1989 Chevrolet Caprice Classic Estate Wagon

Started on Nov. 21 by gearheadE30

Ride Rating


The last year of the box wagons. I saved this one a few years ago from languishing in someone's driveway. He'd gotten offers on it before, but everyone wanted to run it in a demolition derby. I saved it from that fate. It only had 80k miles on it when I got it, but the original 200r4 transmission was completely shot. I trailered it home and swapped in a junkyard transmission and drove it that way for quite awhile, eventually adding a CK Performance shift kit. Then one fateful night, towing two baja cars on a 2000 lb trailer, I blew the engine. Turns out the stock 307 Olds engine (with 140 raging horsepower) will catastrophically blow head gaskets when the exhaust throttle on the left cylinder bank rusts closed.

Instead of junking the car, I saw this as an opportunity. A few months later (I was in school at the time) Humphrey emerged from my parents' garage with an NV3500 5-speed and a TBI 350 out of an old C1500.

That engine, now with 168k miles on it, is blowing a fair amount of smoke, so I'm currently building a Vortec-head 350 that should make around 400 horsepower. It will be run by megasquirt, and should be quite a lot of fun. I'll also likely install a shorter rear end, since the 2.93 in it now sucks for towing, and performance in general.

Yes, I do autocross the wagon. It has 800 lb front springs, 400 lb rears, a fast ratio steering box, PS pressure limiter, Hotchkis/Fox shocks, and Impala SS 17x8.5 wheels. It does really well for what it is, and everyone seems to get a kick out of it.

1 comment on this ride

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May 4, 2016 9:26 a.m.
That's awesome! Any pics or posts on the 5-speed swap? How hard was it?

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