1983 Chevrolet Caprice Classic sedan

Earlier this week, a two-tone and stock-appearing Caprice Classic sedan turned a few hundred feet in front of me. Time to finally write a blog entry on the four-door Caprice—I have previously covered the coupe and the station wagon.

“… comfort and quiet for up to six.”

For 1983, Chevrolet’s Caprice Classic sedan was little changed. The headline might have been the return of Black exterior paint.

The Caprice’s standard engine was a Chevrolet-built LC3 110 bhp 3.8 liter/229 ci V6 with a Rochester two-barrel carburetor. Options included a Chevrolet-built LG4 150 bhp 5.0 liter/305 ci V8 with a Rochester four-barrel carburetor and a (don’t do it!) Oldsmobile-built LF9 105 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci diesel V8. The standard engine for California buyers was a Buick-built LD5 110 bhp 3.8 liter/231 ci V6 with a Rochester two-barrel carburetor. A three-speed automatic was standard for the two V6’s and the diesel, with a four-speed automatic with overdrive standard with the gas V8 and available for the diesel.

Fuel economy with the standard powertrain was rated at 19 mpg, while the V8 was 17 mpg. The diesel was said to get 23 mpg. With a 25.1-gallon gas tank, the owner of a V8 Caprice could expect a range of about 385 miles with a 10% fuel reserve. No matter which engine was under the hood, Chevrolet’s largest car was not quick; 0-60 mph took about 11.5 seconds with the V8.

Standard mechanical equipment on the $8,802 Caprice Classic sedan (about $23,000 in today’s dollars) included power steering, a front stabilizer bar, power front disc/rear drum brakes, and P205/75R15 radial tires (a size still available thanks to Hankook and Kumho) on 15 x 6 inch wheels with full wheel covers. Inside, Quiet Sound Group, a full-width front bench seat, a quartz electric clock, and a glove box light were included.

Among the many exterior and mechanical options were Custom two-tone paint ($141) in four combinations, tinted glass ($105), halogen hi-beam headlamps ($10), cornering lamps ($55), and an electric rear window defogger ($135). Inside, air conditioning ($725), automatic speed control with resume speed ($170), a Comfortilt steering wheel ($105), power door locks ($170), and a range of Delco radios up to an AM/FM stereo radio with a stereo cassette tape player and four speakers ($298) were available.

The acclaimed F41 Sport Suspension—Car and Driver stated that it would make you “think that your Chevy came from the Black Forest instead of Detroit”—included stiffer springs, tighter shocks, a thicker front stabilizer bar, and a rear stabilizer bar. The F41 was a bargain at $49 and required P225/70R15 white stripe tires ($159). A CL Special Custom interior ($452) included 50/50 Custom cloth seats and a passenger recliner.

Caprice Classic sedan pages from the 1983 full-size Chevrolet brochure

The Caprice Classic and other B platform cars—1983’s B body sedan roster included the Buick LeSabre, the Chevrolet Impala, the Oldsmobile Delta 88, and the Pontiac Parisienne—continued to be well regarded. Car and Driver‘s inaugural 10 Best Cars in January 1983 included the Caprice Classic along with the AMC/Renault Alliance, the Ford Mustang GT, the Pontiac 6000 STE, the Volkswagen Rabbit GTI, and five other cars.

Caprices continued to sell well—Chevrolet sold 122,613 sedans in 1983 along with another 45,154 of the closely related but somewhat de-contented Impala four-doors. The Caprice’s production numbers made it the best-selling of any Chevrolet sedan in that model year, beating out the Cavalier, Celebrity, Chevette, and Malibu offerings.

Eighties Caprice Classics have their adherents, though many have been modified as donks. Hagerty’s valuation tools do not track the 1976 to 1990 models. You see them in the Hemmings Motor News classifieds and on eBay Motors—when I wrote this post, there was a White 1989 Caprice Classic Brougham sedan with dark blue cloth 45/55 seats, a 5.0 liter/305 ci V8, and 133,000 miles for sale on Hemmings for $7,500.

Make mine Dark Fern Metallic, please.


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