215 Miles From New: 1993 Chevy Caprice

It’s amazing how many car purchases are negated by spousal disapproval. Supposedly, this Caprice was deemed too big by the original owner’s wife and it sat – for years – with just 215 miles on the clock. Now, the seller has snatched it up from an estate sale and is selling it as an “as-new” example for $19,500 here on craigslist near Winston-Salem. Would you buy this or a new Impala? 

So many Caprices from this generation have ended up donked-out or simply trashed after years of reliable duty as a family hauler. The seller’s asking price is high, but it will help to ensure it doesn’t end up in the hands of someone just looking to put a set of 22 inch chrome wheels on it. In a way, this plain passenger sedan is even more enticing than the hot-rod SS, simply because it’s not as hard to find an SS in excellent condition. Cars like this one don’t exist.

The original owner didn’t splurge when they bought the Caprice, sticking with conservative cloth seating material instead of high-grade leather. The interior plastics show as-new, and the wood trim isn’t cloudy and dingy like so many other cars from this era. The full-power cockpit is a comfortable place to load on the highway miles, but would you actually do that to this car? Will it get driven? As the last generation of a Caprice worth remembering (the new Holden derivative doesn’t count, in my book), this is certainly a car worth preserving.

If it were me, however, I wouldn’t be afraid to add on some miles. I would treat it like a new car purchase, as the seller is clearly hoping potential buyers will look at it as. Though the price is certainly too high for the next guy to make any money on it, it may net a later owner a return on his investment within ten to twenty years. Right now, the mileage is so low that you could actually use it regularly and still keep the odometer below 5,000 miles – would you use it or put it into a bubble in the garage?

Fast Finds

Comments

  1. Steve R

    There is a good chance it winds up with an owner that want to win trophys in the “original/unrestored” class.

    Steve R

    • King Al

      Too much money for a car with a cheap looking grey plastic Chevy interior of that era. Donk it. Put hydraulics on it and drop the bomb.

      • King Al

        Wheels are paint done.

      • Tim

        No. No. No.

      • King Al

        Looks much better now

        Like 1
      • Howard A Member

        Hello your highness ( King Al), you know, I lived in Milwaukee, which has a large percentage of black folks, and these types of cars with the big wheels are very common. Once, at a gas station, a bro pulls in with a ’67 Buick “deuce and a quarter” with these big wheels. At 1st, I chuckled to myself ( I was outnumbered 10 to one) and the car really was sharp, even though, I didn’t care for the wheels. But this was this guys pride and joy, and I said to him, “nice car, man”. He said “thanks”.

      • King Al

        Donk it!!!

        Like 1
      • King Al

        Howard, the donk is in the house. Yaasaaassssss!!!

        Like 1
  2. Pat A

    My uncle drove these and Crown Vic’s as a cop back in the 90’s. He said the Crown Vic’s looked nicer inside, but the Fords would start to rattle and squeak fairly quickly, and the Chevys seemed to hold together better, and were more comfortable when wearing all the cop gear.

    • Luke

      Tell you anything about Fords, they have been that way since I can remember, Started working as a Mechanic after the Service(1967) GM always outlasted the Ford and Chrysler products with body and suspension. You have to work on them to find our the truth.

    • Terry C.

      As to wearing all the cop gear, here’s an ex R.C.M.P. cruiser re-painted for film, operational and period dressed for ya. Ahh, the things we end up with in our driveway with no one around to be the voice of reason… A neighbor asked me why I have a police car and all I could say in answer was, “because I don’t have acerage, if I did I’d have a fire truck”.

    • Jeffro

      I thought that to, of course, I was sitting in back seat.

  3. txchief

    Why buy it? I don’t foresee there ever being a collector market for the “cockroach” style Caprice. At $19.5K there would never be enough appreciation to make it worth the investment. Putting your cash in a sub 1% savings account at your bank would bring a better yield on your dough.

    • Dave Wright

      Have you seen the otherwise ordinary cars here that bring good money simply on condition? These are great cars and the last of there type. One of the best cars I ever owned was a Roadmaster Wagon built on this chassis.

      • Richard Holmes

        Great wagon–if this were the wagon it would be well worth it.

      • BMW4RunninTundra

        I have a 91 Caprice Classic Wagon!!!! Absolutely love it. Has the smaller V8 but that gives you a bit better gas mileage without a noticeable power loss. Thing is not a screamer by any means!! Wasn’t built to be one! What it is though, is dependable, comfortable, and will haul almost anything a truck will, only under cover!!! We use ours as “weekend car” at a second home we are at on weekends. As for this one, it makes mine positively exciting as far as looks go! But, it’s the same vehicle I have, so all of the above follows course, minus of the “truck” comparison! I would go ape if I offered a 3rd of what they are asking!!! Mine only has 80K on it.

  4. RoselandPete

    I’d buy this one instead of a new one but not at this price.

