The Caprice began life in mid-1965 as a luxury trim package for the Impala four-door hardtop sedan, in response to the successful Ford LTD series. This included a stiffer suspension, higher-grade cloth and vinyl seat and door trim (as well as thicker, higher-grade carpeting), walnut trim on the dashboard and door panels, pull straps on the doors, extra convenience lights, special full wheel covers and an optional vinyl top. The name for the Chevrolet Caprice was coined by Bob Lund (Chevrolet's General Sales Manager) after a classy restaurant he frequented in New York City. However, some say the Caprice was named after Caprice Chapman, daughter of auto executive and influential Indy-car official James P. Chapman.
The Caprice was very well received during its abbreviated first year in 1965. For 1966, the Caprice was expanded into a full top-line series to also include a two-door hardtop with a squared-off formal roofline (in contrast to the Impala/SS coupe's fastback roof) and a station wagon with simulated wood exterior trim - the first Chevy "woody" wagon since 1954. A V8 engine was installed in every Caprice. While features such as an automatic transmission, power steering, white sidewall tires, and vinyl top were extra-cost options, virtually every Caprice was sold with them. It is interesting to note, however, that a few Caprices were ordered with the optional 4-speed manual transmission, few or no power accessories, and the 425hp (317kW) 427 cubic-inch Turbo Jet V8. However most customers frequently ordered more civilized, but still powerful V8 engines such as the 325hp (242kW) 396 cubic-inch Turbo Jet V8 to handle multitudes of luxury options such as air conditioning, power windows, Cruise-Master speed control, power seats and stereo radios; several automotive history books noted that a fully-optioned Caprice rivaled the appearance, comfort and convenience of the Cadillac DeVille (which ironically was based on the Caprice and other B-body GM cars, but on a larger and more expensive C-body).