Muscle In The Weeds: 1969 Chevrolet Caprice 427

Chev 427

Found for us by reader David W, for sale here on craigslist and located in Fayetteville, Arkansas, is this extremely rare full size muscle car, a high end Chevrolet Caprice featuring Chevy’s powerful 425 horsepower L72 big block 427 engine!

Chev 427 detail

During the muscle car era, the hottest cars were mid-sized and compact cars stuffed with the biggest engines that would fit. They had better power to weight ratios, and were generally less expensive, plus full size cars were seen as the cars your grandparents or parents would drive. They just were not quite as cool for most younger lead foots of that era. Full size cars with high output engines were also more expensive to insure. So it’s likely there were not very many Chevy Caprices ordered with the ground thumping 427 big block engines in 1969, and very few of them survive today.

Chev 427 engine

This car looks like it is a legitimate original 427, as claimed by the seller, who also says it has traveled only 77,834 miles, has been stored for 35 years, and is not rusty. The ad does not say where and how the car was stored, so while it is pictured in a field, it must have been stored indoors in order to be in the apparently decent condition we see it in today. According to the seller, the interior and engine are complete and original as built.

CHev 427 front 3

I think any buyer will want to verify the serial numbers of engine and car, and inspect the floors, trunk and frame for rust too. Plus I’d want to know a lot more of the car’s history. Given the amount of work this car will need, the asking price might be considered a bit high at $6,000.

Chev 427 rear

Rare and potentially desirable as this car is, the owner acknowledges that it will need a lot of work to restore it to the level this car deserves. It certainly does seem well worth restoring. How many COPO 427 Caprices were there? Still, despite its rarity, Chevelles and Camaros are far more valuable today. I found this really nice survivor Caprice with a verified COPO build, originally from Arizona and claimed to have never had any rust for sale by a dealer for $29,999.

1969 Caprice

This one’s rust free condition and known pedigree does give it considerable appeal. If you have the money, which one of these would you rather own?

WANT ADS

WANTED 67-69 Chevrolet Camaro Looking for an affordable Camaro in need of resto. Something with a solid frame and cowl. Thanks. Contact

WANTED 1984 -1985 Ford EXP Ideally rust free, solid running car w/ man. trans. Prefer ’84, ’85 Turbo model. Or 86 Contact

WANTED 1969 Ford Mustang Wanted 1969 Big block mustang, any condition considered Contact

WANTED 1988-1991 Subaru XT6 Looking for a clean rust free XT6 Contact

WANTED 1973-77 Pontiac Gran Prix wheel well trim pieces for rear Contact

Submit Your Want Ad

Comments

  1. Dave

    Highly unlikely this is an L72 car. GM would not offer A/C on the L72 and the air cleaner would have dual snorkels. This is certainly an L36/LS1 car with 390/335 horse and not 1 of 546 L72 cars produced for 1969.

    Like 1
  2. Glen

    I like it, a bit of a sleeper. More like a sleeping giant, but still cool.

  3. Joe

    I would take this one, if it is really an L72 then it may be rare: 1 of 546. Would need documentation (build sheet, intact VIN, plate etc) plus engine numbers to tell the difference between an LS1, L36 and L72 and if this one came with the L72 from the factory via COPO as the seller claims. See:

    http://www.1969chevy.com/caprice.htm

  4. Jeff V

    I like these oddballs, my hs gf’s dad had a ’69 Caprice that had the 396 2 bbl in it and we luved it for more than the back seat! (74/75/76)

  5. Blindmarc

    I had a chance at buying a loaded 427 caprice with the 390 hp version in 1970. I didn’t have the $125 dollars they wNted to take it off the car hauler, so off to Mexico it went. Also, I thought 425 hp was only available without a/c.

    • Joe

      Good point Blindmarc. Also, 425 hp supposed to have chrome valve covers and alum intake, 3/8 fuel etc??. Did any come without chrome and alum? Would really need documentation on this one.

