Although they’re dwindling, seeing a well-worn 1977-1990 Chevrolet Caprice sedan or wagon still on the road isn’t all that out of the ordinary. After all, Chevy sold millions of them, so probability clearly favors the Caprice over say, a Pontiac Parisienne. Yet while Caprice sedans and wagons are still somewhat plentiful as far as 30 year old cars go, their 2-door counterparts, which were less popular and discontinued earlier are much rarer sights.
As chronicled before, the original 1977-1979 Caprice and Impala coupes sported a distinctive three-sided bent glass rear roofline. Presumably to streamline costs and production complexities, from 1980-on all coupes used a more basic roofline similar to the sedans.
The downfall of the full-size coupe was a swift and substantial one. From 1977’s roughly 138,000 Impala and Caprice coupes sold (versus roughly 408,000 sedans), Chevrolet’s full-size coupe sales, now exclusively Caprice, were down to only 19,000 by this car’s 1984 model year (following a brief absence for 1983). By comparison, over 191,000 Impala and Caprice sedans were sold that same year. By the coupe’s final year in 1987, just over 3,000 Caprice coupes were produced versus over 184,000 Caprice sedans. Along with the Ford LTD Crown Victoria and Mercury Grand Marquis coupes that also bowed out after 1987, the Caprice 2-door was among America’s last full-size, rear-wheel drive, V8-powered coupes.
138,000 full sized coupes for 1977 is even more impressive considering the internal competition of the “A” & “A Special ” coupes that were basically the same size that year, (But then, The ’77-’79 coupes were damned pretty!)
Agree on the prettiness of the early coupes, even if the roofline is oddly reminiscent of the Datsun 310GX (but much better done!). The later one just looks stylelessly bland by comparison. For a lower volume model such as this big coupe, I’d have thought they’d have been better off using the existing tooling rather than investing in such a soul-less restyle.
I always felt it was suspicious both the Ford and the Chevy large 2doors ended the same model year. Something tells me they were both coerced into it by something other than market demand.
I find all cars of this era as having incorrect proportions and strangely overly long front and rear overhangs. Here is a ’79 Caprice photo I have modified to be more what my mind’s eye tells me it should’ve been.
Respectfully, I am very grateful that you’re not in the car design business.
LOL, Jordan thanks for the laugh. Although I’m almost 6 years late reading your comment it’s still worth a chuckle. Isn’t that just a photoshopped image of what a Pacer would want to look like if it ever grew up? It’s horrifying!
Ah yes, that John guy has very bad taste for a car design.
You turned that Caprice into a Jensen Interceptor! In overall profile it also resembles the Olds Cutlass fastback. Must admit I agree with Jordan.
Jensen Interceptor is the first thing I thought of as well!
That Olds is ugly. The Jensen Interceptor is beautiful.
Here is a design from GM that is both sensible and attractive. I prefer RWD though, and a good front/rear weight distribution which requires the front axles pushed to the front, closer to the front of the vehicle and less front overhang.
I quite like that, what is it ? Reminds me of a Renault 25.
That was a Late 80’s Corsica hatchback. I owned one & loved it.
I always felt it was suspicious both the Ford and the Chevy large 2doors ended the same model year. Something tells me they were coerced into it by something other than market demand
Another conspiracy to blame on the Trilateral Commission?
I had to google that.
No I don’t think so.
That is the ugliest thing I’ve ever seen
I don’t know what would have been doing the coercing other than market demand. The Crown Vic was up for a refresh in ’88 and the coupe’s angular roofline with opera window would have clashed with the more rounded nose and tail, whereas the slightly more conventional roofline of the sedan didn’t need to be changed to stay harmonious. And if the Caprice only sold 3000 or so units in ’87…unless someone was coercing people not to buy them, it was just a slow seller.
Well, yes and no, John. To a foreigner’s eyes. American cars of this period did look weirdly proportioned, and yes, you’ve hit on the main reason: too little wheelbase/too much overhang.
