Well Documented! 1969 Chevrolet Caprice

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I’ve always had a “thing” for full-size Chevies. My first was a ’69 Impala which shares very few differences with a Caprice, such as today’s 1969 Caprice find. I’ve also owned both a ’66 Impala (my favorite!) and a ’68. So, are these members of the ’65-’70 generation finally getting their due? Maybe, let’s take a look at this Fathom Green example that calls Saratoga Springs, New York home, and see what it has to offer. It’s available, here on eBay for a current bid of $16,300 with the reserve not yet met.

The Caprice didn’t make its debut until mid-model ’65 but moved in lock step with the fourth-generation (’65-’70) Impala. From a collectibility perspective, ’65-’67 full-sizers have done well and improved over the last ten years or so. The ’68-’70s have lagged a bit unless they’re of the SS427 (Impala) variety (’68-’69) or have some other attractive attribute(s). We have covered a lot of ’69s here on BF so it’s good to see that they’re getting some attention and market interest. As for the ’69 Caprice, three body styles were available, two and four-door hardtops and a station wagon known as the Kingswood Estate. Including station wagons, the Caprice had a robust year in ’69 with the total output reaching about 167K copies.

The Caprice coupe and Impala Custom shared the same sheet metal and greenhouse in ’69. The biggest differences between the two were the trim and the seating upholstery – beyond that, it was hard to tell them apart. V8 engines were required in both, and in this case, there is an optional engine employed known as RPO LM1, which is a 255 gross HP, 350 CI V8. It’s unphotographed but there is a video embedded (that I can’t seem to link) in the listing which shows it running (sounds like it could use a valve adjustment). The seller claims “Runs Smooth And Drives Excellent!“. Also stated is the existence of a Turbo-Hydramatic 400 automatic transmission but I imagine that’s an error as the 400 was reserved for big-block engines and Corvettes in ’69. New that year was the Turbo-Hydramatic 350 three-speed automatic gearbox and I imagine that’s what’s really backing up the engine. It’s easy to visually discern the differences between the two but no underside images are provided.

The seller goes to great lengths to tell us, “No Rust, A Bonus..This Caprice Retains Its Original Fenders, Doors, Quarters“. Good to know as this vintage B-body, and its ’70 successor, are notorious for rusted-out fender legs – something to do with “Flush and Dry” forward rocker panels that got the flush part right but not the dry. The Fathom Green “Magic Mirror Acrylic Lacquer” as Chevrolet referred to the paint employed, has held up surprisingly well, assuming that it’s original. The darker colors have a tendency to oxidize and then craze. If this Caprice is still donning its original duds, it must have been kept undercover for most, if not all of its life. Ditto the vinyl top, it almost looks too good to be the born-with roof covering. Most of the images show this Chevy wearing RPO PO2, “Deluxe” wheel covers but the seller states that it comes equipped with Rally Wheels. In spite of the attractive cover’s notable weight, I’d prefer to have them – the rally wheel look is overdone to death even though they were an option (RPO ZJ7). Another notable addition is the inclusion of concealed headlights, (RPO T83) a supposed Caprice-only option, at least that’s what the ’69 sales brochure emphatically states. Impalas are occasionally spotted with this upgrade but those examples may well be the result of a conversion. Finally, yes, the blue Chevrolet “Bowtie” badge is missing from the grille.

Nice to see inside is the optional center console/bucket seat arrangement – ’69 was the last year this setup was available in a Caprice or an Impala. The upholstery, door panels, and center console show quite well, and what’s visible of the nylon loop carpet displays a bit of normal fade.

Do I like this one? You bet, it’s in fantastic shape! Do I want it? No, I’m done with collecting big Chevies but I’m glad to see that there is interest in what was the late ’60s version of the Honda Accord/ Toyota Camry. Between ’65 and’70, there were so many of this vintage Chevrolet B-body produced that parts acquisition, even body panels, is a snap. With only 78K miles of experience, this Caprice has a way to still go – it’s not a muscle car like a Chevelle, but it is a reasonable, and affordable alternative, wouldn’t you agree?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. MoparDoug

    My first car was a 1967 Impala 2 door hardtop, 283, power glide. Paid $600 for it back in 1980. Wanted the 1973 Barracuda, but my mom wouldn’t let me spend $1500 to buy it. I’m a Mopar guy, but that 67 Impala was still one of my favorites.

