Barely Enjoyed! 11,765 mile 1971 Chevy Malibu

This 1971 Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu near Berkeley Heights, New Jersey has barely been enjoyed! Paper and photographic evidence support the seller’s claim that it’s covered fewer than 12,000 miles in its lifetime. The question of why one or more owners ignored what seems like a fine-looking automobile and continually chose another for their daily tasks is left unanswered. Nevertheless, a teaser listing here on craigslist.org entertains offers before a planned visit to The Atlantic City Car Show in February. There a new owner can purchase and park it where it can be admired without being driven… in a new location. Thanks to reader FordGuy1972 for spotting this highly original Chevy.

Most Chevy fans know that all Malibus of this vintage are Chevelles (witness the Chevelle script in this picture), yet the seller states this one is “Not (a) Chevelle.” Chevy added the bumper-integrated circular tail lights and Power Beam single headlights to freshen the Chevelle’s look for 1971. By the mid-’70s it was hard to find anything circular on a car besides the road and steering wheels. The Malibu sub-model gained additional trim and other upgrades. Thanks to auto.howstuffworks.com for some details.

While basic Chevelles came standard with colored vinyl flooring, the upgraded Malibu sported carpeting. I’d love to see the black-and-white interior, but this Malibu certainly speaks to anyone who loves the blues.

The 145 HP Turbo Thrift inline six cylinder engine displaced 250 cid (4.1L) as the frugal choice for America’s most popular mid-sized car of its day. Power steering and manual brakes represented a common order at the time. Note the new-for-’71 evaporative canister in the lower left, evidence of increased emissions controls.

This support above the (then removed) fuel tank looks barely changed since ’71. After some fuel system parts and cleansing and a new battery, this Chevy runs “like new.” The low miles likely doom it to a future as a rarely-driven reference car, but the hobby needs such cars, in almost factory condition, as a base-line of originality by which restored cars can be judged. What would you offer for this interesting time-capsule?

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Comments

  1. Rob

    11,765 ORIGINAL MILES, LOL more like 111,765 miles

    Like 14
    • Bill Pressler

      I’d like to know where you lived that you would’ve seen a car like this Chevelle with no rustout at the bottom of the front fenders and an immaculate, original front bench seat at 111K miles. Simply didn’t happen.

      Like 9
      • David G

        Happens all the time here in California, or anywhere in the southwest part of the country. Not even a pinhole of rust to be found anywhere. This car here is pretty rusty around the rear window, and very scaly on the brake drums and some of it’s suspension components. Definitely an eastern car. Wish this one had a V-8 and TH350 combo.

        Like 1
  2. William Shields

    Reread the ad my friend. Both documentary and photographic evidence to back the mileage up.

    Like 23
  3. local_sheriff

    It doesn’t really matter how many or few miles this Chevelle has accumulated, its exterior still shows signs of neglect trough years we also see on unknown milage Chevelles here on BF. I don’t say it’s a bad car, however I suspect seller is trying to profit on the milage while it isn’t as virgin as we’d expect from a low milage car.
    While I like base cars and that I-6 isn’t a bad engine I’m always bewildered to learn so many budget oriented vehicles still came with a slush-box… almost makes me wonder whether there was a whole generation of one-legged car buyers back then…?

    Like 16
  4. Bud

    That is a sweet old car . I personally believe all straight 6’s should be manual transmissions standard . It would be tempting to clone this car but , it would also be a shame to do so .

    Like 9
    • Robert White

      I took my inline 194cid originally from my Acadian Canso Sport Deluxe 1966 and kicked it off of the tailgate to my friend’s pickup truck when we took that useless pile of cast iron to the dump where all of them belong IMHO.

      There is absolutely nothing ‘sweet’ about an inline GM 6 cylinder piece of trash except maybe the few dollars one would get for scrap cast iron at a recycler.

      Guaranteed that the inline six is history for any buyer of the Malibu.

      Nice car & no horsepower is like saying all hat & no cattle.

      Bob

      Like 9
      • Dusty Rider

        The “Surfers” drag racing team back in the mid 60’s used a 6 cyl ’56 Chevy 210 for a tow and push car for the team’s AA Top Fuel dragster plus 10 5gal gas cans full of nitro methane and pulled the trailer all over the country with 2 slicks on the carrier on the roof. 6’s are very useful!

        Like 16
      • TimS Member

        Yeah pal, big block or bust! You tell ‘em, Mr. Real Car Guy!

