Initially offered as an optional trim package for the 1965 Chevrolet Impala, the Caprice became a generation of its own, balancing its luxury features with extensive power options. This classic full-sized luxury vehicle offered in sub-luxury price is dubbed as the most iconic among vintage American autos. Today, despite it being discontinued in 1996 in the US market, the Chevrolet Caprice still dominates the sedan market in an era ruled by sleek Japanese and European models.
1966-1970: Caprice’s early boom
Even in its earliest introduction as a new generation of the Chevrolet make, the Caprice immediately left a distinct mark in the automobile market. In fact, it was arguably considered the most popular car in the 60s and early 70s. Some may even consider the Chevy Caprice to be the most popular car during its 30-year lifespan. Aside from its popularity, it also highlighted unique round taillights which deviated from the distinct rectangular Chevy lights. Its luxury features also came with a powerful V8 turbo jet engine coupled with a four-speed manual transmission, which produced 425 horsepower. For a more luxury-oriented Caprice, an optional V8 in 6.5 liter engine was made available to the owner.
1971-1976: Popularity despite the oil crisis
With an increasing fame and popularity, the Caprice continued to sweep the auto scene with its second generation models. However, the oil crisis in the 70s lead to a change of taste for the consumers. To address fuel economy, GM reduced the Chevy’s size and toned down its V8 engine, which now produced 255 horsepower. Despite the reduced size, more space was given for the head, leg, and luggage. Additionally, the second batch sported a longer wheel base and an egg-crate grill for a different look.
1977-1990: Fame with fleet buyers
Surviving the 70s’ oil crisis, the Chevrolet Caprice revived its larger look with a
boxed Caprice Classic. Not only that, this model also won the Motortrend Car of the Year, which they also earned in 1991. As a result, the Chevrolet revived the Impala in 1994-1996. The third generation was also considered the most preferred fleet vehicle in the US for the police, taxi industry, and government.
1991-1996: End of an icon
Despite earning the title as the leading fleet vehicle in the previous generation, GM continued to experiment on the Chevy Caprice. Its full-size spacing now came in its rounder body design. Additionally, this luxury sedan was still the cheapest luxury vehicle around, with prices lower than Cadillac and Lincoln models. And also, this batch was among the last to exhibit the body-on-frame. By 1996, the Chevy Caprice’s production was discontinued. However, it was still produced in the Middle East, South Africa, and Australia.