    Like 12
    • Majik Steve

      Right On. My first car was also a ’67 Impala. Same drivetrain. The blue you see on most of em and black interior. Picked it up in 1981 for $400.00. I was 16 and had just moved to Washington from California. So I lowered it with J-Hooks on the rear springs, and with a small pimp wheel, fur dash, dingle-balls and spoke hubcaps, It was just a few model years away from Cheech’s “Love Machine”. . . I would love to own this one. Never been into green, but it’s growin’ on me. ~S

      Like 1
    • stillrunners

      Owned the same car – a green on green on green 1969 with the hideaways but with a 396…..wish there were some underside pictures and an engine picture or two…….

      Like 2
  2. Vance

    I would much rather have this car than a Chevelle at this time iny life. I am 6’3″ and I have to buy.a special scale because I am over 300 pounds. This is just a good looking car, the color. is great, and the vinyl roof really sets it off. It could use more power but I am sure the 350 is fine. I am a Blue Oval guy, but I have always thought these were sharp.. My 3 pedal days are over due to having both knees replaced, but I would love to own this.

    Like 10
  3. normadesmond

    My first decent car was a ’69 Caprice. I (foolishly) bought the car from some goofy used car lot. I think it was 1895.00. I was young.

    A 4-door, white, blue vinyl top & interior. It did NOT have those groovy buckets & console. Mine was a bench seat in a spongey fabric.

    It had a very thirsty 396, the incorrect engine/car to have in 1972/73 when gas prices doubled & your job was 50 miles away, one way. It probably needed front springs, it sat a bit low in front. It also was filled with bondo, which I discovered as I owned it, but it was a nice car.

    Like 7
  4. timothy r herrod

    For the turbo 350 1969 was the only year they put a drain plug in the tranny pan. After that you got to use a big pan or make a big mess

    Like 5
    • Rw

      My71 Malibu had drain plug in trans pan.

      Like 2
  5. Christopher Robinson

    The TH400 was definitely available behind a 350. I owned a 1970 Impala 4 door hardtop with a 350 and TH400. It must be unusual though.
    Love the big cars. Way underrepresented.

    Like 7
    • Jim ODonnellAuthor

      Yes, the GM info.kit specifically lists only the T-350 for use with the small block engine.


      Like 6
    • 76 Pontiac Grand LeMans

      My grandparents had a 69 Impala 4 door hàrd top. 350 ,3 speed automatic. It had the rare radio antenna mounted on the rear left fender. Didn’t see many like that. Had Power Steering,Power disc Brakes. ÀM radio. Factory 4 season A/C . Full wheel covers. I was 9 in 69. They let me drive at 14 or so. A good car. Trouble free. Dark green. Not bad pick up with the 350. Enjoy these cars.

      Like 1
  6. Gabe

    It’s so futuristic it could pass for an ’82…too bad eighties GM cars were all so terrible.

    I imagine the “just like an Impala” similarities, for those that believe it, ends at the pricing for caprices vs impalas.

    Like 2
  7. DON

    In all the years since the 69 Caprices came out , I’ve only seen one hidden headlight set up , and that was a whole bumper assembly sitting on the hood of another car near the crusher in a junkyard in the mid 1980s. I’m sure they pulled it off to save it, but I wonder if it found a home, or just ended up thrown in another junker and crushed when it didnt sell.

    Like 3
  8. TheOldRanger

    My first car was 1965 Impala SS (brand new) and I had just graduated from college, got my first job (math teacher), and thought it couldn’t get any better than that. Well, a lot of things later (marriage, daughters, etc were much better) but I’ve had no car that I loved more than that 65 SS. There was just something about those Chevys back in those days that made a guy feel like he was king of the road. I still have my wife (55 years of marriage), both daughters grown with lives of their own, and I love where I live in retirement… but I do miss that SS… lol

    Like 17
  9. Jay McCarthy

    The lifter noise is very noticeable but overall this is a nice car, I’ve always had a soft spot for this body style especially in this color

    Like 5
  10. ACZ

    That hidden headlamp option is indeed rare. I was working in new car get-ready at a Chevy store in 1969 and I can only remember two cars that came in with them. One was the Dealer’s wife’s demo.

    Like 6
  11. ACZ

    One other thing. I seem to remember that the 300 hp 350 was the base engine on the Caprice.

    Like 2
    • Jim ODonnellAuthor

      Not in ’69, it was a 235 HP, 327 CI V8.


      Like 3

    Love the car, hate the vinyl roof. Why did they put them on otherwise beautiful cars and spoil the flow of the body? Did this big boy come without one?

