69 Caprice Convertible - Impala Tech
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-31-2010, 01:37 AM Thread Starter
 
 
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69 Caprice Convertible

Okay folks, here's a mystery for you. I've been puzzled for years by this car, and now I'm going to make a concerted effort to find out the real story.

This is a car bought by my father in 82 in Tri-Cities Washington. It's a 69 convertible car, with a numbers matching 427 in it, badged as an SS car. Nothing unusual, right? Well here's the funny part; it's a convertible, and it's a Caprice. Before the age of the internet, I didn't think of anything funny about that. It was before my time, and I assumed 69 SS Caprice Convertibles were normal. But as it turns out, there was no such beast as far as I can tell.

The VIN decodes as a 69 Impala Convertible big block, but the car is Caprice in every way. Its got all of the correct badging and parts. The hide-away headlights. The interior wood trim with integrated Caprice insignias. The door panels are original Caprice. The power windows and locks. The astro ventilation. The hood mounted turn signal indicators. The electric trunk unlock. Everything. It's definitely a Caprice. I've attached a picture of the interior with the Caprice door panels (note the convertible top switch in the matching dash).

It's also definitely a factory convertible. The VIN and fender tag both decode as a 69 Impala convertible, and the original Caprice dash has the integrated hydraulic convertible switch in it.

And finally, there's nothing I've found that can prove it's not an SS. It's got all of the right parts and badging (including the steering wheel which you see in the photo). It's got a numbers matching 390HP 427. The disc brakes, sway bars, etc. Unfortunately, I've not been able to find a build sheet, and I'm told 69 is a pretty easy year to fake the SS pieces. Any advice on what to look for to prove or disprove is welcome.

7 years ago this car was stolen out of my garage, and it was eventually recovered, but much of the trim and badging was not returned. At the time I got it repainted and put back together, but never to original condition. Now I'm at a point where I want to really restore the car. But I want to do it true to the origins of the car, and I don't know what those are.

So here's the question: What is this car? It's been in my family for almost 30 years, but it's still a mystery to me. I've included a picture of the VIN and fender tags. Any thoughts or comments are appreciated.

Thanks.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-31-2010, 02:22 AM
Ape
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Looks like the Caprice only came in two body styles, 2 door coupe and 4 door sedan.

http://www.1969chevy.com/caprice.htm

164 is Impala, 166 is Caprice
67 is convertible.

806 - Black Vinyl interior
40 - butternut yellow paint.
BC - built in Southgate, CA
10E - Body built 5th week of October in 1968

There is no way to prove it is an original SS, only 2400+ ever built in 69, unless you have the original dealer sticker or other documentation from GM stating the SS trim code option.

Ape Out.

Make: Chevrolet
Model: Impala Custom
Year: 1969
Doors: 2
Engine: 327 V8
Trans: Powerglide

Last edited by Ape; 07-31-2010 at 02:39 AM.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-31-2010, 09:26 AM
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Welcome to the Team Paul!

Without the original documentation (Protect-O-Plate wararnty card, build sheet, dealer invoce and window sticker) there is no "proof" of anything other than the trim tag which denotes whether the car was supposed to be built as a six or as a V-8 (I say supposed to, because from the time the body that was built by Fisher Body and it arrived at the final assembly plant; then actually starteted down the line, the order (build sheet or broadcast sheet) might have changed to meet a specific order for a customer (the dealer).

Also bear in mind that you could order an Impala convertible with a 350 and remove everything and replace it with the Caprice and or SS trim back in the time frame before your car entered your family and none would be the wiser. Back then a rectangular port high performance 427 sold for around $250.

It could have been a high school project for a shop teacher, or it might have belonged to a body man who wanted a custom built car so baddly that he made one himself. Whatever the story; without the documentaion all you have is a nice car. Enjoy it!

Big Dave
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-31-2010, 09:58 AM
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Most likely caprice stuff added on from a caprice onto the convert impala. If you think not check seat bottoms and tops door panels and above gas tank for a build sheet. That is the only thing that will prove you right. Back then a dealer could have added on all the caprice stuff but that doesnt make it original. Hey be proud of it its a 1 of 1
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-31-2010, 09:59 AM
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You might also check with the dealer if you know who that is and if he is still there.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-31-2010, 10:38 AM
BA.
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Great sounding car man,...I think I'd lean with these others and guess that it was 'someone's desire to have the Caprice look on their Impala Convertible. Nuttin' wrong with that. Maybe a savvy car guy, or a GM VP who made it happen?

