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1981 Caprice LSX ...still doesn't know what it wants to be when it grows up....

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  • 1981 Caprice LSX ...still doesn't know what it wants to be when it grows up....

    Well is my first post and long winded story of my car. I hope you all enjoy and I look forward to contributing to the awesome community you have assembled here!

    The History!

    My grandfather purchased this 1981 Caprice Classic from a neighbor of his Ft Lauterdale Florida condo in the late eighties. It had nothing for miles and was in pristine condition. It rolled off the showroom floor with a 229 Chevy v6 and a TH350-C transmission. He drove the car back to Westfield MA and parked in the garage of his car lot where it sat until 2008. He would take it out on Sundays to church, or use it to run up town or to the NADA meetings...but it lived a very lonely life.

    In 2008....I come along and pick it up with bad intentions from the word go! I had always loved the car from the time I was a little kid....and I feel extremely lucky to have had to opportunity to purchase it. I bought the car with only 42k miles on the clock! I to this day, have yet to see a Caprice with as clean of chassis and undercarriage...

    The first Transformation

    Within a month of buying the car....I already ripped into it hard! The motor and trans were out and a mildly built 350 sat on the stand. This car was really a huge learning curve for me, and I feel like it has played a massive role in teaching me many of the techniques, work ethics, and fabrication skills that I have today. I had a lot of "firsts" with this thing....and it shows.

    I did so much goofy stuff when I first started on this car that I would need a few chapters just to convey my nonsense lol. So I will save everyone the grief and just high-light where I was with the car when it was done, driving, and running some numbers!

    The motor was a fuelie headed 350 .020 over with a set of forged flat tops and i-beam rods.

    Transmission was taken care of with a TH350 that I built at my friends Transmission shop....him helping me every step of the way. We built it with an Art Carr trans brake manual valve was a badass unit!

    I am really big into nitrous, and I had my own plate design machined up, and I went to town on the stand-alone fuel system.

    The rear end was an 8.5 out of a police car with a set of 3.73 and a welded diff! Some parts were crude but effective .....until one day when it wasn't.....

    ....The car had a really colorful history...but it eventually got me to this point where I was daily driving it for a year. Hitting shows, getting to the track....and ripping up the streets.

  • #2
    In 2010 I sold the car....

    I was going through a tough time. I didn't know what I really wanted back then and I made one of the biggest mistakes I could have. I stripped the car down to a rolling chassis....sold the engine and transmission....and sold what was left to my friend....

    To make a long story ended up in the hands of a high-school kid who swapped a 305/manual trans into the car. He got his giggles out of the car, and this year In August....I was able to buy it back....
 was in rough shape and needed a lot of attention....but on the bright gauge cluster I had built was still intact!

    Rebuild Time!

    Over the past few years, I had several projects and in my opinion my attention to detail and fabrication had grown. I had a game plan for once and I tried my best to stick with it. The build was very budget oriented, but had the long term in mind.

    I set out to swap in an all aluminum 5.3 from a truck (L33), along with another TH350 (much more mild for now). I knew that I eventually wanted to drag the car and reduce the amount of street a lot of throughout went into that aspect of the build.

    Mike from Robinson Race cars basically took me under his wing with a lot of this project...and if it weren't for him....I wouldn't be CLOSE to where I am today. His expertise and fabrication are second to none.....

    I have more photos and info then I know what to do I am just going to throw up some highlights...
    Body Mounts:

    Knowing at some point down the road I will end up with a cage....I wanted to tie the strength of the body into the frame. Ultimately....I ended up using a set of Energy Suspension body mounts as a template for a full set of solid aluminum mounts. I had the mounts machined half the height of the originals to lower the body down onto the chassis.

    Motor Plates

    This was by far one of the coolest parts of the build! Using a universal front LSX motor plate, and a SBC Jegs mid plate....we were able to drop the motor down in the chassis, and set it back so far that the front hub of the crank was perpendicular to the spindles!

    The front plate actually registers and sits on saddles. The motor can be slid far enough forward on the saddles to remove the midplate if ever needed...and having those there as keys helps alot when dropping the motor into place!
    Last edited by bfurches; December 10, 2012, 08:47 PM.


    • #3
      In addition to getting the motor and transmission in the car, I rebuilt the entire front end, made all new stainless brake lines, plumbed the fuel system, wired up all the new electronics....the list goes on and on. The car currently runs and drives with the LSX heart pumping away. Here are some more random pics....

      Last edited by bfurches; December 10, 2012, 08:54 PM.


      • #4
        I had to get creative with the alternator mount. Due to packaging constraints, I ended up reverse mounting it lol. Works perfect...


        • #5
          I apologize for the hectic posts. I know they are not the most well organized...but as you can imagine it is extremely hard to cram 4 solid months of work into a few words and photos. This project isn't anywhere close to being completed and I really can't wait to take it to the next level. I look forward to some input, and sharing my future progress.


          • #6
            I think you're gonna give the boss priapism. I had a couple B-bodies, both '79 coupes, one Impala, one Caprice. I love these things.
            The former Remy-Z

            "Remy-Z, you've outdone yourself again, I thought a Mirada was the icing on the cake of rodding, but this Imperial is the spread of little 99-cent candy letters spelling out "EAT ME" on top of that cake."


            • #7
              yep, Bruab is likely to have a stroke. Thanks for posting this up and welcome! I had a '78 Impy that I miss sometimes when I can't find a convenient place for dead body storage. I wouldn't have ever pictured it like yours though. I like yours.
              Flying south, with a flock of bird dogs.


              • #8
                Man that thing is nice .....

                I want a more door!
                Whiskey for my men ... and beer for their horses!


                • #9
                  Thanks for all the kind words.

                  If anyone has anything specific they would like more info on....let me know! I have more photos and info then I know what to do with lol.


                  • #10
                    Nice setup and great history. Glad to see you got the car back. Who know's where I'd be now car wise if some one had actually bought my Skylark the two times I've had it up for sale.
                    Escaped on a technicality.


                    • #11
                      What sort of e.t.s. did it put down in it's first iteration with the 350? Do you know how much it weighed back then?
                      1968 Biscayne
                      406 / TH350 / 12-Bolt 3.42
                      13.17 @ 104mph.


                      • #12
                        so theres gunna be TWO white caprice 4 doors tearing around MA, have fun explaining that to the cops ... IT WASNT ME OFFICER, IT WAS THE OTHER GUY IN THE OLD WHITE CAPRICE 4 DOOR ......... lololololol
                        Charles W - BS Photographer at large


                        • #13
                          Hey dude, this car is of course freaking awesome. I ran across something you were talking about on another forum about using some Camaro components in the front end (lower control arms). Wondering if you did that and also wondering what you did for uppers?

                          (Me and BFurches) have been texting and emailing....his car is hella bad ass!
                          That which you manifest is before you.


                          • #14
                            Great story of the car! Looking forward to seeing more.
                            Overdrive is overrated


                            • #15
                              I really like the reverse mount alt. Never thought about how/if they would work spinning the other way. Hope that mount says nice and stiff for you. I made a custom mount for my '70 Camaro and I had a heck of a time keeping it from twisting using a rod like you are.
                              1970 Camaro RS - SOLD | 2000 Camaro SS - Traded in for a Hyundai...
                              1966 Ford Thunderbird - SOLD | 1963 MGB, abandoned V8 project, FOR SALE/SCRAP

                              1978 Cutlass - Post Lay-off daily driver