Diplomat or Caprice

I have a theoretecal question, If i were to buy a car for a 120mile round trip commute per day and there was a 90 caprice with 128k miles with 305 or a 87 diplomat with a 5.2 and 68k which would be more reliable. I really dont care about gas as much as I do not having a car that snaps a timing belt on a whim.

I think the caprice would be alot better on gasoline, plus im a chevy man. These cars are on a local car lot and are both one owner, and the salesman say we should get 25mpg highway with caprice and only 19 with the diplomat but the diplomat is in better condition.

any input?

Neither one would be a reliable car for a 120 mile daily commute. Too old, too many things to go wrong. A 10 year old Civic with a new timing belt would be far more reliable.

I would not want either one for commuting that distance. You are putting on 30,000 miles or so per year just commuting. You need something with better gas mileage. At $3.50 per gallon you are spending $4200 on gas alone just going to work with the Caprice and $5226 with the Diplomat. Plus considerable upkeep for both. But the Caprice is the least of the two evils, as it will likely last longer without major repairs.

If you really want to save money , buy a low milege Chevy Cobalt and just drive it till used up.

The best long term solution, howvever, is a new Mazda3 Skyactive, which gets almost as good mileage as a diesel. Also the Hyundai Elantra with direct injection. Both get mileage well over 40 mpg highway.

I agree with both @asemaster and @Docnick. You don’t want either one of these vehicles for commuting on a daily basis.

What about a 2005 Cobalt? It is reliable, much newer, and a Chevy to boot. No timing belt.


Do you like full size domestic cars?

If so, a late model Crown Vic might be just what you’re looking for.



Well we test drove the two cars and she didn’t like the caprice because it wallered all over the road she says. You could almost see the diplomats gas gauge going down as we drove plus it blew the radiator hose on the test drive but they are original so the need replaced, but that made her think the diplomat was unreliable.

@WheresRick at least the hose blew before anyone bought it!

Keep looking, I say.

Time to join the 21st century Rick.

I will not buy any modern stuff with the unreliable fuel injection. My truck has needed 3 fuel pumps in 200k miles. Never again. It has also needed a few injectors replaced and its on its third transmission. Im staying back in the good ol days.

Modern cars are FAR more reliable than 20+ year old cars, no contest. Thank goodness for fuel injection, computers, etc…


If you really want to stay old school, may I suggest an older Chevy truck with drums all around. The fuel economy won’t be good, but it’ll be relatively easy to work on (that’s up for discussion, actually) and will have that carburetor you want.

A Ford Model A pickup truck would be even better. It had mechanical drum brakes, so you wouldn’t have to concern yourself with brake fluid. The gasoline tank was right in front of the windshield and gravity fed fuel to the engine. There was no fuel pump to replace. This is old school at its finest.

"I will not buy any modern stuff with the unreliable fuel injection"
As I think about it, the perfect vehicle for you would be a King Midget. These vehicles, made in Athens, Ohio in the 1950s into the early 1960s used a one cylinder Wisconsin air cooled engine. If you skipped the electric starter, a tug on the starter cord got you underway. The engine was carbureted. The windshield wiper was operated with a hand crank. These vehicles were street legal and could be licensed. I read a story in either Popular Mechanics or Popular Science back in 1954 about a person who drove a King Midget from the east coast to the west coast.

@ triedaq well thats what im saying, maybe we should go back a bit. And in defense of our friend the drum brake, all you need is a mechanical system since they are self actuating. Try that with a disc brake.

There was once a king midget sitting on a nearby street when I was growing up, I seen it driving a few times. Now those were the days, and im talking the 1980s.

Now lets be honest, would we not agree that the early to mid 80’s was the plateau of the american automobile, roomy, reliable, good on gas, well built. The caprice, the diplomat even the crown vic. I find it hard to believe these vehicles no longer are made. Its a sad day when the last of these road sofas goes away.

Another simple car for you is a Citicar, a battery powered car manufactured in the 1970s. Keep the batteries charged and you are good to go.

Early '80s? Just a couple of years past the worst cars ever made in the USA. By the 80s badly mixed up carbs were replaced with first gen fuel injection in some cars, nightmare carbs still in others. Nothing I’d want to revisit.


MOST people would argue that the early to mid 1980s were NOT a good time for american cars. That is precisely the time period when Toyota and Honda gained a firm foothold here because millions of us reached the conclusion that they were making pretty good vehicles.

would we not agree that the early to mid 80's was the plateau of the american automobile, roomy, reliable, good on gas, well built.

There were no cars built from 1973 to 1995, those cars are a myth, and a lie. :stuck_out_tongue:

Roomy? I know some compact cars today that are roomier than the large cars of old. My 99 civic had more leg room in the front and back than my 65 Chevelle, AND I could move the front seats back and forth.

Good on gas? I can’t comment on that since I haven’t owned a car from that era since I learned to drive; never paid attention to the MPG at the time.

Reliable/well built? Watch these 2 videos and think real hard about what vehicle you want to be in.
1959 Bel Air vs 2009 Malibu

1991 Volvo 940 GLE vs 2004 Renault Modus:

Note that there IS an engine in both the older vehicles. Don’t believe me? Buy one of each(or equivalent) and do the test yourself; get a camera under the cars to prove you kept the engine in the cars