Collector Car Corner – Reader loves old station wagons
Q: Hi Greg, I read your great article about the hard to find six passenger cars in the Berwyn Life, Downers Grove, IL, newspaper. The people who asked the question about six passengers cars probably don’t want a used car – but there are many eight and nine passenger Chevy Caprice and Buick Roadmaster wagons still out there from around 1991-1996 that would make a great vehicle..
I have a 1993 Chevy Caprice Wagon that I call my “land cruiser.” It runs just like it was when it was new, and most of the “wear parts” have been replaced. I also had some body work done behind the rear wheel wells, but other than that, it is a great dependable riding car.
Any time I see one on the street I ask the owner to call me when they get ready to sell. M.A. Darrow, who wrote you the letter, could pick one up really cheap and have a great wagon or put another $2,000 into it and have a cream puff. Nothing can match it for the ride on the highway. Thanks, Vince from Illinois.
A: Vince, you have a fine wagon in your possession, and one that is still popular to this day. In 1994, both the Buick Roadmaster and Chevy Caprice wagons came with the LT1-style detuned Corvette V8 engine, making them both powerful and good on fuel mileage. My 94 Trans Am has an LT1 350 V8, and I can get 25-mpg on the highway easy thanks to its six speed transmission.
The General Motors wagons you speak of were indeed built from 1991 to 1996 and were the final and fourth generation of the large, rear wheel drive, Chevy Impala/Caprice Wagon/Impala SS line. The Buick Roadmaster and Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser wagons were siblings, and built in Arlington, Texas. These wagons/cars ride on a 115.9-inch wheelbase and are extremely roomy.
Today, wagons like yours are popular with the drag racing crowd, where they serve well as great pit and tow vehicles thanks to those powerful V8 engines. Notable, too, is the Caprice “9C1″ police option with the LT1 engine. It was one of the fastest and most popular police vehicles of that time, and loved by the troopers and policemen that utilized them. These cars came with “tuned” Corvette LT1 engines, offering even more power for use during pursuit endeavors.
In 1997, Chevy introduced the new front drive Lumina LTZ to take the rear drive Caprice’s place. Total production of all 1991-96 models came to 689,257, with the final production ending December 13, 1996. Chevy did bring back the Caprice name again, last time in 2006, but were the front drive designs. Thanks for your letter.
(Greg Zyla is a syndicated auto writer who welcomes reader input on auto nostalgia, old time motorsports or collector cars at 116 Main St., Towanda, Pa. 18848 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org).