Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Thinking outside of and into the BOX

It was a wet early autumn day last year when I ran across this ride. Believe me I was all the way past it before some quirly little detail caught my eye. Once I was really looking at it I realized this was a very undercover, special beast.
This is a 1987-1990 Chevrolet Caprice Classic in an after market color that is very close to the Medium Gray Poly offered by GM in those years. During the era when this was built it was ubiquitous as police cars and taxicabs. Sales were through the roof for the entire decade! This sure looks like a shiny but common ride at first glance. However it is heavily, if subtly, customized. The grill is aftermarket as it would have had cross hatched chrome lines with Chevrolet written on it originally.
First off check out those door handles; shaved right off! Someone saw fit to convert all 4 door handles to remote controlled poppers. Somewhere (probably in a wheel well) there is a hidden switch for when you either don't have your remote, or the battery is dead in either the car or the fob. All trim has been removed from the car too which was actually quite a lot. At the very least there was once a shiny rocker panel line along the entire bottom of the body as well as one running down the middle of the doors for parking lot dings. Caprice emblems were once on the sail panel behind the rear window.
Not only was the body shaved but the exhaust was re-routed to exit in front of the rear wheels, not to mention that it's now a quad! The wheels are tough enough without much glitz.
The Caprice from this era is referred to as a Box Chevy due to the squared-off dimensions on display here. The year after this ushered in the Bubble Chevy which had a much more rounded body style. Unfortunately for the company the Bubble was also known as Shamu because it looked like a big blob of a whale. This article by the NYTimes is all about that fiasco. 
This model has the terrible distinction of being used by the Beltway Snipers John Allen Mohammad and Lee Boyd Malvo. They used a blue 1990 Caprice with a hole cut in the trunk lid just above the right taillight for the rifle barrel and sight. By laying down they could kill randomly without being seen. Anyone who was alive during that time remembers how truly horrifying the ordeal was and it was by chance that they were spotted sleeping in the car by a passerby and reported.
This looks like the ultimate hitman car. I never would have thought of customizing this body style except for the standard lowrider treatment. The rear tint is seriously blacked-out.
I've got to hand it to the person responsible for this undercover ride. This is way up on the list of cars so plain that you can't really do anything with them, but boy was I wrong. My only hope is that it is a fire-breathing muscle car too but there's no way to tell without seeing under the hood or having it leave you in the dust. Congratulations anonymous Caprice owner on such a cool sleeper.

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