Chevrolet Caprice

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Chevrolet Caprice
2011 Chevrolet Caprice PPV -- 12-06-2010 front.jpg
2011 Chevrolet Caprice PPV
Overview
Manufacturer
Production
  • 1965–1996
  • 2000-present (Middle East)
  • 2011–present (North America)
Model years
  • 1966–1996
  • 2000-present (Middle East)
  • 2011–present (North America)
Body and chassis
Class Full-size
Layout FR layout
Platform
Chronology
Predecessor

The Chevrolet Caprice is a full-sized automobile produced by the Chevrolet Division of General Motors in North America for the 1965 through 1996 model years. Full-size Chevrolet sales peaked in 1965 with over a million sold. It was the most popular American car in the sixties and early seventies, which, during its lifetime, included the Biscayne, Bel Air, and Impala.

Introduced in mid-1965 as a luxury trim package for the Impala four-door hardtop, Chevrolet offered a full line of Caprice models for the 1966 and subsequent model years, including a "formal hardtop" coupe and an Estate station wagon. The 1971 to 1976 models are the largest Chevrolets ever built. The downsized 1977 and restyled 1991 models were awarded Motor Trend Car of the Year. Production ended in 1996.

In 2011, the Caprice nameplate returned to North America as a full-size, rear wheel drive police vehicle, a captive import from Australia built by GM's subsidiary Holden—the police vehicle is a rebadged version of the Holden WM/WN Caprice.[1] From 1999 to the present, imported Holden Statesman/Caprices built by Holden have been marketed as Chevrolet Caprices in Middle Eastern markets.

Early history[edit]

The Caprice name was coined by Bob Lund (Chevrolet's General Sales Manager) after a classy restaurant he frequented in New York City. Some say the car was named after Caprice Chapman, daughter of auto executive and influential Indy-car official James P. Chapman.

A Caprice Custom Sedan option package (RPO Z18) was offered on the 1965 Chevrolet Impala 4-door hardtop,[2] adding $200 to the $2,742 price tag. The Caprice option included a heavier frame, suspension changes, black accented front grille and rear trim panel with Caprice nameplate, slender body sill moldings, Fleur-de-lis roof quarter emblems, color-keyed bodyside stripes and Caprice hood and dash emblems. Full wheel covers were the same as that year's Super Sport, but the "SS" emblem in the center of the spinner was replaced by a Chevy bowtie. The Super Sport's blackout rear trim panel was also used, without the "Impala SS" nameplate. The interior featured a higher-grade cloth and vinyl seat and door trim (as well as thicker, higher-grade carpeting), walnut trim on the dashboard and door panels, pull straps on the doors and extra convenience lights. A full vinyl roof was optional. A 283 cu in (4.6 L), 195 hp (145 kW) V8 engine was standard.

The Caprice was aimed to compete with the Ford LTD, Plymouth VIP, AMC's Ambassador DPL, and even the smaller Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme.[3] These models included luxuriously upholstered interiors with simulated wood dashboard and door-panel trim, thicker carpeting, sound insulation, courtesy lighting, and more upscale exterior trims.

First generation (1966–1970)[edit]

1966[edit]

First generation
1966 Caprice Estate.jpg
1966 Chevrolet Caprice Estate
Overview
Production 1965–1970
Model years 1966–1970
Assembly Atlanta, Georgia, United States
Arlington, Texas, United States
Doraville, Georgia, United States
Flint, Michigan, United States
Framingham, Massachusetts, United States
Janesville, Wisconsin, United States
Lordstown, Ohio, United States
Norwood, Ohio, United States
South Gate, California, United States
St. Louis, Missouri, United States
Tarrytown, New York, United States
Wilmington, Delaware, United States
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door coupe
4-door hardtop [4]
4-door station wagon
Related Buick LeSabre
Chevrolet Impala
Oldsmobile 88
Pontiac Bonneville
Powertrain
Engine 283 cu in (4.6 L) Small-Block V8
327 cu in (5.4 L) Small-Block V8
396 cu in (6.5 L) Big-Block V8
427 cu in (7.0 L) Big-Block V8
454 cu in (7.4 L) Big-Block V8
307 cu in (5.0 L) Small-Block V8
350 cu in (5.7 L) Small-Block V8
400 cu in (6.6 L) Small-Block V8
Transmission 3-speed manual
4-speed manual
Automatic Powerglide
Automatic Turbo Hydramatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 119 in (3,023 mm)
Length 212.4 in (5,395 mm) (1966-67 wagon)
213.2 in (5,415 mm) (1966-67 other models)
214.7 in (5,453 mm) (1968)
216.0 in (5,486 mm) (1970)
Width 79.6 in (2,022 mm)
Height 55.3 in (1,405 mm) (wagon)
54.4–55.4 in (1,382–1,407 mm) (other models)

Caprice gained series status for the 1966 model year, and was positioned as the top-line full-size Chevrolet.[5] It included a four-door hardtop, six- or nine-passenger station wagon, and a two-door hardtop with a squared-off formal roofline (in contrast to the Impala/SS coupe's fastback roof).

The Caprice Estate, a new station wagon model with simulated woodgrain exterior trim was the first Chevrolet woodie wagon since 1954. All wagons featured an all-vinyl bench seat interior. A V8 engine was standard for Caprice models. While features such as an automatic transmission, power steering, white sidewall tires, and vinyl top were extra-cost options, most were built with these options. The available 325 hp (242 kW) 396 cu in (6.5 L) Turbo Jet V8 was fitted to handle options such as air conditioning, power windows, Cruise-Master speed control, power seats, an automatic headlight dimmer (1965 only) and stereo radios. According to some journalists at the time, a fully optioned Caprice could rival the appearance, comfort, and conveniences of the Cadillac DeVille.

The 1966 Caprice featured a revised grille and front bumper, and new rectangular taillights which replaced the Chevrolet-traditional triple round taillights used on Impalas since 1958, with the exception of the 1959 model. Lenses and silver trim on Caprices differed slightly from the other full-sized models. Sedans and coupe models included luxurious cloth and vinyl bench seats with a folding center armrest in the rear seat. Optional on both was a "Strato bench" seat which combined bucket-style seat backs and center armrest with a bench cushion for six-passenger seating. Caprices had unique standard wheel covers, although some of the optional wheels and wheel covers on full-sized models were optional.

New options included the "Comfortron" air conditioning system where the driver could set a constant year-round temperature. A "Tilt/Telescopic" steering wheel option could be adjusted vertically in six positions, as well as be telescoped further out from the steering column. Coupes could also be ordered with an all-vinyl interior featuring Strato bucket seats and center console with floor shifter, storage compartment, courtesy lighting and full instrumentation at the front end of the console that was integrated with the lower instrument panel.

The 1965-70 GM B platform is the fourth best selling automobile platform in history after the Volkswagen Beetle, Ford Model T, and the Lada Riva.

1967–1968[edit]

The 1967 Caprice received a restyling with more rounded body lines and revised grilles and taillights, optional front fender corner lamps which illuminated with the headlamps, as well as a revised instrument panel with round instruments and a new steering wheel. Taillight lenses were all red as the backup lights were relocated into the rear bumper, unlike in the lesser full-size models that had their backup lamps in the center of the taillights. A dual-master brake cylinder was now included, while front disc brakes were optional. Other new options included a stereo 8-track tape player, power door locks, and a fiber optics monitoring system. The same seating selections continued as before with revisions to trim patterns plus the new addition of all-vinyl upholstery as a no-cost option for conventional and Strato bench seats in sedans and coupes. Engines and transmission offerings were carried over from the previous year. The exception was the optional 425 hp (317 kW) 427 cu in (7.0 L) Turbo Jet V8 was no longer listed, leaving the 385 hp (287 kW) 427 as the top power offering. The three-speed Turbo Hydramatic transmission that previously only offered with the 396 cu in (6.5 L) and 427 cu in (7.0 L) V8s was now available with the 275 hp (205 kW) 327 cu in (5.4 L) Turbo Fire V8. As with all 1967 cars sold in the U.S., Caprices featured occupant protection safety features including an energy-absorbing steering column, soft or recessed interior control knobs, and front outboard shoulder belt anchors.

The "100 millionth GM car" was featured as a light blue metallic 1967 Caprice coupe. It was assembled on April 21, 1967 at the Janesville, Wisconsin plant.

