By on September 15, 2015

13 - 1996 Chevrolet Caprice Classic in California junkyard - photo 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.
06 - 1996 Chevrolet Caprice Classic in California junkyard - photo by Murilee Martin

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.

00 - 1996 Chevrolet Caprice Classic in California junkyard - photo by Murilee Martin

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.

09 - 1996 Chevrolet Caprice Classic in California junkyard - photo by Murilee Martin

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.

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89 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1996 Chevrolet Caprice Classic, Rabid 49ers Fan Edition...”


  • avatar
    OneAlpha

    They say that the worst part of Star Wars is the fans, but it ain’t just Star Wars. People aren’t supposed to live vicariously through their chosen entertainment.

    I grew up in Pittsburgh, so I got bombarded with “Here we go Steelers, here we go!” and “We’re goin’ to the Super Bowl!” for 20 years. Hero worship is so tiresome, and this is just more of the same, but for a different team.

    I made a few observations on this over the years:

    1 – Psychologically, there’s almost no distance between “Here we go Steelers, here we go!” and “She’s a witch, BURN HER!”

    2 – “We’re goin’ to the Super Bowl!” Oh really? You’re on the team, now?

    3 – I always wondered how many people the various police departments of the Pittsburgh area had to talk down off the roof in those years the Steelers didn’t make it to the Super Bowl.

    4 – Why would you wear someone else’s name on your own shirt?

    I remember being most aware of the Steelers fans when Jerome Bettis was playing, and it seemed that while Jerome Bettis himself was a big black guy, almost everyone wearing a shirt with his name on it was a five-foot-two white dude in sweat pants, rockin’ a big mullet and a Slovak Plumber’s Mustache, or some slatternly, bespectacled hausfrau – also in sweatpants – trying to ride herd on three screaming kids.

    5 – Sweatpants and a ball cap. Always. Sweatpants. And. A. Ball. Cap.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      You and my brother would get along, he roots against the teams every time. The tears of yinzers are delicious to him, apparently.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        I can only assume that Yinzer tears taste like Iron City Beer, Primanti sandwiches, coke ovens, and rust.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          More like Penn Brewery than Iron City (thank the Lord).

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I haven’t tried their beer. Next time I’m in Pittsburgh (probably this fall/winter for a Wings-Pens game), I’ll have to try it.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Pretty much everything you try will be better. Church Brew Works is another one to check out.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Am I even allowed to buy and consume alcohol at the same place in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania?

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Correct. CBW is interesting because it is literally situated in the former St Ann’s Church in Lawrenceville (which happened to be my grandmother’s church growing up). I’m conflicted on the sacrilegious nature of the place vs how much I like the beer.

            http://www.churchbrew.com/

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Monks and Friars have brewed beer for centuries. Turning a church, that was probably going to be shuttered anyway, into a brewery is small potatoes when it comes to sin. Better a locally owned brewery that keeps the building’s ascetic, and may pay homage to it’s history, than a Starbucks, CVS, or fast casual restaurant chain.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            This occurred to me.

            You’ll also want to check out a local chain called Sharp Edge.

          • 0 avatar
            gearhead77

            Bball, life is changing in the Commmonwealth. You can now go to a beer distributor and buy less than a case of beer if you want. Some grocery stores (mainly the Giant Eagle chain) now allow you to buy beer in a special section of the store and consume it in the little cafe they’ve set up for mainly that purpose.

            Ok, so it’s still rather awful compared to nearly everywhere else, but baby steps is better than nothing. We know a guy who owns a distributor. It’s been in his family for years. He wants out though and is hoping to sell his license to one of the grocery chains, which is apparently the way the legislation is moving.

            Wine and liquor are still a. “State Store” (Package Store)thing though and I don’t know if that will change

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @gearhead

            My thought on the state stores is Harrisburg needs all the revenue it can get due to the to major welfare issues facing it (pensions and medicaid from ACA). I always thought beer distributors were a ridiculous idea and am not sorry to see them go.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Oh lordy I went to buy some liquor in PA when I was there.

            Didn’t realize I should have brought POA documentation and a notary along.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Papers, please.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I said to the girl, as she looked quite suspiciously at my Ohio license, “Boy they really make it hard on you here, huh.”

            She sort of gave a defeated sigh, and said “Yeah…”

            Maybe I was the only white person she had seen in a while.

            https://www.google.com/maps/@39.8999874,-79.7300435,3a,75y,213.98h,77.58t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sCvD1yVma24R4VZ5UKox-_A!2e0!7i13312!8i6656!6m1!1e1

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Where were you?

