Confused Seller? 1973 Chevrolet Caprice Classic Convertible

It isn’t unusual for a classic car to cause its owner some confusion. However, they usually sort the issue before placing the vehicle on the market. That doesn’t appear to be the case with this 1973 Chevrolet Caprice Classic Convertible. One aspect of the car seems hazy, and it will be interesting to gauge reader feedback. Leaving that aside, it is a stunning car that appears to need nothing beyond a new owner. If you feel you could be that person, you will find the Caprice located in Westport, Connecticut, and listed for sale here on eBay. Frantic bidding has pushed the price beyond the reserve to $40,200.

The first thing to note about this Caprice is its spotless presentation. It is always difficult to be sure when looking at photos, but this classic’s Blue Metallic paint looks close to flawless. There are no visible marks or defects and no signs of prior panel or paint repairs. The panels are as straight as an arrow, and given the vast expanses of sheetmetal involved, bruises or dents will usually stand out a mile away. There is nothing visible, nor are there signs of rust or significant corrosion. The White power top is immaculate, and it functions as it should. The chrome and trim shine as impressively as the paint, while there are no visible problems with the glass. Considering its overall condition and presentation, it’s easy to understand why this Caprice Classic has generated significant interest.

Lifting the hood reveals the one aspect of this Caprice that causes confusion. The seller initially indicates that the engine bay houses a 360ci V8 but amends this later to a 350. I was pretty sure that this was still incorrect, so rather than place my faith in a resource that could confuse things further, I accessed the data files for the 1973 Caprice Classic from the GM Heritage Center. These confirmed that buyers could select between the 400ci version of the small-block V8 that first appeared in 1970, or they could pay the extra pennies for a 454ci big-block. There’s no doubt that the engine in this photo is a small-block, which means that if the car is numbers-matching, that has to be a 400. If I’m right, it should generate 150hp that feeds to the rear wheels via a three-speed Turbo Hydra-Matic transmission. The Caprice’s luxury credentials are further emphasized by the inclusion of power steering and power brakes. This classic will be more at home cruising on the open road rather than blasting down the local dragstrip. That’s just as well because it would take 19.4 seconds to cover the ¼ mile. The seller provides no information on how well this classic runs or drives, but with the engine bay presenting so beautifully, the indications are positive. That presentation is made more impressive when you consider the listing indicates that the Convertible has 164,000 miles showing on its odometer. It would have been acceptable if it looked slightly rough around the edges. Its current condition suggests that it may have received a mechanical refresh. Sadly, that is a question that potential buyers need to ask because the listing information provides no answers.

When it comes to interior trim choices, White vinyl can prove one of the riskiest. While the color has little influence on its ability to withstand regular wear and tear, it can be prone to stains and developing an unsightly yellow tinge. There are chemical processes that can address the yellow, but they will prove unnecessary with this Caprice. Its upholstered surfaces look crisp and clean, with no unsightly marks or issues. The dash and pad are free from cracks, while there’s no appreciable wear on the carpet. One of the negative attributes of owning a Convertible is that any interior trim shortcomings stand out like a beacon when the top is dropped. That isn’t the case here, and the buyer will be able to drive this classic with their head held high. The original owner ordered this Convertible with air conditioning which blows ice-cold thanks to a recent conversion to R134a refrigerant. The buyer also receives power windows, a remote driver’s mirror, and what appears to be a retro-style stereo occupying the spot usually reserved for the factory radio.

Now that you’ve had a chance to think about it, what are your thoughts about what nestles under the hood of this 1973 Caprice Convertible? The originality of the rest of the vehicle leads me to believe that it is the 400ci version of the small-block, despite the seller’s claim that it is a 350. The company only offered the ’73 Caprice with the 400 or the big-block 454. The confusion hasn’t deterred potential buyers because they have already submitted an incredible sixty bids. That suggests that not only do they like what they see, but that it would be the perfect classic to park in your driveway, ready for the upcoming summer months. I can see myself slipping behind the wheel, cruising down a country road with the wind in my hair and the sun at my back. If you feel the same and have the available funds, maybe you should consider joining the bidding war.