  5. F.A.G.

    Museum

  6. Adam T45 Staff

    Jeff, as an Aussie I am interested in your opinion on the Holden derivative of the Caprice. I am a Ford man, so hold no allegiance to Holden. I am just interested in knowing whether the Holden is an inferior product. I’m also not sure if you are aware, but as of the 6th October this year the Holden product will also cease to exist when Holden permanently closes its Australian new car manufacturing plant.

  7. Duane Boda

    Comparing a Caprice to a Crown Vic – Police Interceptor Version.

    Both were very solid – old folks cars with a floaty boaty ride – real nice.

    My Aunt had both the sedan and station wagon and spent a fair amount

    of time in the dealership’s garage for numerous repairs over the years.

    I had a 99 Crown Vic – old Police car and it was never in need of repair.

    The Dodge Chargers often used as a replacement are good with the exception

    of too much power for the Northern Winters as their often getting pulling out of

    ditches – zoom and boom….off the road you are.

  8. Rob

    I agree with the contributor who said that Chevy dashboards went through a cheesy period. For decades, GM avoided putting much more than a speedometer and a fuel gauge in anything other than their muscle cars, and even then, some of those dash panels looked as though they would have been right at home in a child’s driving simulator. Idiot lights provided a way for MANY automakers to avoid disclosing just what was going on . . . (Chevrolet Citation, line 1 please, Chevrolet Citation, line 1). Now, in full disclosure, I have a GMC Sierra with over 200,000 miles on it, with a dashboard chock full of gauges (instrument panel was rebuilt two years ago), and I’ve never been happier with a vehicle. I wish I could say the same thing about my earlier GM vehicles.

  9. S Ryan

    What did he store in the front seat? Sandbags?

    • King Al

      Perhaps the owners derrieres were quite large and heavy. Looked like Chris Farley and Oprah mashed those poor seats.

  10. Lumpy

    I have owned 4 of these over the years – none of them ex-police. Always the most comfortable and dependable highway vehicles I’ve ever had. Generally put 3-400,000 km on them through Canadian winters. Never had any real issues….brakes and tires were all they seemed to need to keep going, and going, and going….

  11. DrewP

    Judging by the rear side window, is this not earlier, say 91/92?
    Not that it really matters.
    Having worked on many, many a police car back then, these were built tough and fast, but a Vic was a smoother ride.

    • Steve

      The rear quarter window were this style to 1995. My oldest brother had a white 94 9c1. Painted it dark blue himself. Originally with the 4.3l “baby” LT1. He put nearly 200k on it then found a real LT1 out of a z28, rebuilt it with a balanced rotating assembly and LT4 cam. Rebuilt the 4L60E. Rebuilt the front suspension. A few months later a guy in a jeep on his cell phone pulled out in front of him and totalled it. Of course their insurance wanted to pay him for a worn out cop car. After a little fighting i think he got $6k and bought it back for $750-$1k. Pulled the drivetrain and found a clean gold 95 LTZ with a blown motor (owners grandson “hit something” in the road and didnt notice the engine overheating. (?) for $300. Back on the road today!

      • King Al

        Great story Steve.

      • Brick B-Body

        Couple of issues:

        1.) The pointed quarter glass was on all 1991 to 1994 Caprice sedans.

        2.) In a B-Body application, the LT4 parts will typically make the car slower on the street than an otherwise stock B-Body LT1. The LT4 power gains are higher in the RPM than is useful on a 4,200lbs automatic transmission B-Body.

        3.) No such thing as a 1995 LTZ. The LTZ trim level was discontinued at the end of the 1993 model year.

  12. Oil Slick

    Demo derby car. If you are a grampa and want everybody to know u r then this is your car

  13. Howard A Member

    Well, there’s certainly no question about the mileage, it simply was bought, driven the 250 miles home, and it sat. Again, I’d like to ask, has anyone here ever bought a car like this with ultra low miles? I’d have to think there would be many issues, brakes, fuel system, etc. It is NOT a new car.

    • cyclemikey

      Not as many as you might think, Howard. It all depends on where and how it was stored, of course, but from the looks of this, you might be surprised at how little it takes to get it roadworthy.

      Very-low-mileage vintage machines are kind of my “thing”, and in general, you’ll find that you can look at what’s visible and get a reasonably good idea of what it looks like on the inside. If it’s been in high humidity or outside in widely varying temps, it will have problems inside and out.

  14. Mlaw

    Why just $19500,why not $30,000 or $50,000,rediculous.Dream on. For a many door lol

  15. CMARV

    I have bought and sold hundreds of police vehicles , (9c1Caprice’s 78-2015 9c1 Nova’s and Malibu’s,P71Fords ,B4c Camaros, SSV Mustangs , Charger interceptors ,Dodge Diplomat’s and Volare’s ,a couple 77 Leman’s and a 67 Olds Delmont 88 , the first ) The Chevrolet’s were and are the best as far as durabilty and handling . This is not a police unit , but it would be great transportation for someone who wanted a nice full frame family car . JMO .