But I must disagree with your proposal – you’ve pushed the front wheels a bit too far forward (subtlety is everything in good design); the shortened tail is right but the rear roof as you’ve done it just looks odd; neither coupe nor hatchback.
The shortened overhangs make the C-pillar look HUGE. And the front wheel looks too far forward by half a foot.
The baby seat killed the coupe and two door.
Baby seats probably had a lot to do with it. It’s ironic that when I was a kid in the 50’s, 2 door cars were the choice of families with children, as “they were safer”, because there were no doors back there for the kids to tumble out of. The convenience of a 4 door gradually made inroads and by the ’80’s the proliferation of strap-in baby seats helped seal the 2 door’s fate. The demise of true two door hardtops a few years earlier also helped. Two door sedans just didn’t have the same cachet.
I had a ’78 Grand Am coupe when kids started coming along and it was no picnic belting them in to those baby seats in the back.
The advent of the child safety lock (usually a switch in the door jamb) on the rear passenger doors also helped address the issue of possibly tumbling out of the doors. I remember the first cars to have that IME were the Volvo 140 series (we had a 1973 model).
GM offered a rarely-ordered child safety lock in the 1960s. An aunt and uncle had one in a 66 Vista Cruiser. The theory was that an adult was supposed to use the car key to unlock the rear doors for the kids. The reality was that Aunt Peg kept a table knife in the back seat and the kids unlocked the doors on their own.
Back in the day a lot of people would just take off the rear interior door handles in their 4 drs.
My 1963 Renault Dauphine had read door child safety locks standard…..
You have to wonder just how many kids tumbled out of the rear seat of a moving 4 door sedan from 1950-1980. Dozens? Thousands?
The issue of a kid pulling a door handle is real. It happened to me. My oldest was about 4, and we traded our minivan for a SUV. On literally her first ride in the SUV with its sedan style doors, she pulled the door handle and popped open the door. Fortunately, we were parked at a gas station. This was 2002. The one thing I did right was she was properly belted in a child safety seat. I jumped out, and reset the handle to the child safety position. Scared the heck out of me.
My Dad, who came of age in the 50’s had a 1956 Chevy 210 4-door Sedan. When I was about to be born in 1960, he bought a 1960 Dodge Dart Senica (the one with the rocket engines on the back) and chose the coupe for that very reason… It was safer if you had kids in the back for them not to have their own doors. (He also liked the 2-door coupe style better than the sedan, and in this case like father like son). His next cars because of my sister and me were a 1966 Impala fastback hardtop, a 1968 Impala Custom, again, a 2-door hardtop, and a 1973 LTD (which became my first car)… Again a 2-door hard top. This was all while we were kids, but it continued with a Nova 2-door Concours in 1977, a Bonneville in 1980, also a 2-door… By now we were old enough that this safety idea was no longer an issue, but again, he always preferred a coupe. A 1985 Grand Prix followed that. He did not get a 4-door car until 1994, when he bought a Chrysler Concorde. By then, 2-door cars of size were on their way out. He has a 2014 Mustang now for his fun car, but his regular ride is an Acura RDX… An all too practical 4-door… Albeit an SUV. As Silverkris mentions below, now 4-doors come with that safety lock button (my wife’s 2009 Lancer has that feature), so the safety concern did in fact become a moot point.
I had to google it to see what you meant by the rocket engines. Ah yes, I remember them now….
Yes, I remember when no one used baby seats and most people in my area drove 2 door cars. My dad always had a 2 door hardtop as the family car. One of the most vivid memories I have of this is when my youngest brother was born. My other brother and I were standing in the rear of a ’64 Cutlass 2 door looking over the front seats at our new baby brother in my mom’s arms as we drove away from the hospital’s “discharge” driveway!
I was born in the mid 70s and grew up on 2dr cars as we were the kids who did open rear doors! It wasn’t till I was in High School and my youngest sister was 7 years old that my mother finally bought her fisrst 4 door car a 1992 DeVille. And yes all six of us went places in our old coupes with car seats too!