The 1968 Caprice received a minor facelift that included a new grille with taillights set into the bumper and optional hidden headlamps. Caprice coupes now came standard with the new Astro Ventilation system, which included extra vents in the dash, and the removal of vent (wing) windows. Side marker lamps became standard on all U.S. cars and the Caprice carried over the optional white corner marker lamps at the forward edge of the fenders in addition to the amber parking lights which were illuminated with the headlights. All 1968 Chevrolets got front side marker lights on the fender; cars with an optional engine were identified with its cubic inch displacement listed on half the bezel; the light itself occupied the other half. The fiber optics monitoring system was offered again as an option. Chevrolet made the Caprice Coupe's formal roofline available in the Impala series. The Impala Custom Coupe became the best-selling model in the line. The L72 427 cu in (7.0 L) 425 hp (320 kW) Turbo Jet was made optional. A new 307 cu in (5.0 L) Turbo Fire V8 rated at 200 hp (150 kW) replaced the 195 hp (145 kW) 283 cu in (4.6 L) small block as the standard engine. Inside, the instrument panel was revised with a return to the horizontal sweep speedometer and a revised three-spoke steering wheel. An optional instrument cluster had a narrow the speedometer within its opening and flanking it with engine-turned instruments in the place of warning lights. The fuel gauge, placed next to the speedometer within its own pod in the base models, was moved to its new place next to the speedometer. A tachometer took the place of the fuel gauge in the large opening left by the fuel gauge.

1969–1970[edit]

1969 Chevrolet Caprice coupe (427)
1970 Chevrolet Caprice Kingswood Estate
1970 Chevrolet Caprice Convertible

The 1969 Caprice and other full-sized Chevrolets were restyled with crisper body lines and front bumpers that wrapped around the grille (again with optional concealed headlights, for which headlight washers could be added as a new "one year only" option) along with ventless front windows on all models. The 119-inch (3,023 mm) wheelbase, inner bodyshell and framework were carried over from the 1965 model – along with the rooflines of pillared four-door sedans (which were offered in lesser Impala, Bel Air and Biscayne series, but not on Caprices, which continued only in two- and four-door hardtop choices only). The station wagon was renamed the Kingswood Estate, but continued to use exterior wood grain trim along with exterior and interior trim shared with Caprice sedans and coupes. Inside, front seat headrests were now standard equipment due to a federal safety mandate and the ignition switch moved from the dashboard to the steering column and doubled as a lock for the steering wheel when the key was removed, a Federal mandate that took effect with the 1970 models but introduced a year earlier on all General Motors cars except the Corvair.

The 1969 Caprice also offered a new GM-designed variable-ratio power steering unit as optional equipment along with a seldom-ordered "Liquid Tire Chain" option, which was a vacuum activated button that would spray ice melt on the rear tires (UPC option code is "V75"). The standard engine was enlarged to a 235 hp (175 kW) 327 cu in (5.4 L) V8 with optional engine choices including a new 350 cu in (5.7 L) Turbo Fire V8 rated at 255 and 300 hp (220 kW), a 265 hp (198 kW) 396 cu in (6.5 L) cubic-inch Turbo Jet V8, and 427 cu in (7.0 L) cubic-inch Turbo Jet V8s rated at 335 and 390 hp (291 kW). All V8 engines were now available with the three-speed Turbo Hydramatic transmission for the first time though the two-speed Powerglide was still offered with the 327 and 350 V8s.

The 1970 Caprice received a minor facelift featuring a more conventional under the grille bumper replacing the wrap-around unit used in 1969 along with new triple vertical taillights in the rear bumper. Power front disc brakes and fiberglass-belted tires on 15-inch (380 mm) wheels were made standard equipment along with a larger 250 hp (186 kW) 350 cubic-inch Turbo Fire V8. Optional V8s included a 300 hp (220 kW) 350 and a new 265 hp (198 kW) 400 cu in (6.6 L) Turbo Fire V8. At the top of the engine roster, the big block 427 was replaced by a new (longer stroke) 454 cu in (7.4 L) Turbo Jet V8 offered in power ratings of 345 hp (257 kW) and 390 hp (290 kW). Both the 250- and 265 hp (198 kW) Turbo Fire engines were designed to use regular gasoline while the 300 hp (220 kW) 350 Turbo Fire and both 454 Turbo Jet engines required premium fuel. A three-speed manual transmission with column shift was standard equipment as in previous years but the floor-mounted four-speed manual with Hurst shifter was dropped from the option list for 1970 as were the Strato bucket seats and center console previously offered on coupes. Automatic transmission options included the two-speed Powerglide on 350 V8s and Turbo Hydramatic with all engines.

Second generation (1971–1976)[edit]

Second generation
'71 Chevrolet Caprice Sedan (Centropolis Laval '10).jpg
1971 Chevrolet Caprice 4 Door Hardtop
Overview
Production 1970–1976
Model years 1971–1976
Assembly Arlington, Texas, United States
Oshawa, Ontario, Canada
South Gate, California, United States
Tarrytown, New York, United States
Caracas, Venezuela[6]
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door hardtop
2-door coupe
4-door hardtop
4-door sedan
4-door station wagon
2-door convertible
Related Buick LeSabre
Chevrolet Impala
Oldsmobile 88
Pontiac Bonneville
Powertrain
Engine 350 cu in (5.7 L) Small-Block V8
400 cu in (6.6 L) Small-Block V8
400 cu in (6.6 L) Big-Block V8
454 cu in (7.4 L) Big-Block V8
Transmission 3-speed manual
4-speed manual
Automatic Powerglide
Automatic Turbo Hydramatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 121.5 in (3,086 mm)
Length 219.9 in (5,585 mm) (1972)
221.9 in (5,636 mm) (1973)
222.7 in (5,657 mm) (1974-75)
222.9 in (5,662 mm) (1976)
Width 79.5 in (2,019 mm)
Height 53.4–54.1 in (1,356–1,374 mm)

1971–1972[edit]

For 1971 the top-of-the-line Caprice was completely redesigned on a longer 121.5-inch (3,090 mm) wheelbase and featured bold, Chrysler-like fuselage styling. Flush exterior door handles and double-shell roofs were new on the Caprice – both features first appearing on the 1970½ Camaro and Pontiac Firebird. The new styling was highlighted by a Cadillac-like "egg-crate" grille with a "Caprice" emblem in the center and brushed metal trim surrounding the taillights on the rear deck. The "Full-Perimeter" frame and all-coil suspension were refined for improvements in ride and noise reduction.

1971 Caprice Hardtop Coupe

Inside were revised interiors featuring a two-spoke cushioned steering wheel and new instrument panel with horizontal sweep speedometer and instrument placement similar to previous full-sized Chevrolets. Caprices continued with higher grade interiors than their Impala counterparts with luxurious cloth-and-vinyl upholstery, wood grain trim on dash, steering wheel and door panels plus carpeting on lower door panels on both sedans and coupes. A center front seat armrest was also featured on sedans.

Station wagons now used a unique 125-inch (3,200 mm) wheelbase and were larger than ever before. Station wagons continued to use unique model names. The Kingswood Estate wagon was considered to be equivalent to the Chevrolet Caprice being the top level wagon. Unlike previous years, station wagons used unique rear suspension using a solid axle with leaf springs as opposed to coil springs and trailing arms on sedans and coupes. Also new was the "Glide-Away" clam shell style disappearing tailgate. This design had the glass upper portion of the tailgate slide into the roof, and the lower steel portion slide into a compartment under the floor, providing a completely open space with no tailgate in sight.

The cargo capacity was the largest for a Chevrolet wagon, at 106.4 cubic feet (3.01 m3). With 100.5 inches (2,550 mm) from the front seat to the tailgate and 48.8 inches (1,240 mm) between the rear wheels, these wagons could easily carry a 4 ft × 8 ft (1.2 m × 2.4 m) sheet of plywood with the tailgate closed. Kingswood wagons came in two-seat or three-seat versions. The three-seat model had a forward-facing rear seat that was placed over the rear axle area allowing for two additional occupants making them eight-passenger wagons. The Kingswood Estate had the 400 cu in (6.6 L) two-barrel engine as standard with the same engine options as the coupes and sedans. Station wagon models came only with single exhaust systems which meant lesser power ratings than coupes and sedans.

Power front disc brakes were standard equipment, along with a larger 255 horsepower (190 kW) gross (170 hp (130 kW) net) 400 cubic-inch Turbo Fire V8. This engine, along with all optional power plants, were designed to run on regular leaded, low-lead or unleaded gasoline of 91 research octane or higher. To achieve this, all engines had the compression ratios lowered to 8.5:1. General Motors was the first of the big three to have all engines run on regular fuel and these changes were made to help meet the increasingly stringent emission regulations that were to come into place in years to come.