        Sheesh.

        Like 5
      • Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

        I appreciate originality. And I like to see cars which are representative of their models and eras, such as this nice Chevelle. Few cars were the high-performance models. If I had this car, the six cylinder would for sure not be “history.”

        Like 11
      • local_sheriff

        Robert; the 194 would be the smallest of the sixes in the Canso/Chevy ll; not strange it wouldn’t haul ass. However these sixes were extremely durable though almost always neglected due to their base engine nature.They’re also 188lbs lighter than a SBC.
        Swapping the 194 to a 250 (they’re same gen) with some well-chosen upgrades would’ve made your Canso move without going the WAY too common V8 route. Backing it with a manual tranny (heck even a 3spd!) would be the single most effective improvement

        Like 7
      • Robert White

        Before I turfed my powerless 194cid in the municipal dump for eternity I used to do ‘neutral rev-it-up & slam it into drive’ off-the-line rubber chirps for fun. When I realized it was pretty much impossible to blow up a stock 194cid I decided to manually remove it before I decided to take a BFH to it out of frustration.

        Back when I had my 66 Acadian Canso SD I actually wanted a rat motor but did not want to bastardize or molest the shock towers or front subframe in oder to squeeze it in there.
        A small block was really the only thing I could do aside from taking a BFH to my 194.

        I wholeheartedly despise inline six cylinder vehicles. The six cylinder was built for people that don’t know how a motor is supposed to work. It was built for nerds & old ladies.

        I’m not a nerd or old lady.

        Horsepower is for FUN & losing traffic in the rearview mirror.

        Horsepower can also be used to wave goodbye to the friendly uninformed guys n’ gals that don’t sport HPs.

        ;)

        Bob

        Like 2
      • triumph1954

        Dusty Rider- I like that. Surfers drag racing team is a great story to read for anybody that likes cars. Fame and tragedy. Hot rod history that made the 60s.

        Like 4
      • David Ulrey

        I myself prefer a V8, especially in a car like this but Wow, just….Wow

      • David Ulrey

        Don’t be shy with your opinions Bob, say what you real feel about 6cyl engines. Don’t be a shy wallflower.

        Like 8
  5. TimM

    The pictures show a pretty solid car!! The rust is mostly surface!! I’m sure of one thing if it does have 116,000 miles on it there not from winter driving in central Jersey!! That’s a fact!! There wouldn’t be a part on the car rusted though!!! A clean body is always a challenge and this car looks clean enough to have a good project!! I know the purists won’t like it but an LS swap would sure make this a fun car!!!

    Like 7
  6. Superdessucke

    Ad with no price and a statement that you’re listening to offers, eh? Maybe I’ll advertise my E36 M3 like that when I put it up next spring LOL!!!!

    Like 4
  7. Tom Bell

    Miles may be correct but it’s spent some time sitting exposed to the weather in the driveway. Interesting to see optional rally wheels on such a basic car.

    Like 8
  8. Arthell64 Member

    Appears to have a clean body but the owner is listening to offers is what ruins it for me. No price to me means the price is to high. Ads with no price shouldn’t be allowed.

    Like 14
    • Superdessucke

      I think they should be allowed. We just shouldn’t respond to them!

      Like 5
  9. Mark

    I love it. I had a blue 71 Chevelle coupe with a white top and the 307 v-8 from 1978-81

    Like 1
  10. FordGuy1972 FordGuy1972 Member

    Much as I like original cars, I’d be tempted to go with a small block and a 3 or 4 speed stick. Don’t clone it into an SS, we’ve all seen enough of them. It looks like a nice car, in very clean original condition, but I’m inclined to think the seller over-values it and wants more than it’s worth. Man up and put a price on it.

    Like 8
  11. Rocco B.

    That’s why I don’t bother with auction sites. I want to know the selling price. When I look on Craigslist I will set the price range from $200 – $25,000 to filter out these sellers that don’t include a price.

    Like 9
  12. Troy s

    L88 427, “rockcrusher” 4 speed, four elevens in a 12 bolt posi, had to redeem myself after the sight of that thrifty six, haha.
    The kind of car people had to buy,…not wanted to. Potential is most definitely there.

    Like 4
  13. Del

    I have always maintained that not posting a price means the seller is not serious.

    It also indicates the seller thinks its worth way more than what its really worth.

    Which puts both seller and possible buyers at loggerheads. Fishing Trip.

    This is not that interesting a Chevelle.

