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Chevrolet Caprice

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Caprice
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Wikipedia: Chevrolet Caprice

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Caprice Classic
Caprice Estate

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A car produced by Chevrolet from 1966-1996 and 2000-2017.  Available as a sedan, coupe, or wagon, depending on the year.  Popular for its use as a police cruiser.

Awards and acknowledgements include:
A Complete Guide to Used Cars (1995 Edition) Best Late-Model Bet in the Full-size Car category (model years 1985-1990)


History

The following section is an excerpt from Wikipedia's Chevrolet Caprice page on 22 June 2018, text available via the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

The Chevrolet Caprice is a full-sized automobile produced by Chevrolet in North America for the 1965 to 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.

From 2011 to 2017, the Caprice nameplate returned to North America as a full-size, rear wheel drive police vehicle, a captive import from Australia built by General Motors's subsidiary Holden—the police vehicle is a rebadged version of the Holden WM/WN Caprice. The nameplate also had a civilian and police presence in the Middle East from 1999 to 2017, where the imported Holden Statesman/Caprice built by Holden was marketed as the Chevrolet Caprice in markets such as the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

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, 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), faux 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 intended to compete with the Ford LTD, Plymouth VIP, AMC's Ambassador DPL, and even the smaller Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme. 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)

Caprice gained series status for the 1966 model year and was positioned as the top-line full-size Chevrolet. 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 styling.

Second generation (1971–1976)

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.

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.

Third generation (1977–1990)

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 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.

Fourth generation (1991–1996)

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 the 1990 model. 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.

Fifth generation (1999–2006)

General Motors revived the Chevrolet Caprice nameplate in the Middle East and Latin/South American 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 (In Mexico only, Commodore and Holden model sold alongside the Lumina and Caprice).

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.

In 1999, GM again considered resurrecting the Caprice name in America for 2000, this time under this generation, and as a new Caprice 9C1 long before the 6th generation model/3rd generation Holden Caprice as the Caprice PPV was, but it would later be brought back several years later as such.

Sixth generation (2006–2017)

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.

On October 5, 2009, General Motors announced the Chevrolet Caprice Police Patrol Vehicle (PPV). 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. 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. 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. Both engines are E85 ethanol-capable.

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 partition with 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.


