Author Topic: My 1991 LCC Declasse Premier Taxi  (Read 7183 times)

  Hey folks, I hopped on here and decided I'd like to share with you all a project of mine I finished earlier this year-to be precise.. about several months ago.
The project consisted for about 8 months or longer during the spare time of my life. I believe I put about $2000 into the vehicle. ($600 mechanical restoration, $800 paintwork, $500 cab exterior+rebadging)

Back in May of last year, 2021 I bought a decently taken care of 1991 Chevy Caprice Classic. Two owners-both kin to each other about almost two hours from home.
The roof was sunbleached, plenty of fade and peal to the clearcoat, aged foggy headlights, awful pealing luxury sideskirt plating, bumper stickers, dirty interrior-smokers car.
You could literally 'breath the ashes' let's just say. Owner had cigarette' burns on the lovely cloth bench seat. :(

Now, Mechanically, the vehicle looked and seemed alright. Engine was intact though, greasy. You can tell the engine hasn't been detailed in years.
The owner was honest and did tell me it had some issues that needed fixing.. He believed I'd have to put at least $2000 to fix the problems.

Climate control/heater fan was not blowing into the cabin. Catalytic converter manifold leaking. Basic fluid swap. Fuel gauge, speedo stuck.
All window alignment fixed, window motors replaced. Need new tires.

Now, he was willing to sell this to me though I gotta say..
He really didn't wanna sell this car. You see, this was his fathers car. Bought it in 92' straight from the dealership.
In 2020, he passed away. His son, who owned the vehicle wanted to fix it up though when you're married, have a family to provide for, that can be hard to accomplish.

I found this vehicle listed for sale on Facebook Marketplace. Turns out his wife posted the vehicle for sale while the man was at work, without his knowledge..
He called me back after getting off work wondering why tf his car daddy's car is for sale. Yeah. Though as he said, 'a deal is a deal' And, he went through with it.
He had no grudges towards the buyer.. Though, let's not talk about the night after the purchase at his home..

Alright, now I said the husband was honest though, his wife.. Not so much. Lmao the mileage on the vehicle was said to be 120,000. Checked the odometer and that stuff was 257,000.
I chuckled and was like, "Oh, it's a Chevy."

Now, I was gonna test drive the vehicle that day though, to the man's surprise and my own.. The car wouldn't start. No power at all. Now, I was thinking at the moment-hey! This man's tampered
with the car so he won't have to sell it! He took a deep breath and said 'maybe the lord's lookin' out for me.' Though, I wasn't having that.
"Dad, call Triple-A. We're taking this mf home. How much did you say this was again? $800?" Yeah, I wanted it that badly.

He really wanted to help me out financially. So, he offered to sell it for $800. Though the wife wanted $2000.
After some talks he did with his wife: the price was negotiated to $1400. Sold.
I must mention how even though he really didn't want to sell it, he was relieved that someone out there was going to take good care of his baby, fix er' up and restore it.

Not long later, the tow truck arrived. Towed it immediately to my mechanic's shop.
The next day my mechanic called me up. He told me the issue was the Distributor module and, they go out easily on older Chevrolets though, are cheap, easy to fix.
Several hours later on the same day I paid $80 for the fix and cleaned up n' detailed the vehicle in and out the best I could at the time.
Before I drove off for the cleanup, I made sure to peal off the ugly pealing sideskirt plates at the shop.

I drove the vehicle around for about a week before I laid it to rest at my apartment complex parking lot at the time.
From late May to mid June I begun the first phase of work on the vehicle.
I masked the trim and any important parts I wanted to protect from sanding and began sanding alone.
The sandpaper used was 80grit. Orbital sanding and hand sanding. Paint, Primer and the clear was removed.
At times this was tedious as it was summer and days were hot with little shade.
Eventually I had help from a buddy and the process sped up drastically.

Painting. I was originally wanting to have my vehicle painted by Maaco.
I was promised a $800 paint job including prime and clear by the owner of the store location once I finish my prepwork.
When I returned some weeks later.. I was denied this offer. Told, something like 'yeah buddy, that's gonna be a $3000 job. You sanded it too extreme.'

After some frustration here and there, I eventually decided to say 'screw it' and invested into a mobile car port canopy, tape, and lots of 3m thick plastic sheets.
I built a makeshift paint shed on my parents drive way after I got their approval.

