Original poster here. While I certainly agree that the Caprice was underpowered with the 267 (?), I can report that it would cruise easily all day at about 80-85 mph. I took the car on many trips from Missouri to New York, Eastern Canada, and New England. It always performed flawlessly, though it slowed down a bit when going up a long grade.
I have a charcoal/silver 1982 Caprice 2-Dr. which just turned over 70,000 miles this summer (2007). The car has not seen a winter in 23 years. I put it away on/around Dec. 1st and take it out of storage on/around April 10th. This summer it overheated and checking under the hood found the anti-freeze bottle boiling over. My mechanic replace the entire radiator and thermostat.. parts and labor: $303.00. Was really amazed he found a brand new radiator for this 25 year old automobile. The engine (5.0 305) is and always has been "slow" mover from 0-whatever. But on the highway it runs like a deer. Smooth-fast. What I like about the '82 Caprice is the "ride". You can go over a set of railroad tracks with little sound transmitting thur out the car. My other car, a Pontiac, feels like its about to explode when you drive over a bottle cap. The car will never become a "collectors" item.. but it looks like the day it came off the line in 1982. A person commented on the finish of the car and said whoever did the paint job did a super job. I told him "it was General Motors". Couldn't believe it was the original factory paint. Wish I could post photos here.
They love this car (the '82 Caprice) because of the solid chrome bumpers, chrome trim. I can't come to a stop light in Saginaw, Michigan without a car load of young guys hanging out the window commenting "You want to sell that car? I give you $100 down and $50 week!" When I tell them.. "come up with $6K and it's yours!" Sounds like a lot, but for that amount you get a 25 year MINT old car - low millage (71-72000), new radiator, new A/C compressor, new belts, new hoses etc. and a head turner when your driving it down the street. Great looking car.
Actually these are definitely becoming collector's items as we speak. $5,000 or even $6,000 for decent ones, as the above poster suggests, is becoming quite normal.
We used to buy them for around $3,000-3,500 in the 1990s, when they were 12 or 15 years newer, with maybe 35,000 miles on the clock. Between that giveaway purchase price, their amazing reliability, and the low price of gas back then I motored for nearly for free that whole decade.
I am French (I live in France), and I owned a 1982 Caprice Classic with V6 3.8L. It was a very nice and comfortable car. I really loved this car. I transformed it into an undercover police car (with real US police lights and siren), that was very funny for my French country.
Even if the engine was very small (I prefer V8), the car was nice to drive on the French roads. It was just very hard to find interior parts to replace broken plastic parts, I had to find them from junkyards in the USA or Quebec places. Not an easy job.
Original poster here - yes I know it is hard to believe, but I'm still reading car survey dot org five years later! I also posted about the $5,000-6,000 prices for these cars - I'm not sure I was right in 2008 when I posted that, but I'm sure I'm right nowadays, after the cash-for-clunkers program decimated the ranks of the good old cars.
I now live in Thailand, and miss the big old American cars.
The Cash-for-Clunkers programme was America's biggest automotive mistake, with perfectly good, serviceable cars being destroyed needlessly. I've watched many a YouTube entry showing this, and wonder how such a great nation as the USA could have allowed this fiasco?
I'm a UK citizen, and have loved the iconic qualities of such cars, as my late Father imported GM stock from the mid 1960's through to 1986.
I felt privileged having been in Cadillacs, Oldsmobiles, Buicks, Pontiacs, and Chevrolet's. His company's biggest sellers were either Caddy's for the better off, but by far his most popular import was the Caprice! The company (Lendrum & Hartman) even did RHD conversions of the Caprice, though I always preferred them as the came out of the factory.
America should save as much of its motoring heritage as possible, because there will never be the likes of the Caprice (not the new Aussie clone) ever again!
Cash for Clunkers whipped out a lot of cars that were already pretty worn out.
The real issue that classic cars face are the ghetto-wannabe-chumps that donk them out, and general neglect/eventual scrappage after something breaks, as with all older cars.
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