Optional engines included 300 horsepower (206 net) 400 cubic-inch Turbo Jet V8 (not to be confused with the two-barrel 400 small block this engine actually displaced 402 cu in (6.6 L)) and 365 horsepower (272 kW) gross (285 horsepower (213 kW) net) 454 Turbo Jet V8 which came standard with dual exhaust. When equipped with dual exhaust, the 400 Turbo jet was rated at 260 hp (190 kW). At year's beginning, a three-speed manual transmission was standard when the model was introduced in the fall of 1970, although at mid-year, the Turbo Hydramatic transmission and variable-ratio power steering became standard equipment on all Caprice models and lower-line models fitted with a V8 engine.

Chevrolet specifications included both "gross" and "net" horsepower figures in 1971, which was a year before the industry wide transition to SAE net horsepower figures. SAE net horsepower standardized horsepower ratings in accord with SAE standard J1349 figures to get a more accurate horsepower figure. "Net" horsepower was measured "as installed" in a vehicle with power using accessories and emission equipment installed, exhaust systems, and air cleaners, leading to lower power ratings. For 1971, the 400 Turbo-Jet engine was rated at 300 gross horsepower with and without dual exhaust, while the more accurate net firgures show it rated at 206 hp (154 kW) with single exhaust and 260 with dual exhaust. Beginning in 1972, automakers would follow SAE standard J1349 and the "net" horsepower ratings were the only advertised ratings.

In its May 1971 issue, Motor Trend magazine published a comparison road test that included a Caprice Coupe and a Cadillac Sedan de Ville. The tested Caprice was powered by the 454 V8 and loaded with virtually all available options. Though testers noted that the Cadillac had a higher level of quality than the Chevrolet along with a far more luxurious interior (the DeVille was upholstered in leather while the Caprice had the standard cloth trim), the magazine ultimately considered the Chevy as the better value at $5,550 compared to the Cadillac's $9,081 price mainly due to the fact the $3,500 price difference bought only a modest quality addition and a few more luxury features.

1972 Caprice Hardtop coupe

The 1972 Caprice received a facelift with a revised grille that was lower in height than the '71 model flanked by a new bumper with increased protection one year ahead of the Federal mandate. This was done by a bumper within bumper design. Heavy gauge beams reinforced the bumper which are attached to the frame. The rear bumper also featured this design and now had the triple taillights now mounted in the bumper. Engine offerings were carried over from 1971 with the switch to "net" horsepower ratings including 170 hp (127 kW) for the standard two-barrel 400 cu in (6.6 L) Turbo Fire V8, 210 hp (157 kW) (240 hp (179 kW) with optional dual exhaust) for the four-barrel Turbo Jet 400 big-block V8 and 270 hp (201 kW) for the four-barrel dual exhaust 454 cu in (7.4 L) Turbo Jet V8 (rated at 230 hp (172 kW) in wagons with single exhaust). Turbo Hydramatic transmission, variable-ratio power steering and power front disc brakes continued as standard equipment. New to the Caprice lineup was a pillared four-door sedan. All models also featured a revised "Astro Ventilation" system utilizing vents in the doorjambs that replaced the troublesome 1971 version that used vents in the trunklid and turned out to be a major source of complaints to Chevy (and other GM divisions) dealers from customers.

1973–1974[edit]

1973 Caprice Classic coupe

The Caprice was renamed the Caprice Classic for 1973, a year highlighted by a new cross-hatch grille over the new 5 mph (8 km/h) energy absorbing front bumper and revised square taillights, again mounted in the bumper. Increasingly stringent emission standards added EGR (exhaust gas recirculation) valves to engines, and accordingly horsepower figures continued to drop. The standard Turbo-Fire 400 cu in (6.6 L) two-barrel was now rated at 150 hp (112 kW) while the only optional engine was the Turbo-Jet 454 cu in (7.4 L) V8 produced 245 hp (183 kW) with dual exhaust (215 hp (160 kW) with single exhaust used in station wagons). A convertible, brought over from the lesser Impala series, was moved to the Caprice lineup for the first time in 1973 and the wood grained-trim station wagon known as the Kingswood Estate since 1969 was renamed the Caprice Estate. A new option on sedans and coupes was a 50/50 bench seat with recliner on the passenger side.

The 1974 models featured a new grille. The taillights were moved above the new 5 mph (8 km/h) rear bumper. New thick "B" pillars and fixed rear quarter opera windows were new on two-door coupes, which essentially eliminated pillar-less hardtop design much like the GM intermediates did the previous year. Other body styles including the four-door pillared and hardtop sedans, convertible and Estate Wagon were carried over with only minor changes from 1973. New to the engine roster was a four-barrel version of the small block 400 cubic-inch Turbo Fire V8 rated at 180 hp (134 kW) (which was the standard engine on wagons and all cars sold in California, optional on other models in 49 states). All other engines were carried over from 1973 although the 454 Turbo Jet lost 10 horsepower (7.5 kW), now rated at 235 hp (175 kW) Also new for 1974 were integrated lap and shoulder seat belts and the unpopular "interlock" system that required the driver and front seat passengers to fasten seat belts in order to start the vehicle. The interlock mandate received so much public outcry that Congress rescinded it shortly after the introduction of the 1975 models. A new option this year was a remote control for the passenger-side outside rear-view mirror.

A dealer group shipped a batch of '74 models to New Zealand where they were converted to right hand drive by Mercury Bay Motors, a country firm on the Coromandel Peninsula.

1975–1976[edit]

1975 Chevrolet Caprice Classic convertible

The 1975 models received a revised grille and taillight trim and six-window styling on four-door models. The dashboard, radio and climate control graphics were revised; the speedometer read up to 100 mph (160 km/h), and had smaller numbers for kilometers per hour. The Caprice convertible would be discontinued after the 1975 model year along with its full-size B-body counterparts including the Oldsmobile Delta 88, Buick LeSabre, and Pontiac Grand Ville. Just about 8,350 Caprice Classic convertibles found buyers in 1975.

As fuel economy became a bigger priority among Americans following the Arab Oil Embargo of late 1973 and early 1974, Chevy made the smaller 145 hp (108 kW) 350 cu in (5.7 L) small block V8 with two-barrel carburetor standard on all Caprice models except wagons for 1975. In California, the four-barrel 155 hp (116 kW) 350 V8 was the base engine and this engine was unavailable elsewhere. Optional engines included the 175 hp (130 kW) 400 cu in (6.6 L) small block V8 (standard on wagons) and 215 hp (160 kW) 454 cu in (7.4 L) big block, the last was not available in California. All engines except for the 454 were single exhaust systems with the introduction of the catalytic converter. Station wagons that used the 454 now featured dual exhaust as well. Also introduced this year were GM's "High Energy" electronic ignition and radial tires that were advertised as part of "Chevrolet's New Efficiency System." The theme of economy continued through to the new options this year: A new "Econominder" gauge package included a temperature gauge and a "fuel econominder", the second being a gauge alerting drivers as to when their driving habits caused the engine to use more or less fuel. Also new on the options list: intermittent windshield wipers, and 50/50 seating options on the Impala coupe/sedan and Caprice Classic convertible models.

1976 Caprice Classic 4 Door Hardtop

"Landau" model was also introduced in 1975, and was primarily an appearance package. Carried over unchanged into 1976, the Landau featured a choice of special paint colors, sports-styled dual remote outside rear-view mirrors, color-keyed wheel covers, a landau vinyl roof (with chrome band across the roof), a vinyl bodyside molding insert, and pinstriping. Inside there were color-keyed seat belts and floor mats. Fender and dashboard emblems rounded out the package. With minor changes, the Landau would be carried over into the 1977-era coupe models.

The 1976 Caprice Classic marked the sixth and final year of a body style introduced for the 1971 model year. 1976 models weighed approximately 4,314 pounds (1,957 kg) and was 222.9 inches (5,660 mm) long, growing considerably from the 1971s 4,040 pounds (1,830 kg) and 216.8-inch (5,510 mm) length. Only minor changes were made for 1976, including an eggcrate grille similar to that of the 1976 Cadillac Calais/DeVille/Fleetwood flanked by new rectangular headlights, along with revised exterior and interior trimmings. Engine options remained virtually unchanged with the 350 two-barrel remained standard in everywhere but California where the 350 four-barrel was standard. The only change was the 350 four-barrel was available in sedans and coupes nationwide and rated at 165 hp (123 kW). The dual exhaust equipped 454 increased 10 hp (7.5 kW), rated at 225 hp (168 kW) and was still unavailable in California. Also available was the 180 horsepower (130 kW) four-barrel 400 V8 standard on wagons and optional on all other models. This was the final year for the big block 454 V8 to be offered, along with hardtop body styles and the clamshell-tailgate design for the station wagon.

