Disclosure: This site may receive compensation when you click on some links and make purchases.

Barebones Driver: 1980 Chevrolet Malibu

1980 Chevrolet Malibu

I know, this probably isn’t the kind of Malibu most of you are hunting for, but this ’80s G body looks like a really nice survivor! It’s a barebones car, something you don’t normally find on cars from the ’80s. It doesn’t have A/C, power windows or any of those other fiddly systems that can break. The seller suggests swapping the 3.8 V8 for an LS V8, which might not be a bad idea. It was in a fender bender with a deer at some point in it’s life, so the front end was repaired with factory GM parts, so it isn’t perfectly original. Installing a V8 might hurt some of the originality, but it would definitely increase the fun factor significantly! If you’d like to take a closer look at this Malibu, you can find it here on eBay in Owatonna, Minnesota.


  1. Roselandpete

    I’m surprised it has a radio but I like these cheapo cars. One $99 bid. Going fast.

    Like 0
  2. rmward194 Member

    That looks like an aftermarket vinyl top. There was a lot of that going on back then. The $7,995 Buy It Now is really too high. Good luck.

    Like 0
    • DrinkinGasoline

      That vinyl top IS factory given the stainless trim surrounding it. Although it may have suffered time and the effects, it is factory.
      It’s worth $3k at best retail in it’s current presentation.

      Like 0
  3. Blindmarc

    These make great strip cars!

    Like 0
  4. JW454

    No link now.

    Like 0
  5. roger

    would like to have it.
    but no ls swap.
    just put in standard 350 crate engine.

    Like 0
  6. tom

    I had a 79 four door, like the car but it had problems a turbo 200 transmission that went south around 30K. It also had the 305 V 8. It would not idle below 15K rpm and when you turned it off it would run on. Turned it off in park. I later learned that it had an aluminium intake that had vacuum leaks next to the head.

    I speed that has off a lot, the Arizona DPS highway patrol pointed that out to me, I had a fit. Got the speed quick and they were right, nice ticket.

    Oh and no rear roll down window but a power rear window wing vent. That the power part quick and cost a couple hundred in 1981.

    Oh I forgot about the re calls one that the rear axle or brake could fall of.

    Other than that I liked the car, I really did like it.

    Last GM car a bought for many years the next was an Astro van, kind of the same story, not as bad. Dual air went out and between two garages and over a thousand bucks they could not get it to work right. Not to bad I live in Arizona. Sold it and got a Trooper good basic truck.

    Many years later a GMC S-15 good truck for the first 100K after that not some much.

    Like 0
  7. mat

    GM made lots of garbage in the 80’s.

    Like 0
  8. angliagt

    I always like the clean style of these.
    I have a NOS set of rear seat belts & window mechinisms,
    plus a NOS GM brake booster that came out of a ’79 Malibu –
    police car,that I’d be willing to sell,if anyone’s interested in it .

    Like 1
  9. Steve

    Odd that its a “Landau”, which was an option, with rear defrost, and not many other options.

    There is some rust breaking out near the landau trim in one photo…

    I have a 79 Malibu Classic 2 dr. Originally it was pastel blue with a medium blue full vinyl top, ac, manual windows and locks, cruise control 60/40 split vinyl bench. 267v8 (junk) th200(more junk) and a 2.29 ratio 7.5″ rear axle ( guess what- more junk). I swapped the seats for cloth monte carlo buckets. Also nice dash and titl floor shift column from. A Guy building a dirt car. 267 for a 350, then all of it for a 383/200 4r/ 8.5″ posi with 3.73’s out of a hurst olds. Blew the 383. Now it has a 468 bbc. Flat black for now and no vinyl top. One day want to go back to blue. Ive owned it since 1994! I bought it for $1000 and it was my daily driver for about 5 yrs.

    Like 0
  10. Danno

    I recall GM had made a boatload of these with a 3.8V6 and a 3-speed manual transmission, for an Iranian or Iraqi taxi company. The deal fell through after they were built, so GM dumped them on the North American market at bargain-basement prices.

    Like 0
    • Johnfrink

      Those “Iraqi Taxis” were all 4 door sedans.
      Used to be lots of those running around up here in Canada, you could spot them right away because they didn’t have the usual electric rear defrost lines on the rear window.

      Like 0
  11. AMCFAN

    I always thought these looked like an enlarged Citation.

    Have seen a few guys add V8’s and custom paint wheels etc. Still looked like it was given to them by their grand parents with all the 80’s plastichrome/plastiwood and alumatrim.

    At least the Vega came in a GT and had a sportiness. As far as I am aware the Malibu never had a performance variant. But it had the available a 305!

    Funny still is all those who bought GM and admit to many issues and shortfalls and continued to buy them thinking they will somehow get better.

    My 1994 Toyota has 324,000 and the A/C still works. If and when it dies wonder what I will get next?

    Like 0
    • DENIS

      And you think driving a Toyota 324,000 miles makes you some kind of expert on durability and sporty styling?…lots of GM cars still running with those miles…look around at every old Buick going down the road.

      Like 0
  12. AMCFAN

    Denis, No just smart!

    It is because of these Toyota’s Datsun’s/Nissan’s with the reliability that GM builds a better car today.

    Me an expert. No. Having experience Yes. . I have had many cars of ALL makes in the last 40 years of driving. I won’t throw a number to seem condescending but a lot. My friends are car guys. I have friends that are Mechanics. In my off time I hang out in a shop. Which is always the best resource in buying a car. Ask a mechanic. But yes I have had both New and used. There is good and bad in everything I understand. Some more then others. A lot more.

    Once a company sells me a POS I don’t keep coming back for more. I go elsewhere.I must be alone in that respect.

    Sorry I must not fit in.

    Like 0
  13. jaymes

    one that aint been cut up, rare car!

    Like 0
  14. Paul Bellefeuille

    A friend of mine had an ’80 in light blue.. nice car.. He got rid of it after one of the rear wheels fell off ..at highway speed.. on a trip.. That was after the second time that it happened. I’ve owned a lot of cars from GM and Chrysler Corp. My favorite was an ’87 Celebrity Eurosport wagon. Aside from the fact that every year..if not every 6 months..the alternator bearing would fly apart. My least favorite a ’90 Dodge Daytona that drank oil no matter how many times it was “fixed”. I’ve owned Subarus (never a head gasket problem) Hondas.. (power window issues) a ’96 Toyota Avalon (head gasket issue fixed for $1,100) that my 21 yr old son now owns and loves even with 270,000 miles on it. Another friend of mine just had GM take back his 2017 Impala because it had been in for repeated warranty work..so much so that the dealer and GM both decided he could get a different car.. he now has a Buick Encore. and he loves it.

    Like 0
  15. Roger

    Had one just like it, bought new in 80. Didn’t have the vinyl roof. Same color though. Had the 229 v 6, crapped out at 40k.
    Put a new short block in and drove it as a family car til 93, then I built a high performance 350/350 tranny. Had the stock 2.73 rear, the thing was slow off the line, but was real fast. Had a lot of fun with it. Got me a few tickets with it!

    Like 0
  16. Mike

    I bought this car last spring and it now has a 400 small block with a th350 trans. Nice car

    Like 0

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.


Get new comment updates via email. Or subscribe without commenting.