1992 Chevrolet Caprice 5.0 TBI from North America
The perfect blend of everything you look for in a car
The power windows, all four of them, have fallen off their tracks.
The idler arm has been replaced twice in less than 20,000 miles.
Front end alignments are an annual necessity.
This car is a nice balance between comfort, performance, reliability, and safety.
The seats are quite comfortable for long trips with plenty of room for passengers and luggage. The rear seats aren't as roomy as one would think, but for a couple of kids or smaller adults they are just fine. A full-size spare eats up a good bit of the trunk, but since this car is a long-haul beast you can always attach a small trailer or roof carrier and never know it was there. Factor in 26MPG highway and you have a road-trip ready vehicle.
My caprice is equipped with the 5.0 litre V-8, which is adequate to allow the 4000 pound car to get out of its own way. You'll lose as many stop-light drag races as you'll win. Passing on a two-lane highway is comfortable if you floor it, and pulling a big load up a steep hill at highway speeds barely makes the engine breathe hard. Don't expect to be running road races, though, fast turns exhibit an unnerving amount of body roll and understeer. I modified mine with a pair of progressive rate springs in the rear, which were standard on the "police" version of this car. Big loads don't affect the handling in such a scary way and the car feels much more solid. When completely empty it's a little bumpier, but for less than $100 its the single best handling upgrade you can make to the standard caprice.
There is a reason that Taxi and Police drivers chose the caprice. It is a big car that is incredibly easy and cheap to fix. Not that they break down often... these cars were designed to hold up for hundreds of thousands of miles. Taxi fleets regularly keep these cars on the road for 300,000 miles in New York City... several engines and transmissions later. Most repairs are limited to normal wear items, such as brakes, steering components, and the like. Need a new transmission? $75 at the junk yard and two hours later you're back on the road.
Standard on the 1992 caprice is a Driver's airbag and ABS brakes, but the most important safety feature is this car's size. I have owned four other caprices, and have been in two serious accidents in them. I was able to drive away while the other vehicles, and their passengers, required tows and ambulances. I have also been rear-ended on our icy roads more times than I can count, and the other car always ends up with all of the damage.
If you want an economical, "classic" big rear-wheel drive car, you can't do any better.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 6th June, 2004
$75 for a transmission? Does that include installation?
For $75? Why, sure it does! I'm surprised you had to ask.
75 bucks is the "DIY" price of course... figure a shop rebuild on your tranny will run you $300-400 bucks for the transmission and maybe two hours of labor. Since this is a rear wheel drive vehicle transmission removal is very simple, even for the shadetree mechanic.