Photographs

1966 Chevrolet Caprice Station Wagon (Woody) 1966 Station Wagon (Woody)
Photo ©2011 Bill Crittenden
Green Street Cruise Night: June 13, 2011
View photo of Modified 1966 Chevrolet Caprice Station Wagon (Woody) - 5,081KB
1966 Chevrolet Caprice Station Wagon (Woody) 1966 Station Wagon (Woody)
Photo ©2011 Bill Crittenden
Green Street Cruise Night: June 13, 2011
View photo of Modified 1966 Chevrolet Caprice Station Wagon (Woody) - 3,827KB
1966 Chevrolet Caprice Station Wagon (Woody) 1966 Station Wagon (Woody)
Photo ©2011 Bill Crittenden
Green Street Cruise Night: June 13, 2011
View photo of Modified 1966 Chevrolet Caprice Station Wagon (Woody) - 4,253KB
1966 Chevrolet Caprice Station Wagon (Woody) 1966 Station Wagon (Woody)
Photo ©2011 Bill Crittenden
Green Street Cruise Night: June 13, 2011
View photo of Modified 1966 Chevrolet Caprice Station Wagon (Woody) - 3,412KB
1966 Chevrolet Caprice Station Wagon (Woody) 1966 Station Wagon (Woody)
Photo ©2011 Bill Crittenden
Green Street Cruise Night: June 13, 2011
View photo of Modified 1966 Chevrolet Caprice Station Wagon (Woody) - 4,346KB
1966 Chevrolet Caprice Station Wagon (Woody) 1966 Station Wagon (Woody)
Photo ©2011 Bill Crittenden
Green Street Cruise Night: June 13, 2011
View photo of Modified 1966 Chevrolet Caprice Station Wagon (Woody) - 3,626KB
1967 Chevrolet Caprice 1967
Photo ©2010 Bill Crittenden
Green Street Cruise Night:  June 7, 2010
View photo of 1967 Chevrolet Caprice - 5,186KB
1967 Chevrolet Caprice 1967
Photo ©2010 Bill Crittenden
Green Street Cruise Night:  June 7, 2010
View photo of 1967 Chevrolet Caprice - 3,376KB
1967 Chevrolet Caprice 1967
Photo ©2010 Bill Crittenden
Green Street Cruise Night:  June 7, 2010
View photo of 1967 Chevrolet Caprice - 4,785KB
1968 Chevrolet Caprice Woody Wagon 1968
Photo ©2012 Bill Crittenden
for $48,000 (with Lot 116.1, a 1960s AA/TF Dragster) at the Mecum 2012 Fall Premier Auction
View photo of 1968 Chevrolet Caprice Woody Wagon - 3.7MB
1968 Chevrolet Caprice Woody Wagon 1968
Photo ©2012 Bill Crittenden
for $48,000 (with Lot 116.1, a 1960s AA/TF Dragster) at the Mecum 2012 Fall Premier Auction
View photo of 1968 Chevrolet Caprice Woody Wagon - 584KB
1968 Chevrolet Caprice Woody Wagon 1968
Photo ©2012 Bill Crittenden
for $48,000 (with Lot 116.1, a 1960s AA/TF Dragster) at the Mecum 2012 Fall Premier Auction
View photo of 1968 Chevrolet Caprice Woody Wagon - 4.1MB
1968 Chevrolet Caprice Woody Wagon 1968
Photo ©2012 Bill Crittenden
for $48,000 (with Lot 116.1, a 1960s AA/TF Dragster) at the Mecum 2012 Fall Premier Auction
View photo of 1968 Chevrolet Caprice Woody Wagon - 3.6MB
1974 Chevrolet Caprice Convertible 1974 Convertible
for $11,000
2013 Mecum Chicago Auction
Photo ©2013 Bill Crittenden
View photo of 1974 Chevrolet Caprice Convertible - 3.1MB
1974 Chevrolet Caprice Convertible 1974 Convertible
for $11,000
2013 Mecum Chicago Auction
Photo ©2013 Bill Crittenden
View photo of 1974 Chevrolet Caprice Convertible - 759KB
1974 Chevrolet Caprice Convertible 1974 Convertible
for $11,000
2013 Mecum Chicago Auction
Photo ©2013 Bill Crittenden
View photo of 1974 Chevrolet Caprice Convertible - 866KB
1973 Chevrolet Caprice Model Car 1973
Photo ©2010 Bill Crittenden
March 2010 Meeting of C.A.R.S. in Miniature
View photo of 1973 Chevrolet Caprice Model - 3,293KB
1973 Chevrolet Caprice Model Car 1973
Photo ©2010 Bill Crittenden
March 2010 Meeting of C.A.R.S. in Miniature
View photo of 1973 Chevrolet Caprice Model - 3,481KB
1973 Chevrolet Caprice Model Car 1973
Photo ©2010 Bill Crittenden
March 2010 Meeting of C.A.R.S. in Miniature
View photo of 1973 Chevrolet Caprice Model - 3,516KB
1976 Chevrolet Caprice Model Car 1976
Photo ©2010 Bill Crittenden
February 2010 Meeting of C.A.R.S. in Miniature
View photo of 1976 Chevrolet Caprice Model - 3,626KB
1976 Chevrolet Caprice Model Car 1976
Photo ©2010 Bill Crittenden
February 2010 Meeting of C.A.R.S. in Miniature
View photo of 1976 Chevrolet Caprice Model - 3,481KB
1976 Chevrolet Caprice Model Car 1976
Photo ©2010 Bill Crittenden
February 2010 Meeting of C.A.R.S. in Miniature
View photo of 1976 Chevrolet Caprice Model - 3,311KB
1976 Chevrolet Caprice Model Car 1976
Photo ©2010 Bill Crittenden
February 2010 Meeting of C.A.R.S. in Miniature
View photo of 1976 Chevrolet Caprice Model - 3,148KB
Chevrolet Caprice Lowrider Lowrider
Photo ©2008 Bill Crittenden
3rd Annual Grass Lake PTO "Cars for Kids" Classic & Hot Rod Show
May 18, 2008
View photo of Chevrolet Caprice Lowrider - 3,667KB
Chevrolet Caprice Lowrider Lowrider
Photo ©2008 Bill Crittenden
3rd Annual Grass Lake PTO "Cars for Kids" Classic & Hot Rod Show
May 18, 2008
View photo of Chevrolet Caprice Lowrider - 3,731KB
Chevrolet Caprice Lowrider Lowrider
Photo ©2008 Bill Crittenden
3rd Annual Grass Lake PTO "Cars for Kids" Classic & Hot Rod Show
May 18, 2008
View photo of Chevrolet Caprice Lowrider - 4,027KB
Chevrolet Caprice Lowrider Lowrider
Photo ©2008 Bill Crittenden
3rd Annual Grass Lake PTO "Cars for Kids" Classic & Hot Rod Show
May 18, 2008
View photo of Chevrolet Caprice Lowrider - 4,986KB
New York Police Department (NYPD) Chevrolet Caprice Police Car New York Police Department
Photo by Kevin Connors
View photo of New York Police Department (NYPD) Chevrolet Caprice - 3,685KB
Chevrolet Caprice Derelict Police Car Derelict Police Car
Photo ©2012 Bill Crittenden
2012 Cedarville Model Car Contest and Swap Meet
View photo of Chevrolet Caprice Derelict Police Car - 2.4MB
Antioch Police Department 2012 Chevrolet Caprice PPV Antioch Police Department 2012 PPV
Photo ©2012 Bill Crittenden
2012 Nostalgia Auto Show
View photo of Antioch Police Department 2012 Chevrolet Caprice PPV - 2.8MB
Antioch Police Department 2012 Chevrolet Caprice PPV Antioch Police Department 2012 PPV
Photo ©2012 Bill Crittenden
2012 Nostalgia Auto Show
View photo of Antioch Police Department 2012 Chevrolet Caprice PPV - 2.6MB
Antioch Police Department 2012 Chevrolet Caprice PPV Antioch Police Department 2012 PPV
Photo ©2012 Bill Crittenden
2012 Nostalgia Auto Show
View photo of Antioch Police Department 2012 Chevrolet Caprice PPV - 2.3MB


