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2012 Chevrolet Caprice Owner Opens Up About Purchasing Rare Super Sedan

By Jacob Brown | August 15, 2011
If you haven’t heard yet, a small number of police officer-only 2012 Chevrolet Caprice full-size sedans managed to escape from the line of duty and end up with civilian ownership. In early July as dealerships were starting to get stocks of the new law enforcement vehicle, Criswell Chevrolet in Gaithersburg, Maryland put 13 Caprices up for public sale on its website at prices ranging from $31,870 to $37,053, according to Automotive News. No one had known how many the dealership had sold, but Harry Criswell, the dealership’s owner, said only one or two had left its lot for private owners before General Motors revised its fleet-only contract. Fortunately, owner and muscle-sedan fan Steve Harbour of Dayton, Ohio just first stepped out in an interview with GMInsideNews to identify himself as one of the few private owners of this rear-wheel-drive, Australian-built sedan. Paragraphimage Harbour, also the owner of a rare 1996 Chevrolet Impala SS — a civilian-spec sedan with police car performance hop-ups — had looked for a Caprice sedan when he had found out GM would be importing them to the U.S. But much to his disappointment, dealerships had stalled his search and told him the car wouldn’t be sold to the public. “I was aware of the Caprice's return and had called or dropped by the local dealers in Ohio and got responses like ‘GM does not make the Caprice anymore, but we have some nice Impalas for sale’ or ‘We don't currently have any, but I will call you when we do,’” he said in an email to Fortunately for him, as he and his family were vacationing in Washington D.C., they had found Criswell taking advantage of a loophole in its dealer contract and put down a deposit. “The Caprice was the best overall package for our needs," Harbour said. Harbour says that he cross-shopped the Caprice against everything from large sedans sold to the public like the 2011 Ford Taurus and the 2011 Dodge Charger all the way up to entry-level luxury cars like the 2011 Cadillac CTS and 2011 Hyundai Genesis sedan. None of them were as versatile as the Caprice when it came to providing for the needs of his young family, which includes his disabled daughter who uses a wheelchair. Paragraphimage “We need a four door family sedan that has the space and ease of entry and exit ― the Caprice won here,” Harbour said. “The ‘useable’ passenger and cargo volume of the 2011 Caprice simply can’t be beat along with its accessibility.” Harbour added that the worst thing about the car was that “every red-blooded American who wants one cannot buy one,” saying that his “Detective”-trim car gets bombarded with attention at local car shows. Based on the Holden Caprice sold in Australia, the sedan shares its architecture with the Pontiac G8 sedan that was last sold in the U.S. as a 2009 model. Powered by a 6.2-liter, 355-horsepower V-8 engine based on the one used in the Chevrolet Corvette, the performance sedan has garnered a cult following in the GM enthusiast community. Through July, the company has delivered 165 of the sedans to police fleets…and a lucky few private owners. Paragraphimage “If you are only looking for glitz and glitter with chrome, leather embroidered heated seats, and fake wood grain, then this is probably not the car for you,” he said. “But if you are looking for exceptional performance in a large four-door package at a competitive price, this is your car. “This is truly a driving machine that should not just be sold to government agencies, but also sold to any and every driving enthusiast with a family that wants one.” Sources: GMInsideNews, Automotive News (Subscription required), General Motors, Photos Courtesy of Steve Harbour and his family
  • 2012 Chevrolet Caprice Front Quarter
  • 2012 Chevrolet Caprice Front Quarter Close Up
  • 2012 Chevrolet Caprice Interior Center Console
  • 2012 Chevrolet Caprice Interior Front
  • 2012 Chevrolet Caprice Interior Gauges
  • 2012 Chevrolet Caprice Interior Rear
  • 2012 Chevrolet Caprice Interior Rear Passenger Side
  • 2012 Chevrolet Caprice Rear
  • 2012 Chevrolet Caprice Rear Quarter
  • 2012 Chevrolet Caprice Side
  • 2012 Chevrolet Caprice Side At Show
  • 2012 Chevrolet Caprice Side Quarter Profile 2
  • 2012 Chevrolet Caprice Trunk Empty
  • 2012 Chevrolet Caprice Trunk With Wheelchair
  • 2012 Chevrolet Caprice With Harbour Family
  • Wheel Chair That Went In 2012 Chevrolet Caprice Trunk
  • 2012 Chevrolet Caprice 1996 Chevrolet Impala Ss Front Close
  • 2012 Chevrolet Caprice 1996 Chevrolet Impala Ss Nova In Background
  • 2012 Chevrolet Caprice 1996 Chevrolet Impala Ss On Lawn
  • 2012 Chevrolet Caprice 1996 Chevrolet Impala Ss Quarter Hoods Down
  • 2012 Chevrolet Caprice 1996 Chevrolet Impala Ss Quarter Hoods Raised
  • 2012 Chevrolet Caprice 1996 Chevrolet Impala Ss Rear
  • 2012 Chevrolet Caprice Front Grille

It figures, Chevy gets it's muscle from abroad. The Austrailian import is pretty bad-ass, but couldn't be built in the US. The green people at GM wouldn't allow it to be sold to the public, because it would lower their (federally-mandated) MPG goals. I guess we'll have to wait for a used one at a police auction. I'll try to get behind the wheel of one at work, before the drunks puke in the back seat.


Its about time GM brought back the caprice its an american favorite,I've always loved that car it shouldnt have taken so long GM


Yet another sell out by Chevrolet. They truly forgot who the customers are that allow them to operate. The shell of a vehicle you now call the Impala would make my father roll in his grave. And you wonder why we are buying imports. Good luck in your bankruptcy. Time for this company to go.


At the very least, GM should make the civilian version available on a special order basis. The exclusivity alone would make it worth a couple extra grand. (the G8 was never available with the 3.6DI and six speed auto)

Glen V. Kirby
Glen V. Kirby

I totally agree with the post that Carl did on August 17, 2011 I think the whole American automobile industry lost greatly when they went to FWD in most of their vehicles. When the 'newly-designed' Monte Carlo by Chevy was promised, I think it was in the 90's time-frame, I was planning to purchase a new one. To my amazement GM made it a FWD. After driving a 1972 Monte Carlo with the 402 engine for 6.5 years I was convinced that that was the best driving chevy one could have. I looked for a car that had my ideal set-up and found it in the 1993 Lexus ES300. I bought a 1994 LX400 with RWD and drove it for 11 years. Chevrolet could learn from these articles and make the necessary changes to their American Management for only profit mindset and give us the public the auto we desire and not what they only want to do. Until then I will drive other products. GK


Go green idiots can keep their front drive Impala! I want Chevrolet's true flagship sedan The Caprice! In my book the impala name went to hell the day it went front drive. Let alone the bland rental car status it has now. The Caprice name stayed true to what it always was a "large rear drive true fullsize" The Caprice name has loads of heritage behind it that could be used on the next generation. Saving the traditional fullsize American car is possible, long live Caprice! I speak for all cars!


just the decision obama would make - we the people can't be trusted with this car