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Old 05-04-2009, 05:32 PM
 
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I was reading on Wikipedia about the history of the Chevy Caprice, that it "lived" for 31 years from 65-96. I also read that in 71 it was tested against a Cadillac in Motor Trend, and while the Cad clearly won in terms of luxury, the Caprice was actually considered the better value for the $$(the Caprice was fully loaded and tailored to attempt be as "luxurious" as the Cad), that the Cad was not significantly better than the Caprice dollar for dollar

this does not surprise me. In Consumer Reports in 73 the Caprice came in second just under the Marquis because it's fully loaded ride was slightly less comfortable, and the Electra 225 was rated second to bottom (AMC Ambassador at bottom) because it had a below par lightly loaded ride and a way below par full load ride, and it's handling in emergency situations was bad for a full sized luxury car.

similarly, CR's tests of a 72 Newport vs Fury and a 73 New Yorker vs Fury found the more expensive Chryslers to be of no better value for the $$ than the Plymouth

yet, the 72 marquis was found to be better than the the Ford Galaxie, and the 73 Marquis was found to be far superior to the 73 LTD

Any opinions or insights?
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Old 05-04-2009, 05:51 PM
 
Location: Eastern Washington
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Back in the '70s the various divisions of GM actually competed against each other, it was a sort of gentleman's competition, but they did it.

Chevy always emphasized value for the buck, more than Cadillac did. Then, a lot of Cadillac was in the name, although it was a completely different car, might get the same transmission as the Caprice, but the engine was completely different, torquier and smoother. Really they were more different than one being better than the other. Likewise the Electra 225 was, IMHO, another big car offering from the General, different from either the Chevy or the Cad.

The difference between the cars could be compared to the difference between Bald Knob and Jack Daniel's - JD is excellent, it costs less, it's the better value. But if you have the extra $, if you like the BK better, it is a little smoother.

During this era CR really emphasized cost over intangiables. They rated cars like they were toasters - how much did it cost, how long did it last, how much toast would it make at one time - they do a better job now of at least giving a nod to the intangiables.
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Old 05-05-2009, 11:16 AM
 
Location: Northeast Tennessee
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Thats right. I actually have that road test. I have a rare book that focuses on road tests of the 1965-76 Caprices and it has road test comparisons of several years and that test is in there. The only thing that was strange that you may not have read about is that they used a 4-door Cadillac DeVille, but a 2-door Chevrolet Caprice. I dont know why they didnt use a 4-door Caprice to make it even more comparable, but I guess as far as ride/handling a 2-door / 4-door Caprice would be the same as I think they ride the same wheelbase.

I will get that book out later and read it again and put more thought here.

I have owned several early 70s GM cars ( and still do) - ironically I had a '71 Caprice sedan, '72 Cadillac DeVille and a '72 Buick Electra (just to mention a few). All three had a soft and pleasing ride, but I am not sure that any one had a better ride than the others. When new this may have been a different case though, but all were quite old when I had them, as I had the Cadillac in 1991 and the Caprice in 1999-2000 and the Electra in 2002-2003. I also had a '69 Caprice that had a ultra-soft ride.

I know that my '73 Pontiac Grand Ville rides very smoothly, but being the top level Pontiac that year, thats no suprise.

I am not sure if I have ever posted it, but here is a photo of my old 71 Caprice and 69 Caprice and my 72 Electra..

'71 Caprice (THIS PHOTO WAS TAKEN IN JANUARY 1999 - THAT PART OF OUR PROPERTY IS SO MUCH DIFFERENT NOW... HARD TO BELIEVE! - two photos down where the Toyota truck is setting is where this car is in this photo)


'72 Electra (taken in 2002 - again looks very different here now)


'69 Caprice (taken in 2007)








Quote:
Originally Posted by rlrl View Post
I also read that in 71 it was tested against a Cadillac in Motor Trend, and while the Cad clearly won in terms of luxury, the Caprice was actually considered the better value for the $$(the Caprice was fully loaded and tailored to attempt be as "luxurious" as the Cad), that the Cad was not significantly better than the Caprice dollar for dollar

Last edited by Tennesseestorm; 05-05-2009 at 11:27 AM..
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Old 05-05-2009, 04:55 PM
 
12,120 posts, read 31,018,272 times
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Default yes thanks for sharing

do you think the Cadillacs were significantly different/more substantial cars than the Olds 98 and Electras in the early 70's? Same for Lincoln vs Marquis, Imperial vs New Yorker. of course they were heavier, but still

probably a tough question to answer. especially because all the GM cars(Olds, Buick, even Chev) received a quiet rating for ride as did mercury in the early 70's

but since the New Yorker only received a "fairly quiet" rating in the early 70's I might imagine an Imperial would be significantly quieter than a lesser Chrysler, thereby wideing the quality gap between the 2 cars
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Old 05-05-2009, 08:23 PM
 
Location: Northeast Tennessee
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I dont think they were that more substantual structurally since they were all based on the same chassis. I never had an Olds 98 of that era, but my '72 Electra was a nicely built car and had no interior rattles, but then my '69 Caprice didnt either, but as discussed before, the 69-70 Chevrolets seemed to be built with higher quality materials than the 71-up models, but my '72 Caprice wagon seems to be a tight car too with panels lining up nicely. I was only 16 when I had my Caddy and that was 17 years ago, so I dont really remember much about it.

As far as "appearance", the higher trim Electras and Ninety-Eights looked as luxurious as the Cadillac DeVille IMO and even more luxurious looking than the base Cadillac Calais those early 70s years, which in my opinion, looked rather spartan for a Cadillac... no wonder it was so rare.

