Off Duty: GMI Member Buys New Caprice, Minus The PPV
One Ohio resident proves that Chevy large sedans really do run deep.
August 8, 2011
By: Nick Saporito
Mary, Ann, Steve and David Harbour with their 2011 Caprice.
America’s love affair with the large sedan may be declining due to high fuel prices, but it’s certainly not history yet. While Chrysler Group manages to sell large rear-wheel drive sedans to the public in 2011, Chevrolet has attempted to make their new rear-wheel drive sedan — the Caprice PPV — remain exclusive to police agencies. That policy has not prevented at least one Chevrolet dealer and enthusiast from extending the Chevrolet rear drive love beyond just those in uniform.
Being the current owner of a classic 1996 Impala SS, Ohio resident Steve Harbour is far from new to the GM large sedan arena. As soon as he found out that Chevrolet would be importing the Holden-derived Caprice, he set out to find a means of purchasing one for personal use. Of course, GM’s insistence on police-only duty made that a challenge at best.
Harbour made multiple attempts to purchase a Caprice locally in Ohio, but each try netted either a clueless dealership or stall tactics. In fact, one dealership tried to push him to buy the front-wheel drive Impala instead.
As luck would have it, the Harbour family had already planned a family vacation in the Washington D.C. area. Harbour thought it would be wise to contact D.C. area dealerships about purchasing a new Caprice for personal use after his wife Mary made the suggestion.
One of their calls was to Criswell Chevrolet in Maryland. Criswell immediately said they had V8-equipped Caprices in stock and would require only a deposit to secure one for purchase. The Harbours went to Criswell to drive a new Caprice while on vacation and immediately fell in love with it.
Needless to say, the Harbours ended up driving a new family sedan back to Ohio.
Harbour tells GMI that he considered several sedans prior to purchasing the Caprice, including the Cadillac CTS, Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger, Ford Taurus and Hyundai Genesis. None trumped the new Caprice in terms of space and performance for the price.
“The Caprice was the best overall package for our needs," Harbour said. "I must say that this is an extremely outstanding car!"
Having put the first 1,000 miles on his new Caprice, Harbour could not be happier with the car. He reports to GMI that he has achieved 28 to 29 MPG on the highway and up to 18 MPG in the city when driving the car “normally.” Harbour says those solid fuel economy numbers couple with zero to 60 times around 5.0 seconds, which police testing validates.
GMI met up with the Harbour family at a local car show near their home in Ohio. During the event GMI’s Kevin See actually had a difficult time getting photos of their Caprice because of the steady stream of onlookers checking it out.
To date no one from General Motors has contacted Harbour about being one of the two or three civilian owners of a new Caprice. He did express his happiness with Criswell Chevrolet for a great buying experience and ability to sell him the car he actually wanted.
What does he dislike about his new Caprice?
“The fact that every red blooded American who wants one cannot buy one,” Harbour said.
Perhaps the Harbour family's affinity for their new family car will rub off on GM and the Caprice will gain some civilian-like trim and options for retail sales. We shall see.