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Introducing Project Buford T Justice – Our 1987 9C1 Chevy Caprice – The Adventure Begins!

Introducing Project Buford T Justice – Our 1987 9C1 Chevy Caprice – The Adventure Begins!

Just like the title says, this is the official introduction for the first real deal project car we have done here at BangShift. I am calling this 1987 9C1 Caprice, “Buford T Justice” in honor of the man who relentlessly chased the Bandit through all three films of the Smokey and the Bandit triology. All porcine southern movie sheriffs in the late 1970s and early 1980s, like Justice and his contemporary JW Pepper, were saddled with a hefty sedans that had no hope to catch a Citation X-11 let alone a hot rod like the Bandit’s Firebird. Consider this project to be the Caprice that Buford would have built and stuck in the back of the barn in the event he got one more shot to, ” barbecue the Bandit’s ass in molasses”.

Oh, and I should mention that there are a couple of guys I know that have just started in on a project to build the Bandit’s “retirement” ride. I’ll be their huckleberry. If Buford T Justice had heard about the Bandit gallivanting around on his highways again, you can be damned sure that he’d roll his secret weapon out of the barn and set the ramming sights on kill!

Why choose a Caprice? There are lots of reasons, actually. They are full framed, V8, rear wheel drive cars with factory overdrive transmissions. 9C1 police package cars like this one are dirt cheap to buy and contain a bunch of pretty bitchin’ factory hardware like a 4bbl 350ci motor, big disc brakes, heavy duty springs and sway bars, an 8.5-inch 10-bolt rear with posi-traction, oil and transmission coolers, extra factory gauges, and a bunch of other neato doodads like dual interior lamps so coppers could write tickets at night. Plus, as you have come to know by now, I do lots of stuff as full family missions, so that requires room. Yeah, it is a four door car and some people may have an issue with that but they can suck it and be horrified when I either out muscle them on the strip or lap an autocross quicker than their zooty pony car.

Buford is currently in Pennsylvania and we’re making a weekend family adventure out of heading down to pick the car up. A couple weeks ago I scored an early 1970s vintage 350 that will serve as the platform to build the motor that will go into the car. I am looking for about 450hp out of the small block that will wear EFI and have some neat bits inside of it that I’ll talk about in later installments. I also have neat plans to take that already decent factory suspension and upgrade it about 20 notches. This car is not just going to go in straight lines. Instead, I’ll be autocrossing and hopefully open tracking the car with an improved stance, far better high performance suspension components and larger stickier meats on the corners. Again, if Buford wanted to really bury the Bandit, he’d need more than the ability to haul ass in the straights!

The initial plan for the car is pretty simple. We’re going to cruise it home (and you’ll be able to follow us live via GPS if you have nothing better to do this weekend), get some baseline numbers from the it as it sits bone stock. Those numbers should include digits from the chassis dyno, the drag strip, an autocross, and potentially a skid pad if we can sort it all out with mad scientist Dave Nutting (he’s good at math…not really, but we hear he has a bitchin’ calculator). The plain white and slightly shabby wrapper is staying on this thing. It’ll be even more satisfying to hammer unsuspecting victims without the glossy paint.

I plan on keeping you updated on all facets of this one. Any time I am doing anything with this car or for the car, you’ll read about it here. Buford would have needed the element of surprise but I don’t. Scroll down to see a bunch of photos of the first heavy duty project that we’re going to take on here at BangShift. Meet Buford T. Justice and prepare for some fun in taking this police issue tank to the next rumpity, lateral g-force inspired level!


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17 thoughts on “Introducing Project Buford T Justice – Our 1987 9C1 Chevy Caprice – The Adventure Begins!

  1. Arild Guldbrandsen

    If you feel there should be removed some weght,just toss the original front seat and install new lighter seats with more support in the sides..and the original bumpers can be lighter too,if you take out the inner structure in them.

  2. Greg

    “My top end is unnnnnlimited”
    I’ve been looking for one of these, but around Chicago they all have 26 inch rims and Lambo doors.

  3. John T

    Ah, ya lucky buggers….I wish cars like this were cheap in Australia…..we don’t have a problem with 4 doors down here, so send your unwanted cars our way…

  4. John

    Nice work indeed Mr. Lohnes – I look forward to meetin Buford in person some time.
    Perhaps a rematch at Beaver springs – but this time before snow season?

    I love the plain white wrapper – and I know you can drive better than Mr “top end unlimited” chasing Pete and his pals through the walnut groves!

    I dig it – the fact that it’s family friendly, and has the AC capacity to cool your house during a black out – makes it all the better.

  5. Fnu Lnu

    I had one just like this. I had 16 inch Iroc rims (3 bars) on mine. It was a mean looking car to get me to and from high school.

  6. Ermott

    This car cries out for a 502 and a stiffish 4 speed automatic. I hear that there are suburbans in the junk-yard so equipped!

  7. The Admiral

    It’s about time someone built one of these to be bad-ass. The best looking car ever made in my opinion. I’ve always wanted to build one right, so it could handle and had power to spare. I agree that it needs a big block…or hot LS power. I hope you guys keep the black steel wheels.

  8. UFO

    Oh HELL yes!
    Poly bushings all over the place, a slight stance tweak and they are a hoot to drive. The REAL problem with these cars is hanging on to the wheel during aggressive cornering – the bench (with steel anti-stab inserts!) is about the worst performance impediment ever conceived. I’m reviving my ’88 after melting the transmission chasing an M3 on the freeway years ago, this time with a few engine tweaks. I’ll be sure to snag some good handling tips from you guys 🙂

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