1984 Chevrolet Caprice Estate: Wally World or Bust!

If you’ll recall my recent post on the baby blue 1973 New Yorker Brougham, it was sold by my friend Anthony Rose, of the greater Cleveland area. Well this morning, just before I clocked in to the office, he posted this survivor of ’80s suburbia: a very above-average condition Caprice woody wagon. I immediately tagged my friend in Boston, Matt Smith. “Issa Caprese.” Oh, sorry. Private joke.

Anyway, in the decades before buyers decided that fat, drunk and stupid was the preferred look in motorized private vehicles and began buying combovers, these ruled the roads. Though even then, the Chrysler minivans were making major inroads in their turf. Not to mention the Aerostars, Astros and Safaris, Vanagons, Toyota Vans and long-vanished Bitsumishis.

Wagons would hang in there to an extent until the mid-late 2000s when they began dropping like flies, but the big full-sized Big Three wagons were gone by the early to mid ’90s: LTD Country Squire and Colony Park in ’91, Olds Custom Cruiser in ’92 and the Caprice and Roadmaster Estates in 1996.

These used to be everywhere, and since they were mommy mobiles, were passed on to teenage offspring and summarily run into the ground. So really nice ones aren’t terribly common in the Year Of Our Lord, 2022. But this one made it.

As Anthony related, “Fresh for sale, 1984 Chevrolet Caprice Classic 4 dr Station Wagon. 64k miles. 305 V8. New rear fillers. New headliner. Original Maroon paint. Original wood grain. New tires. Power Steering, Power Brakes, Tilt Wheel, A/C, and 3rd row seat. $13,995. 216.470.8844.”

So if you want a dose of the past or are thinking about taking the tribe cross country to Wally World this summer, drop Anthony a line. Tell him Klockau sent ya.

15 Replies to “1984 Chevrolet Caprice Estate: Wally World or Bust!”

  1. Patrick King

    The new tan fillers in back look odd although I guess they must match the originals. I think maroon would look better.

    My lovely twenty-something neighbor Beth let me practice on her new ’68 wagon (no wood, so an Impala?) when I was sixteen. Next to Beth, the variable ratio power steering left the strongest impression.

    Reply
  2. John C.

    It would be interesing to ponder what effect the new for 1984 A body fwd 3 row wagons had on Caprice wagon sales. Then wonder what effect was had by minivans, compact Japanese three rows, and shrinking families with older mothers of the period whose effect was to prove that wagons like this were casting pearls before swine. Maybe our sisters deserved Colt Vistas?

    Reply
  3. Patrick King

    A high school classmate’s family owned a Lincoln-Mercury dealership so the mommy mobile of choice from 1966 through 1970 when I attended was the Colony Park. Another guy’s dad owned an Oldsmobile store but I don’t recall any Olds wagons. The priests, however, all drove black, current year Oldsmobiles. The Monsignor’s was an extra flashy, two-door Delta 88 Royale with a whore house red crushed velour interior that matched his vestments perfectly.

    Funny, looking back at what I just wrote, it felt weird typing “family owned” because it was always “dad” owned, just as another dad was president of Boston Edison, or another was a big shot in the Red Sox organization or a prominent lawyer. Moms were never involved, they just shuttled the kids around in their Colony Park wagons.

    And drank.

    Reply
  4. Trucky McTruckface

    My best friend’s family drove one of these almost 30 years ago. Same colors, although theirs was a ~1987 with the composite headlights and sported a then-current “Don’t Blame Me, I voted for Bush” bumper sticker. Lots of memories riding in that third row.

    This one looks better now than that one did in 1993. I remember the woodgrain was starting to flake in spots and the paint was dull from parking outside all the time. These just seemed “old” at the time – and not just because big wagons were fading. Thinking back, it actually already was the oldest car on our middle class street. Stuff still didn’t age well back then, especially there in Chicagoland. It’s amazing to think now that the average vehicle age is over 12 years…back then anything that old was rare and usually pretty bombed out.

    Reply
  5. Timothy Harris

    As a Caprice wagon owner, I am envious. A beautiful example for sure.
    Though I wonder how the 305 compares to the 307. Both my 307 wagons are/were slugs.
    Talented kids on rusty skateboards could outrun them.

    Reply
  6. Disinterested-Observer

    Love those. I just pray that Gen Z or whatever follows has the same disdain for SUVs that X/millienials have for wagons.

    Reply
    • sgeffe

      Unfortunately they’ll have disdain for anything that doesn’t put the damned planet above everything else. Welcome to glorified golf carts and commuting 15 miles one way to work on a bicycle in -10 degrees!

      Reply
      • Disinterested-Observer

        I don’t know where you hang out but the only Z’ers I know are my neighbors, who are way cooler than the older folk around here, and the kids at the kart track. I am cautiously optimistic about the future of the US in general and car culture in particular.

        Reply
  7. Carmine

    GM Engineering had one of these wagons in white, no woodgrain with the Corvette Tuned Port 5.7 swapped into it, 9C1 suspension and Corvette wheels, it was a chase car for the Corvette Engineering team, it would carry tools, spare wheels, etc, while they were out evaluating Corvette prototypes, they even swapped out the Caprice 2 spoke wheel for a Corvette wheel and had Corvette front buckets added.

    Later Buick one upped the Corvette team and swapped one of the last GNX development engines they had around into an Estate Wagon….

    Reply
  8. -Nate

    Another amazing survivor .

    I love it but then I’m not stuck driving, parking and feeding it daily .

    -Nate

    Reply

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