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Lol, asking where I was when I provided a map link to exact location!

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            You don’t know the area where you were?

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Uniontown, like the Google Map indicates!

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Oh yeah, above. Yeah didn’t see that. I say avoid Uniontown and most of “Fayettenam” as we refer to it unless you are golfing, going to the junkyard I frequent in Dawson, or going to the holy shrine.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Well it seemed to be the nearest and most convenient place with hotels to Fallingwater. Even then it was a good 35 minutes out into the country, on some hilly mountain highway which the Cruze didn’t handle well. Overall, people in PA were more friendly than they are here in Cincinnati.

            What’s the holy shrine?!

            I also visited a nearly empty (massive) Nemacolin resort and got some abandon-like photos since it was a Thursday night or something. All the doors to places were unlocked, but most the lights were off, just pockets of people here and there.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Ah, Fallingwater. I went there in the Eighth Grade, nice place. If I didn’t live here but went to visit such a place, I’d be staying in the city or its suburbs and just drive the extra mileage.

            There is a holy shrine on the outskirts of Uniontown, one of the few reasons I go there:

            http://www.sistersofstbasil.org/

            Nemacolin is a fricking blast. Expensive as hell, but a blast. Not sure why it was empty in September.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I was there at the end of May, so this was a little while ago. I did see a giant monestary-like building when I was driving for liquor.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      http://deadspin.com/why-your-team-sucks-2015-pittsburgh-steelers-1725629956

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      “They say that the worst part of Star Wars is the fans, but it ain’t just Star Wars.”

      The worst part about Star Wars (and Indiana Jones) is that George Lucas & Steven Spielberg have gotten away with many counts of rape and brutal assault, and law enforcement refuses to act.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      A brilliant social study.

      1) Why do ‘fans’ keep referring to the team as “we”? Are they getting a pay cheque from the team? Are they playing?

      The truth of the relationship is summed up perfectly in ‘A Bronx Tail’. When the youngster is upset about Mickey Mantle not being paid enough money, his mentor the ‘wise guy’ played by Chazz Palminteri asks him (I am paraphrasing as I am writing this from memory) ” why are you so upset, if your old man couldn’t pay the rent or you didn’t have any food do you think that Mickey Mantle would care about you’?

      Professional athletes are mercenaries. They play for whoever pays them the most. Fans just feed their ego. And they will leave a city for its major rival in a heartbeat if it increases their absurd earnings.

      • 0 avatar
        RideHeight

        I’ve known two psychotic cults in my lifetime; Catholics and Bears fans. But at least Bears fans won’t attempt to convert you. They may puke on you, but no Inquisitions.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          As a Detroit sports fan that grew up Catholic, I sometimes like to think which would do the world more good: the closure of the Catholic Church or the dissolution of all the Chicago sports franchises. A world without Bears, White Sox, Cubs, Bulls, or Blackhwaks fans is glorious utopian future that we all deserve.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            “grew up Catholic”

            You are astonishingly undamaged.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I will do all that I can to create this world.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            To be honest with you, kids that grew up Catholic after the during/sexual revolution are mostly undamaged by the church (besides the ones that were sexually assaulted…).

            My parents both grew up Catholic, but they just had me complete all the sacraments and let me be. Neither really attends church now. I go every once in awhile. They changed all the sit, stand, and kneel times, and some of the words, so I’m all confused.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            A friend took offense this weekend when I used the term Chitago. The Bears were his dead father’s favorite team, he explained. I respect his right to morn his father, but what’s that got to do with Chitago? These people are from New Mexico, and Indiana before that. Invoking the dead father was meant to make me drop it, but I just pointed out that my father’s favorite team is the Washington Redskins. It doesn’t change DC being a cesspool, both literally and figuratively.

            I have another friend that is an Arizona fan, particularly of one of the colleges’ sports teams. I’ve known him for years, and I can’t tell you why he goes to the Arizona bar for the games, wears their colors for the games, gets upset when they lose, takes it as a badge of his honor when they win, etc… He grew up in So Cal. He went to Nazarene in San Diego. It is possible his father went to the school in AZ. The need to be involved in other peoples’ competition does the rest.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            They have U of A bars in SoCal? I have a Master’s degree from U of A and I don’t care that much about the sports programs. I will say that people in Tucson LOVE U of A. So if his dad went there, or even lived there for awhile, it’s entirely possible.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            I live in Pacific Beach, which may be ground zero for alumni bars. In addition to the Arizona bar, there are two Virginia Tech bars on the same street.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I forget that there are so many transplants out west. When we lived in Tucson, you could find a bar for your specific Midwest or East Coast fandom whenever needed.

