For September 10, 2020, our used car find is this 1996 Chevrolet Caprice Classic sedan with the optional LT1 V8 engine and just 44k miles on the odometer. It’s listed on craigslist by a private seller in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, for $7000.
Here’s what makes this one special.
The recipe for a successful American muscle car has always been simple. One part thunderous V8 engine. One part rear-wheel drive. Add a dash of attitude. Sprinkle in a low price. Stir vigorously until tires fry.
Although the flavors have evolved over the decades, gaining sophistication and complexity, that recipe hasn’t changed much since the 1960s, and our appetite for this unique American style of automotive cuisine is as voracious as ever.
Trucks aren’t about beauty. But there are beautiful trucks. Trucks aren’t about comfort. But a comfortable truck is a better truck. Trucks are about work. And a truck that can’t work isn’t much of a truck.
Evaluating the greatest used pickup of all time requires a clear-eyed evaluation of how well a truck can be used to get things done. All the other things that matter a little, only matter a little. Working matters a lot.
While there are some excellent battery-powered vehicles like the new Chevrolet Bolt trickling into our garages, the good, old fashioned, oil pumping, octane swilling, internal combustion engine is still at the heart of the automotive experience. It has been ever since, some 130 years ago, Karl Benz bolted a one banger of his own design onto the back of a three-wheeled cart.
And it’s been a glorious run. Sure, there were low points, like the anemic power plants that wheezed through the 1970s while automakers struggled to cope with strict new emissions and fuel economy regulations. Anyone remember the 1975 Ford Granada? Its 4.1 liter inline six had a California variant that puttered out just 71 horsepower. Folks, that’s less than 20 horsepower per liter.