Barn Find: 1969 Chevrolet Caprice 427

Todd FitchBy Todd Fitch

For some magical reason, hidden headlights make any car look cool. Put hidden headlights on a Yugo and people will say “Wow; I never realized how cool those Yugos are.” Anyone whose eyes don’t pounce on this car immediately for the grille will get sucked in by the “427” badges. This 1969 Chevrolet Caprice in Port Charlotte, Florida awaits a new owner here on eBay where 15 bids have driven the offers to $2,425 against a $7,500 “Buy It Now” price.

The rust-through on the trunk lip and sizable dent in the left rear quarter panel signal labor-intensive repairs, but the seller claims the frame, trunk, and floor pans are solid. The Caprice was the top trim level on this full-size ’69 Chevy. Additional trim, clear front turn-signals, and double chrome rings on the tail lights (among other items) distinguish it from the Impala (some details from 1969Chevy.com). Hidden headlights were an option on Caprice only. Normally I prefer the sportier fastbacks but, to my eye, the sedan roof line looks more balanced on these cars and, in hot climates, the sedan’s smaller greenhouse equals less baking of the interior when parked.

The interior seems to have survived well aside from aftermarket speaker holes in the kick panels, cracks in the steering wheel rim, and plastic faded from the Florida sun. Both power windows work and the air conditioning compressor turns, but blows warm air. This car’s four-wheel drum brakes were locked up and the seller removed the self-adjusters to let it roll. Since it has no brakes it’s listed as a parts car, but a clear title comes with the sale.

Though looking rather neglected, the engine (according to the seller) “runs great. oil pressure never goes below 40PSI.” Assuming this car retains its original air cleaner housing, the long air horn pins this mill as the least potent of three 427 engine options, the 335 HP (gross) LS1 (some details courtesy of ImpalaSS427.com) This would have been one classy upscale ride in its day. Restored in immaculate triple-black, with the hidden headlights and the 427 badges, this big Chevy will draw a crowd at any car show. Where do you think bidding will end on this black beauty?

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Comments

  1. flmikey

    A very worthwhile project, but I don’t get why it is so rusty…I live 50 miles north of Port Charlotte and have never seen so much rust…unless they live on the Gulf, that is…

    4+
  2. nessy

    I can not find anything that I dislike about this rare bird except when the seller/flipper claims he will part out the car if it does not bring enough money. That is a turn off. Nobody would part out this car. Does it always have to be about that extra dollar in your pocket? You will get less if you part it and wait around to sell the parts. Not everyone is looking for parts on this car. So you would chop up a car this rare? You are not chopping it up and you it. Dopey.

    41+
    • gregg Member

      Exactly what I’m thinking. Well said!

      10+
    • Tony S

      Yeah there should be laws regarding what people do with their personal property.

      5+
      • gregg Member

        Absolutely, and those of us that know everything should be handing out the fines!

        5+
      • james burton

        cash for clunkers was a law passed and that is what happened to most of these rare cars. remember. I had a 86 chrysler turbo laser. woke up one morn. and they were all gone. no more used parts.

        2+
  3. 68 custom

    note the speakers in the kick panels are factory. what was once a sweet 69 Caprice with a few rare options like the hidden headlights and comfortron A/C. however, time spent in a field in Florida really beats these old cars up so unless you have deep pockets this one may indeed be a parts car. hard to believe the original owner did not spec this one with disc brakes, these cars need them.

    7+
    • Rocco Member

      I can’t believe GM built it without front disc brakes. By ’69, everything had front disc brakes, unless it was COPO hot rod drag car for less weight.

      0
      • Loco Mikado

        By ’69 front disks were still a rarity. My ’70 Sport Fury still had front drums and did up until to the time I sold it 6 years ago. I don’t know where you get you get your information from, but it was only in the mid 70’s that disk brakes started to became common. I know because I was there.

