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Author Topic:   chevy caprice??
racing33A
Dirt Forum Racer

Total posts: 97
posted June 27, 2005 10:47 PM  
Has anyone here ever ran a 78 or newer chevy caprice? Was it better than a small metric? Did you use the caprice body or did you use some other body? If you used a different style of body what was it? I have been told that the caprices have about the same front end as a camaro, is this true? As you can tell I am thinking about this type of car for next year. We run on a 3/8 medium banked,dry slick. I have been running the smaller metric for 5 years and am ready to try something different. Especially since every one is running the same thing now. I like to be a little different than the rest. Thanks for any and all replies.
racing33A

FlyNLoIMCA17
Dirt Forum Champ
Total posts: 753
posted June 28, 2005 12:04 AM  
I believe that Jet Mod builds their mods with the big metric frame. I have never ran the big metric but I have also heard that they have the same front end geometery as the camaros or well maybe not the exact same but just as good. That was the thing with the camaro, it had good geometery to start with. I don't know if it would help but here is Jet's website address. www.jetmod.com

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www.freewebs.com/flynloracing17

C2W
Dirt Full Roller

Total posts: 70
posted June 28, 2005 11:59 AM  
I used to have a 77 Caprice that I ran in the pure stock class with a 100% stock 350 motor. It was the best handling car I ever drove. We won ALOT of races with it. We even moved up a class a few times and ran very very competitive. I wrecked it hard on the front end 2 times and nothing ever bent up to bad.

racing33A
Dirt Forum Racer

Total posts: 97
posted June 28, 2005 12:15 PM  
I am sorry I should have also included that this car would be used as a hobby stock.
racing33A

Speedracer92
Dirt Full Roller

Total posts: 70
posted June 28, 2005 02:31 PM  
A lot of guys in our area run the caprice with very good luck. In fact one guy moved up to Wissota Streets from Hobby Stocks this year and kept his caprice and does good with it there too. I would say they are one of the better choices, especially if your rules dictate a longer wheelbase car.

[This message has been edited by Speedracer92 (edited June 28, 2005).]

racer038
Dirt Maniac

Total posts: 111
posted June 28, 2005 03:07 PM  
We ran the full size metrics for years. The positive is they have a pretty good geometry stock. Don't put the taller ball joints in it, without doing a lot of research. The stock ball joints are fine. The negative is weight. Compared to a metric, you're talking about 150# - 200# more weight with a stripped chassis. And it's all front weight. We took the frame, shortened it from 116" to 109" and put a Monte style body on it. TOO MUCH WORK! If we were doing it over again, we'd leave it 116" and use the stock body. Good luck.

racing33A
Dirt Forum Racer

Total posts: 97
posted June 29, 2005 05:12 AM  
So how hard is it to get the percentages correct with this style of car with out being just to dang heavy? Our track rules say 3200#. I really would like to try this style of car, but I dont want to do it if it is just gonna get its a-- kicked by the smaller metrics.
racing33A

Magic82
Dirt Full Roller

Total posts: 34
posted June 29, 2005 09:56 AM  
I have raced for quite a few years in Ontario on a 3/8 mile track and have found that the best car to use is the 73-77 chevelle. I know that these cars are hard to find but when they are built right they can actually beat the lighter metric chevelles. These older chevelles are alot stronger and can be lightened up in places that most tech officials won't look. I would strongly suggest these cars if you are going to build a new street stock. Magic 82.

0LT
Dirt Full Roller

Total posts: 38
posted June 29, 2005 10:48 AM  
We ran a 1978 4 door caprice in various hobby and street stock classes and won a ton of races. We were actually asked not to come back to a certain track because we consistentely beat camaros and metrics with a 4 door 3800lb car. A two door car would be the perfect "sleeper" car until you started winning with it. If your rules allow you should build the main cage from 1 3/4 tubing, and then everything else should be 1 1/2 or smaller. As it has been stated, these cars are very strong in the front and in my opinion do not need 40 feet of tubing in front of the firewall. Cut out everything the rules allow, and then cut out stuff they are "gray" on. Most racers overlook the black goo that seals the weld areas and overlaps on the firewall and floorpans. You can pull out 50lbs of wieght by removing this stuff. Cut off the front bumpers and square off the frame rails. Build a lite weight but strong tube bumper. A Monte Carlo nosepiece looks very cool on the these cars when done right (You have to add about 8 inches of material). Gut the rear bumper and use the chrome outer shell, but have tubing under it. Gut the door skins if allowed and get rid of the window frames. Build a custom tubing trans mount and throw the stock one away, 10lbs right there. Don't mess with the front end geometry to much. Just align it, give it a very small amount of camber and go racing. These cars handle better then any metric chassis, and have awesome forward bite. The weak link is the driveshaft, it is pretty long. Get it balanced. If you can splurge and have a custom aluminum shaft built (6-8lbs of weight savings) and paint it white. No one will know. You can definetely get these cars around 3200lb with a little elbow grease!
0LT

racing33A
Dirt Forum Racer

Total posts: 97
posted June 29, 2005 03:55 PM  
Hey OLT,
What springs did you use. I am just looking for a decent starting place for this style of car. Did you add any weight to your car? Our rules are that we can pretty much gut the whole car. Did you do anything to the rear of the car? Thanks for the help.
racing33A

