Spare Frame Included: 1966 Chevrolet Caprice 396

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This Chevrolet Caprice Hardtop is now 53-years-old, and it has spent its entire life in the hands of one family. The time has come for the car to move on, and I have to thank Barn Finder Pat L for spotting this classic for us. It does have a couple of problems, but these are by no means insurmountable. It is located in Blaine, Minnesota, and is listed for sale here on Craigslist. If you would like to give the Caprice a new home, it is simply a matter of handing over $8,900, and it’s all yours.

So, the first question that you’re undoubtedly going to ask is why there is a photo of a rolling chassis included with this car. That is because it offers a potential solution to the single confirmed rust issue with the car. It has rust in the rear frame. The choice is really to have it repaired or to slot a new frame under the car. Sounds radical, but at least the option is there. Otherwise, the Artesian Turquoise paint looks to be in very nice condition, as does the chrome and trim. However, there is some noticeable bubbling under the black vinyl top. This might be nothing sinister, but it is hard to be sure.

The black interior of the Caprice looks like it has been fairly well cared for during the car’s life. There are no signs of any rips or tears, and apart from an aftermarket radio/cassette player, it does appear to be original. There is some wiring hanging down under the dash, and I would be inclined to tidy this fairly quickly, as it really distracts from what is a handsome interior.

Powering the Caprice is a 396ci engine, which is backed by the 3-speed Hydramatic transmission. One slightly unusual aspect of this car is that while it features power brakes, it isn’t fitted with power steering. The owner says that the car runs and drives really nicely. One of the really jaw-dropping things for me is the fact that the car starts right up with a battery that is now 30-years-old. That’s what I call getting your money’s worth out of an item.

This Caprice has so much to commend it, and if it wasn’t for the frame issue, this would be an absolute no-brainer for me. However, couple the frame issue with whatever is happening under the vinyl top, and a level of doubt starts to creep into my mind. Swapping the frame over is a potentially pretty big job, but you would need to be confident to get someone to repair the existing one. Which way would you go?

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  1. Gaspumpchas

    Its no walk in the park to replace this frame, but if you prepped the frame, rebushed the front and rear ends, and blasted a nice coat of black on it, you would really do it justice- while the body is off, pull the eng and tranny and do some maintenance if needed and paint. This would really make the car stand out- being a big block is very cool- but- for the ask of 8900 needing all work- you will be in it for 10 grand if you do the work, easily- mucho more if you farm it out.
    here in the rust belt that frame is unobtainium. iron worms got em at a young age.
    Good luck to anyone who takes this on- yep a lot of work but that is one great car!

    Like 10
  2. Will Fox

    I’d get an expert’s opinion on the frame issue before I had someone swapping sections out of it. It’s quite possible steel could be welded in place on the original frame.
    Other than that, it’s a nice `66!

    Like 4
  3. Ken

    I’d get that battery out of there ASAP. Old batteries tend to explode when they’ve sat for a long time, and they make a helluva mess when they do.

    Like 9
  4. CCFisher

    $8900 seems like a lot of money for a relatively ordinary Caprice with frame rust, replacement frame notwithstanding.

    Like 5
  5. George mattar

    Barrett Jackson syndrome. No way is this car worth that. I guarantee you if the frame is rusted, the floors and quarters are full of mud. In 1991, I inherited my grandmother’s 65 Impala 4 door hardtop. Frame perfect. floors rotted. That was nearly 30 years ago.

    Like 7
  6. Ken Neal-Rosario

    Looks like a boxed convertible frame. Good choice for a swap. But I suspect whoever went under that vinyl top around the back window saw enough to abandon the project. There’s one sitting near my house that has almost no metal left under there.

    Like 2
  7. Del

    Scary. Count Dracula.

    No way Jose

    Like 2
  8. Steve

    I cant see how the frame would need to be replaced but nit the quarters or floor…hmmm…

    Like 3
    • Jack M.

      I once bought a 1974 Cadillac Fleetwood from a fellow that lived in a high rise condominium. The car was approximately 25 years old when I got it. The leather interior was mint. The body and paint were mint. The car was stored every winter. The frame has serious holes in it and I could not get the car certified and plated because of this. Turns out that the snow dripping off the neighbors cars due to the heated garage accelerated the rusting of the frame rails.

      Like 4
      • r s

        More likely, the Caddy had road salt and chemicals under it and in a warm environment of a heated garage, accelerated the chemical action and rusted the thing.

        Like 0
  9. pugsy

    I don’t know. Everything looks so good, just doesn’t “seem” like a rust bucket.

    Like 0
  10. sourpwr

    I’m not the sharpest crayon in the shed but rust in the top and rust in the bottom (frame) but no rust in the middle? Hmmm

    Like 1
  11. Del

    600 dollar parts car. Including the extra frame.

    Like 1
  12. TimM

    Great old sleeper!! Would love to put a few go fast goodies on this one and sit at the stop light with some teenager with his Honda and the borla exhaust!!! Then blow his doors off with my big boat car!!!

    Like 2
  13. 68custom

    love the interior on 66 caprices, love em even more when loaded with tilt/tele, PW/PL. gauge package etc but the color and big block make for a nice cruiser but for the rust.

    Like 0

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