Reminds me of the "convertible 67-69 Z/28". No such thing, right? Absolutely impossible to order......but Vince Piggens or someone did get one built for themselves and there's history and pics to prove it.

You have a neat car there. Good luck in finding those replacement badges again to maker her whole!

HOW A NOVICE REBUILDS A 66 IMPALA CONVERTIBLE:
http://www.impalas.net/forums/blog.php?u=1432
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-31-2010, 01:51 PM Thread Starter
 
 
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Thanks everyone for the responses.

RE: the motor, isn't it true that the blocks are stamped to correlate to the VIN? I swear I checked a couple years ago and satisified myself that it was the original 427 in the car.

As I said earlier, I've never had any luck finding a build sheet for the car, but I guess I'll take another shot when we start taking it apart for the resto.

The car has such a factory look, that most of the folks I've talked to think that it was some sort of GM executive vehicle built to a unique spec. But I don't know about that. Certainly it's no longer the color the fender tag indicates (it's a blue now).

I hadn't given any thought to trying to call the actual dealer and see if they are still in business. That would be pretty cool. I did consider trying to contact GM, but I figured that would be a lost cause.

At any rate, unless I can find a build sheet or other data, I'll just restore the car back to my impression of her.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-31-2010, 03:53 PM
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The VIN should be stamped in two places on your block. On the motor ID pad which is beneath the alternator, and on the back of the block by the oil filter. There should be the date made plant ID and the engine application as well as the last six numbers of your cars VIN. The factory started stamping partial VIN numbers in 1967 under a federal law that required it to fight organized crime getting involved in auto theft (it is mostly disorganized criminals involved in auto theft, not being too bright they advertise to the world they have your car parts in their inventory and hurry on down to buy them (considering the insurance companies often own the cars after they are stolen and are the same people that buy the parts that were stolen to fix other cars. They know who is stealing the cars and often work with them as they see it as a win-win situation driving more insurance sales).

As an engine builder I used to consume a lot of engines looking for good rebuild able blocks and heads before the aftermarket made better parts than a factory stock part that could be bought for less money than it cost to fix up and remanufacture a factory part for. As such I was on a first name basis with all of the local salvage yards in the area and would call me for first dibs on anything that entered the yard that might interest me. I observed their operations and often thought it odd that brand new cars were being cut up for parts that still had window stickers on them. (but I was told they fell off the back of the truck when unloading and the insurance company was totaling the car). When I asked where the damage was from falling off the truck I was told it fell in the bay while being unloaded from the ship; which I thought was odd because I also know that all new cars enter the bay area by way of rail except foreign imports and these were brand new 1970 Hemi Challengers). They were subsequently caught by the feds but got off by fingering the insurance executives that they worked with.



Big Dave
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-31-2010, 04:25 PM Thread Starter
 
 
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Thanks Big Dave. Yes, the block does match the VIN, so at least I know it's the original 427 in the car.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Dave View Post
The VIN should be stamped in two places on your block. On the motor ID pad which is beneath the alternator, and on the back of the block by the oil filter. There should be the date made plant ID and the engine application as well as the last six numbers of your cars VIN. The factory started stamping partial VIN numbers in 1967 under a federal law that required it to fight organized crime getting involved in auto theft (it is mostly disorganized criminals involved in auto theft, not being too bright they advertise to the world they have your car parts in their inventory and hurry on down to buy them (considering the insurance companies often own the cars after they are stolen and are the same people that buy the parts that were stolen to fix other cars. They know who is stealing the cars and often work with them as they see it as a win-win situation driving more insurance sales).

As an engine builder I used to consume a lot of engines looking for good rebuild able blocks and heads before the aftermarket made better parts than a factory stock part that could be bought for less money than it cost to fix up and remanufacture a factory part for. As such I was on a first name basis with all of the local salvage yards in the area and would call me for first dibs on anything that entered the yard that might interest me. I observed their operations and often thought it odd that brand new cars were being cut up for parts that still had window stickers on them. (but I was told they fell off the back of the truck when unloading and the insurance company was totaling the car). When I asked where the damage was from falling off the truck I was told it fell in the bay while being unloaded from the ship; which I thought was odd because I also know that all new cars enter the bay area by way of rail except foreign imports and these were brand new 1970 Hemi Challengers). They were subsequently caught by the feds but got off by fingering the insurance executives that they worked with.



Big Dave
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