1983 Chevrolet Caprice Reviews - Page 2 of 3

1983 Chevrolet Caprice Classic CL 305CID 4BBL from North America

Model year1983
Year of manufacture1983
First year of ownership2000
Most recent year of ownership2004
Engine and transmission 305CID 4BBL Automatic
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 10 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 8 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
9.0 / 10
Distance when acquired92000 miles
Most recent distance135000 miles
Previous carChevrolet C20

Summary:

Reliable

Faults:

Minor things, this car IS 20+ years old.

I've replaced the starter, alternator, AIR pump, misc hoses and lines, brake pads and a few emissions components.

The power window motor in the driver's door was replaced once, along with the switch.

The clock was iffy, but fixed easily with some grease.

General Comments:

This car is solid. Lexus has nothing on this one, I can't even hear or feel the engine. Everything on this car is smooth. It starts every time- -50 in Alaska or 120 in California. It dosen't drink too much fuel for the size of car it is, and runs on regular unleaded just fine.

The engine runs very well, no oil leaks or burning and the Overdrive automatic really helps on the freeway with economy. The door seals are old and cracked, but wind noise is minimal. The fit/finish may not be Mercedes perfect, but I'd take the Caprice over the Benzo any day. Cheap to fix, cheap to drive. GM needs to get straight and build a car like this again. RWD, V8 power, and lots of tasteful chrome. 4200LBS and it still moves, no hot rod, but it's not underpowered. For the $1500.00 I spent, it's a deal. All the power gadgets and rock solid engineering built to last. Why do Police departments and Taxi companies use Caprices? The same reason I do.

No DOHC/VTEC/EFI/rubber timing belt/expensive to fix "technology", just solid metal- Pushrods and all. It's old tech, but much more reliable and built to last.

This car is safe too.

I have no fear of getting hurt in this car. Air bags are dangerous and injure people. There is no replacement for a large, well built, substantial car. Period. No crumple zones or side impact restraints. Just seatbelts and steel. (well, good driving habits help here too) The blind spot is small, and the pillar design make it easy to see out of.

I take care of it and do all the maintenance myself. I recommend the Caprice, of any year, to someone looking for a nice reliable car.

Find one that was taken care of, and say no to V6 models- they have too little power for this size of car.

The prize is the CL like mine (83-84)or LS/Brougham. (later years, 85-90) These models usually have all of the accesories and VERY nice seats.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 26th October, 2004

26th Oct 2004, 12:51

I agree, these are excellent cars. I have an '87 landau coupe and I have no plans on selling it soon. Nice clean body styling, great engineering, it's just a great car.

27th Oct 2004, 09:43

I agree that 1980's Caprices are great cars. I had an '82, an '84, and an '89. However, I will say that the '84 handled horribly, the '89 mediocrely, and the '82 quite well. I have no idea why the '82 was so good - is there some reason some Caprices were hopeless boats and others weren't? They all had soft rides.

28th Oct 2004, 09:13

Re the above comment, unless the '82 was a police car version, it would have had basically the same suspension as the '84 and the '89.

The only variables would be suspension wear and tires.

Ever think about that?

14th Aug 2005, 13:21

I agree that this is a very good car. I lucked into mine for free. It is getting a little hard to find parts in my area, but I rarely need any. However overall still a great car I feel very safe in it, I call it my tank. Has anyone had trouble with the speedometer/cruise control gear box locking up? Email me at mambtrfly_01@yahoo.com if you can help with this problem as of now that and the AC not working are my biggest challenges which for a car this old is great.

15th Jun 2007, 23:56

I'm glad you are happy with your Caprice. My dad purchased a 1983 Caprice brand new. It had the notorious Oldsmobile diesel V8. My dad's Caprice was a lemon from day one. That junk-heap of a diesel engine wasn't worth the money a scrap dealer would have paid for it.

27th Nov 2009, 09:56

I think if you checked into it, somewhere down the line the 82 had the springs replaced with cargo's. These are essentially the same as the 9C1 package, and would have made the car sit oddly higher if you can remember.

21st Dec 2010, 22:09

Some Caprices had the optional handling package. An easy way to tell is look for the anti-sway bars attached below the rear axle. These cars handled much better than a standard Caprice.

1983 Chevrolet Caprice Classic 305 V8 from North America

Year of manufacture1983
First year of ownership1983
Most recent year of ownership1995
Engine and transmission 305 V8 Automatic
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 10 / 10
Dealer Service marks 6 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 10 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.8 / 10
Distance when acquired0 miles
Most recent distance138000 miles
Previous carChevrolet Caprice

Summary:

A boat on four wheels that keeps going and going

Faults:

Many problems with the pulse wipers on all the Caprices I have owned since.

Muffler and tailpipe replaced twice.

Leaky rear wheel cylinder.

Replaced heater core once and radiator once.

Transmission replaced once.

This car had a constant slight wheel vibration that we couldn't track down.

Replaced the starter once and the alternator three times.

We must have had at least four windshields! (two in ONE WEEK!!)

One tie rod end wore out.

Replaced broken front sway bar, bushings, and rusted brackets.

General Comments:

All said, a very reliable and solid car, even considering the routine maintenance items like alternator, starter, fuel pump etc.

Never had to do any engine work on it, but towards the end it did smoke a little on first startup.

Interior very roomy and comfortable in front, but legroom in back was a bit cramped. Lots of static electricity from cloth seats when exiting the drivers side.

It seemed like I was forever repairing those pulse wipers!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 8th September, 2003

Average review marks: 8.8 / 10, based on 6 reviews