Comments

  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    Nice car. You don’t see too many GM cars with the spoked wheel covers. They were on our ’65 Covair Monza and are still the best looking of the “fake” units offered.

    Like 5
    • Boatman Member

      Had a set on my ’76. Took them apart and cleaned, spoke by spoke. Quite the Jigsaw puzzle.

      Like 8
      • Chuck Dickinson

        You could’ve saved a lot of time and done them in the dishwasher when your wife was away!

        Like 7
    • CCFisher

      Wire wheel covers were available on this car, but they were a simpler design. The covers on this car are from a late 70s/early 80s Chevrolet.

      Like 2
  2. Cadmanls Member

    Yep it’s a small block. 400 will pull that weight around but don’t abuse it. Overheat one and it will cost you some dollars to fix it. These are good cruisers, and convertible production was really slowing down by 73, no one was buying them.

    Like 8
    • Evan

      Yes, the 400 was not a good engine. They took too much meat out of the block. Remember that the original small-block Chevy was 265 cubic inches. That makes the 400 OVER 50% BIGGER than the original design brief.

      Like 6
      • joenywf64

        God forbid if you should find a last-forever swap of a 400 tin indian v8 in of these Chevies. lol

        Like 1
    • Joe

      350 CI all day long in a majority of these classic Chevrolets. I would know as I owned one.

  3. Big_Fun Member

    This is missing the stainless wheel well opening moulding on both front fenders. And all all of the rocker panel moldings are missing; they run from the back of the front wheels to the back edge of the quarter panels. On the trunk lip should be a thin stainless piece of trim that extends to the quarter panels; those small pieces curve down 90 degrees. Maybe after the repaint the owners chose to leave them off.
    Upper door panels are not correct; they should have a thin piece of (fake) woodgrain with a the Caprice logo centered. That strip continues on back; the window crack (or, in this case, power window switch) is centered in the strip.
    Lower door panels are improved over stock; someone added black carpet where there shouldn’t be any. Stock would be plain with ribs running horizontal. I always thought it looks so unfinished. Chevrolet made them all that way in the ’71- ’75 Convertibles. B-O-P convertibles all have carpet. I like what they did here. Not as spartan.
    The remote driver side mirror is for a ’76 B body or ’73 – ’77 A body. The remote control is the giveaway there.
    Overall, the car is nice. Not stock – but the bidding reflects that’s not a priority.

    Like 27
  4. Raymond L Saunders

    Grille is from an Impala, correct about door panels..car is a mismatch…..

    Like 12
  5. normadesmond

    Stuff like this blows my mind.

    I have a ’73 88 convertible. It’s got 50K original miles. It’s beautiful. I can’t for the life of me imagine putting it up for auction & seeing the bidding even get close to 40K.

    Like 11
    • Burt

      Then I’ll give you $2K for it. :)

      Like 2
    • andrew randall

      yes the B. O.P and even the caddys do not bring the money like the 71 through 75 caprice and impalas.especially the convertibles.getting very hard to find

      • joenywf64

        Imagine the money a nice ’68 caprice with ultra rare hidden headlites would fetch. & with a 427 & 4 speed.

  6. Buffalo Bob

    400 was standard in a ’73 Caprice (Mom had one). 73 was also the first year of the Caprice convertible, replacing the Impala. The grille on this car IS from a 73 Impala, yes. Otherwise, it presents beautifully.

    Like 5
    • Buffalo Bob

      Actually, the more I look at this car, the more I find wrong. No rocker molding or wheel opening molding (as Big Fun stated), Impala grille, body side molding that doesn’t belong there, no “Caprice” crests on the door cards. Methinks perhaps this car was rebuilt using an Impala donor? I also thought (I could be wrong) that bumper guards with rubber strips were standard on the Caprice.

      Like 7
  7. Mikefromthehammer

    I found this online according to Hemmings:

    “With most of those Caprices having been powered by the 350-cu in small-block V-8 that put out only 145hp, the most unusual aspect of our feature six-passenger convertible is that it is very powerful, thanks to the 454-cubic-inch big-block Turbo-Jet V-8 under the hood.”

