LS on the Cheap: Why a Retired Chevy Caprice PPV Is the Ultimate Daily Beater
As fun as it may be to drive a flashy, high-end performance car every day, there are certainly some drawbacks. While it may be nice to stare back lovingly at your car each time you hop out of it, that also means you’re probably worrying about it each time you leave it in a parking lot unattended. Door dings, potholes, interior wear and tear, all of it can be really defeating when you have have a daily driver that you take a lot of pride in. That’s before you even get to the guilt that can come with piling up miles on a rare or desirable vehicle.
It’s for those reasons and more why many auto enthusiasts have a daily beater they drive most of the time. Many vehicles will work for this. It could be a pickup truck, a fuel sipping economy car or a spacious old SUV. If you were to ask us what the coolest daily beater candidate is, the Chevy Caprice PPV would be at the top of our list.
Ultimate Daily Beater
There are plenty of reasons why we say that. Rear wheel drive? Check. A roomy interior? Check. A no-nonsense demeanor? Check. A bulletproof GM LS series V8? Check.
The “PPV” stands for Police Patrol Vehicle. There’s a good chance you’ve seen one of the now-discontinued sedans patrolling your local streets and highways, but you’ve probably never seen one in a car dealership.
That’s because the Caprice PPV was never sold to the general public, only to law enforcement agencies during its run from 2011 to 2017. But now that the cars have started to age out of service, anybody can go out and buy an ex-law enforcement Caprice PPV at a surprisingly low price.
The Caprice is essentially a long wheelbase version of the Holden Commodore platform that was also used by the Pontiac G8 and Chevrolet SS—only with less civilian comforts and a much more utilitarian feel.
Ex-police cars have always made for great under the radar enthusiast vehicles, and the Caprice PPV might be the best of the bunch, thanks in large part to its independent rear suspension and optional 355hp 6.0L V8 (a V6 was also available).
Not only is the car made from good bones with a proven, surprisingly agile chassis and a legendary GM V8 under the hood, but the Caprice PPV also packs all the typical police car upgrades like additional cooling and heavy duty suspension and brakes.
Nothing Special to Look At
That said, there are some drawbacks. The interior is as cheap as it gets, the styling is pure rental car and its lack of amenities won't impress passengers. But those are also the same things that help make it a great daily beater.
Of course, there’s nothing to stop someone from turning a workhorse Caprice PPV into a full-on project car, adding a supercharger, fancy wheels and other goodies—but it’s probably best to keep it simple. We've even spotted people at track days driving freshly retired PPVs.
Easy to Find
Despite being used by law enforcement agencies across the country, the Caprice PPV was never deployed in high numbers compared to the Dodge Charger and Ford Explorer. But it’s still not hard to find retired examples for sale.
A recent search on AutoTrader revealed several examples for sale, with prices ranging from about $8,000 to $14,000 depending on mileage and condition. Even at the high end of the spectrum, it’s still less than what most late model used economy cars go for.
For that price, you’ll get a big, spacious RWD sedan with a powerful V8 and a fast, surprisingly fun daily beater that should be able to handle all the abuse you can throw at it. It also has the unique combination of being rare and capable of blending into traffic with ease.
It’s for those reasons and more why we think a retired Chevy Caprice PPV might be the best daily beater ever. But before you buy one, just make sure your friends don’t mind looking like busted perps when you make them hop in the back seat.
Additional photos via AutoTrader