    • Al8apex

      you are correct

      Thus car is NOT an L72 427

      Like 1
  6. jeff

    I think it’s a 335 hp.427.wrong air cleaner…and cast iron intake. …and no you could not get air cond.with the high hp.motor

    Like 1
  7. Dan

    Cast iron intake and a/c….this is NOT an L-72 car. Hydraulic cam, 390 horse motor, have owned 2 of them and one was a four-speed.

    Like 2
  8. JamestownMike

    DEFINATELY NOT a L72 425hp 427! The L72 came with an aluminum intake, Holly carb and a 4 core radiator. Here’s some info I pulled off the net regarding a 66 Caprice Biscayne with the L72 option……..”Not surprisingly, A/C was not available for the high-strung L72.” and “The dual-snorkel air cleaner is unique to the L72 option in the full-size models.” Looks more like a L36 390hp 427 or quite possibly a LS1 335hp 427.

    Like 1
  9. redwagon

    is this one blue as the ad says? looks white to me. always liked the hide-a-way lights on these. somehow they work well with the front end. the rear design kind of stinks. i like the 70 and 71 rear ends better.

    why don’t people include a picture of the trim tag? that should be mandatory for anyone trying to sell an ‘extremely rare’ vehicle. or the appropriate engine id if that info is not in the trim tag.

    family had a 69 growing up and sold it in ’71 to my papa whose 64 galaxie was totaled at an intersection (see comment under 64 galaxie yesterday – lucky man). the dark blue and black interior was sharp on that car. i could have done without the vinyl roof. in my estimation this generation impala/bel air/caprice looks a little odd with the block styled sail panel. it doesn’t flow as well as earlier designs.

    • Joe

      Thanks Redwagon. Remember when you could identify the year, make and model of a car on the road at night by the rear tail lights? Those days are gone.

  10. jeff6599

    All the seller has to do is offer a 100% money back guarantee that it is indeed what he says it is. Short of that, avoid it!

  11. David Frank David Member

    I thought $9000 was a lot of money for the 1966 396 COPO Caprice I wrote up last week, but this 69 makes makes the rust free 66 look more like a bargain. Which way would you go? I suspect the 66 is a lot lighter.

  12. ydnar

    These are getting closer to home and my price range, but this one is too high still, I think. I’d ad it to my stable w/o any qualms.

  13. Nessy

    The 427 adds so much to the value to this car, however, do not overlook those very rare hideaway lights. Only a handful of the 68/69 full size Chevys were ordered with them. The seller either overlooked interior photos which seems odd, or the interior must be a mess. It would be nice to see if this rare bird was also ordered with power windows, bucket seats, ect which also add alot to the value of a full size Chevy of this era. If this is a loaded up car without any real rust out, 6000 is a fair price. I would guess 5000 would buy it.

  14. John

    How can this be a COPO car as the 427 was just an option listed in the sales brochure back in 1969.

  15. David Wilk Member

    If Jamestown Mike and Dan are right, and I suspect they are, then this is not an L72. What does that do to its potential value? Were all 427s COPOs in 1969? If this car does not have an L72, which engine is this one? Hoping that someone here knows, just curious.

  16. Chebby

    The car is clearly rusty. It’s covered with rust. Perhaps no body holes, but it’s also clearly not blue. What else is the seller embellishing? The engine and the headlights are the rare components here.

  17. Gary I

    Just because it has a 427 does NOT mean that is a Copo engine. 427 came in vehicles without being the high hp version found in Copo cars. For this to be an L72 you would see aluminum intake etc. that they had as part of the factory build. Still a rare and cool car, just not a rare factory racer.

