They’re getting rarer by the day. What was once a common occurrence is now something to document, even if it’s almost gone by the time the camera is ready to fire.
Amazingly, these are still a semi-common sight in Indy, and oftentimes still in fairly rust-free shape. It’s on my short bucket list of cars to own a box Chevy, that and some flavor of G body coupe (Monte Carlo or Cutlass Supreme).
I’ve done the Olds, Buick and Cadillac, but not a Pontiac or a Chevy. I will leave those for you. I think the Pontiac is the only one I have never driven. With the right engine/transmission, they are nice driving cars. My law school roommate had a 77 Impala coupe with a 305/THM. I think it was a more pleasant combo than the 307/4 speed auto in the three that I owned. A 350/350 would be really nice, I would think.
I still haven’t gotten to the point of feeling compelled to document every B-body I see. There’s an ’85 Caprice (with Massachusetts tags) that’s daily driven near me, as well as a Delta 88, and others that I see occasionally.
Now, I will slam on the brakes for any 2-door B-body I come across!
The only ones I really stop and look over are the ’77-81 Pontiacs, the rarest of the breed. Maybe it’s because my family had a ’77 Bonneville Brougham I frequently drove, but also because I find it the best looking (at least on the inside – great dashboard). Plus the relatively short-lived Pontiac V8, their last new engine before GM centralized engine development. It’s the end of the line for “real” full-size Pontiacs – the Parisienne (post-81 especially) was a Chevy, the H-body Bonnevilles were nice but generic GM with Buick-derived engines, and the G8 was a Holden.
Today´s automotive landscape is soooo boring. Miss the old times with sedans, land yatches, huge station wagons, minivans, big vans, trucks and all kinds of rides coexisted peacefully on the face of this land. Today, almost every other car category is
extinct in favor of the threatening SUV and weak wanna be SUVs. Sad….
I don’t have a lot of experience with these cars, but I have two distinct memories: a green ’77 Impala coupe (complete with that weird “hot bent wire” rear glass) my boss at a restaurant where I worked back in college had. Then there was a ’78 Buick (Le Sabre?), also green, ‘cuz wasn’t every car back then some nauseating tone of green, brown, or gold?. The Buick was owned by a colleague at the historical society. He was very proud of his ride and it was immaculate. But that was over 20 years ago. Hardly ever see these barges today.
cool cars… i was in grade 4 in 77 when this model came out and instantly i hated the colonades. but today… dam…. i’m liking thos 71-76 ones again.
I came so close to photographing a Caprice or Impala yesterday! Unfortunately, it was a donk that was either choking on ethanol in its carburetors, being driven by someone who had never been taught how to start a carbureted car, or both. It was basically being driven around the super-market parking lot in thirty-foot bursts before stalling again. I wish I could say exactly what model it was, but it had an aftermarket chrome radiator shell and other added-on bling in place of its original identifiers.
Almost hard to imagine these came out almost 44 years ago.
I prefer the pre-81 version 4-door Impala/Caprice, before they went to the semi-formal roof and adopted the computer feedback carburetor.
Not that I need it this time, but why does this site no longer have an ‘edit’ option?
It does when I type a reply on my iPhone using iOS and Safari, not on my laptop running Windows and Chrome. I don’t get it either.
They shoot B-Boxes, don’t they?
My Uncle Lou owned a 1977 Chevrolet Caprice Classic Coupe with the wrap around rear window. It was silver with a black cloth interior. He ordered it so it had the color and options that he wanted. Uncle Lou was my dad’s older brother and a lifelong bachelor so he was able to, in my dad’s words, fritter away his money on such things like cloth seats, power windows, power locks and a stereo system while we endured cars with vinyl interior and AM/FM radio (speakers in front only though my dad did spring for air conditioning). We lived in Birmingham, Alabama so my uncle drove down to visit us for a week or so. I still remember my first ride in that car with me in the back seat and my dad in the front: the comfort of the cloth interior on that hot August day, the chill of the air conditioning, and the smell of my uncle’s freshly lit cigarette. I thought it was the height of luxury and has undoubtedly influenced my love of Chevrolet vehicles today.
Those two tone “caramel and creme” paint jobs were really popular on the ’77 an ’78 Monte Carlos that I helped screw together during my time at GM. Just like that two tone green Grand Prix, I like all those two tones. My buddy had a Black and silver ’77 Bonneville coupe, really nice.
…and to think the whole world thought those were “all-new” cars just as they were advertised, when the truth is that they were just re-skinned last-year’s “A” bodies with a few metric bolts thrown in for good measure.
I have to admit, they did a great job of re-skinning the ugly-ass “A”s. In particular, the bent-glass 2-door “B”s are mighty attractive for being big boxes.
If GM had had enough engineering muscle to put a real engine and transmission in them, and tune the suspension properly, they’d have been world-class instead of “mostly competent”. Picture one with a proper “Vortec 5.7”, real fuel injection, and a 4L80 transmission; riding on 16–17 inch wheels, and shorter, stiffer springs.
