By now I think most of you know of my land-yacht refurbishing friend in Spokane, Jason Bagge. He’s had pretty much one of every ’70s gunboat, sometimes more than one! For instance, I conservatively estimate he’s had at least fifteen 1971-76 Chevrolet Caprices, Impalas and Bel Airs. His latest acquisition is today’s subject, affectionately termed The Clunker: A 1971 Caprice. I’ll let him give you all the details. These are excerpted from posts he’s done on the car between late October and now. -TK
“1971 Chevrolet Caprice 4 door hardtop. Runs great. Has some rust issues here and there and someone torched out the rear wheel lips on the both sides-fender skirts are not an option right now. But I don’t care really. It’s a 1971-more pluses than minuses and I can hop in and drive it. There are parts on this car that are perfect. The expensive ones. That brushed aluminum tail panel piece and the grille are worth almost as much as what I paid for the whole car. I’m going to tinker with it.”
“She’s a beater-but it’s perfect for the winter-however-I will get her a bit cleaner anyways-because I love to do it. Went out and did a little work in the dark on the ’71. I put the upper seatbelt clips in the factory spots and re-installed them the way they should be. But the best part? I noticed the little buckle on the left side of the hood-so I put my weight on it and heard the metal “pop” and it stayed flat after pushing a few more areas. Going to tap down the upwards dent in the morning and apply pressure where it’s needed-pretty sure I just saved the hood.”
“Looking at the old ’71 Caprice-some might think 2,500 was too much-but it’s not really. It’s a driver-and I’ll show you what 2,000 dollars looks like. Right here. 1,500 for that rear brushed aluminum tail panel piece and a perfect non-rusted-or dented-500 dollar rear bumper. That’s the going rate for these parts alone.”
“3 hours in. Aftermarket body side trim is gone, all the stickers removed and removing rust stains.”
“Daily driver status. Runs great. Took the ’71 on its first voyage around downtown and running errands. I’m still going to do some stuff to this thing. Whitewalls out, new front glass, tune-up-etc. Some hammer and dolly work-saved the hood.”
“Topped off the transmission with fluid and some Lucas, topped off the brake fluid, changed the fuse for the cigarette lighter (works perfect), threw on some better wiper blades and put 2 cans of Berryman’s in the ’71 Caprice. She’s ready to rock. Still want to turn the whitewalls out. Maybe tomorrow. Just barely beat the rain.”
“Using the rainy weather to my advantage and getting the surface rust out of the paint on the entire car. It’s not a bad idea if it works right?”
“Been wanting to take these shots for a few days now. 1971 Caprice 4 door hardtop and the 1973 Impala Custom Coupe 2 door hardtop. Both run perfectly.”
“This car is fun to drive. The 400 under the hood moves nicely. The scour pad Comet wash I did on this thing yesterday made a HUGE difference.”
“Rain, snow-whatever. Work continues. I’ll clean the other side sometime soon. Had to come back inside. “The Clunker” is going to change up a bit-for the better.”
“Started attacking the interior on “The Clunker”. Vacuumed out, removed the rear seat cover over the brocade, started cleaning the door panels-still am going to clean the carpets. Might try and ditch the hitch on the back. 4 bolts and it’s gone.”
“Driving old cars is fun. I always get a kick out of walking out into the parking lot and seeing something like this sitting there. Gas prices? Pffffft. I don’t care. I get “smiles per gallon”. I have a lead foot too. lol. I can mob these cars around like go-carts. Haha.”
“The Clunker rips. No problems getting around in this garbage. Fired right up on the first click this morning too-just hummin’. One thing I was stoked on-I found the Hooptown 90’s throwback station on the radio-no more Christian music. I can only handle so much of the God Squad tunes. This car needs lots of work-but it’s a 1971 Caprice 4 door hardtop–which makes it instantly dope.”
“Got all of the front molding and chrome done. CLR’d and cleaned-including the grille. I ordered a new front windshield for this thing-it will be on Tuesday weather depending. A few other things on order as well.”
“Decided to clean the door jambs and grille today. I was using a cleaner called “Fastball”. Works great-plus the hot soap from the car wash. Thinking I am going to tighten up the valve covers and trans pan-then steam clean it and see how it looks afterwards. New front glass coming soon….”
“Messing around with a little paint blending. It’s a patina car-but want it to get a little bit cleaner.”
“It’s a no sun cold one out there today-but still had some fun rolling around with the ’71 Caprice. Got even more cleanup done on it this morning. The new front glass is going to make a big difference on this.”
“The ’71 Caprice needs some rust repair on the lower rear quarters,wheel arches and the front fenders-and I thought it was pretty bad-until I just scoped out cars from Minnesota and back East. I don’t even care about the ’71’s rust anymore. lol.”
“Before and after weather permitting. Since October 29th to today-I’m turning “The Clunker” into an original patina ride-just much cleaner. More work coming……”
“My inbox blew up from people asking me to sell my ’71 Caprice-then the ’73 Impala. One guy told me the ’71 4 door wasn’t sought after-I had to ask why he wanted mine so badly then, lol. Lots of dudes were asking if it had that brushed tail panel piece-which it does. The conversation shifted a bit when I mentioned I knew how much that single piece was worth. I could probably let the ’71 go down the line-but that ’73 2 door isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.”
“New front glass installed this morning. More stuff to do today. Busy, busy, busy.”
“Said ‘goodbye’ to the trailer hitch forever. The ground was nice and cold-but it worked.”
“Did a tune-up on this thing this morning only to have the starter go out. But-it’s getting there. I’ll fix it and get it back up and going again.”
“Didn’t do the starter yet-but I DID get down on the ground and clean everything on the front of the chassis and repaint everything gloss black. Might go over and see if I can tighten up the transmission pan after I warm back up.”
(Most recent update, from today, 11/20) “Working on the ’71 a little bit. I had to straighten the front plate frame, remove rust from the front bumper, cleaned the rear bumper behind the plates-the Idaho plates are gone and buttoned a few things up. I would paint the brackets, but it’s 27 degrees outside.”
To be continued. Until next time keep calm, always tip your bartender…and Issa Caprese!
That may not be the Blues mobile but he is on a mission from god. Looks great and glad to see it looking good. Miss seeing them around and in every driveway.
Saw a 1972 Adam 12 episode on Metv last week where two remarkably well dressed, drug dealing addicts had stolen a 71 Chevy hardtop, Caprice. It turns out they had murdered a young hype for not paying and their guilt had exonerated a frequently drunk, disappointed father whom mama had got arrested. It was generous of Jack Webb to see that the scum now in your living room was at least well dressed. you don’t get that respect today.
Adam 12-I actually own a 1974 Dodge Monaco 4 door sedan-but it is in Montana at the moment. 🙂
As always, Jason knocked it out of the ballpark. Always impressed with his work!
So nice to see a plan come together.
A very nice writeup .
I hope he goes full bore on this, not many left .