Agreed. Our normal kid car was a Ford Club Wagon. But sometimes, I had to move the car seats to my car. The 68 Newport sedan was painless, as all 3 would sit abreast in the back seat with their car seats buckled in. The 2 door 1984 Olds Ninety Eight that followed was awful. It always involved a half crawl onto the back floor with one leg in and one leg out to get each kid buckled in. This is why minivans took off.
Video killed the radio star.
Sorry, that was something else entirely. I’ve always preferred two door cars because I think they look better. The only four door cars I’ve owned, in nearly fifty years of driving, were a 1963 Plymouth and a 1965 Pontiac, both purchased cheaply back in the days when I had little money. Everything since then has been a two door; a VW Beetle, a Vega, several Mustangs, etc. There aren’t many two doors left, in any case I’m in good shape as long as I’m limber enough to get into and out of my current Mustang.
I like the 77-90 Chevs more than the BOPs. But I never liked two tone colouring on them. Nice find Brendan.
Oddly we have a similar story in Europe with the decline of two door cars of any type other than hatchbacks and sportscars. It used to be normal to sell two door cars in every size from mid-size up: Ford Escort two door saloons, Ford Taunus/Ford Sierra two door saloons, Ford Granada two door saloons. The rot started at the top with large two door saloons dying off first (among the non-prestige makers). Finally, even cars in the Focus/Astra/Golf class are seldom sold as three doors though the Golf is holding out thanks to the special appeal of the GTi (I haven´t looked to see if they *actually* do sell one any more.
And yes, I subscribe to the child seat argument though surely not everyone in the whole car buying world has a child under six to carry about? Additinally, the rise of the SUV must be partly to blame.
Yet, Mercedes and BMW continued to sell two door coupes and still do, under a variety of names. So why do rich people want a 2 two door coupe more than less rich people? There is an answer but I am not in the mental state to provide it.
I love this website, by the way. Keep up the good work.
“And yes, I subscribe to the child seat argument though surely not everyone in the whole car buying world has a child under six to carry about? Additinally, the rise of the SUV must be partly to blame.”
I do agree that the SUV or folks with small children could be to blame for the lack of Coupes but I submit another idea for you, the death of the coupe is also being caused by the generation of drivers that had to suffer being crammed into the back seat of a 2 door car in the 1980’s and 1990’s as children and vowed never to own a coupe.
As for why rich folks want 2 door cars more then less rich people, the answer is simple, because it is something they can get that others cannot.
Back in the early Victorian times (late 1830’s to 1860’s) gas lighting for the home was a new thing and only the rich could afford it. By the late 1860’s no innovations pertaining to gas creation and piping allowed the price of gas lighting to drop like a stone. Thus even the poor could afford it. Rich folks then started buying and using candles again because they cost more then gas and then moved onto electric light in the 1880’s.
My parents had an ’85 Cavalier Type-10 notchback when I was young (mom smashed it when I was 10 or 11), and my parents even then vowed they’d never own another two-door car. “It’s so hard to get stuff in and out,” mom would say. Truth be told, she probably hated listening to me in the back seat whine about how damned hot it was because she didn’t want the window all the way down and the car had no A/C and the back seats just had pop-out vent windows.
And she was right about the getting stuff in and out. I had an ’89 Buick Riviera for less than a year, and that car was a nightmare getting people or things into the back seats.
Frankly, I don’t miss coupes, I don’t like coupes, and I don’t honestly care if they ever make another one. I’m quite happy that Ford’s making the NA market Fiesta ST in five-door form. Makes the car incredibly useful.
I love the look of coupes, but I don’t miss them.
So maybe it was the downsizing (less space) and cheapening of fittings (no opening rear windows) that caused kids to want something better for rear passengers when they started driving? Interesting line of thought there.
generation of drivers that had to suffer being crammed into the back seat of a 2 door car in the 1980’s and 1990’s as children and vowed never to own a coupe.
