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4th Gen Chevy Caprice: The Triumphant Last Hurrah of American Land Ship Sedans
With the possible exception of the Ford Crown Victoria, the end of the affordable American luxury sedan came in 1996 with this car. A General Motors product beloved in the 1990s just as it's sought after and desirable today. This is the fourth generation Chevrolet Caprice, and it's all the car you'll ever need.

4th Gen Chevy Caprice: The Triumphant Last Hurrah of American Land Ship Sedans

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Just for a bit of fun, let's take a deep dive into one of the very last entry-level large executive American sedans. A car people can't help but admire 25 to 30 years later. For a bit of context, the Caprice is one of those General Motors monikers that are as old as the hills.

First hitting the roads in 1965, the Caprice remained in production in some form or another until 2017. Although, to say the Caprice had more evolutions than the average Digimon episode would be a complete understatement.

By the late 80s and very early 90s, the iconic and ever-present third-gen Caprice, also known as the "Box Chevy" had already been in production for three calendar decades. As we all no doubt know, the 90s was the very end of the American auto industry's square body design phase. Out were boxy, dull designs, replaced by aerodynamic and smooth body lines that cut through highway air a bit easier than their predecessors.

The fourth-generation Caprice was no exception. In fact, it was probably the car that benefited the most from this profound shift in design philosophy. The result of its new body designed by GM engineer Ben Salvador was elegant in a way older Caprice models simply weren't

Under the hood of this 214.1-inch long (5,438 mm), 5,166 pound (2,343 kg) four-door leviathan was a selection of engines that make the one or two turbo four-cylinder offerings you find in most new sedans today feel like food blender motors. It went big or go home for this breed of Caprice. The smallest engine on offer was a 4.3 liter GM LB4 V6 engine explicitly for service in Taxi fleets.

Other offerings include the 4.3-liter GM L99 V8 engine offered as an economical option for civilian Caprice sedans and station wagons. Early examples from 1990 to 1993 offered the five-liter L03 V8 as the most common choice among Caprice buyers. But the motor everybody drools over is the 5.7-liter Corvette derived L05 V8 from 1991 to 1993 and the LT1 V8 in the Caprice SS trim package from 1994 until production's conclusion in 1996.

Yes, these engines were slightly detuned compared to their fiberglass sports car cousin's engine. But the wonderful thing about GM small block engines is there's almost always a way to make all those ponies back up with a toolset and a pair of jack stands. Just try doing that with an Audi; good luck with that venture. You'll need it!

This being the very earliest days of On-Board Diagnostic (OBD) capability with a digitally programmed engine control module, it was now possible to make tuning corrections not with a screwdriver and carburetor but with a laptop and some software.


There are even those who've swapped 4L60 automatic transmission in their B-Body GM Cars on the same chassis as the Caprice with a Borg-Warner six-speed manual transmission from an early 2000s Camaro to make a burnout machine you can also drive your children to school with.

Couple that with a smooth butter ride and an interior more comfortable than some modern Mercedes-Benz and Lexus sedans. Add it all up, have the recipe for a valuable and sought-after future classic that's now old enough to just be called a classic.

Unlike other cars on the GM B platform like the Buick Roadmaster and the Cadillac Fleetwood, the Caprice can still routinely demand very high resale value on their looks and engine alone. A decent example with only 60,000 or so miles can quickly sell for $13,500.

The big-daddy SS package from this era can easily fetch $30,000. So if you have one of these in good shape, don't drive it. It could mean the difference between some cold, hard cash. Did we mention there was a wagon? That statement sells itself better than any long-winded dissertation. 

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