Rolling Violation #7 - rv7
Next: rv8
1982 Plymouth Caravelle Back: rv6

click for a higher res pic
    318 Cubic Inch V8 (5.2L)
    2 bbl. Carb (stock)
    130 hp @ 4000 rpm
    245 ft-lbs @ 2000 rpm *
    3 speed torqueflite automatic transmission.
    0-60:  ~11.5 seconds.
    1/4 mile:  ~18 seconds
    Top Speed:  over 190 km/h (117 mph.)

When and how much:
    $350.  January 1995 to April 1996. 18,500 km.

    First off, it's not a Gran Fury or a Diplomat.  In Canada, in 1982, you could buy a FWD K-Car based Plymouth Caravelle, or you could buy a "traditional" RWD V8 Caravelle.  The Canadian Caravelle is a cross between the Dodge Diplomat and the Plymouth Gran Fury.  I'm not sure why they changed the name in Canada... it sure made parts shopping fun.  I remember the first time I was asked if my Caravelle was FWD or RWD - I thought the guy was nuts!  I believe this overlap may have been for a few years in the 80's until the Caravelle's demise.
    A third Mopar?  I thought I was a GM guy, and this is my third Plymouth in a row.  It's also my third car in sixteen months.  This fine specimen was purchased for the princely sum of $350.  This was my most expensive car purchase.  After a couple of slant-6 powerhouses, I was glad to be back in V8 land, even if it only had a 2 barrel carb.
    If you read the page on RV6, you'll note I dumped the car in the middle of winter as it was too cold/too much work to replace a diff on a $60 car.  (At the time, I had no garage - I was still living with my parents.)  I decided to replace it with a car that had a blown heater core!  Looking back, I wonder what the heck I was thinking - it's too cold to fix the car, so let's replace it with one that has no heat?!
    Seriously, I knew this car was basically an 82 Volare and the dash came apart the same way, so how hard could it be?  Apparently, it can be.  To change the heater core on an air-conditioned M-Body (Caravelle) you need to disconnect the A/C. I'm not qualified, and this was right at the beginning of the "Freon bad!" enviromental stuff.  After four plus hours of disassembly, prying, swearing, Darren cutting things open, we gave up.  Apparently the manual was right.  Why do the mounting bolts for the ductwork face the firewall?  Your guess is as good as mine!  Anyway, one trip to Canadian Tire later, I had the heater core replaced.  Three months later, the dashboard was put back in.  Ever driven a car with no gauges?  You get real nervous when there's a cop nearby...
    This car also spelled the beginning of the end for true "rolling violations" for me.  Manitoba instituted safety checks.  Quick Rant:  The safety is good for two years, so you can safety a car, drive 40,000 km and as long as you sell it in less than 2 years the safety is carried over without any inspection.  When I was shopping for RV8, I found many cars that were "safetied" that would never have passed if they were re-inspected.  One Malibu had no turn signal lever, but a "safety."  End Rant.  This could rank a full page... and will one day be one. :)

    The Body:
    Flat Black brush painted hood.  I think they might have been going for the classic Mopar muscle car look, but it didn't happen.  Seriously, I think there was once a small engine fire or something that bubbled the paint on the hood.
Primer/Peeling/Rusting roof.  This was a standard feature on most Plymouths of the time.
Otherwise, it looked like an old cop car - minimal trim, dark blue paint.  I kinda liked it.  The rust wasn't too bad, only the driver's door was bad.
The interior was comfy - gotta love those bench seats.  The next hint it might have been a cop car (or taxi) was the fact it had TWO dome lights, the second one being about 50 watts and mounted in the front.

    The powertrain:
    318 2bbl, 3 speed auto.  Not much to write about here, except the further hints it may have been a cop car.  It had TWO alternator belts.  That doesn't sound weird, but they were double pulleys.  There was one belt that drove the all the accessories, then they had doubled it up.  It also had an external transmission cooler (a lot of good that did) and a power steering cooler.  With the addition of P245/60-15 tires on the back, it tracked straight and true on the highway.
    When the tranny R&R took place, I broke the exhaust.  I left it like that, because I was cheap and I liked the sound.  Most people just thought I was cheap.