        • 0 avatar
          OneAlpha

          If you’ve ever seen that SNL skit about Bears fans – yeah, that applies almost point-for-point to Steelers fans.

        • 0 avatar
          Zackman

          I’m sure in the basement of that church there’s a leftover torture rack that a good chiropractor would love to own…

    • 0 avatar
      gearhead77

      As a Pittsburgher who isn’t a sports fan, thanks for this. Imagine if all the time, money and energy spent wasted “cheering on” a bunch of overpaid clowns was put to better use? This goes for all sports in my opinion, but football in Pittsburgh is nearly a religion. People let their entire life be determined by the outcome of a game played by guys who don’t even live in the city they play.

      I saw this Caprice and think of all the awful Steelers themed I’ve seen over the years. Hell. I’m pretty damn certain every manufacturer sends any car with a yellow/ black color combination here because they’ll sell.

      “Yinz guys got any dem yella and black Cobalts? Howsa bout a Dodge Nitro, cause it’s like Bens helmet rollin dahn the road”.

      Some of the same things could be said about fanatical car ownership or being a petrol head too. But there’s so many sides to being a “car guy” that you can learn quite a bit about the wider world by following the industry.

      • 0 avatar
        OneAlpha

        You’re welcome.

        My theory is that Pittsburghers are obsessed with the Steelers because that’s literally all they have left.

        They don’t have the steel industry, they don’t have economic prosperity – though it IS coming back – they don’t really have a lot, but they’ve got this really good sports team, so they cling to it with quasi-religious fervor.

        Let’s be honest – there’s a limit to how good you can feel about yourself if you make $40,000 a year and live in Dravosburg, Charleroi or McKeesport.

        But if you wear a team jacket and wing a Terrible Towel around, then you’re no longer Stanley P. Kachowski, unemployed union electrician from Blawnox – now you’re a Steelers Fan.

        You’re Somebody.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Somebody is a DVE listener.

          • 0 avatar
            gearhead77

            I haven’t listened in forever, but Jim Krenn, who is an unabashed Yinzer, totally nailed the Yinzers in parody. Paulsen and Krenn in the morning, before Stern hit the air anyway.

          • 0 avatar
            OneAlpha

            Yes, DVE.

            The radio station that’s been using the same ten-song playlist every day for the last 40 years, cause they know their target demographic:

            The guy whose most recent accomplishment was graduating from Sto-Rox in ’77.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            “Why do you need new bands? Everyone knows rock attained perfection in 1974. It’s a scientific fact.”

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            We salute you, a half inflated dark lord!

        • 0 avatar
          gearhead77

          Pittsburgh is only coming back if you work in healthcare, education, or tech. The days of manufacturing on a large scale are gone, so are hundreds of thousands of well paying, blue collar jobs. Sadly, many of the folks who exited high school into those steel mill jobs near the end of the 70’s and 80’s are stuck in that timeframe.

          Pittsburgh is a good place to live, don’t get me wrong. But it’s stuck in a time warp in many places and no one wants it to change for some reason.

    • 0 avatar
      05lgt

      Its important to remember what fan is an abreviation of. I don’t fond myself automatically joining the herd behaviors, but I try to make sure I’m not at risk of being lynched before deciding not to pretend. Mobs of fanatics freak me out.

    • 0 avatar
      April S

      OneAlpha

      Exactly.

      I was always told to never love something that doesn’t love you back.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      “People aren’t supposed to live vicariously through their chosen entertainment”

      Same goes for products imo, you ever diss Toyonda its all “JUST IGNORE HIM HE DOESNT MAINTAIN HIS CARS”.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Arghhh! A Roachmobile! A fitting place for these abominations – in the junkyard.

    As far as Oakland is concerned, I have only been through it on the highways. I suppose Oakland exists because it’s cheaper to live there than across the bay?

  • avatar
    319583076

    This reminds me of the Chargers-themed minitruck I used to see all over San Diego back in the late 90s/early 00s. This sort of behavior is superficially funny but deeply disturbing.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    You’ll find one in every car kid.

    You’ll see.

