brothers was t-boned by a drunk. My brother walked away with only minor bruising.

    All in all, one of GM’s better designs of the past 45 years.

  • avatar
    ixim

    I had a ’79. 305 with Powerglide! Only one shift for top gear! PS, PB, AM radio and factory air. Huge inside. Mega trunk. Good looing. Terrible rust coming through on the rear quarter panels where the primer failed. Smooth, quiet, 20+ mpg on the road; about 16-17 average fillup mpg. A set of plugs, points, rotor and condenser once a year; oil and filter twice a year took it past 150K with zero issues. GM when they [so rarely!] did it right.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    Rust an donks are what kill these cars, death by neglect or one hundred TVs.

    Fine cars if you don’t mind the gas bill, they certainly look nice when they’re in their old-fart phase. The second owners, the spoiled dudes that get them, thats when they fall apart.

  • avatar

    My mom got one of these as a company car, with no discernible trim or horsepower. It looked like an unmarked to the non-geek. Still, the funniest thing was hearing on the CB about the “plain brown wrapper” following me at a quarter mile on the CB every time I used the car.

    I have no idea what engine it had. I think it may have been a V6. At least it wasn’t the intrinsically unbalanced V6 in the Olds Cutlass Supreme, or as we called it, the Supremely Gutless. Even mom complained her right ankle hurt from pressing the gas to no effect.

    The Caprice and then the Gutless were our last foray into GM. A shame, too, as our family has subsequently bought a variety of cars, most on the upper tier….such is how a potential buyer can be burned…

  • avatar
    runs_on_h8raide

    Seriously…one of GM’s finest ever. My parents had a 1978 Caprice Classic Coupe. It was a very nice medium golden brown with a cream-beige landau top and tan vinyl interior. We went every where in that car. Plenty of room in the back for my two siblings and I on long, summer road trips. Practically grew up in that car. Lasted 11 years and it had not one problem. Finally lost a cylinder and rather than go through the hassle of fixing it, much to my chagrin bc I wanted my dad to keep it until I was able to drive which wasn’t too far away at the time, he sold it :( He wound up getting a super-rare new 1988 Mazda 323GT at my urging :) I was hoping to poach that car upon graduation from HS…but he loved it too much!! Drats!!!

  • avatar
    big al

    Basic body still good….Give me this a couple -three doors from another car and a little bit of a crate engine and you got a nice cruiser good for a couple of hundred thousand miles that runs good, handles and brakes(for a big car) and is fixable without having to sacrifice a chicken everytime something doesn’t go right..And the 2 door version was a clean , nicely styled unit ,too.

  • avatar
    Joss

    We had an early eighties unique to Canada Pontiac Parisienne(sp?) variant. Two tone beige with vinyl roof & wire wheels. The interior brown crushed velour. A very comfortable and insulated ride. No reliability issues recalled. The only downer was wet-weather panic braking could flip that tail around.

  • avatar
    plee

    I was the leasing manager at a Chevrolet dealership back in the early 80’s and ordered one of these as a demo with F41 suspension, 305 4 barrel and 3.08 axle ratio. It was a pleasure to drive. Later had a 1981 with a 267 V8 (4.4 liter), that was a dog. They were very quiet cars and considering what else was on sale then were actually decent. The next generation of GM full size cars was a step backward.

  • avatar

    Typically, if I see a car from the 80’s still driving around its going to be a Nissan, Toyota, Honda, or one of Caprice Classics.

  • avatar
    RHD

    Back in the late ’80s and early ’90s, the local Mennonites would ONLY drive Caprices. A drive by their church parking lot on a Sunday would be a surreal experience.

  • avatar
    Grant404

    My second-ever brand new car was a very sharp, well-optioned, two-tone ’81 Caprice. For advice on what options to get or avoid, I called my buddy back home who worked for a big Chevy dealer. He told me to get a gas V8 and avoid the V6 (rough idle and transmission complaints) and the 350 diesel (already notorious by then) like the plague. I took his advice and got one with the 305 V8 and I was very satisfied. In fact, out of the 40-ish vehicles I’ve owned so far, that Caprice is one of my favorites. Soon after buying it in NJ I got transferred to L.A. so it never saw salt or snow. The good news is, being a “box” Chevy in SoCal there’s a chance it still survives. The bad news is it might be a lowrider or donked out.

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