0LT
Dirt Full Roller

Total posts: 38
posted June 30, 2005 09:19 AM  
racing33a,
I would recommend (assuming you can get it to 3000-3200lbs) a 225 left rear, 200 right rear, 1000 left front, 1100 right front. If you have the front sway bar (most caprices do) keep it attached for dry, smooth tracks. Disconnect it for sloppy, rough, or super tacky tracks. We didn't modify the rear end in any way at all. Had a minispool from coleman in it and that was it. We ran on 3 different tracks, mostly a 5/16" mild banked fast and tacky track. We ran 3 1/2" of stagger in heats, 2 inches in the main. Car was always a little tight going in, but you could drive through it, set it, and hammer down on the straights. We did have 180lbs of lead "hidden" in the rear bumper, which set the car at about 51% rear. We had 40-60lbs left rear. Car weighed in at about 3765. Rememeber that this was a 4 door car, and had 3 inch drill stem for the lower part of the roll cage. Take out the drill stem and use tubing, drop the lead, gut the body, stop eating cheeseburgers, and this would have been about a 3300 4 door car. The best thing that I remember about the car was how strong it was. It took some horrible hits that crippled other cars. We had a guy in a camaro who didn't like the way I passed him (I moved him...) that hit me so hard my helmet turned sideways. His car was put on the wrecker, we won the race. Try and find a Caprice that has the "sport suspension package". I think it was called the F-41 package from GM. The dead giveaway is that the wheels will be the large 5x5 pattern, not the regular 5x4 3/4 pattern. Usually has a rear sway bar attached to it. Basically it was a two door cop car that never became a cop car. These cars are heavy in the front, so move the rollcage as far back as you can. If the rules allow, or if they have a gray area, move the gas and brake pedals as far back as possible. Try and sit in the "back seat". Our rule state "Pedals can be moved for short drivers". Well the tallest driver in the class is over 6'7", so I am short at 5'11"... Thats the gray area in that rule! Hope this helps,
0LT

racer038
Dirt Maniac

Total posts: 111
posted July 01, 2005 06:23 AM  
I'll add my 2 cents here. The secret to getting good rear weight in these cars is in the gutting. If you finished building the car and the thing weighs 3200 lbs, but you've only 46% rear, you're gonna be adding lead all week and only getting to 48%. Now, is that bad? It depends on your laptimes. I've seen people run 300 - 400 lbs over the weight limit to get their rear weight up and get faster!!!!! Seen others keep adding and just get slower. CUT out as much as you can from the front. Follow OLT's advise. If legal, set the engine back.

Tire Killer
Dirt Full Roller

Total posts: 47
posted July 03, 2005 12:51 AM  
Guys that is some AWSOME info!! I am considering building a new car also. I was debating between a metric or a mid 70's malibu but now you throw in the Caprice. Thanks for all the good info. Are these pretty easy to find cars? (Junkyards or indaviduals, and what years)

crusier#7
Dirt Roller

Total posts: 8
posted July 03, 2005 09:59 AM  
i run a 83 caprice and i alway finish in atleast the top 5 and have won several races with it. it weighs 3300lbs with me in it ...the car handles great on tacky or dry slick and it even still have the factory springs under it.....they are great , tuff cars....also mine is the 2 door style....

strobe
Dirt Roller

Total posts: 23
posted July 04, 2005 10:19 AM  
We got an 83 caprice. Full battle weight is around 3450 lbs. The springs up front are 1200 and 1000. The rear are something like 250 and 225. On a dry slick track, she handles like she's on rails. Like C2W said, they'll take a beating and come back for more. Awesome cars!

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Dirt track racing, cuz golf and baseball only require one ball.

racing33A
Dirt Forum Racer

Total posts: 97
posted July 07, 2005 09:12 AM  
Just wanted to say thanks to all who replied to this post. Thanks for sharing your information.
Take car all
racing33A

Tire Killer
Dirt Full Roller

Total posts: 47
posted July 08, 2005 10:45 PM  
Are ya'll refering to 2 or 4 door models? Aren't the 4 door and 2 door the same chassis? If so, then can't I put the cage (on a 4 door) back the same distance as you would a 2 door car and get the same results? Besides the funny looks ofcourse! LOL Just wondering 'cuz I would think that I could find a 4 door cheaper than a 2 door. And EVERY little bit I can get by with helps out GREATLY!!! Please let me know what ya'll think.

[This message has been edited by Tire Killer (edited July 08, 2005).]

    

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