Third generation (1977–1990)[edit]

Third generation
Caprice1986.jpg
1987–89 Chevrolet Caprice 4-door Sedan
Overview
Production 1976–1990
Model years 1977–1990
Assembly Fairfax, Kansas, U.S.
Arlington, Texas, United States
Oshawa, Ontario, Canada
South Gate, California, United States
Detroit, Michigan, United States – Clark Avenue
Flint, Michigan, United States
Janesville, Wisconsin, United States
Atlanta, Georgia, United States
Wilmington, Delaware, United States
Caracas, Venezuela[7]
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door sedan
4-door station wagon
2-door coupe
Related Buick LeSabre
Buick Estate
Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser
Oldsmobile 88
Pontiac Bonneville
Pontiac Parisienne
Pontiac Catalina
Pontiac Laurentian
Pontiac Safari
Powertrain
Engine 250 cu in (4.1 L) Chevrolet Straight-6
229 cu in (3.8 L) Chevrolet 90° V6
262 cu in (4.3 L) Chevrolet 90° V6
267 cu in (4.4 L) Small-block V8
305 cu in (5.0 L) Small-block V8
307 cu in (5.0 L) Oldsmobile V8
350 cu in (5.7 L) Small-block V8
350 cu in (5.7 L) Oldsmobile Diesel V8
Transmission 3-speed automatic
4-speed automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 116 in (2,946 mm)
Length 215.7 in (5,479 mm) (wagon)
212.2 in (5,390 mm) (sedan)
212.1 in (5,387 mm) (1981-82)
212.8 in (5,405 mm) (1985-89)
Width 79.3 in (2,014 mm) (wagon)
75.4 in (1,915 mm) (sedan)
Height 58.2 in (1,478 mm) (wagon)
56.4 in (1,433 mm) (sedan)

1977–1979[edit]

1977 Chevrolet Caprice sedan

The 1977 Caprice Classic was drastically downsized, which reduced its weight and exterior dimensions, while increasing headroom, rear seat legroom and trunk space compared to 1976 models. GM called its downsizing program Project 77 and invested $600 million to develop the most changed full-size Chevrolet to date. The weight reductions from the 1976 models were 611 lb (277 kg) for coupes, 637 lb (289 kg) for sedans and 871 lb (395 kg) for wagons. The 1977 The Caprice coupe and sedan were over 10 inches (250 mm) shorter while the wagon was 14 inches (360 mm) shorter. Wheelbases were reduced to 116 inches (2,900 mm) from 121.5 inches (3,090 mm) for coupes and sedans and 125 inches (3,200 mm) for wagons. Width was reduced by 4 inches (100 mm) for sedans and coupes; the wagon's width remained virtually unchanged. Heights were increased by 2.5 inches (64 mm) and trunk capacities were increased to 20.9 cubic feet (0.59 m3) for sedans and 19.8 cubic feet (0.56 m3) for coupes.

Size comparison between 76 and 77 Caprice .[8][9]

1976 Caprice 1977 Caprice
Wheelbase 121.5 in (3,086 mm) 116.0 in (2,946 mm)
Overall Length 222.9 in (5,662 mm) 212.1 in (5,387 mm)
Width 79.5 in (2,019 mm) 75.5 in (1,918 mm)
Height 53.7 in (1,364 mm) 55.3 in (1,405 mm)
Front Headroom 38.9 in (988 mm) 39.0 in (991 mm)
Front Legroom 42.5 in (1,080 mm) 42.2 in (1,072 mm)
Front Hip Room 59.3 in (1,506 mm) 55.0 in (1,397 mm)
Front Shoulder Room 63.8 in (1,621 mm) 61.1 in (1,552 mm)
Rear Headroom 38.0 in (965 mm) 38.2 in (970 mm)
Rear Legroom–ins. 38.8 in (986 mm) 39.5 in (1,003 mm)
Rear Hip Room 59.7 in (1,516 mm) 55.7 in (1,415 mm)
Rear Shoulder Room 63.8 in (1,621 mm) 61.1 in (1,552 mm)
Luggage Capacity 18.9 cu ft (535 L) 20.9 cu ft (592 L)

Although by modern standards the 1977 downsized Chevrolet cars are quite large, the new Chevrolet had exterior dimensions closer to the intermediates of its day. In fact the 1977 Caprice shared the same 116-inch (2,900 mm) wheelbase of the intermediate sized Chevrolet Chevelle, and 1977 marked the first, and only, year in history that a midsized car, the Monte Carlo, was larger than a full sized car.. The introduction of such a small full-size car was considered quite a risk for General Motors. To help ensure the car was a success, preview clinics were held by Chevrolet which returned very positive results. Furthermore, the design process for this car was revolutionized.

Ford would respond with advertising the Ford LTD traditional full-size attributes. In 1979 Ford released a true downsized full-size car with the introduction of the 1979 Ford LTD. Chrysler responded in 1979 when it re-engineered its intermediate B-body cars, and designated them the full-size R-bodies. However, these were not true downsized cars like GM and Ford introduced. 1977 models included a four-door sedan, two-door sedan, six-passenger two-seat station wagon and an eight-passenger three-seat station wagon. All models had window framed doors. No hardtop models were offered.

Rear Window used on 1977–79 Caprice coupe (1978 model shown)

Two-door models featured a unique rear window that created a semi-fastback. This glass had sharp corners giving it three sides. This was done through "hot-wire" bending process. The Caprice was available as either the "Sport Coupe" or as the "Landau Coupe". The Landau Coupe features a partially covered vinyl roof.

Station wagon models received a new three-way tailgate for 1977; the clamshell tailgate was gone. The three-seat models featured a rear-facing third seat for two occupants making these cars eight-passenger models. The cargo capacity was reduced to 87 cubic feet (2,500 L), and although the station wagon could still carry a 4 ft × 8 ft (1.2 m × 2.4 m) sheet of plywood, this could now only be done with the tailgate down. Station wagons use the coil spring suspension in the rear, as for the sedans and coupes.

All 1977 models were named Caprice Classics. A V8 engine was no longer standard equipment for the first time since 1965. The base engine for 1977 Chevrolet Caprice coupes and sedans was Chevy's long-running 250 cu in (4.1 L) six-cylinder powerplant rated at 110 hp (82 kW). This engine was last available in a full-size Chevy in 1973 in the lower-line Bel Air. Standard on station wagons and optional on other Caprice models was a 145 hp (108 kW) 2-barrel 305 cu in (5.0 L) version of the Chevy's small-block V8. This was the first year the 305 cu in had been used in a full-size Chevrolet; it was first introduced in 1976 in compact and mid-sized Chevrolet lines. A 170 hp (127 kW) 350 cu in (5.7 L) V8 with four-barrel carburetor was now the top engine offering as the larger 400 cu in (6.6 L) and 454 cu in (7.4 L) V8s were discontinued.

1978 Caprice Classic Landau coupe
1979 Caprice Classic Landau coupe
1979 Caprice Classic sedan (export model)

With the new lighter weight and smaller engines, Chevrolet promised increase fuel economy without great loss of performance compared to 1976 models. The EPA estimates for 1977 Chevrolet was 17 miles per US gallon (14 L/100 km; 20 mpg-imp) city and 22 miles per US gallon (11 L/100 km; 26 mpg-imp) highway for six-cylinder models. Ford's 1977 LTD was rated at 15 miles per US gallon (16 L/100 km; 18 mpg-imp) city and 19 miles per US gallon (12 L/100 km; 23 mpg-imp) highway with its smallest engine, the 302 cu in (4.9 L) V8. By the same EPA estimates, Plymouth's Gran Fury returned 13 MPG city and 18 MPG highway with the 318 V8. Performance was good when comparing the smaller 1977 Caprice to the 1976 Caprice. A 1976 350 two-bbl powered Chevrolet ran 0–60 in 12.9 seconds, while a 400 powered model ran 10.7 seconds. 1977 models ran 11.4 seconds to 60 mph (97 km/h) with the 305 engine and 10.8 seconds with the 350 engine. Car and Driver tested a 1977 Chevrolet Impala with the 350 engine and 3.08:1 axle running a 9.6 second 0–60 time and obtaining a 117 mph (188 km/h) top speed. The 350 was available with a 2.56:1 axle ratio and a 3.08 axle ratio which may explain the difference in performance times.