“If GM had had enough engineering muscle to put a real engine and transmission in them, and tune the suspension properly, they’d have been world-class instead of “mostly competent”
A 1977 Caprice with the 350 4bbl, Turbo Hydramatic 350 and F41 was as close to world class as any other full size car available at the time…The 77 B-body was definitely a GM greatest hit
“…and to think the whole world thought those were “all-new” cars just as they were advertised, when the truth is that they were just re-skinned last-year’s “A” bodies with a few metric bolts thrown in for good measure.”
That is a common myth that annoyingly keeps get repeated. Once again the B-bodies were not just reskinned A-bodies or new bodies on the old frames. While the basic chassis design is the same, the newer B-bodies have a completely different frame. Some of the suspension parts are very similar in design and geometry, but that’s about it. Of course the bodies are completely unrelated and the B-bodies are much more space efficient.
I’d also argue that the powertrains were great for the era. A Chevrolet with the LM1 350 and a TH350 with a 8.5″ 10 bolt was about the best the USA had to offer in that era. It’d also run high 16 second quarter miles (C/D test), which was amazing for that time. The F41 suspension was also high lauded, and had excellent handling, with the only big downfall being the live rear axle. While no Mercedes, for the price, they were pretty much “world class.”
I was in high school when these were introduced and I thought they were some of the handsomest cars ever by GM….Even the advertising was impressive….I long for those days when GM was a jugernaut
And, you picked the handsomest of them all to share with us. A 1978 version of almost that exact car circulated through our family for 16 or so years, and I had the privilege of riding in it and driving it over many pleasant miles. That two-tone red with the slick top was just perfect on this body and seemed to really accent its lines. We had the lace sport wheel covers as shown, a nice upgrade over the standard full wheel covers.
For an added touch, ours had the dual body color sport mirrors, the car pictured makes due with the standard chrome shell mirror with interior remote.
My grandfather purchased it new, and it went to my mother in 1981 when he could no longer drive. For about a year, until I bought my own car, my mother all but handed it to me to drive it to school and my after school job. Very low miles at the time, very fancy wheels indeed for a high school kid. My dad usually drove his company car, and my mom piloted his personal 1976 LTD. I was never sure how that worked out in my favor, but I was smart enough to stay quiet, maintain it in immaculate appearance, and enjoy my good fortune.
Maybe that’s what made me a big car junkie. I bobbed, weaved, and did whatever it took to drive a rear wheel drive V-8 until 1995, when a brand new Chrysler Concorde 3.5 arrived in my life. With its longitudinal engine and 214 horses, I had completely dodged the malaise era!
The lines were perfect…The 1980 reskin was a disappointment with the ubiquitous formal roof line that would be part of almost every GM car for the next decade or so…..The 77-79 still look good today
Agreed. The 1980 reskin improved some of the B-C bodies, and degraded others. The 1980 Caprice was not horrible, but definitely a disappointment. The 1980 interior also suffered a cheapening of materials.
Combined with various drivetrain issues with our early ’80s B bodies, our family moved solidly into the Panther den, which by that time had been well sorted out, and with fuel injection offered decent performance for the times.
Here’s a bit larger 1978 image for clarity. Ahh, Now that’s more like it!
I looked on Craigslist nationally For over a year for a 2 door ‘77,’78.or ‘79 Caprice that was original, and pristine. Miraculously a car turned up 3 towns away from me that the seller had bought from an out of state family member. The seller bought it with the intention of flipping it. 24k original milesCaprice Landau with 350 V8/350 trans.., a/c, rear defrost, am/fm stereo. STOP. No PW, PDL, cruise, tilt, or Power Seat. Clearly not a dealer ordered for inventory car. In the process of adding F41 suspension.
I still remember quite a few cars in that time frame that lacked tilt/cruise/windows/seats/locks. Especially in the lower priced brands. By 1985 or so those were expected, but in my part of the world they were only on the most loaded of cars in 1977-79. Those options often would put a buyer into Oldsmobile prices, and back then almost everyone in the GM buyer pool would have rather had an Olds than a Chevy.
I think they might have been seen a little more frequently in Ford LTDs, but then Ford had been working its way up the “Sloan Ladder” for awhile by then.
But it sure sounds like you found a nice car!
The 350/350 is the holy grail in these cars, and not easy to find, but I was never disappointed by our 305, and it was stone reliable.
As JPC notes, what we consider weird optioning today was the norm in a very à la carte world in the 1970s. Our ’78 had air, tilt, cruise, monaural AM/FM with one center dash speaker and one rear right speaker (why did they bother with this, and not just offer the 4 speaker stereo is a mystery to me) and blower style rear defog, years after the wire grid had become the standard in most cases. No power interior accessories. Just the way it was then.
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