1973 Chevrolet Caprice Classic Convertible; 2-door; body/style 67
Owners: Bernie and Janice Taulborg Collection
Original cost: $4,345.00; (In 1973: Average car cost $3,750.00; average household income, $13,900.00; average home cost $34,900.00; gallon of gas, 55 cents)
Previous owner(s): Owners were from Lincoln, NE up to 1989; Bernie and Janice Taulborg Collection, 1989 –
Number made: 7,339
Engine, etc.: 400 cu. in., 150 hp; V-8; overhead valve; automatic; 121 ½ in. wheelbase; 4,191 lbs.
Ford introduced a luxury series, the LTD, in 1965 and Chevrolet followed by introducing the luxury trim package Caprice that year. The market rewarded Chevrolet with strong sales. Amenities offered in the Caprice trim level included walnut trim dash and door panels, pull straps on the doors, and additional convenience lights. Options included power steering, white sidewall tires, automatic transmission, and vinyl top.
In 1973 the Impala, which had been the top-of-the-line model from Chevrolet, was downgraded and the Caprice became the new top-offering. Caprice was also given an additional name and became known as the Caprice Classic.
The Caprice Classic was the only full-size convertible remaining in the Chevrolet line-up by 1973. It was only available for three years.
Power steering and power front disc brakes were standard as was an automatic transmission. A new 22-gallon fuel tank provided longer cruising range. Rising fuel costs had consumers looking for alternatives to thirsty V-8 luxury vehicles and sales of the Caprice Classic slowed. By 1975 Chevrolet had switched to a 350 cu. in. V-8 as standard instead of the 400 cu. in.
Slight redesigns were made in 1974 and 1977. The restyling of 1977 lasted through 1996 with other major updates in 1980, 1986, and 1991. The Caprice was Motor Trend’s “Car of the Year” in 1977 and 1991. In 1983 it was on Car and Driver magazine’s “Ten Best List”.
In 1997 Chevrolet decided to replace the Caprice with the Lumina LTZ. Many within GM thought the market was shifting from large vehicles to SUV’s. Slumping sales, outdated styling and technology, and faith in other models spelled the end for the Caprice.
Sources: Standard Catalog of American Cars, 1946 – 1974. John Gunnell. Rev. 4th ed. Krause Publications, 2002.
See also: http://www.oldcarbrochures.com/static/NA/Chevrolet/1973_Chevrolet/1973_Chevrolet_Brochure/dirindex.html (Original 1973 brochure)