    It doesn’t mention a 400 small block. Adam what was your source, please? Mine:

    https://www.hemmings.com/stories/article/classy-caprice-1973-chevrolet-caprice-classic-convertible

    • Big_Fun Member

      Mike –

      That article in Hemmings is not right – which is surprising.
      All Caprice models came standard (’71 to ’74), with the 400 2bbl. In ’75, the standard engine became the 350 2bbl. If only the seller posted the VIN…

      Like 3
      • Evan

        I think the confusion is pretty simple. It does appear that Caprice models came with a 400 as standard, but a 350 (2-bbl) was the base engine in Bel Air and Impala for ’73.

        In theory, you could get a Bel Air with a 250 I-6 for ’73, but I’m not convinced any were actually built. Most sources said the six made it to the brochure, but never into production.

        Like 1
      • Mikefromthehammer

        @ Big_Fun and Evan:

        Thanks for the information. At the time I was still a young punk who had not, as yet, started following cars. I defer to your obvious knowledge. ; )

        Like 1
      • andrew randall

        this is on the radiator cover from the car.i would say its a 350 4bbl i can if you would like to take a pic of engine with the matching vin number on the pads.

  8. Rabbit

    Hang on… A ’73 Caprice should have rocker moldings & chrome wheel opening trim. The (crooked) side molding on this car doesn’t belong there. Oh, wait… that’s been commented on. Car’s a put-together, but still looks very nice, considering.

  9. Sam61

    Mike Brady approves…get out your white shoes, white belt, bell bottom slacks and a leisure suit shirt!

    Like 1
  10. Old greybeard

    My parents bought a 73 Caprice Classic new, dark green, black vinyl top. 1st car we ever had with AC. First year mandatory 5mph front bumpers.
    It had a 350.

    Like 1
  11. art

    The Impala came with a sole body side molding as does this car. As Big Fun noted, the lower rocker panel moldings are missing as are the wheel opening moldings.The Caprice interior featured anodized aluminum trim on both the sides and bottoms of the seats…none here. The Caprices had aluminum trim on the edge of the trunk lid and on each tip of the quarter panel, none here. This car might be an Impala “massaged” to sort of, look like a Caprice or as one here suggested, refitted with Impala parts. I hope the bidders are doing their homework before parting with their hard earned dollars. I’m not sure if the VIN was originally coded as Caprice/Impala/Bel Air, but worth a check.
    Of note, for 1973, Chevrolet offered the 250 six, a 350 2 barrel, a 350 4 barrel, a 400 2 barrel and the 454 4 barrel. The 400-2 was standard in Caprice.

    Like 6
    • Evan

      Art, as I wrote in a comment above, I think the six was purely theoretical. I can find no evidence of any Bel Airs built for US sales with a six. I’m sure Canadians bought them, though.

      • Mikefromthehammer

        Evan, Canadians buy real, not theoretical, engines. 🤣

        Like 2
      • art

        Verbatim from the 1973 Chevrolet Brochure…

        “Standard engines and transmissions:
        BelAir Sedan…Turbo Thrift Six..100hp..3 speed manual standard, Turbo Hydra-matic, not available.
        BelAir/Impala..Turbo Fire 350-2 V8…145hp..3 speed manual..N/A…Turbo Hydra-matic…standard
        Caprice…Turbo Fire 400-2 V8…150hp..3 speed manual…N/A…Turbo Hydra-matic…standard.
        Chevrolet Brochure print date…January 1973

        Like 1
      • Bob C.

        I believe the six was available for taxicabs only in 1973, after that they were gone.

        Like 1
      • DON

        We had a 1973 Biscayne sedan with a 250 and an automatic that we made into an Enduro car. It wasn’t the fastest car on the track, but that thing took a lot of abuse ! It only had four taillights instead of the normal six ; I think the only other option it had was an AM radio

        Like 1
    • Chuck Dickinson

      The only convert was the Caprice. The convert moved from the Impala line to the Caprice trim in 73.