No offense but if a KID is suffering from being “crammed” into a coupe back seat maybe the parents should buy healthier food so they’re winded from bending around the seat – which by the way is NO DIFFERENT than accessing the third row in a minivan.
I can buy the child seat argument for parents, they’ve got a lot of stresses on their plate, but kids? They spend recess flying through tubes and slides and jumping off swingsets, the notion of being cramped and suffering is laughable. Kids are pretty limber by design, there’s stunts I did on the playground at 10 where if I did them now I’d probably break several bones.
The rear seats in many modern coupes (say, Camaro or that Scion/Subaru RWD thing) are tiny even for thin, fit kids. And the 3rd row in a minivan is much easier to access than a coupe backseat – a high roof, often an aisle alongside or between the second row, even access from the tailgate (with the other half of the third row folded down) offer easier access from multiple angles. The seat itself has more room as well.
I remember not being able to stretch my legs out in some coupe rear seats when I was a kid, and not having adequate headroom in some. Limber as I may have been, that’s still uncomfortable.
space inefficient Ponycars and sport compacts aren’t the only coupes in the world… well they didn’t used to be. Strangely the current Challenger is one of the easiest coupes to access the rear seats and be comfortable, chalk it up to it’s long wheelbase, My MN12 Cougar isn’t bad either, except for tangling yourself in the afterthought 3 point belt. I grew up with minivans, I often got relegated to the third row and I’ll say from personal experience roof height over a coupe made no difference, whether squeezing my way back there in our Villager on the way to school or squeezing into my friend’s Mom’s Tempo coupe on the way back. It was the exact same movement and the same exact confinement.
I’ll also add that It’s utter punishment in a S/CUV with a third row, I’d rather cram myself in a FR/S back seat anyday over one of those again.
“As for why rich folks want 2 door cars more then less rich people, the answer is simple, because it is something they can get that others cannot.”
You dont have to be ‘rich’ to own a stylish 2 door. V6 variants of the current pony cars are relatively affordable, and you dont have to be an oil tycoon to feed them. In a longterm test, a Hellcat Challenger hit 26.5 mpg on a highway stretch. Granted, it was relatively flat and he was crawling at 55 mph…but this is a 4000+ lb, 707 hp monster. In mixed driving, itll get in the low-mid 20s all day.
But coupes have been distilled to performance cars and a few high end luxury grand tourers for good reason. Thats where the design makes the most sense. The ‘rich’ tend to own them because when you can afford to have something cool, why wouldnt you? That doesnt mean there isnt something more sensible tucked out of sight for the drudgery of kiddie hauling, if thats necessary.
The hellcat is a toy for the rich, near rich at least.
I don’t think the rich only buy two doors because of the snobbish thought that regular people can’t have them and they can, that’s ridiculous, especially when you consider the vast amount of high end uber expensive 4 doors they have -Teslas, Rollers, Beltleys, Aston Martin Rapides, Porsche Panameras, Maserati Quattroportes, etc. If anything the high end sedan market is GROWING these days, with 2 door declining or at least stagnant. I rarely see two door Bimmers apart from 3 series, and that’s pretty much BMW’s Mustang, Mercedes almost never. Plus there is this thing called the used car market and lots of super cheap 2 doors are in it, I drive a 22 year old one and, believe me, it aint accidentally getting me into any country clubs lol
I think it has little to do with rich/poor, I think it has more to do with specialty brands sticking with their heritage and mass production brands going for maximum profit by cutting bulk to survive. 60 years ago there was pretty much 1 basic car per brand, today there’s at least 5 on at least three different platforms, and even that daunting amount has been cut down since the 90s. I think what’s really happened is”segments” have largely replaced “bodystyle” as choice in the mainstream market.
Well that’s what Im getting at. I don’t think the ‘rich’ drive the 2 door bodystyle for some elitist reason…the brand, maybe. But the bodystyle would be because it looks gorgeous and/or it offers real performance. As I see it, when price is no object, nor is having to commit to doing everything with just one set of wheels then those with the means will usually have some sporty car. Those are cars you ‘want’, as opposed to an appliance that is just there for transportation.