This part of the project took about 5-6 months. I was very on and off on it.
I masked the car up completely, bought two 1 gallon canisters of Rustolem Rusty metal primer, two home depot 1 gallon outdoor metal transportation yellow paint and, five rattle cans of clear coat.
The proper PPE was worn. I went cheap on the spray method and opted for a cheap $20 harbor freight electric paint gun. It was so cheap, crappy at times that I had to buy a second spray gun.
It just kept seizing on me causing splatter and overspray on the vehicle. Because of that, some parts of the vehicle didn't turn out the best I intended of.

The spray process in short went as such:
Washed the vehicle, dried. Primed. Primed again, double coat. Wetsanded using 400 or 600 grit (forgot precise grit) Painted. Applied second coat. Wetsanded again.
Applied two coats of clear and forget wetsanding it again! That stuff almost made me sick from the summer heat combined with the super cold water from the hose.

After the paintjob was complete.. It wasn't long before it returned to my mechanic to be mechanically restored.
We're talking about new brakes, rotors, new blower, clusters, windows fixed, engine tune up, catalytic converter removed, straightpiped exhaust, R12 AC system retrofitted and more.
Oh yeah and he replaced the mirrors and tail-lights for me along with shining the headlights. 90's Jeep mirrors and Impala tail-lights. (mirrors looked way larger online *sigh*)

I'd say it was a month 1/2 to 2 months later and the job was done. Costed me $600. Mechanic said it wasn't that hard.
Meanwhile, throughout the time waiting: I acquired the proper decals, bumperstickers, badges, emblems, antennas, license plates and the adbanner sign for the Taxi Package.

The Bumperstickers, decals and, badges were ripped from GTAIV using OpenIV. I used and AI-Upscaling to modify the images to my needs.
As you all already know, the ad banner textures are from GTAV. A company manufactured the adbanner for me after I provided the images.

Piece by piece I would add the livery and equipment such as the antennas, badges, decals.. It wasn't all at once-I was simply too impatient lol
Sometimes I would stop by at the mechanic shop to install a recently delivered piece.

The vehicle is based on a mod from GTAIV and GTAV as well as the Declasse Premier from GTASA. example

Taxi Package is pretty much complete besides the missing hood ornament. Just haven't had the funds to add the final piece even if it is about $80 on ebay.
Interior work still has a way to go. Before it's licensed up I need a new headliner, speakers, a meter and a bulletproof partition.

It's been a year since I got this car I just realized. As of May 2022, this car is my daily driver. I take it to meets, car shows and even sometimes have little' fun in it.
I do plan on getting my taxi license eventually and starting my own private cab company in my area. This car.. It's treated me well unlike my first car which, sadly is broken down.
Blown engine gaskets. Imported JDM's are a bitch to maintain and can take months to return back to the road over part shortages.

I gotta' be honest, this cabby has had it's issues at times.. Check engine light randomly coming on with no problems to be heard or seen.. The fuel pump failing (easy, cheap fix btw!)
Gas mileage ain't the best though since when did I care? Recently I made the best out of my fuel economy taking a week and 1/2 until I had to refuel only going to work n home.
Issues are way easier and quicker to resolve than my JDM.

Below listed is a gallery of the work start-to-finish along with events and such.
Note that I may have forgot to add some details to the story.
Also note: throughout the time owned I've given the previous owner updates and the final result photos..
It puts a smile to his face that the cabby is in good hands.
Final Note: Yes, my plates are completely visible. Commercial vehicle-doesn't bother me.

Thank you for taking the time reading my long-ass story.

Purchase footage May, 2021.

Cars and Coffee Jan, 2022.

Short film I halted production on (lost motivation)
"Crusin' In a Perfect World"
« Last Edit: May 01, 2022, 02:01:34 AM by Death The Kid »

Good. loving. stuff.

You have great passion and dedication in your work, kid. Keep it that way.

that restoration is amazing wtf

great work man. how many head turns do you get driving it about?

great work man. how many head turns do you get driving it about?

About as many as I would with my Toyota Crown Detective car..
Clip of the Crown if you're curious:

So far nobody's flagged me down for a ride yet though my first fare was $40 for a good 30mile drive and my second was $11 for a 6.4 mile dropoff.

definitely commendable to just decide to paint the car yourself lol. honestly with that mindset, you could teach yourself to fix the mechanical issues too. then you wouldn't have to pay a mechanic to do it for you

dude really said "im gonna make the taxi from gta 4" and went and did it

sick, i've always digged the way these looked, i'd love to get myself a 90s caprice hearse and turn it into a sleeper car