  12. MoragaPulsar

    Those eBay bids look very unusual, I don’t believe that there are real bidders here. 1) it is a private listing, completely hiding the identity of the already mostly hidden bidder identities and 2) there are seemingly a flurry of very small incremental bids placed within minutes of each other, then a half day or a day latter the same pattern repeats and 3) this current bid price is way out of line with any recent sales of similar and much much better beloved/hated scissor tops. Beware with this boys and girls.

    Like 5
    • Bick Banter

      A ’75 sold on BaT a little over a year ago for $58,166. This isn’t a 29 mile original car like that one was. And this one has many clear originality issues, as folks are pointing out, while the ’75 was perfect. AlBut even the BaT crowd was stunned by the result

      But that said, the market is presently dumb enough for this bidding to be possible. It doesn’t seem likely that the car will be worth anywhere near this in a year or two but, these days, get a couple of people who really want it, put some liquor into the mix, and who knows?

      Like 1
    • andrew randall

      yes private from owner all the bids are 100 percent legit.car sold and awaiting payment.i am certain there is a lot of dishonest people on ebay that have buddys (bid up) there listing.the bidders id are always hidden,at least the few i have sold.i personally do not need to do that and condon it.

  13. Chevelle SS

    Our 1973 Caprice Classic Brougham, replete with padded vinyl top and fender skirts had a 350. No question. It also had a Quadrajet and I swear to this day on a stack of Chevrolet Service Manuals, it had angle plug heads. (Look it up) This car was not slow! You knew when the secondaries opened up and you were off! Now, I have still not been able to understand why this car had a 350, 4-bbl with angle plug heads! Where they the storied 292 or 492 heads? I don’t know. That would suggest there was a Corvette engine put into this car. Again, why, I don’t know. Stranger things have happened on the production line. I’d be interested to know if anyone else has seen this. And boy, do I have memories not only of that car, but of the teenage shenanigans that went on in it, particularly the back seat! oh yeah…

    Like 1
  14. JagmanBill

    How about this – its an Impala with a Caprice badge on the header panel. Dang near explains everything

    Like 1
  15. Keith D.

    What happened to the front fender wheel well and rear skirt wheel well chrome trimming??

    Like 1
  16. DON

    On top of what’s already been stated ,the paint color looks off to me. It could be the lighting, but it looks like that same old light blue paint that most cars seemed to get painted in the 1980s. We used to call the color “repaint blue” .I seem to recall the light blue as being more sedate on these GM cars

    Like 1
  17. JagManBill

    open driver’s door shot looking at the front seat – look at the sill plate – front end of it looks like over spray

    Like 3
  18. Angel_Cadillac_Diva Angel Cadillac Diva Member

    I knew that grill was wrong. I had a ’73 Estate wagon and had a totally different grill.
    I was driving a ’72 MG Midget in ’74 and wanted to trade the MG in on a new ’74 Caprice convertible . Didn’t quite work out but did get rid of the MG for a ’71 Imperial.

    Like 1
  19. Danko

    Better call the Donkmaster !

    Like 1
  20. joenywf64

    Art, can you imagine how slow the very heavy full size ’73 bel air would be with an emissions 250 strait 6?! lol
    Best, i guess, for level road slow moving city taxi service only!
    That motor & other similar 6’s are fine for ’60s compact cars, tho.

  21. bikefixr

    Car has issues. Mileage at 160k is a major no for me. Obligatory smear of silicone over the entire engine bay. $40 is a fantasy. Just saw one sell at high $20’s with half the miles and a 454. I have a ’74, loaded, 454 with $48K miles and if someone gave me $40+ I’d take it and run.

    Like 1
  22. Kenn

    Finally, an honest 100,000+ mile car that looks like less than half that. Which shows the truth that many so-called low mileage cars on this site can have very high mileage and still not look it. We doubting Thomases are vindicated!

    Like 2
  23. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    SOLD for $40,200.

    Like 2
    • Keith D.

      Couldn’t cut the deal for a flat $40 grand huh

      Like 1

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