The problem with the Hellcats is theyre just so tough to find. Only top performing dealerships can get them, for one. And when one DOES show up, it gets snapped up. With the markups, theyre around $70K and that’s not far of what youd spend on an Escalade, loaded diesel truck etc. But what Im seeing is that the Scat Pack 392 is the pick of the litter. I built one (Challenger) on Dodge’s website and it was $41K and change. That car will consistently run low 12’s on good tires. $20-$30K saved on the buy in allows a LOT of upgrades….
No doubt, other “lesser” models are obtainable enough, I only really took exception to the Hellcat example. I suspect the value will only climb on those to boot, sort of like the 05/6 Ford GT.
I think if there is a distinction the wealthy are more prone to having more than one car than most, and in more recent years people tend to plan way WAY ahead with the thought that they’ll keep the car for several years, and try and plan their life around potential needs of them, whether they ever fully utilize them or not. Two doors brings up mental questions like “what if I have kids!?!”, “what if I get a job where I need to carpool!?!”, “OMG what if I lose that job and need to be an Uber driver!!!!”
I attribute the 2/4 door change to both parents working these days. Growing up dad usually had a 2-door car or his motorcycle that he took to work. It was usually just him so no need for 4 doors. Mom had the big car or van, because she would be the one shuttling us kids around to church, etc. Mom didn’t always have a 4-door, but having kids meant needing more room and easier in/out. These days both parents work and getting kids in/out of a 2-door is a pain. Had this issue with my ex-wife. She wanted the 2-door BMW 3-Series that was sale when her youngest was in a baby seat. One winter of getting him in/out and she was done. BMW became mine (I was stepdad so not much time for the kids in my car) and she got a 4-door Cherokee followed by 4 doors vehicles from that time on.
The top photos in this article illustrate well what has happened
to car windows in the last thirty years. Look at the 300M next
to the Caprice 2dr. And I don’t buy that rollover standards and
other safety issues cannot be addressed without resorting to
such tiny slits of windows. And I’d love to view some of these
“consumer studies” that suggest they feel safer behind windows
that actually make it more dangerous to drive!
The new Continental appears to have a decent-sized greenhouse, especially compared to the current Taurus and MKS.
Chevrolet actually discontinued the Caprice coupes for the 1982-1983 model years but brought them back for 1984.
Caprice coupes were not present only for the 1983 model year. They were still produced for 1982.
That’s what I get for relying on Wikipedia.
Nice looking well made cars these were .
A Shop Supervisor I worked with , a nice older Japanese fellow , bought a ’77 new , light blue metallic and tended it well , when he decided to sell it , no one wanted it for $700 so the druggie field service guy got it and thrashed it as he was getting fired and so on….
There is a correlation between the diminishing and ultimate demise of the full-size two door models when those changed from being B-pillarless hardtops to their final pillared, full-door-window-framed configuration. Two door hardtops had a cache and appeal that pushed their sales volume. The opera-windowed coupes were a short-term fascination that dwindled quickly, leaving cars of no special appeal, ergo falling sales and a good reason to end production.
Actually, the 1980-87 coupe rear glass is not the same as the 1980-90 sedan. The coupe glass has a slight curvature at the bottom of the glass that flows into the rear deck whereas the sedan back glass is completely flat.
I have always thought that the full size Chevy coupe would have remained more popular had they kept the hot-wire bent glass but nonetheless as others have stated, the market was working against coupes.
Re: YourSoundMan’s comment… .I believe the high beltline in today’s cars is at least somewhat influenced by the high rear deck of most new cars. If the deck is where it is today and the windows were lower, it would look decidedly even more awkward.
Lotta potential in those Caprices.
And even the ’77-’79 2-doors look better to me now than they did when first out. Took me a few decades to get that 3-sides rear glass.
