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4-Speed Classic: 1979 Chevrolet Malibu Classic

I admit to having a love for late-70s/early-80s cars, unlike a lot of people. Maybe if I would have grown up in the 1920s or 1950s I would prefer those eras, but for me these were my formative years, when I started driving, and when I started owning cars. I would have absolutely loved to have this 1979 Chevrolet Malibu Classic in 1979, or even now. This brown beauty is listed on eBay with an unmet opening bid of $3,000, but there are still six days left on the auction. This Canadian-built Malibu is located in Monroe, Michigan, which may explain the biggest problem that I can see with this otherwise nice and unique car. Let’s check it out, eh.

There’s quite a difference between the passenger side without the trim rings installed on the wheels and the driver’s side with them installed. The Malibu Classic needs to have them, in my opinion. This was a fancy car in its day. Hey, no, really!! The fourth-generation Malibu was second only to the Caprice in being part of GM’s downsizing efforts. Remember that? I know, we went from humongous, hulking cars that were big for big’s sake, down to smaller cars that sometimes even had more interior room. I remember my dad’s Olds 98 had so much room in front of the radiator that it just seemed like they were adding length because they charged by the inch or something. I think that this two-door Malibu is a tight, classy design.

But, ugh, Michigan and/or Midwest winter roads wreak havoc on vehicles and this Malibu has been wreaked and havoc’d almost to death. Well, it isn’t quite that bad, but some of the photos will make you cringe if you’re a car guy/gal. I don’t see this car being restored with this much rust on it, unfortunately. What an unbelievable waste. I mean, come on! We flew to the moon in 1969, for cryin’ out loud! How has nobody come up with a solution for keeping our winter roads safe without having that solution literally eat away our beloved vehicles?! It’s such a waste for this car because it really is a unique specimen as you’ll see.

Check out this unique interior! It has a rare factory 4-speed and also power windows! Now this is my kind of car, I love it! There’s an obvious crack in the side of the driver’s seat, and one in the windshield, but other than that, I don’t see too many flaws here. The back seat looks like it’s 38 hours old, not 38 years old. But, then there is a missing-headliner photo and some underside photos to shock us back to reality. The seller says that this car was in a barn for a decade and it sure looks like it was a wet barn. The driver’s side floor pan is gone and the passenger side isn’t much better. This will be a herculean effort to restore this car, and unfortunately I don’t see it happening unless someone had this exact car growing up or they have some other labor of love reason for putting so much time, money, and effort into restoring this car.

This is a 305 cubic-inch V8 that would have had 160 hp and 235 lb-ft of torque when new. The seller says that it “does run (not well), drives, stops (barely), so will need to be trailered and should be thoroughly gone through due to the amount of time it sat.” These almost-too-rusty-to-save cars really bum me out. I would love to have this car if it would have been a rust-free example in this color and configuration, but this would be far too great of a project for me, I have enough projects going on at the moment. Can this car be saved? If so, I’m guessing that this 305 would be replaced by a hotter engine?


  1. 68custom

    combine it with a rust free example from out west and you would have a cool rare ride, but not a real valuable one! it is nicely optioned though.

  2. Rube Goldberg Member

    You know, I should like this car, it’s got everything, a 2 door, V8, 4 speed. I suppose, it’s just when I think of a Malibu, this is not what comes to mind. Still, with the way things were going into the 80’s, this was as good as you could get, to still have some fun. It was either this or a Volare 4 speed. I don’t think Ford even offered something like this in ’79. Nice find, but I’d check the underside with rust in the door like that.

    • Miguel

      Ford saved all of their 4 speed V8 Fairmonts for Mexico.

      How many do you want?

      • Rube Goldberg Member

        None. :)

      • 68custom

        Everyone I ever saw was a three speed/overdrive!

    • Jimbosidecar

      My father had a Granada with a V8 and a 4 speed. Can’t remember the year but it was around ’76-’78. Seems like it was about the same size as this Mailbu. But I could be wrong about that. Anyway, that car did have enough power to at least get out of it’s own way

    • Superdessucke

      I think you could still get a Granada with the 302 and 4-speed in 1979. If you wanted to that is. This would have been considered far superior to that dated chassis, which was basically a revised Ford Maverick (which in turn was basically a revised 1960 Falcon).

