The ( mostly ) American cars page

Chevrolet Caprice Classic Wagon 1990

Picture of the '90 Caprice Classic Wagon The car is a tax evader version commonly found in Finland. The import tax for new cars in Finland is very high, but in the 80's it was possible to register these STW's with few modifications as parcel delivery vans, which had a considerably lower tax. The most noticeable modification is that the original back seat is replaced by an uncomfortable tilting seat for 'temporary use only'. The car also suffers from vehicle class speed limit of 80 km/h. The car was sold by the official Finnish GM-dealership Metro-Auto as new. All the innovative tax-evasion measures were committed by Metro-Auto and as such are fairly well made. These parcel delivery conversions have a market price approximately half of those registered as passenger cars, and thus are tempting for the budget conscious buyer. I'm using this car as my daily driver for both summers and winters. This car is one of the last American rear wheel drive V8-powered cars. Although the classic days of American styling are long gone, the boxy design of the 70's is still fairly pleasing to my eye. The ride is traditionally soft and the conveniences are ample. The Oldsmobile engine was designed for economy and has characteristics similar to a modern European 2.5 liter turbo-diesel, except for superior ultra-low RPM power. The engine combined with extremely long gearing results to surprisingly good economy on highway.

Chevrolet Caprice Classic Wagon 1990 Technical Information

Some pictures of the Chevrolet ( 50-130kB each )

Highly unofficial drag racing results

The event was organised by TTMK and driven at the University's parking lot. The distance was 200 meters (abt. 1/8 mile) and the timing was manual. I drove three runs and the best one resulted to 13.0 @ 93 km/h (58 mph). I let the transmission do the shifting and started with about 1500 RPMs. Here's a picture from the start.

Ice track testing

I've always used to practice driving on an ice track with the cars that I use during the wintertime. Despite being fun, ice track practicing lets me improve my car handling skills and gives me an idea of the behavior of the car under extremely slippery conditions. The typical behavior for the Caprice is to understeer quite heavily. Power oversteering is the way to go through curves, if you want to drive through them at higher speeds. You must hit the gas pedal to let the rear end loose well before turning into a curve, so that you can push through the curve while controlling the rear end with gas pedal. The low output engine coupled with the limited slip differential poses certain difficulties. If the speed is too high, you might not be able to break the rear end loose, and this causes the car to plow straight into a snow bank (because of understeering). The steering is also rather vague, and doesn't provide much information about the slippage of front wheels. Despite these flaws, the Caprice is very easy and predictable to drive in a long slide due to the long wheelbase. Here are some pictures and a couple of video clips from the ice track.

Last modified on 19.03.03 (