454 V8 Sleeper! 1989 Chevrolet Caprice

The Caprice emerged in 1965 as a gussied-up Impala, Chevrolet’s answer to the new Ford LTD, which was a fancy Galaxie 500. It would soon become a series of its own and U.S. production continued as a rear-wheel-drive car through 1996. This 1989 station wagon looks rather tame at first and likely had a small-block V8 under the hood when it was new. But there’s a 454 V8 there now, an engine not available in the Caprice since the 1970s. Though it runs great, it won’t win any awards for its paint job. Located in Louisville, Kentucky, this sleeper is available here on craigslist for $5,500. Thanks to Pat L. for the tip on this muscle wagon!

Starting out as a 4-door hardtop, the Caprice lineup would soon include coupes and station wagons. For the period between 1971 and 1976, the Caprice (and the rest of the full-size cars) would be the largest Chevrolets ever built. They were downsized in 1977 to become easier on fuel consumption and even won the Motor Trend Car of the Year award in 1991. After a 15-year absence, the nameplate returned on an RWD police vehicle that was built in Australia by Holden, a GM subsidiary. Because of their official purpose, those last Caprices would haul butt but would disappear for good after 2017.

Perhaps inspired by the cop Caprices of the prior decade, someone decided to turn this 1989 grocery getter into a street machine, dropping in the 454 V8 with a corresponding 3-speed automatic transmission, posi-traction rear end, and dual exhaust. The seller has treated this speed racer to a tune-up and new fluids and says it drives great at 127,000 miles, although we don’t know how fresh the motor is.

As it sits, this Chevy would be a nice addition to Saturday’s Cars & Coffee because people will be more impressed by its horsepower than the fact the body has small dents and dings, and the black paint is ready for a redo. Maybe all it needs is a recharge of the air conditioning and to have the roof rack and wheel well trim reinstalled, which will come with the car. Chevy built 23,789 Caprices wagons in 1989, but none quite like this one.


  1. Bob C.

    A lot of the Caprice wagons during these years were fitted with the Olds 307. Very likely how it began life.

    Like 2
  2. Kenneth Carney

    Just what I’ve always wanted! I’ve
    always fantasized about building one
    of these and here it is! In the mid ’90s
    when these were still plentiful, I had
    visions of building a wagon like this for hauling newspapers. Even had the
    car to do it til one of my SILs and I had a falling out. After a huge family
    fight, she refused to sell it to me. The
    only things I’d do would be to swap out the stock suspension for a 9C1
    setup with coil over rear shocks, an
    HD radiator, dual exhausts, and a high
    output electrical system. With new
    pickup trucks headed north of $100K
    here in Florida, this would be a great
    alternative that could do almost
    anything a truck can do and for a lot
    less money.

    Like 7
    • Sam

      Every Wagon I’ve Owned (9) Have All Had Everything Heavy Duty Already Because Of The EXTRA WEIGHT,

  3. Howie

    Nice, the interior looks clean for that many miles.

    Like 3
  4. princeofprussia

    These were such nice riding cars. Too bad the small block is gone.

    Like 1
  5. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    No engine specs in the ad.
    Could be a nice go-fast engine, or a gas hog like many of the long roof big blocks built in the decade before this one came to life.

  6. Miguel - Mexican Spec

    Don’t most places still smog 1989 models?

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