1979 Chevrolet Impala and Caprice

The 1979 Chevrolet Caprice Classic's most noticeable change was a subtly reworked grille and headlights.
The 1979 Chevrolet Caprice Classic's most noticeable change was a subtly reworked grille and headlights.

The 1979 Chevrolet Impala and Caprice were a "standard of success by which other full-size cars should be judged," according to Chevrolet.

Then again, this is the company whose ads in 1979 promoted fuel efficiency even for the Caprice, still billed as "The New Chevrolet." That designation had been given to downsized full-size models in 1977, but changes were modest this year. Caprice Classics got a new segmented grille with bold vertical accents and a revised headlight design. Coupes and sedans also adopted a refinement of the traditional triple-segment taillights.

"America has driven it to the top," the sales brochure crowed, as this "new generation" had "become the most popular of our times."

The 1979 Chevrolet Caprice Classic came standard with bodyside pinstriping.
The 1979 Chevrolet Caprice Classic came standard with bodyside pinstriping.

Engine choices again began with a 250-cubic-inch six and 305-cubic-inch V-8, with a 170-horsepower 350-cubic-inch V-8 optional. Options included a Power Skyroof, six-way power seat, intermittent wipers, Comfortron automatic air conditioning, electric rear defogger, power antenna, and power trunk opener. A separate brochure described Chevrolet police vehicles: Malibus and Impalas, with departing Novas omitted.

Output of full-size cars dipped just a little, to 588,638 units. Even so, that total stood beyond any other series, though Malibu wasn't so far behind. For millions of Americans, the name Chevrolet and big cars, even the downsized biggies, were nearly synonymous.

1979 Chevrolet Impala and Caprice Facts

Model
Weight range (lbs.)
Price range (new)
Number built
Impala
3,495-4,045
$5,828-$6,947
270,907
Caprice
3,538-4,088
$6,198-$6,960
317,731