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BF Classified: 1973 Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu SS 454

1973 was a significant year for the Chevy Chevelle for at least two reasons: first, all of GM’s intermediates were completely redesigned, going with a Colonnade styling theme for the next five years. Second, it would be the last year for the Chevelle Malibu SS, which would be replaced by the sexier-sounding Laguna the following year. While Chevelle sales continued to remain stout, just 2,500 of the cars would be built for ‘73 as an SS with a 454 big-block motor. The seller’s car is one of those, which survives nicely with a few custom touches. Offered in Atlanta, Georgia, this SS is available here on Barn Finds Classifieds for $20,000.

Chevrolet launched the Chevelle as a mid-sized automobile in 1964 and that name would carry on through 1978 across three generations. The third gen of 1973-77 models was designed with a bit of a European flair in the styling department. It also accounted for growing Federal safety standards, especially in the rollover department. Pure hardtops were gone as a result, with pillared models replacing them. Bumpers also started getting bigger as impact regulations were on the move. As a part of John DeLorean’s desire for the cars to be more “futuristic” they could now be ordered with swivel bucket seats and console for coupes, Turbine I steel-backed urethane wheels, and a power moonroof. George Jetson, where are you? Thanks, Hemmings, for an SS454 review for 1973.

The seller presents a nicely restored 1973 SS454, which saw limited production. The shiny paint looks to be dark blue with silver accents and a contrasting custom orange and black interior that really stands out. While there appears to be a couple of issues around the wheel wells, I’m going to opt for saying that’s the lighting playing tricks and it’s all fine. The glass and chrome look to be perfect or nearly so. The wheels are aftermarket, and I don’t recognize the brand, but they work well with this style of car. The seller or someone before him went to great lengths to make this automobile look outstanding.

Oddly, the interior features bench seating without console and yet a floor shifter, although a Turbo-Hydramatic was also available with the 454. There is just one photo of the engine compartment and it looks too have been detailed, but the view is unfortunately blurry. The engine/transmission are numbers-matching, and the big-block was rated at 245 net hp. No indication if any modifications have been made to get more out of the motor as they were in the midst of being significantly de-tuned at the factory by 1973. The seller’s comment about vintage A/C must mean two windows down at 60 mph!

Resale value on this car is hard to peg because so few were built and trade hands infrequently. 1970-72 SS396 and SS454 models routinely run in the $50-100,000 range depending on condition and the seller’s ambition. Since the Colonnade era cars in general are priced lower than their 1968-72 counterparts, we’d assume the SS would be lower, too. And the seller or a predecessor has/had a lot tied up in the cost of restoring this gem, so $20,000 doesn’t sound wrong.


  1. Mitchell Gildea Member

    If the picture of the engine bay could be described by a song, it’d be “Blurry” by Puddle of Mudd

    Like 9
  2. Skorzeny

    Mitchell, great music knowledge…
    This looks to be a nice ride, from all appearances well taken care of. I would tone the wheels down a bit with some Torque Thrust’s and some nice Bridgestone’s and drive it. Price is at the apex though, imho.

    Like 4
  3. Lance

    These aren’t the original seats. Where are the headrests?

    Like 1
    • Timmyt

      These we’re Cale Yarabouro’s favorite he made racing look easy in a 73 Chevelle,and by the way Laguna was available in 73, I have 2 of them and recently found another

      Like 4
    • Tiberius1701

      Departed to the Island of Misfit Car Parts along with the steering wheel methinks.

      Like 1
    • William Fox

      I’m fairly certain this `73 SS was built with buckets/console automatic. Why they are missing, who knows. The upper door panels were re-done too like the seats. I know this car did NOT leave the factory with dk. blue paint & red vinyl interior. The interior was red from new, but I wonder if this was either a black or white car when built?

      Like 2
  4. Ed Smith Member

    Beautiful I bought 1974 brand new for $3200 out the door same color 350 Auto loved that car sure wish I would have kept it

    Like 1
  5. Mike D

    Ugh! That steering wheel!

    Like 4
    • 370zpp 370zpp Member

      You don’t like the steering wheel yet you are okay with those stylish bumpers?

      Like 2
      • Fireballr Member

        Those bumpers are for ramming speed! I could write a book on the things I’ve hit and pushed through with no damage to that front rack. I got over the look quickly :)

        Like 3
  6. Will Irby

    I don’t see a compressor in the drunken engine photo, but that does look like a Vintage Air control panel below the dashboard at the far left.

    Like 2
  7. Gary

    The orange upholstery is a matter of personal taste. However, not to my taste.

    Like 8
  8. george mattar

    The car in Hemmings Muscle Machines was blue and silver and in perfect condition. I worked at Hemmings then and the we had the guts to feature a car most people cannot stand. You either love them or hate them. Personally, I love Colonnade GM products and have owned 5 of them. All good car with more than 200,000 miles out of each one. My last one was my 1977 Grand Prix with 33 factory options. Man was I dumb for giving that car away in 2006. The aftermarket has refused to acknowledge these great cars. If I see another 68 to 72 Chevelle on here, I will puke. Oh yeah, saw that rusted out 68 POS with Nitro Stan covering all the bondo in the quarters.

    Like 8
  9. JW454

    If I ever saw a full size Hot Wheel…. This would be it. I like these cars but this one has some very taste specific touches.

    Like 2
  10. Geoff

    Something doesn’t ring true about this car. The seats, the boy racer steering wheel, the blurry shot of the engine, only a few pictures suing the photograph while wet scam? Since its apparently a real SS I’m betting its a restored carcass using what ever Chevy parts fell to hand that looks nice from a distance. In the end its a restomod of an ugly year. I’ll keep walking

    Like 3
    • Fireballr Member

      My 350 nonSS was a bench. Man, if I took a corner too fast I’d slide across and find myself holding onto the wheel just to stay in some kinda control of the car. SS should probably have those swing out buckets

  11. Fireballr Member

    My first car, albeit w a 350. I hit just about everything with this car, without seatbelts nor airbags and never felt a thing and suffered minimal damage. These things were tanks and I’m grateful. The backend was too light and it would spin out with the slightest mist on the ground. I affectionately now reflect on this car and have the best worst memories of the years learning how to drive and wrench possible. I’m alive because of this car..

    Like 2
  12. bikefixr

    I had a ’74. 454 4bbl w/Muncie M21 4sp with a posi rear and dual exhaust. Swivel bucket seats and NOTHING else. Radio delete. Rubber mats. No gauges beyond the basics. Handled like a wallowing turn in a bowl. Odd, because my ’73 Monte Carlo with the HD suspension, 350-4bbl handled quite well! The Malibu rotted out in places I never saw a car rot. Finally parted it out. Still have the 23k mile 454 and the rare 4sp linkages and brackets.

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