The 1977 models became the number one selling car in the United States. (In 1976, the previous generation full-size Chevrolet was the third best seller). More than 660,000 full-size Chevrolets were produced for the 1977 model year, with the most popular model being the four-door Caprice Classic sedan (212,840 produced). By 1978 more than 1 million downsized Chevrolets had been produced. Auto publications agreed with the public reception, with Motor Trend awarding the 1977 Chevrolet Caprice Car of the Year.

Car and Driver declared "Even the most jaded car critics are in fact tripping over each other trying to be the first to anoint this sedan to be the best full-sized Chevrolet ever made." Car and Driver commented on the F41 suspension option which included stiffer springs, larger sway bars, wheels, and tires to say, "It will make you think your Chevy came from the Black Forest instead of Detroit."

1978 models had minor front and rear styling revisions. The engine line-up remained unchanged, but numerically lower axle ratios were used in an attempt to boost fuel economy. The 305 and 350 engines went from a standard 2.56:1 axle in 1977 (2.73:1 for wagons), to a 2.41:1 axle in 1978 (2.56:1 for wagons). An optional 3.08 axle was also available for 350 powered Caprices. The 305 V8 engine received an aluminum intake manifold which reduced engine weight by 35 pounds. A larger brake booster was also added to help reduce braking effort. New options included a steel sliding moonroof and 40-channel CB radio built into the AM/FM radio.

The 1979 models continued with only minor refinements. Again the front and rear styling was refreshed slightly. The 250 six gained five horsepower, while the 305 V8 lost 15 horsepower (11 kW). The change to the 305 was a result of switching from the larger Rochester 2GC carburetor to the smaller Rochester Dualjet carburetor. The 350 engine was unchanged.

1980–1985[edit]

The 1980 Caprice Classic saw its first major revision since the 1977 downsizing. To further improve the fuel economy of the car, efforts were made to reduce weight and improve aerodynamics. The Caprice received all new exterior sheet metal, without drastically changing the look of the car. To improve aerodynamics the hood was tapered lower, while the trunk area was higher. The grille was now an egg crate style while the tail-light panel featured three separate square lights per side. All the doors and components within were redesigned to be lighter, including the window crank mechanisms, which now used a tape drive mechanism. Greater use of aluminum including in bumper reinforcement and in sedan/coupe radiators helped to further reduce the overall weight of the vehicle. 1980 models were approximately 100 pounds (45 kg) lighter than 1979 models.

The new styling increased the trunk capacity of both coupes and sedans to 20.9 cubic feet (0.59 m3). This increase was also partially achieved with a now standard compact spare tire on a 16-inch (410 mm) wheel. A new frame lift jack replaced the bumper mounted model. A larger 25 US gallons (95 l; 21 imp gal) fuel tank was standard equipment in sedans and coupes. Easy-roll radial tires, improved anti-corrosion measures, low friction ball joints and larger front suspension bushings were also new for 1980. Puncture-sealant tires and cornering lights were new options.

The 250 cu in (4.1 L) six, was replaced by a new 90 degree Chevrolet 3.8 L (229 cu in) V6 as the base engine for sedans and coupes. This engine shared the same bore and stoke as the 305 cu in V8. California emission cars used the Buick 3.8 L (231 cu in) V6 engine. The Chevrolet 3.8 L was rated at 115 hp (86 kW) while the Buick V6 engine had a 110 hp (82 kW) rating. Although the 3.8 L V6 had the same horsepower rating as the 250 six used in 1979, the 250 had 25 lb·ft (34 N·m) more torque than the 3.8 L (200 lb·ft vs 175 lb·ft). The 3.8 L V6 did boost Chevrolet Caprice's fuel economy to an EPA estimated 20 miles per US gallon (12 L/100 km; 24 mpg-imp) city and 29 miles per US gallon (8.1 L/100 km; 35 mpg-imp) highway, the highest a full-size Chevrolet had been rated to date.

The base V8 engine was new for 1980. The 4.4 L 267 cu in V8 rated at 115 hp (86 kW) and was the standard engine for station wagons. This engine had a Rochester Dualjet carburetor, and was not available in California. The 2-barrel carburetor on the 305 cu in (5.0 L) V8 was replaced with a four-barrel increasing the 305's output to 155 hp (116 kW). This was now the most powerful engine option (standard on California station wagons), as the 350 cu in (5.7 L) V8 was no longer available, except as part of the police package option. The Oldsmobile-built 350 cu in Diesel V8 was added to the option list for station wagons. This engine was rated at 105 hp (78 kW) and 205 lb·ft (278 N·m). To further increase fuel economy, all transmissions were equipped with an electronically controlled lock-up torque converter clutch.

1981–1985 Caprice Classic Landau coupe

1981 models saw only minor revisions. Styling was unchanged other than the grille which remained egg crate style but now had larger sections. Refinements included redesigned front disc brakes for less drag and a translucent plastic master cylinder reservoir. The cruise control became equipped with a resume feature, while wire wheel covers had locking bolts to secure them in place. This was the last year for the Delco GM 40-channel CB radio built into the AM/FM radio option.

The engine line-up remained unchanged, although the 3.8 L 229 cu in V6 was now rated at 110 hp (82 kW) and the 5.0 L 305 cu in V8 was rated at 150 hp (112 kW). All engines were updated with the Computer Command Control (CCC) system which included an electronically metered carburetor. This change occurred in 1980 for California emission cars and did not occur to Canadian emission cars until 1987. A new four-speed automatic overdrive transmission with lock-up torque converter joined the powertrain line-up. This transmission helped boost highway fuel economy, while improving city performance by with a 3.08:1 rear axle ratio. The overdrive transmission was only available with the 305 cu in V8, and was a mandatory option for this engine.

1982 models saw only minor styling revisions. The model line-up was reduced by one, with the Caprice Landau coupe dropped. Remaining were the sedan, sport coupe, six-passenger wagon and the eight-passenger wagon.

The engine line-up and power ratings remained unchanged. The 350 cubic-inch Diesel V8 engine was now available on all models. The automatic overdrive transmission was available with both the 267 cu in (4.4 L) V8 and the 305 cu in V8 engine. This transmission was no longer a mandatory option for the 305 cu in engine, which now came standard with the three-speed automatic (except for California models).

1983 was marked with the fewest models to date. No two-door models were produced, leaving only the four-door and the eight-passenger station wagon, since the 6-passenger wagon also left the line-up. The 4.4 L 267 cu in engine was discontinued, but all other engines remained unchanged. The 305 cu in engine and the automatic overdrive transmission was standard on station wagons. The 350 cu in diesel was available with the automatic overdrive transmission at extra cost, while the 305 cu in V8 came equipped only with the automatic overdrive transmission. The 1983 Chevrolet Caprice Classic was selected on the Car and Driver Ten Best list.

The 1984 model year saw the return of the two-door sport coupe making a three model line-up. Styling remained unchanged. 1984 models were virtually identical to 1981 models. The windshield washer controls were moved from the dashboard to the turn signal stalk to create the multi-stalk. The optional cruise control (which continued to be mounted on the turn signal stalk) now featured acceleration/deceleration in 1 mph (1.6 km/h) increments. An optional Landau package included a vinyl roof, sport mirrors and reveal moldings.

Powertrain availability and power ratings were unchanged for 1984. The 350 cu in diesel engine came standard with an automatic overdrive transmission when equipped in station wagons.

1984 saw the introduction of a Caprice clone from Canada, the Pontiac Parisienne. While this car bore Pontiac emblems and trim similar to the pre-1981 Bonneville, it was a Caprice in every other way. Pontiac dealers gained a full-size car again and buyers did not seem to mind that the car was virtually the same as the contemporary Caprice. It sold well enough to remain available until 1986 for the sedan and 1989 for the Safari station wagon.

1985 Caprice Classic sedan (export model)
Caprice Classic wagon

1985 models received minor updates while styling remained unchanged. The interior was updated for 1985, marking its most significant update since 1977. The simulated woodgrain appliqué used on the dash was replaced with a simulated silver metallic appliqué. The shaft-style radio was replaced with a more modern DIN-and-a-half style radio, while the pull-out headlight switch was replaced by a push button style switch. The climate controls were updated with rotary switches for the fan and rear window defroster replacing the toggle style switches. The instruments were updated to have a more modern appearance, with a horizontal speedometer while a round speedometer was included with the optional gauge package.