As far as the Lincoln-Mercury go, the were close, but the Continental was definitely a nicer car than even a Grand Marquis and the Ford LTD Brougham was a nice car too and imo, as nice as the Marquis, but maybe a notch below the Marquis Brougham naturally. In '73, the redesigned LTD Brougham became quite a luxurious car, even more-so than the '72. I am not at all familiar with the Mopars, but I imagine that the Imperial was a superior car to the New Yorker Brougham.

Strange that the NY'er Brougham only received a "fairly quiet" rating, wheras even the Chevrolet got a quiet rating. Sounds like Mopar had some sound deadening issues back then, unless someone there doing those tests didnt like Mopars.

Now I am looking at that Cadillac/Caprice road test. While they did load the Caprice up with options, they did on the DeVille as well. The Caprice after options came to $5550 up from the $3740 base price - the DeVille after options came to a whopping $9081 from the base price of $6533. Looks like they put about every option available on both cars, except auto-climate control A/C on the Caprice, where they only put 4-season A/C. It did say that Chevy did sacrificed a couple of things to get that low price on a luxury car and it said it was the "econo" carpeting (loop pile) and a vinyl headliner. It also went on to say that the interior is far from cheap. It says its nice, with pile rugs (carpeting), woven seat upholstery and the vinyl headliner was in a weave pattern.

It went on alot to speak about the rides of the cars and naturally says the Cadillac has a better ride. It also mentions that despite Cadillacs larger 472 engine (345 hp), has less power than Chevrolets 454 engine (365 hp) and the fact that the Caprice was around 500 pounds lighter, it was a faster car and stopped quicker. It shows the Cadillac DeVilles weight was 5140 lbs and the Chevy Caprices weight was 4640.

RLRL, you may find this interesting... it says the Cadillacs MPG range was from 11.4 - 12.5 mpg, but the lighter Caprice only ranged 9.6 - 11.8 mpg.

There are also other tests in there againts the 72' LTD Brougham 2dr against the '72 Caprice 2dr and the 73' LTD Brougham 4dr against the 73' Caprice 4dr. Another with the '73 Caprice wagon and one interesting one against the '74 Caprice, '74 LTD Brougham and the '74 Fury Gran and another with each of these models in 1976. It said that in the '74 test, that the LTD Brougham was the softest riding and the quietest and while the '74 Plymouth Fury was the quietest Fury ever made, it was still slightly behind the Caprice, which was behind the LTD, which was also the quietest of the three.

In the '76 test, it said all three had a soft and pleasant ride, but poor handling and ALL were quiet cars that would please on the freeway. It said that the '76 LTDs and Furys suspension was almost too soft, allowing too much bounce.

In the '73 test, it said that the Caprice Classic 4dr had a slightly better ride than the LTD Brougham 4dr, but the overall detailing was a little better on the Ford, which is no suprise, since this was the year Ford starting focusing on things like this. It said, "the Caprice was also well finished and detailed, but not to Fords "fine edge, but the difference was in degrees, not categories, but with the two cars being so close, its the little things that count".

This was not the case in the '66 test against the '66 Caprice and '66 LTD. The Caprice was rated equal to slightly better in terms of interior quality over the LTD that year.


Quote:
Originally Posted by rlrl View Post
do you think the Cadillacs were significantly different/more substantial cars than the Olds 98 and Electras in the early 70's? Same for Lincoln vs Marquis, Imperial vs New Yorker. of course they were heavier, but still

probably a tough question to answer. especially because all the GM cars(Olds, Buick, even Chev) received a quiet rating for ride as did mercury in the early 70's

but since the New Yorker only received a "fairly quiet" rating in the early 70's I might imagine an Imperial would be significantly quieter than a lesser Chrysler, thereby wideing the quality gap between the 2 cars

Last edited by Tennesseestorm; 05-05-2009 at 08:44 PM..
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Old 05-06-2009, 05:43 AM
 
12,120 posts, read 31,018,272 times
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Default yeah tennesee

I have a few of the Motor Trend copies you mention such as the 74 one with the LTD, Caprice And Gran Sedan

back in the day CR's measured sound levels in sones rather than decibels which MT measured sound. The 73 New Yorker registered 2 sones higher than the Marquis, but the New Yorker, except for the rough road at 30 mph reading, still was in the quiet range, but overall they still rated it only fairly quiet. Perhaps CR's felt a large car should be quieter going over bumps?

Caprices and Impalas had been riding quietly since the late 60's. Oddly, LTD's and Galaxies were not found to be as quiet as the Marquis' in the early 70's(despite their luxurious trappings).

I had read some EPA ratings from 73 and I was surprised to find the 73 Fury, which had relatively good gas mileage for it's class in CR's tests (9-18 normal range; 14 mpg on a 300 mi trip) was rated right near the bottom in the EPA tests, averaging only 8.7 mpg, below even a Olds 98 which came close to 10 mpg. Strange!

In CR's tests in 73, a compact sized Omega with a 350 4 bbl carb got 9-17 range and 11 mpg on a 300 mile trip, but a Grand Prix with a 455 got 8-19 range and 16 mpg on a trip--totally amazing. In fact it had the highest gas mileage for any 73 V8 tested that year. Amazing right?!
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Old 05-06-2009, 05:47 AM
 
12,120 posts, read 31,018,272 times
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Default we had

a 66 Galaxie 500 which was very solid and quiet riding. But it was nothing compared to our 75 Buick Regal which we replaced it with. And the Ford, which was full sized in 66, weighed in at only 36-3700 lbs; the Regal which was mid sized in 75, weighed about 400 lbs more than the Ford.
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