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1974 Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu 454 4-Speed!

From its introduction in 1964, the Chevelle became one of Chevrolet’s best sellers. It joined GM’s mid-size lineup which included the Pontiac LeMans, Oldsmobile Cutlass, and Buick Skylark. All these autos were redesigned in 1973, taking on a “Colonnade” approach to their styling. For 1974 the Malibu was largely unchanged from the year before but could be had with a 454 cubic inch V8 and a 4-speed manual transmission, like in this nice example. Located in Dover, New Hampshire, this numbers-matching Chevy is available here on craigslist for $24,500. Kudos to Mitchell G. for this big-block tip!

The 1973-77 redesign of the GM intermediates was prompted in part by impending Federal rollover standards that would go on to seal the fate of convertibles. Gone were true A-body hardtop bodies, and the coupe versions had a fastback roofline with frameless door glass and fixed B pillars, earning the “Colonnade” moniker. This update was intended for the 1972 model year but got delayed an additional 12 months due to labor issues. They would be a bit bulkier than their predecessors, but also a tad bit roomier. The largest engine in the portfolio was a 245 hp 454 with a 4-barrel, which was rated in SAE net figures and detuned to run on unleaded fuel.

We can’t identify any specific production numbers for the 454/M-21 Muncie 4-speed in a 2-door Malibu in 1974, but they may have been relatively small. Remember that the 1974 model year was greeted by higher fuel prices thanks to the OPEC oil embargo in late 1973. So, buyers were flocking to smaller, more gas-sipping vehicles, which surely this Malibu is not. The VIN provided by the seller jives as it being what is being presented.

This Chevy features cool high-back swivel bucket seats that were optional on this go-around of the cars. We’re told that the machine is “mostly original”, but we don’t know if that extends to the body, paint, or interior materials. The mileage is said to be low at 46,000 miles, The engine and rear gears have been “enhanced” so we’re betting this hot rod can now claim more than 200 horses. The seller has a collection of information and records about this Malibu that the new owner will receive.


  1. Stan

    Wow Cool Colonnade 😎
    Big motor 4sp, gears, swivel seats.
    Id take the stance back to stock, and cruise it.

    Like 28
  2. Evan

    1974 was about the end of the line for the true muscle car. You could still get a big block in a 1975 Chevelle (unless you lived in California) but not with a 4-speed.

    Like 15
  3. Zen

    Neat car, but the stance makes it look strange to me. I’d have to see it in person, and see the quarter panels to look for rot repair. It’s unusual to see a big block and 4 speed, too bad it doesn’t have A/C. That’s a lot of money, too, I hope it looks better in person and it finds a good home.

    Like 10
    • Patrick Crew

      I almost bought a car similar to this one in 1974, but opted instead for a Trans Am 455. The stance is period correct for a “street machine” all the way down to the Corvette Rally wheels and offset. For the mid to late 70s, this is the perfect look – and would be an absolute sleeper, since most Chevelles NOT having an SS badge were driven by nuns and biology teachers.

      Like 6
      • Matt S

        Fat fingered the screen. Nothing to be reported. Sorry

        Like 0
  4. Roland

    I always liked these cars, although I like the 73 with the four round lights for its aggressiveness. This one seems to be in nice shape. I had forgotten the dash design with the huge “you should have ordered a clock” plug in the cluster. A friend had one with a 350 that was quick and comfortable. If I needed a car today I would buy this one before something new.

    Like 11
    • Bad brad

      They only had 4 head lights in 69 and 70 models. 71 then on was only 2, geez roland

      Like 0
      • Bob

        They had four round headlights from the first year, 1964, all of the way through 1970.

        Like 1
    • Bob

      73 with four round headlights? 70 was the last year for four round headlights.

      Like 0
  5. Roland

    Sorry: four round tail lights

    Like 11
    • Chet

      I agree, the four round tail lights looked much better, these rectangular tail lights are ugly. I do like this car, with that big block and manual 4 speed it’s special.