The engine line-up saw major changes for 1985. The 4.3 L V6 engine (262 cu in) with throttle body fuel injection (RPO LB4) replaced both 3.8 L V6s in 1985 as the base engine for sedans and coupes. The 4.3 L engine was rated at 130 hp (97 kW) and 210 lb·ft (285 N·m), producing 20 hp (15 kW) more than the 229 cu in V6. The 4.3 L V6 shared its bore and stroke with the 350 cu in Chevrolet V8. This engine came standard with a three-speed automatic but was available with the four-speed automatic overdrive transmission. The 5.0 L 305 cu in V8 engine received an electronic spark control and compression was increased from 8.6:1 to 9.5:1. This caused the 305's output to jump to 165 hp (123 kW). The 350 cu in diesel engine remained unchanged, as it was dropped in January.

1986–1990[edit]

1986 marked the first major exterior restyle since 1980. The front fascia was restyled to have a more aerodynamic look. The Caprice emblem was no longer a hood ornament, but was an emblem located on the vertical area directly above the grill in the center of the front fascia. A new smaller sleeker grille with prominent vertical chrome divider bars replaced the egg-crate style used in 1985. The rear taillights were restyled to look more modern and detailed, but continued to have three lights per side. The sheet metal remained unchanged; however, the new front and rear restyles updated the appearance of the Caprice.

With the Impala no longer being produced, a new base Caprice four-door model was introduced (similar to the previous Impala). Still available was a four-door sedan, coupe and eight-passenger station wagon, while a new Brougham four-door sedan joined the model line-up. Brougham models featured a 55/45 front seat with armrest, and a new "pillow design" with velour fabrics. Broughams featured woodgrain appliqué on its dash fascia, a dome map light, front-door courtesy lights and 20 oz carpeting. Power window controls for all models moved from the door panel to the armrest for improved ergonomics.

The 4.3 L V6 engine received a 10 hp (7.5 kW) boost, rated at 140 hp (100 kW). The 305 cu in engine was unchanged and remained standard on station wagons. Station wagons built after approximately November 1, 1985 came equipped with the Oldsmobile-built 307 cu in engine. After this point, the 305 cu in was no longer available in station wagons. This engine was used in all GM B-body station wagons from this point on to simplify production. The 307 cu in was equipped with a four-barrel carburetor and was rated at 140 hp (104 kW) and 255 lb·ft (346 N·m). The 350 cu in diesel engine was discontinued.

1987-90 Caprice Classic wagon

The 1987 models saw only minor styling revisions after the restyling of the previous year. All models came equipped with new modern composite headlights and a stand-up hood ornament returned. A woodgrain appliqué was used on the dashboards for all models. The model line-up was slightly revised, and now included a base level Caprice eight-passenger wagon, and a Caprice Classic Brougham LS four-door sedan. The Brougham LS featured all the Brougham amenities, plus a padded vinyl roof, opera lights and LS monograms. Leather upholstery was a new available option for Brougham and Brougham LS sedans, which also had a new pillow-style seating design and a folding center armrest in the back seat.

The engine line-up received only minor changes. The 4.3 L V6 and the 305 cu in V8 were updated with roller lifters and center bolt valve covers. The 305 cu in had a 5 hp (3.7 kW) rating increase and was now rated at 170 hp (127 kW) and 250 lb·ft (339 N·m). The 307 cu in Oldsmobile-built V8 remained unchanged and was the only available engine for the station wagons. Some Canadian-sold Chevrolet Caprice sedans used the 307 cu in Oldsmobile-built V8 in place of the Chevrolet-built 305 cu in engine during the 1987 model year.

The 1988 model line-up was revised, with sport coupe dropped due to low sales. The station wagon line-up was reduced to one model, an eight-passenger wagon. Engines remained unchanged, but the four-speed automatic overdrive transmission was standard on all engines and models. Standard equipment for all models included tinted glass, a remote-control driver's mirror, automatic headlight on/off, and an AM/FM stereo. A police version of the Caprice wagon was made; it had the code 1A2 and was designed for special service use.

1989 marked the first year of a fuel-injected V8 engine. The Ford LTD Crown Victoria had been equipped with fuel injection on its V8s since 1983. The 305 cu in V8 was updated with throttle body electronic fuel-injection (RPO LO3), first introduced in 1987 on Chevrolet/GMC pickups and vans. This engine was rated at 170 hp (127 kW) and 255 lb·ft (346 N·m), which was only a slight increase in torque over the carbureted engine. However, the cold weather starts, drivability, fuel economy and emissions were all improved as a result of fuel injection. The 4.3 L V6 was no longer the base engine, and was now only available in taxi and police optioned Caprices. The 307 engine remained unchanged for station wagons. Rear-seat passengers received shoulder belts for the outboard positions and air conditioning was standard on all models.

1990 was essentially a carryover year and marked the last year for the downsized body style. New for 1990 were door-mounted front seat belts, quick-connect fuel lines for the 305 cu in engine, and Scotchgard-protected interior fabrics. The door-mounted belts were installed to meet Federal government passive restraint requirements for the 1990 model year. The model line-up and engine line-up were unchanged. The 1990 Caprice was only produced until the end of 1989, when production was shut down to prepare for the redesigned 1991 models.

Fourth generation (1991–1996)[edit]

Fourth generation
1991 Chevrolet Caprice.jpg
1991 Chevrolet Caprice Classic sedan
Overview
Production April 12, 1990–December 13, 1996
1 January 1992–present (South Africa)
Model years 1991–1996
1992–present (South Africa)
Assembly Arlington, Texas, U.S.
Ypsilanti, Michigan, U.S.
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door sedan
4-door station wagon
Related Chevrolet Impala SS
Buick Roadmaster
Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser
Oldsmobile 98
Powertrain
Engine 4.3 L L99 V8
5.0 L L03 V8
5.7 L L05 V8
5.7 L LT1 V8
Transmission 4-speed 4L60 automatic
4-speed 4L60-E automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 115.9 in (2,944 mm)
Length 217.3 in (5,519 mm) (wagon)
214.1 in (5,438 mm) (sedan)
Width 79.6 in (2,022 mm) (wagon)
77 in (1,956 mm) (1991–93 sedan)
77.5 in (1,968 mm) (1994–96 sedan)
Height 60.8 in (1,544 mm) (1991–93 wagon)
60.9 in (1,547 mm) (1994–96 wagon)
55.7 in (1,415 mm) (sedan)
Rear view of 1991 Caprice Classic sedan, base model

The 1991 model was completely restyled — It replaced the 1977-based rectilinear design with rounded, more aerodynamic sheetmetal. While the body and interior were all new, excluding the Anti-Lock Braking System — the chassis and powertrain were carried over from April 1990.[10] and several major components (including the floor pan) are entirely interchangeable between 1977 and 1996.

Motor Trend awarded the new Caprice Classic Car of the Year. Two trim levels were initially offered - Caprice and Caprice Classic, replacing the previous Classic and Brougham models. General Motors had hoped to regain the top spot as America's favorite automobile with the new aerodynamic styling of their full-size offering.

1994 Caprice sedan

The last-generation Caprice was not well received by critics and did not hold on to high sales numbers. The car's styling was criticized with car aficionados calling it a "beached whale"[11][12] and "an upside-down bathtub". For 1993 there were some revisions, the most obvious being the removal of the skirted rear wheel wells in favor of more conventional, open wheel wells. This applied only to the sedan model; station wagons retained the skirted wheel wells. In 1995 minor modifications were made to the C-pillars & given the same mirrors as the sedan and was the final year for the Caprice wagon.

In 1994 the Caprice received the new-generation GM engines, including an optional detuned version of the Corvette's LT1 350 cu in (5.7 L) engine that put out 260 hp (194 kW) and 330 lb·ft (447 N·m) of torque. The standard engine in all sedans, including the 9C1 police cars, was the 200 hp (150 kW), L99 263 (4.3 L) V8. The LT1 was optional in the 9C1 police-package and standard in the wagon. The LT1 350 was standard in the civilian sedans, with the addition of the B4U towing package. The towing package also gave a heavy duty suspension nearly identical to the 9C1 police car suspension. 2.93 gears, heavy duty cooling, heavy duty rear drum brakes and positraction were standard with the towing package. The 265 (4.3 L) L99, and 350 (5.7 L) LT1 look nearly identical externally. Many 4.3 L99 equipped sedans are passed off as 5.7 LT1 cars. The 8th digit in the Vehicle Identification Number is the Engine code. W: 4.3 L L99, P: 5.7 L LT1. The 1994 Caprice's interior had a redesign which featured a Camaro steering wheel, digital speedometer and a new console.

