Houston We Have a Problem - The Mystery of the Saudi 2008 Caprice Solved

Wikipedia confirms its imported and badged as a Caprice (probably just a Malibu) - but only for the Saudi market.

Interesting aside, the Caprice - officially discontinued in 1996 - got the Motor Trend Car-Of-The-Year award back then.

So much for the weirdos at Motor Trend.

That elephant was an insult to car drivers everywhere. That very same year - 60 Minutes did a show from a dealer’s lot - who tried to convince Ed Bradley that there were actually BMW lines in the body if you looked closely enough. Maybe you saw the clip. Strangely the reverse is now true, the latest bloatware from BMW actually looks like the old Caprice.

What goes around comes around.

The old Caprice is still wildly popular with Saudis here in Riyadh with huge families, huge waistlines and huge oil deposits to fuel the beast. This may explain why the 2008 CAPRICE is back in business. This is also the land where old Suburbans go to die. They love 'em here. Imported with high mileage - and driven to even higher mileage. Measured in parsecs. But I digress.

At least this time around - the Caprice actually looks like it deserves an award. Probably because its built in Australia.

Perhaps now the Caprice will get some recognition while actually deserving it. Where are those weirdos at Motor Trend when you really need them ? I must be starting to sound like Andy Rooney - Saudi will do that to you.

Only in Riyadh could the Caprice come back from the dead - and look good doing it.

Regarding the question about how much we pay for gas. I fill up my Pathfinder once a week for 30 riyals (about $ 7 bucks).


I understand that Town Cars, Grand Marquis and Crown Victorias are very popular in the Gulf States. There are some quirky differences in the vehicles sent there from St. Thomas vs. what Canada and the US get.

Why would MT review a car that’s sold in Saudi Arabia? They occasionally review an exotic European or Asian car, but only because they want to see it imported. Holdens are already sold in the USA as Pontiacs. BTW, did you look at the GM Saudi Arabia web site? It was never a mystery; the information was there for all to see.

In the Saudi desert environment, some additional equipment is needed. Most cars sold have a FULL SET OF GAUGES, rather than idiot lights. Usually also HD suspension, extra capacity radiator, HD transmission cooler and other items usually found on police versions of the car.

Suburbans have front and rear air conditioners.

That would be great except that there is only one radiator available for those cars and the trans cooler is the same on all since at least '98. The police cars used to get supplemental trans and power steering cooling until everything was improved in '98. Now the only extra cooling on police cars is an oil to water exchanger on the police cars. Here it is really only necessary for long idling periods. I understand that the GCC cars get the oil to water heat exchanger. There are a couple of guys from the GCC that post on this web site. I think that they would have bragged up a special instrument cluster:

The modern police cars are really not that different from the base models sold to everyone else. In '04 they got a 11 extra HP because of a larger air box and MAF. The springs and shocks are stiffer, way too stiff for good handling on bumpy turns. The alternator is high output and there is some extra wiring that uses a circuit used for air suspension in the “standard” models. Bucket seats with no armrests accommodate pistols and radios, rubber floor mats and plastic seats make vomit cleanup easier.

There are a couple of guys in the CGG region that post on a web site I frequent. To my recollection, they have never mentioned special instrument clusters on desert-bound models. I think I would have noticed.

Actually, he asked a question, or at least made a statement, then ignored our correct replies, discovering the answer for himself. So why in the hell did he post here anyway, if he was going to ignore us and find the answer himself… which he should have done in the first place. Anyway… enough ranting. I’m going to bed.

Interesting aside, the Caprice - officially discontinued in 1996 - got the Motor Trend Car-Of-The-Year award back then.

The Motor Trend Car-Of-The-Year is probably the most WORTHLESS award ever. It goes to the company who paid FOR IT. Past winners that were real real dogs…Chevy Vega, Isuzu Pup, Peugeot…Some of the WORSE cars ever made were MT’s Car-Of-The-Year.