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One Owner Wagon: 1989 Chevrolet Caprice

It is a sad reality that the days of the family station wagon are now gone, with SUVs now absorbing that segment of the new car market that was previously occupied by cars like this Chevrolet Caprice Wagon. These cars hold a place in the hearts of many people, and this is one of the reasons why classic wagons are now a strengthening part of the classic car culture. This Caprice is a tidy and solid vehicle, and after being in the possession of one owner for its entire life, the time has come for it to move on. Located in Cedar Falls, Iowa, the Caprice is listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding on the Caprice has been quite spirited, but has only pushed up to $2,650 in a No Reserve auction.

The Caprice isn’t perfect, but the condition is quite impressive for what is essentially a 30-year-old family car. The Light Brown paint appears to be close to flawless, while the majority of the trim and glass also appears to be in really good condition. I did spot a piece of trim missing from around the rear glass on the passenger side, but sourcing a replacement shouldn’t be a real problem. The only other issues with the outside of the vehicle are both common ones, and both should be able to be addressed. Some of the wood-grain is peeling away on the driver’s side. It would be possible to replace the damaged section, but there might be a color-match issue with that. This would leave the choice of either removing the wood-grain vinyl altogether or replacing it all to keep a consistent look. Given how nice the rest of the vehicle appears to be, I would probably bite the bullet and replace the lot. There is also an issue with the plastic bumper spacers, but I’ve had no problems locating replacement items, so this should also be a relatively easy issue to address.

Powering the Caprice is a 307ci V8 engine, which sends its power to the rear wheels via a 4-speed automatic transmission. The Caprice also features power steering and power brakes. With only 140hp on tap, there would be no mistaking the Caprice for a muscle car, but what it could do was cruise effortlessly at highway speeds all day long. The owner states that the Caprice has only covered 78,000 original miles and that it runs and drives great. If looks count for anything, the general cleanliness and originality of everything under the hood should provide a level of optimism about the state of the Caprice.

Giving the interior a good old “once over” reveals very few things that are worthy of criticism. The carpet looks dirty on the driver’s side, but it isn’t horrendous. It looks like it might respond well to a deep clean. If not, a set of mats would hide the sins, because it really doesn’t look bad enough to justify replacing it. The rest of the upholstery looks good, and the dash appears to be free of cracks. It is also nice and original, with no aftermarket additions. The Caprice has also been fitted with a few nice optional extras, and all of those are said to work perfectly. This includes air conditioning, power windows, power locks, a power rear window, power antenna, cruise control, a cassette player, and a tilt wheel. If your tribe is slightly on the large side, there is also a third row, which provides the extra seating capacity that you might need.

It doesn’t seem to be that many years ago that station wagons were treated with a level of disdain, and the idea of them carving out their own little niche in the classic car scene sounded pretty far-fetched. But carve a niche they have, and nice examples of most older wagons are now becoming highly sought after. This is a nice one, and even in its current state, there is no doubt that its general condition would attract plenty of admiring glances. Address those few, minor cosmetic issues, and this is a vehicle that would really stand out. With the wagon segment continuing to grow in popularity, now would not be a bad time to grab a vehicle like this one, because it could well be a solid long-term investment.


  1. RobM

    I spotted a nice red Buick wagon for sale in Norwalk Ohio this week for $1200. It looked pristine! If I could do it, I would snatch it up now! I grew up riding in the third row of several of these old 80’s wagons.

    Like 1
  2. Mike

    Could you get tail in this one. Lot’s of room to roll around in. You could fit a mattress in the back for well you know. I’d install some curtains to for privacy.

    Like 2
    • Andre

      You’d be further ahead to just grab a hearse then. Then you’d really get the girls into fun stuff.

      Like 4
    • bigdoc

      I had 74 Ford stationwagon with bucket seats, mattress in the back and curtains. Yes I had a lot of fun in that car.

      Like 1
  3. Steve

    No, no, not beige betty…

    Like 1
  4. dyno dan

    bidding is at 3,600. Nice wagon!

    Like 0
  5. Ken Carney

    Wanted to build one in the ’90’s for hauling newspapers. Plans called for a
    454 ratmotor backed by a T-400 auto tranny with 9C1 innards. Final drive would be a 12-bolt posi rear running
    3.73 gears. The driveshaft would’ve been
    fully balanced with brute Force u-joints.
    The 9C1 theme would’ve carried through
    to the suspension too with HD pieces
    throughout. Never got ’round to building
    though. We saved for and bought a house in ’98 and the superwagon got put
    on hold and never got built. Now that I’m
    retired, I have the time but no cash. Would love to buy this one just use it as is
    until the little flaws can be fixed. What an
    Oldtown cruiser this would make! Simply
    add a large cooler out back, and forget
    about paying high prices for food and drinks. Nice car though.

    Like 1
    • 427Turbojet 427Turbojet Member

      In the early ’90s I bought an ’82 Caprice wagon, every option including a 350 diesel with blown head gaskets. $200.00. I put a ’72 Olds 455 and 400 THM in it. Even used the diesel oil cooler and dual 875 cca batteries. 15X8 Chevy van rally wheels with 235/70/15 tires. Great tow vehicle, I drove it till it just flat wore out.

      Like 1
  6. Andrew Franks

    As a personal opinion I think SUVs are really dumb, as well as the people who drive them with smart phones stuck in their ears.
    Wagons are a perfect solution and are actually three cars in one.
    Obviously they haul passengers to capacity, they will haul objects of varying sizes with the back seat down, and were styled so that no one need feel ashamed at pulling up in one anywhere. Some one simply call the Seller and ask him what he wants for it. Buy this car.

    Like 3

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