The New Chevrolets, 42 Years Later

This past summer, I had a need, as I often do, for frozen Jewel-brand Supreme pizzas, Gordon’s gin, Canada Dry tonic water, and other miscellaneous must-have household items. As is my wont, I headed over to the nearby Jewel-Osco to restock, and as I parked, what did I spy, but this rough but still running silver-over-gray 1977 Caprice Classic sedan. Rough. But still with us!

Yes, I still see 1977-90 Caprices around town. Not as often as I used to, but they’re still around, here and there. Of course, most of the running examples spotted on the road are the later 1986-90 versions, in varying states of condition.

But a 77-79 version is pretty uncommon. So before I waltzed in to the grocery store, I took a few pictures for posterity. This was a fairly upscale one, with its optional two-tone paint. A reminder it’s been forty two years since they were new, at least via model year. As was the case for years, they first started appearing in Chevrolet dealerships in Autumn ’76.

I saw a similar coupe, worn but much less rusty than this one, a while back. Those coupes were nice looking, with that bent-glass rear window and trim lines. Of course, many more sedans were sold.

Caprice Classic sedans, in The Year Of Our Lord 1977, sold 212,840 units. Caprice Classic coupes, a little less at 62,366. An additional 9,607 Caprice Classic Landau coupes sold.

Clearly, the sedan was the more popular body style. In addition, 33,639 3-seat and 22,930 2-seat Caprice Classic wagons were built.

Two of those ’77 Caprice Classic wagons, with Estate woodgrained flanks, were prominent in my neighborhood when I was a kid. One was root beer brown; the other, cream. I have no idea whether they were 6- or 8-passenger models though!

When new, these right-sized B-bodies sold like dollar beer at a Cubs game. But naturally, many have fallen the past forty-odd years to use, abuse, and just plain attrition. But they’re still out there, every now and then.

These were Chevrolet’s bread and butter cars then. What is today? Just based on what I see on the road, I’m guessing the Equinox, as they are freaking EVERYWHERE in my Midwestern city. I’d rather have a Caprice, myself.

So, have any of you fine folks seen an uncommon old car out in public recently?

7 Replies to “The New Chevrolets, 42 Years Later”

  1. Avatar-Nate

    Ask any cop or taxista who drove these, they will go on for hours about how wonderful they were, even the low end taxi models with the V6 engine .

    Stout and comfy, durable beyond belief .

    -Nate

    Reply
  2. AvatarTom C

    Dad had a 2-seater ’77 Caprice Estate in Root Beer brown with tan vinyl that he and my brother ordered. Dad wanted a Pontiac but my brother-in-law worked at a Chevy dealer so he went for it. He was very disappointed in that car – the 350 V-8 was a workhorse but the car itself was horrible. Moldings and wheel covers fell off at random, the power windows gave us trouble from day one and the overall build quality was terrible. Rust was all over that car in 4 years time! These overall were good cars and a hit for GM, but our Estate Wagon was a lemon!

    Reply
  3. Tom KlockauTom Klockau

    Tom, your dad’s car must have been a Friday afternoon or Monday morning car. 🙂

    I remember you saying the Caprice’s replacement, a loaded LTD Country Squire (I think you said it was an ’81), was much better.

    Reply
  4. AvatarGregory Hamilton

    I always thought these were great cars. I remember the glowing reviews and I also remember riding in them as taxis in New York. They appeared to be very solid and rattle free with excellent visibility all around. I thought the styling was excellent for an American car especially the two door coupe with bent glass rear window on the 77-79 model. Unfortunately these beautiful cars were replaced with the dreadful 1991 cars. I also wondered how someone could be paid for designing those monstrosities. They were horrific in my opinion.

    Reply
  5. Avatar-Nate

    Interestingly, Sunday I was at a Mercedes Benz car show and one of the employees had a ’77 Caprice Classic four door with under 40,000 original miles on it for sale ~ inside it looked new, the two tone paint was ruined from the sun, cheap, IIRC under $3,500 .

    -Nate

    Reply
  6. AvatarPete Skimmel

    Ah, the memories. In my youth as a corporate junior recruit, I ordered and enjoyed the experience of driving a 1977 Impala station wagon for a couple of years. It was a great car, pretty basic model, white with red vinyl interior. Comfy and, believe it or not, the “down-sized” new ’77 model really did feel agile, compared to its predecessor. Ordered and received a replacement ’79 model, light blue with blue vinyl, shortly before abandoning LA corporate life for the Pacific Northwest.

    Reply

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