Still like the wagons of that era best.
I’d like to hear from a few people re the ease of child car seat use in some of the newer four door sedans that I see, particularly those with very sloped roofs in the rear!
As much as I liked the look of the 77-79 coupe, I disliked the look of these. Just dull. Not that the 2 door Fords looked any better. The C body Olds/Buick/Cadillac had the best looking 2 doors in those final rwd years.
Compared to the bent-glass ’77 to ’79 models these are rather bland. Nice find regardless, especially with the two-tone paint and in what appears to be excellent condition other than the missing hubcaps.
Olds, Buick, and Cadillac managed to create more stylish C-body two-doors, and I’d even say that the B-body Lesabre/Delta coupes were more stylish than their Caprice stablemates.
How timely this sighting is for me. Back in the 90’s, I owned a low mileage 84 Landau Coupe. Always regretted letting it go. Two weeks ago, a friend called and said he was in the local u pull it yard and saw something with my name all over it. It was an 80 Caprice Landau Coupe that the yard owner was wanting to sell as a whole car, rather than part out. I took a look and found a very straight body, and other than the typical sagging headliner, and cracked dash pad, a very clean and complete interior. The price was right, the only fly in the ointment was that I could not hear it run. This being Tucson, the car had been sitting for a while so pack rats had set up shop in the engine compartment. Chewed wires, and vacuum lines made me hedge on it but, I went ahead and bought it, cleaned up the engine compartment and have begun re-wiring and re-vacuum hosing and should have it running this weekend….I fall into the group who didn’t care for the 77-79 rear window, thought it grew on me over the years. As for the 80, I always felt the Chevy coupe roofline and rear window looked better than the awkwardly stiff ones on Pontiacs, Oldsmobiles, Buicks and Cadillacs. Here’s my new project…
Kudos for saving that from the scrapman! Despite my preference for the older models, this one was clearly too good to go to waste and they are getting quite rare.
I wonder why the roof is red and the rest of the car gray…?
It had a dark red vinyl top that was in shreds from the Arizona sun, when I pulled it off, I found burgundy overspray. The window and door frames were painted burgundy at the factory to match the interior and vinyl top, this must have been and 80 only thing as my 84 had the frames painted the same color as the body, not the dark brown like the roof was. I never knew it until I got this car but, the rear side window frames are not metal, they are a rubber type material with chrome Mylar accents. The passenger side one is not in good shape…I’ll probably never find another replacement. Here’s a picture of the overspray I found under the vinyl top.
Looks nice Jimmy ;
I get my vehicles from Junk Yards as they’re often untouched all original , they way I like ’em ~ no DPO / DPM bodges to sort out , just normal wear and tear .
This is the first one I’ve ever bought from a junkyard. It shows 75,000 miles but the salvage yard says 175,000. I don’t see that kind of wear on it and as you stated, it’s not been messed with, other than by the pack rats!
I JUST saw one of these recently in the hardware store parking lot, I can count on one hand how many coupe Caprices in this bodystyle I’ve ever seen so it really stood out to me. I actually like them quite a lot, more so than the fast glass 77s.
Just to posit another variable on what killed the coupe – integrated lap/shoulder belts. I’m not sure when the mandate was made(if it even was a mandate and not just something that became an industry standard) but there’s no way to get into any coupe made from the 80s or beyond without getting a facefull of shoulder belt. When they were separate on 70s and 60s cars it was no real problem, you fold the seat down and enter it exactly like you do a limousine, the shoulder belt was mounted to the roof as a completely separate belt from the lap one, so if front seat passengers didn’t wear them or any seatbelt at all they’d be completely out of the way for both ingress and egress
Man, that ‘updated’ roofline is horrible. Makes no sense on a 2-door. The first gen with the faux hardtop and angled glass looks very athletic for such a big car.
