Holden Caprice V (Credit: Cnet.com.au)
The WM series II Holden Caprice is the only Australian-made long-wheelbase sedan on the market. It is a common sight on domestic roads due to its popularity with government and chauffeur-driven fleets. However, the majority of Caprices are exported to left-hand-drive international markets, serving roles as diverse as police pursuit vehicles and exotic luxury cars.
In Australia as well as New Zealand, Caprice series II is only available as a Spark Ignition Direct Injection (SIDI) 3.6 litre V6, or the 6.0 Generation 4 V8-powered model named Caprive V. Both are pitched as upmarket saloons. The V6 model boasts the so-called Holden-iQ colour touch-screen integrating features like audio connectivity, hands-free phone functionality, satellite navigation and a reversing camera. The V adds a new alloy wheel design, glass sunroof, separate rear climate zone, and a rear DVD player with twin LCD screens, illuminated remote controls and cordless headphones.
Saudi Arabia & Persian Gulf region
Chevrolet Caprice SS (Credit: T63YS.com)
Badged as a Chevrolet Caprice, the Middle East is the largest export market for Holden. The left-hand-drive Caprice is most popular in Saudi Arabia, but is also sold in Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman, Lebanon, Qatar and Syria.
All four variants come standard with V8 power, though the basic LS and LTZ models are also available with the 3.6 litre V6. The functional LS also features 16" steel wheels, automatic headlamps, Blaupunkt CD/radio, air conditioning, and dual front airbags. LTZ buyers gain 17" alloy wheels, rear park assist, front fog lamps, dual-zone climate control, colour LCD screen and front side impact airbags.
The sporty SS boasts 18" wheels along with alloy pedal faces, leather seating and bi-xenon headlamps. At the top of the range, the comfort-oriented Royale reverts to 17" wheels but adds electro-chromatic interior mirror, single overhead DVD player, 3-zone climate control, curtain airbags and anti-whiplash head restraints.
Bitter Vero (Credit: carmagazine.co.uk)
In 2007, tiny German maker Bitter began to offer a WM modified near Cologne, the Bitter Vero, available in Germany and the Czech Republic. Former race car driver (below) Erich Bitter's company produced mainly Opel-based coupe models between 1974 and 1989, with the '07 Vero bringing a long-awaited comeback for the brand.
With a claimed A$1 million investment from its maker, the Vero features dramatically different frontal styling with some carbon fibre panels, unique interior trim, 18" or 20" alloy wheel options, unique exhaust tips, rear fog lamps, upgraded suspension and improved brakes. The V8 powertrain was largely unchanged aside from Euro IV compliance. In '08 the price was dropped from over €100k down to 87k excluding VAT, while from '09 an €20,500 option pack includes Walkinshaw compressor offering 550 BHP and more potent brakes.
Buick Park Avenue (Credit: chinadaily.com.cn/autonews.gasgoo.com)
Since 2007, the WM Caprice has been available as an upmarket proposition in China where it is known as the Buick Park Avenue. Available with a choice of 150 kW 2.8 or 187 kW 3.6 litre V6s, this is the only Caprice variant not built in Australia. Assembled in China from CKD (completely knocked down) kits, the specification levels are known as Comfort, Elite, Luxury and Flagship.
The Buick's beautifully-designed interior boasts seat massagers for 4 passengers, electric rear sunshade and fold-down trays for rear-seat occupants. It also features a less imposing front bumper, plus side indicators relocated to the exterior mirrors. An electronic park brake is fitted as a result of the redesigned centre console.
Daewoo Veritas (credit: motorauthority.com)
The 2008-onwards Daewoo Veritas is a 3.6 litre V6-powered variant for the South Korean market. The word Veritas is Latin for 'truth'. Later models gained an extra ratio through GM's 6 speed automatic transmission along with the SIDI version of the engine, satisfying Korea Ultra-Low Emissions Vehicle standards.
Three trim levels are available: Deluxe, Premium and Luxury. With available features including 3-zone climate control, seat massagers with heaters, rear-sunshade and electric headrest adjustment, a multitude of rear-seat functions are controllable by buttons on the armrest between the seats.
Externally, the Veritas features a seemingly Mercedes-Benz-inspired horizontal-slat grille with bonnet ornament, chrome exterior mirror mouldings and silver headlamp bezels.
United States of America
Chevrolet Caprice PPV
As of 2011 this Chevy-badged immigrant has begged Uncle Sam to grant it citizenship, promising to work tirelessly for US government and law enforcement agencies across the land. Unavailable to the general public, it is known as the Chevrolet Caprice PPV. A plain 9C3 model is also available with the questionable intention of using a rare import as an undercover police car.
Holden redesigned the front seats for the comfort of belt-holster-wearing officers. Initially only available with the flex-fuel 6.0 V8, the Caprice offers significantly faster acceleration and more interior space than the now-defunct, long-serving Ford Crown Victoria. In September 2010, Michigan State Police reported the Caprice outperforms its rivals. In May 2011, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department released another report rating the Caprice PPV the winner in a comparison with 15 other vehicles.
Until its discontinuation in 1996 an unrelated, American Chevrolet Caprice was among the most popular police vehicles in the country.