Vintage Review: 1965 Chevrolet Caprice 396 Tested By Motor Trend – Fast And Soft

Chevrolet 1965 Caprice MT 1

(first posted 12/11/2015)    I’m throwing a lot at you today, but CC Commenter SomeOneInTheWildWest posted a link to this M/T review of the new 1965.5 Caprice and its equally-new 396 engine. I just couldn’t resist sharing it.

Chevrolet 1965 Caprice MT 2

Chevrolet 1965 Caprice MT 3

Chevrolet 1965 Caprice MT 4

Chevrolet 1965 Caprice MT 5

What’s a surprise to me is reading that the 325 hp L35 396 came with either Rochester Quadrajet or a Holley 4150 carburetors. I’ve always assumed only the Quadrajet was used on them.


Chevrolet 1965 Caprice MT 6

Average fuel economy over the 820 mile test: 12.6 mpg. And the brakes are considered deficient. The soft springs and shocks were just accepted as part of this type of luxury car.

Chevrolet 1965 Caprice MT 7

In case you can’t read the specs, here they are in larger format.

Pop Sci 1966

And as a frame of comparison, here’s the stats from a Popular Science comparison of the very similar 1966 cars, including a 396 Impala, 390 Galaxie 500, and a 383 Fury III. Interestingly enough, the 396 Caprice and Impala both nailed the 0-60 in the exact same 8.9 seconds. And there was only a 0.3 second variation on their 1/4 mile ETs (16.7/17.0). The 1966 Impala 396 really showed its light to the Plymouth and Galaxie, outrunning them in the 0-80 sprint by two and 3 seconds, despite having a higher (lower numerically) 2.73:1 rear axle to the Plymouth’s 3.23:1 and the Ford’s 3.00:1.  The 396 obviously had better breathing (and power) at higher speeds, despite its comparable rated hp numbers.