        3+
      • Rocco

        @ Loco,
        I guess I’m used to seeing High Performance Fords in the late 60’s. I knew Mopar cars still used drums a lot, I just thought I remembered my buddies GM cars having disc. I lived it also, didn’t mean to offend.

        0
      • russell spreeman

        I had a 1969 Chevy Kingswood wagon with the 300hp 350, air conditioning, and non power drum brakes. Those were the most miserable brakes I had on any car, ever. I could not figure out why they would put such brakes on a big wagon which wasn’t even bottom of the line. (I got the car in a trade with my dad, not my choice to buy it with those rotten brakes.) When I traded it in for a 71 Sport Fury GT (yes GT) with power disks I thought I was in heaven.

        BTW, there was no fastback roof on the 69. I think 68 was the last year for that.

        0
      • russell spreeman

        Looking at the 1971 full size Chevy brochures, standard equipment… power front disk brakes, all models.

        0
      • MathieuB

        russell spreeman,
        It may not be called Fastback but a Sport Coupe was available in 1969 and 1970, I know, I own one 1970.

        0
  4. AMCFAN

    Flipper rules. Yes it is always about the money. At least let me get my investment back. I didn’t steal it and had to pay real money to pry it from the previous owner.

    I will part it out if it doesn’t sell is another way I will make you feel guilty about wanting to save this rusty mess. I mean it is an Impala with a big block. Nothing else and needs everything. No way am I dumb enough to really part it out or have the time (which could take months pulling pitted and rusted parts) that I will advertise as original that you could buy out of a 800 build a car catalog for a lot less. I don’t want the hulk sitting in front of my nice house for the wife and city to complain to me about.

    That is how I read into it. Too funny.

    9+
  5. Gunner

    Man does this car bring back memories. In the Summer of 86, I looked at a 69 427 Caprice in Corvallis, Oregon on a car lot. It was dark green with a black vinyl top, and black interior with automatic console shift. I still vividly remember seeing it out front on the corner, shining in the sunlight. It was bone stock mint. It did not have the hidden headlights, but that did not matter to me. I was completely taken by it. The salesman wanted 2500, and in those days, that was a lot of money to me. I was soon to be a father for the first time, and was not quite ready to trade in my 69 GS400 yet. My wife and friends thought I was crazy for wanting that huge sled, but I did not care. To this day, the 69 Impala and Caprice 427’s bring back that summer day, and wonder how things would have been different should a young punk as I would have been carrying Chevrolet keys in his pocket instead of Buick. 😉

    11+
  6. Terry J

    Starting in ’67 the big Chevy’s were on the way to becoming bloated looking examples of what had been beautiful cars. By ’69 they were there. Had a pal circa 1969 that had a 1966 Caprice, 396/4 speed car. White on blue. What a sweetheart it was. He thought it was a nice car, but didn’t (still doesn’t) really know what he had. 🙂 Terry J

    2+
  7. PAPERBKWRITER

    I bought a new ’69 Impala with a 3 speed manual 327 cu. Nothing like this car of course, but I took it to the hot rod shop when it had about 500 miles on it. For a 3900# car it ran pretty good. I loved that car…I’ve owed several fast cars but never loved any of them like the ’69…I hope someone saves this piece of history.

    4+
  8. AMXSTEVE

    My Dad had a 70 and i have a buddy with a 70 impala with a blower on it. Hard to find parts for these he says.

    2+
  9. Miguel

    This is another example of somebody abusing a car and then wanting the buyer to pay a premium for that abuse.

    If the trunk is rusted through, you can bet the floor if not the chassis is also as bad.

    1+
  10. Mattyou63

    Old car prices are going up faster than home prices…i drive a 90 suburban 4×4 and live in an apartment..happy to just look and appreciate the memories of the 60’s & 70’s.Memories are free

    5+
  11. Mattyou63

    Had a 68 camaro and 70 chevelle in 1985 got 7 tickets & about 50 warnings in one summer.police in those days in my little town were Generally very tolerant..

