Two Swaps Averted: 1980 Chevrolet Caprice Classic Diesel – Sold?

Dec 2019 | Classifinds, Wagon Wednesday

February 5, 2020 Update – We just confirmed the listing for this “Classifind” expired, so with no replacement found we’re assuming this ride “Sold?” While this one got away, please reach out either by email or call Rudy directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.

By 1980, GM offered Oldsmobile’s 350 cubic-inch Diesel V8 in just about every full-size including this Caprice Classic Station Wagon we found in December 2019 on Craigslist in Lessburg-Hamilton area of Virginia where the private seller asked $1,700 for.  A quick check of the NADA Guides Classic Car Online Valuation Tool confirms the current “Low”, “Average”, and “High” retail value range for this Caprice at $1,842, $3,355, and $4,840, respectively.

The Chevrolet Caprice wagon could be ordered with Oldsmobile’s diesel engine from 1980 through 1985.  Early units produced 120 horsepower, while all that later versions could muster was 105 horsepower.  Chevy ads during the period boasted of a 462-mile range on a single tank and up to 682 miles on the highway between fill-ups. “You can also drive that same New Chevrolet Diesel Wagon with the fuel economy usually associated with a compact car — an EPA estimated 21 mpg, 31 highway.”  The downside of course was acceleration on par with a fully loaded tractor-trailer.  That combined with poor reliability of the factory-installed diesel forced GM to offer customers a conversion of their cars back to gasoline power and many of them took advantage of it.  Not only did this example not take advantage of that program, it appears at some point Chevy replaced the original diesel with an improved Mr. Goodwrench diesel crate motor replacement while this car was still under warranty.

After averting one gas conversion, the current caretaker planned to replace the diesel with a 6.0L LS motor before discovering what a rare car he had.  So, he’s decided to offer it for sale as is to anyone who wants to keep the diesel in place.  The diesel clatter of this Caprice will definitely get you noticed at every car show you elect to drive it to.  Good luck with the purchase!

Here’s the seller’s description:

“1980 Diesel, Oldsmobile 350 Diesel these are very rare, has GM Goodwrench Diesel most likely replaced under warranty back in the day. Trans has been rebuilt, have a lot of service records. I bought this to install my 6 liter LS but after researching these can’t see doing swap since rare to find one of these. Has little rust not too bad, unmolested car. Older tires don’t recommend using the on highway. 157k miles.

Do you have a GM Diesel story you’d like to share?  Comment below and let us know!


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