      Like 4
  6. Bruce

    Same power as the L82 small block in the Z28

    Like 4
  7. Cooter Cooter Member

    I had this in the 1975, 350 automatic version. It was red, vinyl top delete as this one with a bench seat. I put duals, headers and installed a shift kit and the car was pretty quick for the day. Mine had 8″ Vette rallies all around, but I like the offest look with the 7″‘s on the front of this. The stance gives it a menacing look and let’s people know there may be something going on inside!

    Like 7
    • Jon

      I love this last gasp at trying to keep the dream alive….I didn’t know this combo even existed in 74…this seems very rare indeed…

      Like 0
  8. Chris Cornetto

    How did we miss this one. So many of these were bought for nothing and spent their last days on a circle dirt track. I will say the small block ones held up better. We used three big block models, two Montes and one Malibu but it was a Laguna version. Neat to see one that is not rusted and hacked. No ac or other add ons. You can bet this was a die hard gearhead that ordered this as the SS Muscle car sank in the 70s and kept it forever which is why it still exists and didn’t find its way to the dirt track or have it driveline ripped from it by the mid 80s for whatever. These cars are big and for me this guy needs some of the add on bright work offered that year, but that is me. Not sure of the price, BUT if your a true lover of these Colonade units and your going to die with it. This is the one to go for and it is half what was wanted for the 4 speed 4 door Pontiac one on here and for reasons that baffle me, guys get all hot and sweaty over big block Chevies. Pontiacs and Oldsmobile 455s not so much. Even though to me they run better IMO. A nice car, likely some haggling to be had. Buy and enjoy.

    Like 6
  9. Big C

    Here’s a true unicorn car. Not a GM fanboy. But I wouldn’t kick this out of my driveway for leaking a little oil on the concrete.

    Like 7
    • Bick Banter

      If it’s a factory 454 with 4-speed as he says, it’s rare, but it was not particularly fast, as these were emasculated by this point, and the Colonnade Chevelle was very heavy. I doubt it would have broken the mid 16s in the quarter, which even a base 4 cylinder CVT Subaru Outback can best, and that’s considered a slow car now.

      I’m also not sure how original this is. It’s been pretty heavily modified by the looks of it. Still pretty cool, I would say. You don’t see a lot of big block Colonnades. I doubt I would pay over twenty grand for one, but they’re pretty interesting.

      Like 5
      • Terence J Merchant

        You are correct. 4 cylinder cars in that era had less than 90 horsepower… times has changed it’s called modern technology.. give these people a break. You can go to a dealership and purchase the Subaru you are talking about..people post true classic vehicles on Barn Finds. Then you have people complaining about the prices if you don’t want or like it don’t buy it.Please stop putting these people vehicles down

        Like 5
  10. C Force

    You can see a MSD box on the left and the engine has a low rise single plane intake,im sure the hp numbers are well into the 300hp+ and with a 4spd you can run a very aggressive cam which this one probably has.you don’t even start hitting the powerband until 2500rpm with that intake.I bet this Chevelle is a real beast with a mild demeanor…..

    Like 8
  11. Robert M

    First thing that needs to be done is replace the rearend with a 12 bolt positrac rearend. That 10 bolt just won’t last if someone was to take the car to the track much.

    Like 1
  12. Nelson C

    Wow, I imagined this car as I poured over the brochure as a kid fifty years ago. I’ve never seen a base Malibu with the swivel buckets let alone the last year for a 4-speed! There was a 454 4-speed S-3 in our little town back then. This car was intentional and kept nice all this time. You won’t need many fingers to count how many of these there were. I am in awe.

    Like 5
  13. Lathebiosas

    That 11,000 rpm tach is a bit optimistic!

    Like 0
  14. John

    Nice setup. Too bad the Chevelle had gotten so butt ugly by this time.

    Like 0
  15. BA

    There is no denying at well tuned Rat!

    Like 0
  16. Dan Decker

    Pretty nice example of a 74 colonnade, definitely didn’t see many big block 4spds in 1974. I rebuilt a 74 Malibu classic a few years back and had a lot of fun with it. Problem was I was always worried someone “distracted driving ” would run into it and there is Zero support in the after market to replace damaged parts. Fun while I had it though.

    Like 0

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