Documents

DateDocument Name & DetailsDocuments
19 December 1973NHTSA Recall 73V250000
1974 Buick Century, 1974 Buick Electra, 1974 Buick Estate, 1974 Buick LeSabre, 1974 Buick Regal, 1974 Buick Riviera, 1974 Chevrolet Bel Air, 1974 Chevrolet Camaro, 1974 Chevrolet Caprice, 1974 Chevrolet Caprice Estate, 1974 Chevrolet Chevelle, 1974 Chevrolet El Camino, 1974 Chevrolet Impala, 1974 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 1974 GMC Sprint, 1974 Oldsmobile 88, 1974 Oldsmobile 98, 1974 Oldsmobile Cutlass, 1974 Pontiac Bonneville, 1974 Pontiac Catalina, 1974 Pontiac Firebird, 1974 Pontiac Grand Prix, 1974 Pontiac Grand Safari, 1974 Pontiac Grand Ville, 1974 Pontiac Le Mans
Suspension:Front:Control Arm:Upper Arm
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Recall Page - 1 page
2 September 1976NHTSA Recall 76V132000
1977 Buick Century, 1977 Buick LeSabre, 1977 Buick Regal, 1977 Buick Skylark, 1977 Chevrolet Bel Air, 1976 Chevrolet Camaro, 1977 Chevrolet Camaro, 1977 Chevrolet Caprice, 1977 Chevrolet Chevelle, 1977 Chevrolet El Camino, 1977 Chevrolet Impala, 1977 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 1977 Chevrolet Nova, 1977 GMC Sprint, 1977 Oldsmobile 88, 1977 Oldsmobile 98, 1977 Oldsmobile Cutlass, 1977 Oldsmobile Omega, 1977 Pontiac Bonneville, 1977 Pontiac Catalina, 1976 Pontiac Firebird, 1977 Pontiac Grand Prix, 1977 Pontiac Le Mans, 1977 Pontiac Ventura
Steering:Wheel And Handle Bar
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Recall Page - 1 page
classified date 1990Vehicle Accident Investigation
1990 Chevrolet Caprice
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

PDF
- 33.9MB - 142 pages
June 1991Calspan Remote Driver Air Bag Fatality Investigation
Vehicle: 1991 Chevrolet Caprice
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

PDF
- 63KB - 12 pages
classified date 1994Calspan On-Site Seat Belt Failure Investigation
Vehicle: 1991 Chevrolet Caprice (Police Fleet)
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

PDF
- 6.0MB - 88 pages
classified date 1992On-Site Air Bag Investigation
Fleet - Police Vehicle 1991 Chevrolet Caprice
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

PDF
- 28.6MB - 231 pages
classified date 1992On-Site Air Bag Investigation
Fleet - Police Vehicle 1991 Chevrolet Caprice
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

PDF
- 19.9MB - 189 pages
classified date 1993Calspan On-Site Air Bag Non-Deployment Investigation
Vehicle - Police 1991 Chevrolet Caprice
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

PDF
- 8.7MB - 86 pages
classified date 1992Calspan On-Site Non-Deployment Air Bag Investigation
1992 Chevrolet Caprice (Police Car)
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

PDF
- 39.6MB - 127 pages
classified date 1993On-Site Air Bag Investigation
Fleet - Police Vehicle 1993 Chevrolet Caprice
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

PDF
- 10.2MB - 118 pages


Article Index

DateArticleAuthor/Source
7 July 2011Deliveries of Chevrolet Caprice PPV in the US StartedMarty Vergel Baes


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