The Caprice 9C1 with the LT1 engine became one of the fastest and most popular modern day police vehicles. This vehicle established such strong devotion by many police departments that a cottage industry thrived in refurbishing Caprices for continued police service after GM discontinued production of the car.[13]

Caprice wagon

The car's production was stopped in 1996 from sales pressure from the mid-size Chevrolet Lumina, financial troubles at General Motors, and consumer demand shifting from full-sized family sedans to the increasingly popular sport utility vehicles. The Arlington, Texas vehicle assembly plant (used for Caprices, Buick Roadmaster, Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser, and Cadillac Fleetwood) use moved to produce GM's more profitable full size SUVs (the Tahoe and Suburban). In 1997, the Lumina LTZ would take the Caprice's place as Chevrolet's premium passenger car. Total production of 1991-96 models was 689,257 with production ending on December 13, 1996.[14]

Aftermath[edit]

With the exit of the Caprice, the Ford Crown Victoria and its corporate siblings (Mercury Grand Marquis and Lincoln Town Car), continued as the sole traditional rear-drive, body-on-frame, V8-powered American sedans (though they were technically built in Canada) until their discontinuation in 2011. Thereafter the Ford Crown Victoria dominated police vehicle sales from 1997 through 2011. Dodge would introduce the unibody Dodge Charger in 2006, the division's first rear-wheel drive sedan since 1989.

The Chevrolet Impala name badge was reintroduced to the American passenger car market in 2000 as the marque's premium offering, albeit in a front wheel drive configuration.

Fifth generation (1999–2006)[edit]

1999–2003 Chevrolet Caprice SS
1999–2001 Statesman
2003–2004 Statesman
Main article: Holden Caprice

General Motors revived the Chevrolet Caprice nameplate in the Middle East markets on imported Holden Statesman/Caprice built by its Australian subsidiary Holden. The WH series Statesman/Caprice was the first series to be engineered to support both left- and right-hand drive (Middle Eastern market being LHD while Australia right-hand drive) in order to allow for manufacturing of export versions. Same was true for the related short-wheelbase Holden VT Commodore, whose left-hand drive version became the Chevrolet Lumina in the Middle East.

The Middle Eastern Caprice came out in 2000 in four versions, base LS, standard mid-range LTZ, a sporty SS and the range topper Royale (introduced in 2002). Differences between the models were mostly equipment and slight styling tweaks. The base LS came with a 3.8 L V6 engine; the LTZ came standard with a 220 kW (295 hp) 5.7 L Gen III V8, the SS and Royale came with a 242 kW (325 hp) version of the same engine. In 2003, Holden launched a revised and facelifted Statesman and Caprice, which was reflected in their Middle Eastern versions for the 2004 model year. The new models sported new front and rear fascias and completely redesigned interior. Engines carried over unchanged.

This generation of Caprice was almost imported to America as a Caprice 9C1 long before the 6th generation model/3rd generation Holden Caprice as the Caprice PPV was. [15]

Sixth generation (2006–present)[edit]

Sixth generation
2011 Chevrolet Caprice PPV -- 12-06-2010 front.jpg
Overview
Manufacturer Holden (General Motors)
Also called Buick Park Avenue (China)
Holden WM/WN Caprice
Production 2006–present (Middle East)
2010–present (North America)
Model years 2006–present
Assembly Australia: Elizabeth, South Australia
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door sedan
Platform GM Zeta platform
Related Chevrolet Camaro
Chevrolet Lumina
Chevrolet SS
Holden Commodore (VE)
Holden Commodore (VF)
Holden Ute
Pontiac G8
Powertrain
Engine 3.6 L LFX V6 (224 kW (301 hp))
6.0 L L77 V8 (265 kW (355 hp))
Transmission 6-speed 6L80 automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 3,010 mm (118.5 in)
Length 5,187 mm (204.2 in)
Width 1,900 mm (74.8 in)
Height 1,491 mm (58.7 in)
Chronology
Predecessor Pontiac G8 (for North America)
Chevrolet Impala 9C1 & 9C3
Main article: Holden Caprice (WM)
2008 Chevrolet Caprice (Middle East)
2008 Chevrolet Caprice (Middle East)

Middle East[edit]

In November 2006, a completely redesigned Caprice lineup was launched, again based on the recently introduced Holden WM Statesman/Caprice. The new Caprice lineup includes the base LS, LTZ, SS and Royale, all sporting the new 268 kW (360 hp) L98 6.0 L V8.

The LS, LTZ, & Royale all share the front bumper as the Holden WM Statesman while the LS lacks the Statesman's trademark foglights which are seen on the LTZ & Royale while the SS gains the Caprice's front bumper & foglamps minus the parking sensors. The LS also gains the VE Commodore Omega's interior & rims, while the LTZ gains the rims from the VE Commodore V based on the Commodore Omega, & the Statesman's interior minus the headrests with the LCD screens & DVD player, while the Royale gains the Statesman's rims, & the Statesman's interior with the LCD screens in the head rests & DVD player from the Holden versions, the grille from the Daewoo Veritas, hood ornament similar to the one that the appears on the 4th & 5th generation models, and the SS gains the same rims as the WM Caprice, interior from the Caprice minus the headrests with the LCD screens & DVD player, color coded version of the grille's trim, and the lip spoiler from the HSV Grange.

The Caprice was updated for 2011 to include the features that Holden included the Holden Caprice. The Caprice lettering engraved on the chrome trim which was on the car from 2000 until 2010 on the trim was dropped & replaced by a Caprice nameplate badge which is below the chrome trim on the left end of the rear fascia on the trunk. The V6 engines were dropped in the LS & LTZ leaving the V8 as the standard engine while the LS got the rims that were previously on the LTZ from 2007-2010 as well as previously seen on the VE Commodore V based on the Omega Series I model, while the LTZ & Royale get the rims seen on the VE Commodore Calais V Series II & the 2010-2011 Chevrolet Omega Fittipaldi Edition and the SS now gains the rims that the WM Caprice V Series II has. The LS, LTZ, & Royale still retain the Statesman front bumper, while the SS still retains the Caprice/Caprice V front bumper. The Royale also gains an rear vision camera in the chrome trim on the trunk which is absent on the LS, LTZ, & SS like the Holden Caprice & Caprice V.

The Caprice was updated again based on the Holden WN Caprice. The Caprice LS & LTZ still retain the front bumper as the WM Statesman while the Royale now gets the same front bumper as seen on the WM/WN Caprice & the Caprice SS & the rims that were previously on the 2011-2013 Caprice SS, the 2010-2013 WM Caprice V, & currently the WN Caprice LPG model, and the Holden Commodore (VF) Calais's interior just like the Holden models. The SS now gains the rear vision camera which was previously only available on the Caprice Royale while its still not available on the Caprice LS or LTZ, the same interior updates the WN Caprice & Caprice Royale, and also gets the same rims as on the WN Caprice V & while the LS, LTZ & SS gain new rims.

The Holden-sourced Chevrolet Caprice in the LS trim is used in Middle East police forces in the United Arab Emirates such as the Abu Dhabi Police, Royal Oman Police and Dubai Police Force. In 2012 after the Libyan civil war ended the Abu Dhabi Police donated 100 of its Caprice LS police cars to Libya along with uniforms making it the only country in the continent of Africa to have the Holden sourced Caprices in service.

Chevrolet Caprice PPV (Concept)
Chevrolet Caprice PPV (US)

North America[edit]

On October 5, 2009, General Motors announced the Chevrolet Caprice Police Patrol Vehicle (PPV).[16] The Chevrolet Caprice is sold only to law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and Canadian market as of 2011. General Motors will not directly sell a Caprice PPV to the general public, however, some vehicles have been purchased by individuals via dealer sales channels. These included GM and dealer demonstrator vehicles, excess unsold dealer inventory, and purchases for demonstration use by law enforcement upfitters and other related businesses.[17] The Caprice PPV is imported from Australia and is a captive import of the Holden Caprice from the WM range, not the short-wheelbase Holden Commodore from the VE Range, which is a main patrol car in Australia. However, these cars both share the Zeta platform.[18] The Caprice comes with the 6.0 L L77 AFM V8, which was standard in 2011 and has been optional since 2012; or the standard 3.6 L LLT SIDI V6 engine, which became available nine months later.[19][20] Both engines are E85 ethanol-capable.[18]

The Caprice PPV concept car was based on the Middle Eastern spec Caprice LS, which was based on the Holden WM Caprice Series I. The front end and grille are the same as the 2007-2010 Caprice LS. The Caprice letter is engraved into the chrome trim on the trunk, there is PPV lettering on the right side of the rear fascia and a FlexFuel nameplate, which was on GM vehicles in North America from 2007 through 2009. The PPV has dual exhaust, a floor shifter in the console, a prisoner partion with assault rifle and shotgun mounts, lights and siren controls in the console, 18 inch steel rims & center caps from the Impala 9C1, and a touch screen in place of the radio and HVAC controls. A prototype similar to the concept car in LAPD was shown around Australia by Holden. Another prototype tested by the LAPD had the same front end, grille, steel rims and center caps as the production models, while the car was based on the Series I WM Caprice with its rear bumper, colored turn signal indicators lamps on the side of the car, chrome trim with Caprice engraved on it, & V8 badge from the 2007-2010 Caprice.

