CC Capsule: 1986(ish) Chevrolet Caprice Classic Wagon – Big In Japan

Here we go for another dive into the ocean of oddities that is GM’s Japanese market offerings. Today, we are faced with one of the few mid-‘80s Chevrolets that would be worth collecting (in my opinion) and certainly would make a great daily drive in any place but the narrow streets of the Japanese capital. But hey, there are a few folks who drive Hummers around here, so why not a Caprice Classic wagon?

Right off the bat, there are a couple of details that may seem a bit off to the eagle-eyed Capricophile. I cannot guarantee that this is a 1986, but I think it could be one. The smaller grille and quad headlight combo is definitely an ’86 thing…

But then, those are clearly big blocky pre-1986 chrome mirrors, not the snazzy body-coloured aerodynamic ones they had by MY 1986.

“Ah ha!” I hear you say, “What is this hood ornament we see before us? Are we not looking at a 1987 car with 1986 headlights and 1985 mirrors?” Could be, could be. Incidentally, I found a very similar 1988 car for sale online – only the mirrors were different, in that they were black plastic, but still of the Lego brick design.

The rear lights won’t be much help: the rear end of the car was not all that accessible, but also these are not the items you’d have seen on a US-registered car anyway.

Aftermarket steering wheel aside, this is as nice a Caprice interior as you’re likely to find anywhere. But somehow, it seems all the nice ones live in japan. How do they do it?

Quick show of hands: anyone else dig blue (or red, green or brown) interiors and wonder when they will make a comeback? Tired of the black / gray world we have had to sit through/in over the past couple of decades.

Anybody know why Chevy picked the fleur-de-lys for this model? There is something Art Deco about this emblem’s design, too. A bit strange, but very cool. GM certainly wouldn’t be caught dead badging their cars like this in the 2020s. Nor would anyone else! And then, of course, it’s called Caprice Classic. Talk about a moniker tailor-made for CC, albeit in XXXL.

The more I photographed this big wagon, barely able to fit its wheelbase within a standard Tokyo parking space, the more I found it compelling. Which is weird, as the styling is objectively pretty bland, space utilization is poor and build quality is not known to be all that good. But in the metal, in this condition and trim, this Caprice has more presence than any Cadillac sedan this side of 1975.

All in all, there are only good things to be said about this Caprice wagon. So let’s be balanced and admit that it must be a bitch to navigate, park and keep in running order on this side of the Pacific (it’s so outsized compared to local norms it had to be registered as a truck!). But it can be done. The CC is just too big (in Japan, among other places) to fail.


Related posts:


CC Outake: 1986 Chevrolet Caprice Classic Wagon – Not Totally Authentically Classic, by PN

Neighborhood Outtakes: 1986 Chevrolet Caprice Classic Wagon – The Last Box B Wagon in the Neighborhood, by PN

CC Outtake: One-Owner Chevrolet Caprice Classic Wagon – Still Hauling The Goods As Well As The Looks, by PN

Curbside Classic: 1986 Chevrolet Caprice Classic Brougham – Niedermeyer Finally Finds Broughmance, by PN