    • Doug

      As far as cop cars are concerned, the best of their time were the mid-late 60’s Dodges as used by the Calif Highway Patrol. With a single 4 barrel, they could run down just about anything less than a Ferrari or Lamborghini – including the 440 sixpacks and Hemi roadrunners – and then last another 75,000 miles after being sold at auction. The CHP tried Mercurys and Oldsmobiles, but they broke-
      the Merc engines and Olds trannies couldn’t take the punishment like the Dodges.

      • Luke

        The township in New jersey during the sixties used Chevrolets Impala bodies with 427 engine and 400 transmission (65-70) and it was almost impossible to get away from them. I bought two after they were put out to pasture (around 175,000 and they performed like a new car because they were properly maintained by the Township maintenance. Got them for $700.00 ea. in 1971. a 1966 and a 1969 . I put new brakes (Disc all around) and totally rebuilt the steering system to high performance parts and drove them for about five years with no problem.

  16. Christopher Silva

    Bottom line $19 k! With 215 miles so? But is too much money no matter what crown vic ride good til a drunk driver t-bone me totally my ford but i 1972 – 1974 caprice classic great cars but not for this price n i saw the of those chevy with big wheels in my opinion dont look good even 1973 caprice classic with 22s or 24s just makes the car ugly! I stick with my opinions!

    • Luke

      Agree Chris, a set of 15 or 16 in the SS Chevy wheels would look great but still too much money for this car.

  17. mike D

    you gotta believe the seller paid no where NEAR 19K for it, the estate no doubt wanted it out of their hair , probably sold it for less than $5K

  18. Michigan Doug

    Still a better deal than the Cobra R.

  19. Luke

    True..

  20. Gemsetter

    @Howard A, I am currently driving a 1997 Cadillac DeVille that I purchased in early 2016. It came out of a 93 year old lady’s estate and was mint! Garage kept with excellent records, it had 39,000 miles when I got it “new”. All my mechanic did was a tune-up, and I’ve had no trouble out of it, outside of a stuck valve in the a/c system this spring. We drove it to the beach last month, 8 hours away. It now has 55,000 miles and runs great. I think the biggest challenge is finding an older car in great condition that is affordable. I wouldn’t want to pay more than insurance value myself.

    • King Al

      Gemsetter, I think your advice re: buying a low mileage older vehicle is spot on (a hip saying over the last 10 yrs). Best not to pay more than what an insurance company would if totaled. OK, if the vehicle is exceptional and has been stored and maintained superbly, pay a bit more. But remember, its still an old car. Not worth much anymore.

  21. Doug

    The first thing that came to mind when Chevy touted the “bold new look” was
    that somebody took a Crown Vic and grafted a Kaiser Manhattan roof on it……
    The Impala C pillar fixed that – then came the Aztek ! Guess they wanted everybody to forget the Edsel……..

  22. Concinnity

    The later Aussie Caprices drive waaaaaay better than these crude live axle barges.

  23. KEN TILLY Member

    Hi Jeff. Your very first line is very, very true. As a long time classic car dealer in Durban, South Africa, every time a car was “sold” to a prospective buyer subject to the approval of his wife, I knew that it was a “no sale”. She either didn’t like the colour, shape, size, year, make etc. Didn’t matter that the husband was the size of a brick S***house and played rugby for the Springboks or not, she always had the final say.

  24. Joe M

    Really nice car, but not interested in a 1993 anything for 20k.

  25. Reg Bruce

    I have this exact car (color and everything) as my D D.
    The 305 TBI wouldn’t pull the skin off a rice pudding but starts every time in near-zero degree weather, is reasonably economical around town, and especially on the highway when the TCC and OD trans. kicks in.

    The plastic bumper covers (especially in this color) are subject to fading from UV exposure and make my car look as though it’s been repainted — it hasn’t. However, new and used parts are easy to find and reasonably priced still.
    Even with the low mileage this car probably needs new front and (especially) rear shocks — if not new front springs as well.
    If there’s been ethanol-diluted fuel sitting in that tank for a number of years, it’ll probably need a new fuel pump before too long.

    Oh, and it’s probably $8 to 10K overpriced! These are not rare cars and I’ve looked at many with low mileages on them — albeit not this low.
    Perhaps the earlier comment about these being a “grandfather’s car” explains the low mileage on some of them.

    @ Ken Tilly — I saw the Springboks play in NZ and again in Oz way back in the ’70s, and you are right, most of them were about the size of a Brick Outhouse!

    RB

  26. Richard Holmes

    I do have something similar with fairly low miles. Don’t think I could get $19k for it.

  27. CJ

    $19.5K!!! Way too much. Preserve it! WTH???! Put some nice wheels on it and drive the land cruiser! Nice car, but way too much asking price…….

  28. Utes

    Ya’ just gotta’ luv’ the big boats…here’s my COPO 9C1 that NO officer ever drove:

  29. jaymes

    too many doors(

  30. BRAKTRCR

    I always thought they looked like a modern Nash. 20k for a new ho hum car? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
    Richard Holmes, yours is a nice looking car.

    • Richard Holmes

      Thanks, BRAKTRCR, the choice was between that and a boat-tailed Riv–Wifey won.

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