In stock form, a 1994 Chevrolet Caprice isn’t considered the pinnacle of GM performance. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be transformed into something cool. David Ridel picked up his 1994 Caprice after a relative passed away, and he quickly transformed it from a sweet old lady’s daily driver to a boosted battleship that makes over 1,000 horsepower.
David has always been into high-performance cars and did his fair share of street racing when he was growing up. Eventually, he started a family and passed on that need for speed to his sons, Matthew and Christopher. The family tradition of participating in motorsports is still strong in the Ridel family to this day.
Matthew tells the story of how the Caprice became a project car.
“My great aunt purchased the car new in 1994. She was your typical sweet old lady with a big car. When she passed away, my dad said he wanted the car so he could use it for a build, and that’s how we ended up with it. The car was in pretty rough shape when we got it, there were a lot of dents and scratches all over it — even the roof was dented. Dad brought the car home and started building it based on the idea he had to make it into a fun driver.”
The Caprice got a trip to the spa, where its body was restored, it received some new wheels, and a Ram Jet 350 crate engine was added for some horsepower. About this time, Matthew and Christopher started to race, so David put the Caprice project on the back-burner so he could help them out. The Caprice was eventually pulled out of the corner and work began on revamping the B-body.
“Dad decided he wanted to rebuild the car and race it. He wanted a twin-turbo LS combo in the car since that’s what a lot of our friends were doing. We purchased a 2003 GMC truck for the engine and sold the rest of the truck. We used the 5.3-liter LS that was in the truck, initially deciding to keep the stock rods, crank, and pistons. The only thing we added was a simple BTR valvetrain upgrade,” Matthew says.
Well, the plan changed and the 5.3 was bored out to 327 cubic inches by Larry’s Auto Machine and assembled by Ken Carlson. The LS features a set of stock 706 truck heads, FiTech intake and throttle body, along with a set of FID 1,300cc injectors. Derek Burton at Bootleg Tune calibrated the Holley Terminator system. This simple yet effective combination laid down 1,073 horsepower on the dyno.
Accurate Transmission built the TH400 that transfers power to a 9-inch rearend from Quick Performance. Paul McDerrmott at Outlaw Race Craft built the roll cage, intercooler, ice tank, and catch can for the Caprice. The Ridel family took care of building the turbo system that uses a set of Flowtech headers to send exhaust gasses to a pair of Forced Inductions turbos. A set of Tial wastegates and blowoff valves are in charge of controlling all the boost. The Caprice rides on a full drag racing B-body suspension from QA1 that’s augmented by a TRZ anti-roll bar and AFCO shocks.
David is still working on dialing in the Caprice at the track. The 4,000-pound land yacht has lit the boards with the best time of 9.154 at 151 mph…not bad for such a big car.
David Ridel is proof that the older generation of hot rodders is more than capable of learning new tricks. David’s Caprice might look like the car your grandma drove to church, but it’s able to drive around you at the track while it takes you to Gapplebee’s.