Chevrolet Caprice 1965-1990 Road Test Portfolio
In many ways, the Caprice was an unlikely model to be produced by Chevrolet, the GM division traditionally selling America's most popular low-priced car. The idea for introducing an upmarket, fully-equipped luxury version of the Impala originated in the early to mid-1960s when word came down from director level that, henceforth, all top management staff were to drive cars from the division they worked for. In other words, Chevrolet managers had to drive Chevrolets rather than the Cadillac models they had previously enjoyed.
As can be imagined, this decision was none too popular with those people working their way up the Chevy management ladder who had been anticipating the day when they too would be able to drive to the office in a brand new Cadillac.
Dismayed by the withdrawal of such a privilege, a few key individuals put their heads together and came up with a plan to create a luxury Chevrolet in order to circumvent the edict from on high: it would have extra insulation to ensure a quiet ride, be tastefully trimmed for maximum comfort and rival the Cadillac for quality. It couldn't actually be a Cadillac of course, but it could be the next best thing.
Cleverly, the justification for the new Chevy model included the facts that, by basing it on the Impala, no new engineering work was required and any increase in manufacturing costs would be kept to a minimum. It was even predicted that the new upscale version would provide additional profits for those dealers who were clever enough to persuade customers to buy a more luxurious car.
Incredibly, within a year of the order forbidding Chevrolet executives to drive Cadillacs, the Caprice had gone through the prototype stage, been approved, and was introduced as the top of the range sedan in the 1965 Chevy line-up. The next year the Caprice was announced as a separate series, offering sedan, station wagon and coupe models. From then on the Caprice was promoted as the car with the luxury of a Cadillac, but at a Chevrolet price.
Although the original reason for building the Caprice was a purely selfish one, a luxury model created by a few Chevy executives because they weren't allowed to drive a Cadillac, the concept proved to be very successful for many years.
This portfolio traces the first 25 years of Chevrolet's luxury Caprice range. Included are road & comparison tests, new model intros & performance data. Reported on is the original Impala Caprice, plus the Classic, Sports Sedan, Coupe, Convertible, Wagon, Brougham and the South African A/T. Also included are historical features covering body and mechanical changes plus engine availability.