COAL: 1975 Caprice Classic — Just Classic!

My dad and mom were 40 and 42 when I was born, so it was a different generation.

Mom didn’t drive and therefore didn’t really understand cars. However, she knew enough that she wasn’t comfortable with the 1965 red Thunderbird that I was driving back and forth across the original Alligator Alley. I was 19 at the time and worked in Fort Myers but visited my parents in Coral Springs frequently.

One day my dad called me to say the next time over he’d like to go golfing. So we made a time and got out onto the course. He said he had some things on his mind, one being that Thunderbird. He felt that it was time to move on and he was willing to help me find and finance a car.

I agreed, and on my next trip to Fort Myers, I sold the Bird to a high school friend. I got a ride back to the East Coast from the painter I’d been working for. I told him I wouldn’t be coming back to Fort Myers.

The next day, a Saturday, my dad and I started out looking for my next car. I was never a Camaro or Mustang person, I preferred big cars. So, with that in mind, we looked at everything from a $50 1973 Grand Ville (the dealer was called anything on wheels, for those from around the Fort Lauderdale area) to some nice looking, low miles New Yorker Broughams, Lincoln Town Cars, and Ford LTD’s. But nothing fit.

I did have my sights set on a 1978 NY Brougham four door in silver over red leather. But Dad warned me that Chrysler, at the time, was a hit or miss vehicle for reliability.

After a full 7 hours, we gave up.

The next day, as we were starting out again, we pulled into a small car lot. Out front, he had a salmon-colored very low optioned LTD. The salesman saw us look at it and promptly brought us the keys. We were not interested in that car at all and had both spotted a sharp dark blue Caprice Classic with tinted windows.

My dad was introducing himself when the salesman interrupted him to discuss this LTD. My dad nicely said that we were not interested in this car, but we both wanted to look at the Caprice Classic. Then it happened; the salesman raised his voice to my dad, telling him that “he was trying to sell him a good car” pointing at the Ford. I believe the tornado sirens went off, and I backed up because this man was about to see hell on earth!

My dad reared up and said, “Hey, you are not going to sell me a damn thing. Do you understand? I MIGHT buy from you, but you won’t sell me!”

Smartly the man retreated and came back with the GM keys.

I’m a person who likes options –as many as I can get please. And this car was loaded. In fact, except for power windows (the elderly people ordered the car without in the event of driving into a canal), Comfortron and a tape deck, this one had it all.

So we bought this 27,000 mile, 8 year old car for $2000.

This would have been in August 1983 and in December of that year, I took out my soon to be wife for our first date.

By March of 1984, my parents, Cindy and I were taking a road trip. Dad was driving, and Cindy and I were talking in the back seat. I asked her to marry me, and she said yes!

From there, in August of 1984, she and I drove to Ohio where I was born, to attend a sister’s wedding. That trip was so comfortable. Cindy started to really enjoy that car. I did have to teach her that the tilt wheel goes up when exciting and down for driving. How? Well, one night she was working late. I went out and rolled the power seat up and high, and dropped the wheel!

To this day, she puts the wheel up every time!

We were married in December of 1984.

Of course my car was decorated!

At that time, the song 99 Red Balloons was being overplayed all the time and I didn’t care for it. Well her cousin learned about this, and filled my beloved Caprice with red balloons!

By June of 1985, her dad was pushing me to move up to a newer car. I had really had zero issues with my Caprice, and declined.

Well, one Saturday afternoon, I got a call at work. His parents were looking to buy a 1985 Mercury Marquis Brougham (the little one) and had a 10,000 mile 1981 Bonneville Brougham. They wanted to use my car as the trade-in and sell me the Bonneville for the difference between the trade-in and book.

Reluctantly I agreed, but told them I would make the payments to them. They said sure, but after four payments were made, they gave me a card that simply read “the 1981 Bonneville Brougham was paid in full. Happy birthday”.

I saw that Caprice a few times after it was sold, and it was being kept up nicely.

Funny, but it’s one of the few cars I wish I had today.


Related CC reading:

Curbside Classic: 1972 Chevrolet Caprice – Cadillac Carbon Copy?

Curbside Classic: 1973 Chevrolet Caprice – Old Beater

Curbside Classic: 1973 Chevrolet Impala Sedan – 666, The Number Of The Beast Or No More Sixes

Curbside Classic: 1973 Chevrolet Impala Sport Coupe – The Minato Connection