    Like 1
  13. Doug

    I met my wife in 76 and her family had a 69 Caprice 2 door. They bought BrandNew and I enjoyed driving that had such a smooth ride and the 350 had a 4 barrel and that car could move. Her husband bought her mom an 81 Monte Carlo because he was worried the car would fall apart and they sold it

    Like 1
  14. Lorenzo Loschi

    My dad had a 69 caprice 4 door,I remember the sticker on the air intake stated that it had 300 horsepower from the 350 ci 4 barrel model,it was a great smooth riding car

    Like 1
    • Jim ODonnellAuthor

      That engine, RPO L48, was available as an option.


      Like 2
  15. Dr Ron

    I’m mostly a Blue Oval guy anymore but I still have a handful of loved GM vehicles… ‘49 Pontiac Streamliner, ‘56 Buick Special, ‘64 Pontiac Grand Prix, ‘67 Corvair Monza, ‘88 Pontiac Fiero GT and 1969 Chevrolet Caprice…
    Why the Caprice?
    My high school driver’s education class had a small fleet of new 1969 Caprices.
    And the coolest thing was that we the students got to select a car first and whatever instructor came with that car.
    I zeroed in on a black over black Caprice TWO DOOR which was the only coupe out of the entire fleet… It was a 350 with A/C and my track coach came with the deal.
    There were three students to a car with an instructor.
    I only remember one fellow student’s name…. Jim Smedly. And the only reason for that is because Jim was a horrible driver and needed all the driver’s ed he could get.
    That and I can still see the concrete mixer truck barreling towards us from the left when Jim pulled out of the gas station in front of the big mixer. I was sitting behind Jim and could see the truck driver plainly.
    Jim hit the brake and froze us in position for a perfect t-bone.
    Coach reacted in lightning speed by swinging his left foot over the transmission tunnel and floored the accelerator and we shot across four lanes but didn’t get hit by anything.
    The two young ladies in the car screamed so loudly that I remember momentary hearing loss.
    Coach was white faced when he told Jim to switch places with him. It was a quiet ride back to school.
    For some reason Jim was at our next driver’s ed class or any subsequent classes.
    I think that Coach probably wanted an accelerator pedal as well as the brake pedal on his side of the car after that.
    That big Chevy was like a spaceship compared to my Dad’s ‘64 Bonneville and I bought one almost identical to it ten years later and kept it until the tin worms dissolved it.

    Like 7
  16. George Mattar

    One of the aggressive front ends of any car ever. I have seen maybe two 69 full size Chevys with hideaway lights. The 68s had them as an option also. They were metal and curved. Absolutely beautiful Chevy when GM actually made cars.

    Like 3
  17. John W Kriegshauser

    The 1969 Caprice is a favorite of mine. My Grandpa got a brand new Butternut Yellow 4-door hardtop in 1969. The odd thing about this car…no air conditioning! This is the top of the line Chevy for Pete’s sake! Also, the protecto plate shows the car owned originally in New York, and that is where it is now…why the Arizona license plate? Nice car especially with the really cool hide away headlamps!

    Like 2
  18. Karl

    Ziebart Rustproofjng plugs explains solid body.

    Like 3
  19. Jay Bree

    “….shares very few differences ….”

    Wait while I create a truth table for this sentence…..

    Like 1
    • Jim ODonnellAuthor

      It’ll probably be a false table. (This beautiful car and that’s what you’re focused on?)


      Like 2
  20. John Oliveri

    It’s a beautiful car, not enough options to entice me, No A/C no sale also, this car would’ve been perfect with a 396 A/C, power windows and factory 8 track

    Like 1
  21. Patrick J Curran

    Nice color combo and the buckets/console combo make this a desirable car. Someone removed the blue Chevy bowtie emblemfrom the center of the grill. It needs to be re-installed.

    Like 1
  22. Patrick Michael Shanahan

    My first new car was a “69 Impala 427 manual. LeMans blue with black interior. It was beautiful and very fast. I had faster cars later (Vettes) but that was my all time favorite.

    Like 1
  23. geoff baker

    G’Day, down here in Aussie i have a 1975 Caprice convertible in great condition on club rego. She has a 350 with a 3 speed auto, velour upholstery.
    This car has never turned a wheel in the USA, bought in LA new and shipped to Noumea by a Air France pilot, then on his passing a Bank johnny bought her and shipped it to Honiara in the Solomon Islands about 1995. I saw it there (she was rough) and bought and shipped it to Papua New Guinea in 1998. I kept her in PNG until she turned 30 years old so as to legally ship her to Aussie left hand drive.I have owned her for 25 years, love my car, there are only 3 Caprice convertibles down here.

    Like 2

    I have had 4 of these cars, one of mine had the 350 300hp and it did come with a turbo 400, all you have to do is look down on the passenger side under the hood and if you can see the vacuum module on the side of the trans its a TH400 if you can’t see it its a TH350.

    Like 0

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