      Anyway this car is a shame. Too bad it wasn’t stored better. In mint condition this is maybe a $7,000 car, on a good day. Its value lies in the factory 4-speed but these cars were so emasculated that the market for this today is pretty limited. As you said, you would have to have had one of these back in the day, or had a beloved family member or friend who did. Hopefully someone will bring it back, but the restoration won’t be motivated by dollars and cents.

  3. Steve

    Been for sale for a while, and featured on BF too. While a bit unique, it’s not a z28 or anything. Considering it’s issues, maybe $1500

    • Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      Ugh, you’re right, Steve! My apologies to Andrew Tanner and everyone. I searched back a couple of months and should have gone a bit further; dang it.

    • carsofchaos

      I thought this looked familiar……


    great starter car for someone. Tons of performance out there that would fit this. Lots of 383 strokers. Ultimate sleeper for cheap. Car looks pretty solid.

  5. Dan

    I owned several of these malibus and few years ago and even found one with a 4-speed, I was shocked, didn’t know they made then, was a fun little car to drive but yes lacking on horsepower, still the only one I have seen in person. It was white with an awful light green interior….UGH…..bought it off the original owners daughter…..

  6. Tom Guggino Member

    I have a 383 stroker that would make this an awesome sleeper. Has anyone seen this car in-person? How bad is the structural rust/rot?

  7. z28th1s

    There is one similar to this one near where I live. It needs some restoration but isn’t all rusty like this one and has all the original documentation.

    • William

      Odd that the trim around the shifter is different on two same year cars. Maybe the brown one was different because Canadian.

      • z28th1s

        The difference could be that the brown car is a bucket seat car and the white one is a bench seat car?

      • SRyan

        I would guess bucket seats made the difference. I had a 78 305 4spd wagon that was mounted flat to the floor. Should have kept that one.

    • OilyDick

      Is that a baseball bat in the trunk?

  8. Don

    Did anyone ever own a 79 Monte Carlo with a V8, 4 speed with an aluminum hood and aluminum trunk lid besides me?

    • Fred

      I vaguely remember my 1978 Monte Carlo (305, 4 speed, no A/C) having an aluminum hood.

      I thought it was “normal”

  9. stillrunners LAWRENCE Member


  10. Buick Fan

    For anyone who hasn’t owned one, these are really nice driving cars with a unique driving personality, comfortable ride, and surprisingly peppy with the 305…not sure if the 4 spd is a plus, but to each their own>

    • carsofchaos

      You are correct about the car’s driving habits. My 1st car was the same car as this, sans the buckets and 4 speed. I haven’t had that car since 1992 yet I still remember how it drove. One day I was at a gas station filling up, and a lady walked up to me and said “I used to have one of those, it was the nicest driving car I ever owned”.

  11. Steve

    That white car would be a lot better start. The brown car would have to be dipped or blasted in order to stop the rust. The labor involved in that alone would put more money in the car than it would ever be worth. I have a 79 Malibu 2 dr. that I have owned since 1997. Originally pastel blue with light blue vinyl top and bench seat interior, 267 v8, TH200 auto, 2.29 rear gear. Talk about a slug. I wish it would have had a drivetrain like this, at least!. Now it has a 468 BBC, 200 4r and 8.5″ rear out of a H/O with 3.373 posi. Much more fun! I like G bodies so much that I picked up an 82 Malibu wagon with 56k miles the other day for $500. Too bad it sat outside wince 1987… No rust, though, just bad sunburn.

  12. Ken

    In Michigan a car that vintage with that little of rust is basically a cream puff. You should have seen the 70 Chevelle SS 454 I restored, now that thing was rusty.

  13. jaymes

    its us or rust, wish it was ziebarted when new, alot of work needed now

  14. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Ended: Dec 11, 2017 , 5:15PM
    Winning bid:US $3,300.00
    [ 6 bids ]

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