  • avatar
    kmars2009

    Sad demise to one of the few decent cars GM built. I suppose you don’t see many, because there are still many still going. Plus, the Panther continued on for another 15 years. Hence the variation in the yards.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Sales weren’t high either, I think it was something like 30K/year from 94-96. Not sure on figures prior.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Around here there are very few B bodies either Whale or Box that are still on the road. I can go a month between sightings. Panthers on the other hand I see a Box Panther every day or two and dozens of non police Aeros everywhere I go.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        That’s been my observation as well in these parts.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Lots and lots and lots of aero Panthers, mostly cabs and for-hire, but some privately owned. Most of those are beat-to-hell CVPIs. Very few old-man versions.

        I can’t remember the last time I saw a box Panther.

        Both bubble and box B-bodies occasionally, usually beaters, but once in a while all donked up. The boxes seem to be ridiculously durable if you throw enough parts at them.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          When I go to the liquor store, I see a very nice condition box TC Signature, from circa 84. It had been so long since I’d seen one, I had to look twice. No rust!

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Corey goes to the liquor store for interesting car finds.

            I was in the city of Detroit on Sunday, for my weekly run on Belle Isle, and I saw a brand new Explorer Sport, painted almost like an Imperial Stormtrooper, with V8, SHO, Cadillac, and V-Sport badging. I wanted to car jack the driver so that I could save the car from him.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            LAWL y u no photograph!? That sounds absurd. And I went to the liquo’ sto’ cause I was out of gin. I’m liking New Amsterdam lately, for combo of nice taste, no burn, and lower price. Ideally I’m having Hendrick’s or Sapphire, but meh too costly.

            Couple weeks ago at my parent’s house, I saw an old man drive by in a red/white/blue Bravada from the TrailBlazer era. It was very curious because it looked factory.

            Perhaps less embarrassing than the Explorer Sport though. I think the wheels on the Edge Sport are embarrassing as well.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I was running and did not want to alert the driver of said abomination.

            The wheels on the Edge Sport are ridiculous. It is one of the few vehicles that I recommend buying the tire/wheel insurance for. Lease or buy, doesn’t matter. The wheels cost $1400 and the tires $400, EACH. For an Edge!!! If I were to buy an Edge Sport, I’d trade someone for a set of 18s and some cash. Or, I’d just buy an MKX like a smart person.

            http://www.fordparts.com/Commerce/PartDetail.aspx?n=FIeYFAD3O1oKQPFlRDPSgw%3d%3d&id=328253214&m=2&search=true&year=2014&make=Ford&model=Edge

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Absurdism and lack of ride quality make the Edge Sport have a bad time.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Very true. For only a couple grand more, the MKX can be had with the 2.7TT, AWD, and 95% of the tech of the load Edge Sport, with 18 inch wheels and a better interior. Definitely worth it.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            There’s a take-off set of those Edge Sport 22s on eBay for “only” $2750 in excellent condition.

            For that much I can buy a set of the very rare BBS forged 19s from the 2010-12 LS460 Sport *with PVD chrome plating*. That’s absurd money to spend on an Edge.

      • 0 avatar
        Ryoku75

        I hardly ever see Box anythings, usually Aero B-Bodies will look battered, donked, or both. I used to have a local Roadmaster but the last time I saw it it was smoking oil, BAD.

        I see more H-Bodies than either, heck, I see more H-Bodies than Accords from that time period.

        Down in the city RWD Volvos dominate the “old beater” status.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Silly Murilee. This is a “bubble,” not a “whale.”

    Someone’s going to come for those bumpers. They both look totally intact and ready for sand/respray.

  • avatar
    Roberto Esponja

    Going off topic but, what is it with the popularity of that Black Ice air freshener? I had the bad luck of getting a rental car with one of those hanging, and its scent is PUTRID. I cut that puppy off and threw it away as fast as I could.

  • avatar
    whynotaztec

    I had a 95 Impala SS back in the day. A great car in many ways – ride, handling, power, room. I really liked the column shift and digital dash too. On the downside all the interior panels were color mismatched, so maybe it made sense to go all 49er on this thing. They also had a strange factory defect where the rear axle was off – the rear wheels would sit in different positions relative to the rear wheel well once you looked carefully at both sides.

  • avatar
    kmars2009

    Junkyard find…my fave part of this site. It’s a history lesson of sorts. Love it!

  • avatar
    -Nate

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

    -Nate

  • avatar
    sgeffe

    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!

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