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1980's Car Find

Like the 80’s cars and have found two models that are really clean, well serviced vehicles. Would like your thoughts on comfort, styling, ride quality, etc. Would be a weekend driver.

1989 Chevy Caprice Classic Brougham

1985 Cadillac Eldorado


1989 Chevy Caprice Classic Brougham ???
Seriously, you’d have more just taking a nap.

Both good vehicles other than the gas mileage. Those are the kinds of cars Detroit knew how to build, by crackey, but people stopped wanting them.

You mean you’re still looking? I thought you settled this weeks ago. Of these two I’d take the Caddy, assuming all else is relatively equal. You really are stuck in the 80’s, aren’t you?

I do sort of understand your obsession. I once owned a 1985 Ford LTD Crown Victoria, and it was a sweetheart. Best air conditioning I’ve ever experienced. I think it could have frosted the windows. 17.5 mpg, regardless of how or where it was driven, which was exactly the same as the Mazda RX-7 I owned at the same time.

Eldorado’s have shown up on your list before. You like them, don’t you?

Stop fooling around with sedans. Get yourself an Eldorado, which is what you really want, and have some fun.

I have a 1993 Caprice, newer body but mechanically the same as the 89. Very comfortable and handles well for its size. It has an L03 engine (305 TBI) that has plenty of torque and gets about 21 mpg in local driving. I much prefer the TBI to a carburetor. I believe the 89 was the first year for TBI, the L03 and L05 engines were 305 and 350 (5.0 and 5.7 litres). The drivetrain is bullet proof and parts are relatively inexpensive (at least compared to my 2000 Blazer).

Ed B.

If they are clean cars I would buy both. You would have the Cadillac for when you want to cruise around in luxurious style and the Chevy for when you need to haul lots of people. To get equivalent new cars you might have to spend $60K. To buy both these cars you might only have to spend what it costs to get the navigation and DVD player options on a new car. If you take care of them they will not depreciate much if at all.

“To get equivalent new cars you might have to spend $60K”

Really? I’d take a new Lexus LS460 over an 89 Caprice any day…call me crazy!

I prefer the Eldo’s design. it will also be better equipped than the Caprice, even though both are top-of-the-line luxury cars. The Eldo is tops in Cadillac, so that makes it a higher standard than the Chevy. Avoid the diesel and V-8-6-4 variable dispacement engines.

Many years ago my Dad owned a 1983 Cadillac Eldorado. That car had the smoothest ride of any car I have every driven or rode in…

If you are ready to spend $$$ to restore/repair/maintain it, it could be a lot of fun. But know that you will spend money! You seem to be drawn to El Dorados… The worst thing that can happen is that you buy it and then it “blows ups” as you are driving away. Can you stand to lose the money you plan to spend buying it? You are getting into a “project” car. If you don’t LOVE it, pass and move onto something you love…Any car of this vintage will need lots of TLC. Make sure there is no rust, have a trusted mechanic evaluate it, and then fish or cut bait… Good luck!

The 80s were really a low period for American iron, reliability or styling. Styling, of course is objective. I would go for a 60s or early 70s sedan before I would buy something from the 80s. Things started looking up in the 90s.

You can say what you want about the styling, but the reliability problem with American cars of this period was that they were still transitioning from building massive sedans with huge gas-thirsty engine to more frugal japanese-style cars and they hadn’t quite gotten the hang of it yet. The huge full-size cars always stayed pretty reliable, except for a the bad years in the mid-70’s through early-80’s when they were trying to get carburetors to pass smog. Detroit knew how to overbuild a car into being reliable.

You won’t have any trouble finding cheap parts for the Caprice. An 85 Cadillac is still fixable and minor parts are still available cheaply. I think the rocker arm support assemblies are the $25 weak spot so you can live with that.

I expect the Caddy will ride better and be more luxurious, but the Chevy is likely to be more reliable and parts cheaper. Especially where the HVAC and other accessories are concerned. Plus it’s newer and if it has fuel injection, is going to be much better driveablity-wise.

The Caprice, or the other GM cars with that body didn’t have good rear wheel traction in snow or ice.

GO asian.

why waste cash ?


It sounds like the OP is looking for a toy (which is a waste of cash by definition).

K,then how bout a UNIMOG.

just a thought.

Can they be registered in the USA?

Sure, they are old enough to be imported without much hassle; I believe there is a place in denver that sells/services them. One of the parts guys at the local benz dealership has one (he says the top speed is about 45 mph), they also show up on ebay all the time. I actually think they are pretty interesting, but I can’t think up a good story for my wife.