    Major repairs and other large infusions of cash:
    Transmission R&R.  When I bought it, I didn't know the transmission was >thisclose< to blowing up.  It was winter, and it was a couple of months before I noticed that it was slipping going into second gear.  Eventually, it got really bad - it was slipping so bad I could barely give it any gas in any gear.  0-60 in about 45 sec.  The low point was when I got "stuck" going uphill in a parking garage and had to back out, downhill.  I had to get the car at the gate to open it then back up so I could get out.  My passenger was NOT impressed.  (Sorry Jayson!)

    During the tranny R&R, we ran into a snag.  There was a balance weight (or something) on the tailshaft of the transmission.  It's purpose is unknown, but the replacement tranny didn't come with one.  I thought we should move it over in case it was necessary for something.  Unfortunately, we ran into a small snag.  It snapped one of the mounting tabs off, leaving it "hanging" by one bolt.  The fix?  Duct tape!  Not very suprisingly, Darren was involved.

    The Volare stereo was moved over, as well as the alarm.  Alpine Tape Deck, 5 speakers (2 front Kenwood, 2 rear Alpine and a Pioneer 12" sub), all powered by an Alpine amp.

Other than regular maintenance, this thing was pretty reliable.  Why did I get rid of it?

    The accidents:
    I'm not quite sure why this thing kept getting hit.  The first accident occured in the winter, when some "lady" lost control and slid into me.  (For those not familiar with Manitoba's insurance, a quick side note:  one person assesses fault based on reading the stories of the claimaints.  If they can't tell who did it, they are forced to assess 50-50 and you have to go to court to get this overridden.)  Apparently, I managed to slide into her lane, hook her car with my back bumper, then pull her back into my lane.  Whatever... the damage was minimal, and I never did settle with the insurance company - I didn't want to sue, but it wasn't my fault.

    Accident #2 was a little more serious.  It ended up totalling the car.  (Like that is hard for a $350 car.)  This one was 100% the other guy's fault, and the insurance company agreed with me.  "Farmer Brown" backed his truck out of his driveway right in front of me - and I hit the bumper.  Hard - for a residential street - no room to stop.  I tried, and almost went up the curb, but there was a telephone pole blocking the way.  Damage to his vehicle was minor, but mine was over $1000.  It would have needed a new fender, nose, etc.  After much haggling (including a 24 page fax,) we settled.  I would have bought the car back, as it was still driveable, but it wouldn't have passed a safety without probably $1000 in work, and besides, I had had the car too long - over a year (a record at that point.)

    One thing all these accidents made me do is carry a disposable camera in the car.  After making sure everyone is ok, shoot the whole roll.  Get pics of both vehicles, as many directions as you can, all the people there, witnesses etc.  They will come in VERY handy when it comes time to tell your side of the story to the adjuster, and makes it harder for the other person to dispute many things.

More pictures: (click 'em for bigger versions)
-This was the damage inflicted in the first accident.
-This is a pic taken at the second crash scene.
-Another shot of the front end damage.

-Once again, I forget who I got this from... this is a Dodge Diplomat.

Links: - They have a lot of info on Caravelles/Grand Furys and other Mopars.

    Darren and Crazy Ivan (Darren's Dad) helped out a lot with the transmission replacement.  Mr. Kerr not only let me make a mess of his driveway, but helped!  I owe them a big thank you.
    I've seen a couple of different HP and torque ratings for these engines, the other being 120 hp @ 3600 rpm.  IIRC this was for the "regular duty" engine, and this car had the HD engine - 10 more HP!  (feel the power)

The collection:








(c) 2002-November-30.  Please don't use my images without giving credit.  For copyright questions, please contact the webmaster.