    3+
    • Miguel

      As a teenager I purposely drove big Cadillacs or the like and never worried about the cops.

      They were always looking for Camaros and Chevelles.

      7+
  12. Rustytech

    Maybe if he priced it fairly he wouldn’t have to worry about parting it out. I think this car would sell easily for $4500 to $5000. But even then restoring would be a labor of love because the buyer IS going to be upside down before the restoration is done.

    1+
  13. Mike

    I am a chevelle guy but I love this car. I even have running 66 vette 427 that would just drop right in. Too bad so far

    0
  14. Keith

    This car has been under water , rust falling out from under the dash and the package tray area .

    0
  15. Jim

    I almost bought this car but didn’t have anywhere to keep it. It ran sweet and quiet just turn the key and it purred like a kitten…

    6+
  16. Tony B.

    A friend had one he bought solely to pull the motor to put in another car… I begged him not to do it, as the car was in beautiful shape… I always wondered what happened to the rest of the car…hideaway headlights, and all…

    2+
  17. lawrence

    Had the hideaways on a 1969 396 Caprice….that car ran sweet….and at the same time had the 390hp/427 in my 69 SS Impala convertible…….that old 427 always cranked up for some fun in the night until a girlie ran a red light in a Monte Carlo….on one of our movie nights.

    0
  18. JimmyJ

    Found one of these at a car dealership in 1988 when I was 17 big block 4 gear I was salavating! The old man said “no way” good thing cuz I probably wouldn’t be around today if I bought it. BTW it was real solid #2 and around 3 grand CDN

    0
  19. DG

    I don’t see a “buy it now” price. Removed? I would totally pay $7500 for this rare car.

    0
  20. Jim Z Member

    I had a 68 Caprice barge with a 307 that must of had a failing oil pump. Lifters wouldn’t stay quiet no matter how often I adjusted them. Certainly one of my less than memorable cars….

    0
  21. Superdessucke

    I would want to see the frame and underside. Obviously, stored in a damp climate. And if it was parked on dirt cars rust from the bottom up.

    0
  22. Mike Butchart

    As my father was ordering a 1998 Caprice Wagon, I did convinve him to get the front disk brake option. It was one of the better ideas I had that he bought.

    0
  23. James

    “We will part it out if it don’t sell” I was given a 66 Comet Caliente I didn’t have the means or place to keep it till I could fix it. I sold it to a friend for $100 because he had a place to keep it dry. I’ve seen run of the mill tri-five chevy’s, Fairlane’s, mustangs even a 63 Impala 409 SS & a 64 Impala sit in a hog pen and literally go into the mud. We gonna fix it one day. Across the road from me is a 87 Silverado and a 94 Vette, both been sitting for a decade. Even when scrap prices where through the roof they sat rusting away. Even this FORDMAN gets misty eyes over a vette sitting wasting away.

    0
  24. MathieuB

    By 1970, 2 doors Caprice and Impala Custom Coupe had front disk brake standard.
    One easy way to see if it has disk brake in 1969 is the wheel size, if it has 15”, it has disk brake. For 1970, all full-size chevy had 15” wheels.
    I have a 1970 454 Caprice, not original but so much fun to drive.
    Thoses big boats are real head turner with their specific back galss!

    0
  25. BillO BillO Member

    I started driving in 1971. My mom had a 1969 Impala. It had non powered drums. My dad had a 1971 LTD with power front disc brakes. I had to watch myself driving it because I would just about throw myself through the windshield when I was thinking no power brakes and brake a little too hard in the LTD. I drove both cars quite a bit and had to think what I was driving. Luckily, the next year mom bought a 1972 Caprice with power front disc brakes, problem solved.

    1+
    • russell spreeman

      Aha! Another 1969 Chevy full size with non power drums. WHY? All I can figure is there was some sort of strike and rather than halt all production, they cranked out a bunch of cars with those abysmal brakes.

      0

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