Junkyard Find: 1996 Chevrolet Caprice Classic, Rabid 49ers Fan Edition

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

Like art cars, vehicles that have been turned into team-color-painted, sticker-bedecked sports-team fanmobiles tend to spend their lives just one minor mechanical problem away from that final tow-truck ride. This “whale” Caprice was, we can assume, the life of the tailgate party at freezing-ass Candlestick Park and maybe that new stadium that’s nowhere near San Francisco.

The 1991-96 Caprice is still sufficiently sought-after these days to be a somewhat uncommon sight at self-serve wrecking yards; for every one of these that you see in such a yard, there will be at least 100 Panther Crown Victorias.

It would be galling for this car’s final owner to know that his or her pride and joy ended its life in the East Bay, just a few miles from the home of the Oakland Raiders.

The interior was already gold (well, tan) colored, so the application of some red spray paint gives it a proper 49ers-fan appearance. I wonder how many gallons of beer and barbecue condiments were spilled in here.









Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

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  • -Nate -Nate on Sep 15, 2015

    Proving once again that every negative stereotype about sports fans is in fact , correct . -Nate

  • Sgeffe Sgeffe on Sep 15, 2015

    Regarding the question about BBQ sauce, or condiments... ...or other fluids? (::Shudder!::) Murilee, have you done any GM G-Body write-ups? Cutlass Supreme of some sort just to port of this beast!

  • ChristianWimmer I have a 2018 Mercedes A250 with almost 80,000 km on the clock and a vintage ‘89 Mercedes 500SL R129 with almost 300,000 km.The A250 has had zero issues but the yearly servicing costs are typically expensive from this brand - as expected. Basic yearly service costs around 400 Euros whereas a more comprehensive servicing with new brake pads, spark plugs plus TÜV etc. is in the 1000+ Euro region.The 500SL servicing costs were expensive when it was serviced at a Benz dealer, but they won’t touch this classic anymore. I have it serviced by a mechanic from another Benz dealership who also owns an R129 300SL-24 and he’ll do basic maintenance on it for a mere 150 Euros. I only drive the 500SL about 2000 km a year so running costs are low although the fuel costs are insane here. The 500SL has had two previous owners with full service history. It’s been a reliable car according to the records. The roof folding mechanism needs so adjusting and oiling from time to time but that’s normal.
  • Theflyersfan I wonder how many people recalled these after watching EuroCrash. There's someone one street over that has a similar yellow one of these, and you can tell he loves that car. It was just a tough sell - too expensive, way too heavy, zero passenger space, limited cargo bed, but for a chunk of the population, looked awesome. This was always meant to be a one and done car. Hopefully some are still running 20 years from now so we have a "remember when?" moment with them.
  • Lorenzo A friend bought one of these new. Six months later he traded it in for a Chrysler PT Cruiser. He already had a 1998 Corvette, so I thought he just wanted more passenger space. It turned out someone broke into the SSR and stole $1500 of tools, without even breaking the lock. He figured nobody breaks into a PT Cruiser, but he had a custom trunk lock installed.
  • Jeff Not bad just oil changes and tire rotations. Most of the recalls on my Maverick have been fixed with programming. Did have to buy 1 new tire for my Maverick got a nail in the sidewall.
  • Carson D Some of my friends used to drive Tacomas. They bought them new about fifteen years ago, and they kept them for at least a decade. While it is true that they replaced their Tacomas with full-sized pickups that cost a fair amount of money, I don't think they'd have been Tacoma buyers in 2008 if a well-equipped 4x4 Tacoma cost the equivalent of $65K today. Call it a theory.
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