  18. Mark E

    Ah, the infamous hidden headlight option. Back in the ’70s I recall only seeing ONE in the wild. I remember a letter in a car mag of the period asking how many were made with this option and GM said NA. Hopefully now there’s an exact number on the internet somewhere! ^_^

  19. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    what most said not a 425hp….my SS427 was a 390hp but sure ran good for a big body Impala…also had a 1969 396 Caprice with that 2 barrel and hideaway’s…it wasn’t to shabby…

  20. Rocco

    I have to hear more about this car. Ya’ll keep talking.

  21. Bill

    here’s what we do know. The car MAY have come with an L72 (on the vin/build plate), but the engine in the photo isn’t one…

  22. jeff6599

    COPO is Central Office Production Order and completely different from the normal order placement routine. You’ve got to realize that COPO Caprices were never made; only the smaller bodies (Corvette, Camaro, Novas, etc)

  23. Joe

    It seems that there are some cars out there that claim to be COPO’s like this Impala

    https://www.mecum.com/lot-detail/FL0111-103025/0/1969-Chevrolet-Impala-SS-COPO-Convertible/Automatic/

    (see headlights and color claim). I am not clear on whether a dealer could just order a single COPO vehicle with an off the RPO piece of equipment (say 427/425), or was it system strictly limited (excluding inside company executives) to large orders (fleets, or the rareYenko-like bulk).

    There seems to be a contradiction in what I have read.

  24. Anthony

    Its not an L72. No way. But so what ? Its a great car to restore and its not rotted out. I bet going through that motor and rest of the driveline and brakes and you could still have fun with it. You need some 8 inch rally rims for it,gotta have em.

  25. Bill

    jeff6599 – you could COPO anything. My Grandfather worked for GM/Chevrolet in Atlanta. Every other year (even years) he got at plant cost what ever he wanted that came down the line. All he had to do was COPO it and then watch it built. The last one he built for himself was a 72 2 door Caprice with a LS6 454/turbo 400…and a bench front seat no vinyl top and dog dish hubcaps on Corvette wheels! The last COPO he ever built I have described here before – “my” (never got it but got to see it) 76 Grand LeMans/Can Am. When my Grandmother died in 82, the Caprice was willed to me. Problem was, my cousin had been driving it since Grand dad died in 79. It was her only transportation and I couldn’t really take it from her (family pressure). About 5 years later I had the opportunity to go get it. The interior was shot, there wasn’t a straight panel on it and the engine had a knock. I told her to scrap it.

    • Joe

      Bill interesting story. Would you happen to know if non-employees could walk into a dealer and COPO a single car? Get something not offered as part of the normal set of options or choices? Say a single taxi yellow Caprice? Or an Impala (as claimed) with hide-a-way headlights and special paint? My understanding to this point is that a non-executive or non GM employee could not order a single car at a dealership via COPO, just a fleet of cars. Yenko played the COPO system by ordering say 100 special camaros as a sort of “fleet” until GM figured it out. Anyway I am still not clear… any information would be appreciated by you or anyone else who has direct first or second hand knowledge of the 1960’s COPO ordering requirements.

      • Bill

        I would not know about how COPO’s happen from the outside. Only from the inside. Until our house burned down in 08 I had a copy of my build order for the GL. Sheet was kinda cool. You didn’t order a “car”, you ordered a bunch of parts that when delivered looked like a car…

  26. Russ

    I had a car magazine back in ’68, just a year earlier, and you could buy a full size Chevy Biscayne with the 427, 4 speed, heavy duty everything, and radio / heater for a sticker price of $2,998. (Where’s my charge card?) The same basic car could also be ordered in ’69 and would make a lot more sense to have the 425 hp motor.

  27. Raj Reddy

    Thanks for the post, judging by the air cleaner this 427 is the 335 HP LS1 version which is still a great engine. The 390 HP L36 had a shorter snorkel air cleaner and the 425 HP 427 had the chrome open element air cleaner and rocker covers.

    *Proud owner of a 1969 Caprice sedan and 1970 Impala sport coupe

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.

*

Keep me in the conversation via email. Or subscribe without commenting.