My long time friend had a clean lower mileage 1986 Landau coupe Caprice in gold with the tan split bench seat interior that featured dual fold down front seat armrests back in the 1990’s. It had the 165 HP 305 4BBL with the optional 2.73 rear gears, F41 and gauge package. That car was a blast for the time and served him quite well for the 3 years he had it. Despite the low Hp rating by today’s standards it would easily do a burn out and had no trouble getting up to high speeds and the F41 suspension made that big car handle. He misses it to this day and would love to find another clean low miles example. Lots of cool memories in that car!
“Yet while Caprice sedans and wagons are still somewhat plentiful as far as 30 year old cars go, their 2-door counterparts, which were less popular and discontinued earlier are much rarer sights.”
The seventies two-doors may not have survived as well as the four-doors because of the super long doors. I had a ’74 Nova two-door hatchback which was a beater by the time I got rid of it in ’87. The door hinge got so loose from the weight and leverage of that long door, you had to lift up the end of it to get it to latch.
Ah the GM door sag…. That was still going on in the 1980’s with the both the 2 door G body(Cutlass, Regal, Monte, GP) and the 2 door A- Body cars.
This happened on 4 door cars too and from other manufacturers. Most notably my friend’s 1987 AMC Eagle wagon in which all 4 doors are sagging so bad you can literally lift up on them and feel the looseness. He has to really slam the driver’s door just to get it to latch and most of the time has to do it twice.
just another thought on the subject from someone who had a lot of ‘personal luxury coupe’ two doors back in the day and has been driving 4 doors(and a minivan) only in the last several years.
buddy wanted to borrow my 4 dr grand Cherokee for a holiday to a remote cottage as he was concerned his grand am gt 2dr wouldn’t handle the roads.
I found it was ok to drive except swinging those doors and making sure I had room to swing them open and shut got real old real quick! I quickly remembered the foot straight out doorstop on any sort of incline and found myself doing the parking spot ‘wiggle’ quite often and wonder if getting tired of that may have helped the ending of the two looonnng doors as well?
Another development that killed the big coupe was a lack of development and updating.
The full-size segment became ossified during the ’80s as the threat of oil price spikes and CAFE meant the manufacturers cared little to develop the cars, and were generally prepared to cancel them on short notice if need be. The big Ford coupe was essentially stuck in 1979, with a design that would have been leading edge in 1975. The Chevy was stuck with a duller version of its basic 1977 car. Neither car represented historically the best big coupes of either brand. To bad the designs didn’t get stuck in 1965 instead of 1979-80.
The ’80s were my high school and college years. My cohort generally regarded any thing in the full-size segment as an old mans car. There was a small following for the ’77 – ’79 Impala / Caprice coupe, and a couple of friends had one for a few years.
Otherwise, there was almost no one under about the age of 40 that would consider buying a large car, and the youngest buyers were probably family people that preferred sedans and wagons – and I think those people felt like they had to buy such cars, and were increasingly eager to jump into minivans and especially SUVs after 1991 when the four door Ford Explorer was introduced. While the retired set did buy a lot a lot of large coupes in the ’60s and ’70s, those people started dying off by the mid 1980s. My Grandfather was a perfect example, he drove a ’67 Caprice coupe from ’67 to ’78, bought a ’78 Caprice sedan, and passed in 1984. People over 50, such as my dad, kept the big RWD sedan business busy through the 1980s.
By the mid-eighties the flair of the coupe was all but gone. People no longer cared about the better looking (in most cases) coupe that was all the rage in the 70’s. Look at the Coupe deVille – what was once THE best selling Cadillac model was discontinued by 1994. Heck, when my Dad went to buy his 1990 Cadillac deVille my Mom and I literally begged him to get a Sedan deVille and he insisted on a Spring Edition Coupe deVille.
I’ve had the hardest time finding parts for my 2 door caprice classic. In specific I’m trying to replace the door shells and window frames. I’ve found the weather stripping for the doors but the doors themselves need to be replaced. If anyone can point me the right direction I would appreciate it. So far classic industries has the majority of what I’m looking for.
@ Jess :
West Coast craigslist ? .