    Keeping it as a resto guide is a joke. This car will get a new owner and will soon have a V8

    Like 8
  14. Don H

    Hop up the 6,and put a 4 speed in it🙊🙉🙈

    Like 4
    • Robert White

      One could buy any working big block gm from a wrecker and end up with more horsepower than any inline hopped up six would yield on HPs. Displacement is cheaper bang-for-buck with better HP yield for the money. And if you want to take a numbers matching classic and convert to four speed stick it would not be original numbers matching after that.

      The car needs HPs and cheap HPs are better than expensive HPs, eh.

      The car also needs new springs all around and when those springs are chosen by the new buyer they will opt for the V8 configuration with the stock sway bar too.

      Bob

  15. Jay E.

    I’ve got an old dump truck with 37000 original miles. Trouble is, the speedometer cable broke 40 years ago…

    Like 4
  16. JoeNYWF64

    The evap canister is a great thing to have if your garage is attached to the house & you spend a lot of time in the garage. No gas smell at all.
    The strait 6 is too small for these fairly heavy cars & Robert White would love driving a biscayne or full size ford or ’69 or ’73 fastback stang with a strait 6. lol
    But in say a 1st gen camaro or early nova even with powerglide(w/preferably a floor shift) & 3:08 gears & no a/c, Rob would be surprised at the peppiness & torque of the 250, shifting the glide manually.
    If those front seat covers are original, i dont see how the car could not have low mileage.
    Even tho the underside of the driver’s front upper control arm seem very rusty, perhaps the car was driven in snow & salt for those few miles & then garaged & not used much rom then on.

    Like 1
  17. JC

    DMV’s are notorious for making mistakes on mileage… I think it had 89300 miles in ’06, not 8930 so using that as your proof of mileage is dubious at best… and now it has just under 112k miles…big pass on this one.

  18. John S

    The seller doesn’t want to ask a price that is too low. He wants the most incredible amount of money he can get, so he plays the “You make an offer” card. He doesn’t seem to know what he’s talking about, (not a Chevelle) and watches American Pickers… so it must be worth a small fortune, right? Again, a car is worth exactly what the next guy will pay for it. Having said that, it is a decent car. I had a 307/TH 350 version back in the day and it was a really good practical car. We don’t ALL need neck snapping power, and the 6 banger will get you there. If the price were right, this would be an enjoyable ride for the right person!

    Like 5
  19. The Chucker

    This is very similar to my first car, a ’71 Chevelle with a 350/auto that I bought from a neighbor in 1984. I borrowed $600 of the $800 purchase price from my dad and worked a summer/fall season pulling weeds at a nursery to pay him back. Good car and got me some muscle car swag-especially when I put some Cragers on it.

    Like 5
  20. keith

    No price No post call Mike and Frank for a wake up call.

  21. GP Member

    Straight 6 engines are alright. I’ve always lived in the country so never had to take off fast. I also had my share of V8’s , 350,396,383,440,389,400,455, etc. They were all great fun to drive. I now drive a 2012 Altima 4 cylinder.

    Like 3
  22. John Pruett Member

    I imagine those raylle wheels weren’t cheap and may not have come on this car. I thought most of these cars were gone by now because so many might have been turned into SS 454 clones.

    Like 1
  23. chrlsful

    company all way gave dad a car. Usually fords?, yeah I think so but not all ways. One yr all the guys gota chebby from the co. Mights well say it was this car. He complained at every stop sign. “Damn, this car always chirpin the tires.” An i6 is for tq not HP, Y I got it in my off rd bronk…see ‘Dusty’ above.

  24. P Wentzell

    Rallye wheels? Original miles? IL6? I don’t care. I have ALWAYS loved the styling of the 1971-72 Chevelles. (and GTO/LeMans). If all the seller says is true, it’s a survivor. Some people wanted a base engine, practicality or economy (read: price) or both.

    Like 2
  25. John Pruett Member

    I like the 71-72’s too, but still like the 1970 styling better. The 1970-71’s with the 454 LS5 and rock crusher 4 speeds were really street-able rides and a lot of fun to drive.

    Like 1
  26. Stevieg

    I too don’t care if the miles are original miles or not, it is 48 years old & in really nice condition. I would buy it & drive it just as it is with pride, and I am neither a granny or a nerd lol.

    Like 2
  27. Jeff

    It’s interestingly equipped- no power brakes, but ps and tilt wheel, rally wheels and exterior trim pieces that I don’t think were standard.

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