Special features are added by Chevrolet for the Caprice Police Patrol Vehicle (PPV). The driver's seat has a special indentation made to accommodate a police officer's equipment belt so it makes it more comfortable to drive. Special tuning such as Performance Algorithm Liftfoot (PAL) calibration and a performance-tuned suspension was added for increased performance meant specifically for police needs.

Previously, the future of Holden's North American export program had been the subject of contradictory announcements as General Motors emerged from bankruptcy. On July 11, 2009, Bob Lutz declared the Commodore-based Pontiac G8 "too good to waste" and indicated it would return as a Chevrolet Caprice.[21][22] However, it was undisclosed as to whether the revived Caprice was to be based on the short-wheelbase Holden Commodore (like the Pontiac G8) or the extended length Holden Caprice, like the Middle Eastern Chevrolet Caprice.[23] Several days later, Lutz retracted his comment, citing market conditions,[24] while GM CEO Frederick Henderson confirmed that police applications were being studied.[25]

The Caprice police car has had a positive reception, placing perfect scores in an assessment by The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, with the only criticism being directed at over-cautious electronic stability control.[26] What also makes the Caprice PPV different from its Australian & Middle Eastern counterparts the lower end of the front bumper is based on the Commodore Omega Series II's front end, honey comb grille similar to the 2001-2011 Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor, and the interior is also from the Commodore Omega which is the common trim of VE Commodore to be used by law enforcement in Australia and New Zealand. The detective version uses the same interior that the Middle Eastern spec Caprice LS.

Updates to the Caprice PPV for 2014 include the interior from the Commodore Evoke with a column shifter to make room for equipment replacing the floor shifter that was in the 2011-2013 models, a full mounting plate for equipment, & the 9C3 unmarked/detective version being discontinued. Updates to the Caprice PPV for 2015 now has the car gaining the same rear vision camera as the civilian WN, Royale, & SS models. [27] Like its Australian, & Middle Eastern counterparts production of the Caprice PPV will end in 2017 at the Elizabeth plant when Holden ends manufacturing operations. [28]

Engines[edit]

South Africa (1975 to 1978)[edit]

From 1975 to 1978 the Australian developed Statesman Caprice was marketed in South Africa as the Chevrolet Caprice Classic.[29] [30]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ chevroletcapriceppv.com
  2. ^ John Gunnell, Standard Catalog of American Cars 1946-1975, Revised 4th Edition, page 183
  3. ^ Norbye, Jan P. (October 1965). "The 1966 cars". Popular Science 187 (4): 79. Retrieved 23 August 2014. 
  4. ^ John Gunnell, Standard Catalog of American Cars 1946-1975, Revised 4th Edition, pages 186 to 199
  5. ^ John Gunnell, Standard Catalog of American Cars 1946-1975, Revised 4th Edition, page 186
  6. ^ "1978 CHEVROLET CAPRICE CLASSIC (VE)". Dkarros.com. Retrieved 2010-05-25. [dead link] (Spanish)
  7. ^ "1979 CHEVROLET CAPRICE CLASSIC (VE)". Dkarros.com. Retrieved 2010-05-25. [dead link] (Spanish)
  8. ^ "1976_Chevrolet_Full_Size-10". Retrieved 2010-01-04. [dead link]
  9. ^ "1977_Chevrolet_Police-03". Retrieved 2010-01-04. [dead link]
  10. ^ Sanow, Edwin J. Chevrolet Police Cars (Iola, WI: Krause Publications, Inc 1997), p.166.
  11. ^ Anonymous. "Chevrolet Caprice". www.conceptcarz.com. Retrieved 2009-12-29. 
  12. ^ Alex Taylor III (1997-04-28). "GM: Time to Get in Gear". www.CNNMoney.com. Retrieved 2009-12-29. 
  13. ^ Pat Clason (6 November 1997). "Police keep beloved Caprice and save money". Chicago Tribute. p. 3. "The trend to restore Caprices began in 1995 when Shaheen Chevrolet of Lansing, Mich., refurbished the first of 918 squad cars for law agencies nationwide.." 
  14. ^ The Encyclopedia of American Cars, 2006 Edition
  15. ^ "True blue NYPD". drive.com.au. Retrieved 2014-08-04. 
  16. ^ Wert, Ray (2009-10-05). "EXCLUSIVE: The Chevy Caprice Police Car Is Back!". Jalopnik. Gawker Media. Retrieved 2009-10-05. 
  17. ^ "New Caprice". New Caprice. Retrieved 2014-07-15. 
  18. ^ a b Pettendy, Marton (2009-10-05). "Official: Holden to export Commodore as US police car". GoAuto. John Mellor. Retrieved 2009-10-05. 
  19. ^ Dowling, Joshua (2009-10-05). "Holden unveils Police Caprice". CarPoint. Retrieved 2009-10-05. 
  20. ^ "2012 GM police specifications". Retrieved 8 October 2011. [dead link]
  21. ^ Tingwall, Eric; Zenela, David (2009-07-11). "Bob Lutz: Pontiac G8 will live on as a Chevrolet Caprice". Automobile Magazine. Source Interlink Media. Retrieved 2009-07-12. 
  22. ^ Welch, David (2009-07-10). "GM May Revive Its Popular Pontiac G8". BusinessWeek. McGraw-Hill. Retrieved 2009-07-11. 
  23. ^ Nunez, Alex (2009-07-11). "BREAKING: Lutz says Pontiac G8 to survive as Chevy Caprice in U.S.; Camaro Z28 reportedly dead". Autoblog. Weblogs, Inc. Retrieved 2009-07-12. 
  24. ^ Bob Lutz (July 16, 2009). "It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time…". GM FastLane Blog. Retrieved 2009-07-19. 
  25. ^ Lassa, Todd (2009-07-17). "A Short Drive with GM CEO Fritz Henderson". Motor Trend. Source Interlink Media. Retrieved 2009-10-05. 
  26. ^ Barry Park. "Holden Caprice based police pursuit cop car". News.drive.com.au. Retrieved 2013-12-26. 
  27. ^ "2015 Chevy Caprice PPV Gets Rear Vision Camera, Color Changes". gmauthority.com. 
  28. ^ "Bad News From Oz: No More Holden Caprice After 2017". gmauthority.com. 
  29. ^ When is a Holden not a Holden, Restored Cars #191, Nov-Dec 2008, pages 32 to 35
  30. ^ South African brochure for 1976 Chevrolet Caprice Classic, moby302.co.za via web.archive.org
  • 1970 Big Chevrolet brochure (including Caprice, Impala and Bel Air models), Chevrolet Motor Division, General Motors Corporation, 1969.
  • Boyce, Terry V. (October 2005). "1971-1976 Chevrolet: Full-Blown Farewell To the Full-Size Era". Collectible Automobile. 
  • Consumer Guide (1971). Auto 1972 Best Buys and Discount Prices. 
  • Flammang, James; Kowalke, Ron (1999). The Standard Catalog of American Cars 1976-1999. Krause Publications. ISBN 0-87341-755-0. 
  • Gunnell, John, ed. (1987). The Standard Catalog of American Cars 1946-1975. Krause Publications. ISBN 0-87341-096-3. 
  • Gunnell, John, ed. (2003). The Standard Catalog of V-8 Engines 1906-2002. Krause Publications. ISBN 0-87349-446-6. 
  • Chappell, Pat, ed. (1995). The Standard Catalog of Chevrolet 1912-1990. Krause Publications. ISBN 0-87341-141-2. 
  • Sanow, Edwin J. (1997). Chevrolet Police Cars. Krause Publications. ISBN 0-87341-483-7. 
  • The New Chevrolet: 1977 Chevrolet Caprice, Impala Brochure, Chevrolet Motor Division, General Motors Corporation, 1976.

External links[edit]