Grandma’s 1965 Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu!

On September 6, 1971, I bought my first car, a ’65 Malibu SS two-door hardtop. It had a 283 CI engine and a four-speed manual transmission. I paid the princely sum of $550 (still have the bill of sale) and had a blast with that highly worn-out car. I took it apart, put it back together, modified it, did all kinds of legally questionable things with it; I really loved that car. I moved it on to a new owner in 1973 but have always had a place in my heart for the ’65 Chevelle Malibu so I was thrilled to see this ’65 Malibu for sale, located in Eads, Tennessee and for sale, here on eBay for a starting bid of $16,000; no bids so far. Thanks to Patrick S. for the tip.

The owner has given us a pretty good description of this Malibu, best of all, it only has 60,000 original miles and still resides in its home state of Tennessee. It has been sitting for almost 35 years since “Grandma” parked it in 1985. What’s not clear is whether it was the seller’s grandma or someone else’s grandma but it doesn’t really matter as it is either a one or two owner car.

What’s not to like about the 283 CI engine? Built between 1957 and 1967, horsepower ratings scanned the range from 170 to 315 and, regardless of version, they are practically indestructible – believe me, I know from experience. This Malibu has the standard, two-barrel carburetor equipped version and is rated at 195 HP. The seller does state the commonly seen tag-line “running when parked” but then indicates that the car will need a new gas tank and some time spent to get it running. Typically, it has a two speed Powerglide automatic transmission.

Unfortunately, there is only one image of the interior and it doesn’t yield much of a visual other than the fact that it is a sharp-looking red shade with cloth upholstery. The owner states that the interior is all original and it is a radio less car with a radio-delete plate intact (can be spied in the accompanying image).

I am sensitive to body rot and rust with this era GM “A” body as my Malibu had lots of “wasting-away” problems by the time it was only seven years old. My car, however, was domiciled in a “salt state”, not the case with this southern Malibu and the seller states that the frame, floors, and body are solid. While there are no images of the underside, the body panels, where rust never sleeps, all look straight and intact. This era Malibu is the true embodiment of Bill Mitchell’s light, clean, fast, sixties styling.

This is the nicest original example of a ’65 Malibu that I have seen in years and I look all of the time – tremendously sharp and original. I must admit that I was a bit chuffed by the seller’s suggestion that it might make “a great candidate for a Z16 clone” (a rare, one of 201 SS396 models made in ’65), this example is just too complete and as Chevrolet intended. What do you think, buy and enjoy or buy and modify?


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  1. Moparman Member

    My Grandma had a ’65 Malibu (Beige w/maroon top) 327/4 bbl/Powerglide; when it had to be replaced, she got a 1975 Dodge Colt. She stated that the Colt “didn’t go like the Malibu!” LOL!! :-) I am extremely tempted by this one, (but I DON’T NEED anything else!!!) Must…..resist………..!!!

    Like 7
    • Miguel

      Moparman, what the heck does NEED have to do with anything.

      Like 23
  2. RedBaran

    I really like this ride – kinda plain-Jane, but does it for me. Wish I had enough spare cash and garage space for this one!

    Like 5
    • gearjammer63

      I agree! Plain Jane is a refreshing change. How often do you see a Chevelle that isn’t an SS (or dressed up to look like one)?

      What would I Do?

      Buy it, drive it and enjoy it, as well as the attention it gets!

      Like 1
  3. Classic Steel

    Its nice and a great GM car.

    I hope it brings it personally as i have a driving 1964 convertible 230 six banger in storage three on tree family one owner til passed to me in good shape . Its driven once a month to a car show to move in the future sadly as too many other collector cars.
    It didn’t get the salt trucks on roads and is solid.
    Okay back to this one.
    Theses were mid size models that had a decent stance and ride with more room than the Nova. These were to me a crossover model that could perform for those not wanting the Impala full size model.
    This looks very clean with SS trim as much more were made than non SS models.

    Good luck on sale.

    Like 2
  4. Rex Kahrs Member

    1965 has to be the high-water mark for GM in terms of styling and quality. This car is awesome.

    Like 3
  5. That AMC Guy

    Flipper probably charged grandma $100 to haul it away “that old piece of junk” and now can’t even be bothered to take it off the trailer or take detailed pictures.

    Like 12
    • TimS Member

      I can hear it now. “This doesn’t have the big engine and isn’t a 4-speed so no one will ever want it for anything other than parts.”

      Like 5
      • Angrymike

        Nope, it’s not a parts car, but if I bought it a 327 and a 4-speed would replace the 283. I had a 65 Malibu SS convertible in the 90’s, 327 4 barrel 4 speed 300hp.
        I now have a Mustang Gt convertible, but there’s nothing like an old convertible, and nothing like my 65 !

        Like 1
  6. Jim in FL

    I was always a sucker for a white car with a red gut. Please don’t let this get restomodded. Someone clean it up and drive it. It’s rare in that it’s a nice, clean example with no goofy mods. I really like it.

    Like 20
  7. LARRY

    It does look like a nice car…I’m with jim..I’d clean it up get it running and stopping and enjoy the ride

    Like 7
  8. local_sheriff

    Being such a Plain Jane version this is excactly how I prefer my vintage cars – less extras = less stuff to break.

    I see absolutely no reason it should be Z16’d – better simply improve braking and suspension and leave the rest as is.

    I have a real soft spot for 64-65 and 67 Chevelles/Elkys and at some point I know I’ll have one, this one would indeed be straight up my alley. However owning a 71 K5, 64 Impala SS and Bonnie Safari already and no plans of parting with neither of them it goes without saying my storage capacity has reached its limit… Seems to be one heckufa nice survivor Malibu though…

    Like 5
    • Joe

      I would make it a day two car crager wheels better brakes and suspension.dual exhaust, four barrel carb. I would put a wood steering wheel, after market gauges and a tach. Then I would put in a set of slip on headrests.all my mods can be reversed for the purest.

  9. Kurt

    Dare I say keep it stock? It is rather plain in white, maybe repaint in something more interesting?

    Like 1
  10. Mountainwoodie

    You know you live long enough and you see folks asking and paying prices for cars that are just hard to get your head around. This is one of them.
    Back in the stone ages of 1980 I had a friend in law school who drove this exact car in blue, though he called the color rust. I would not have given him fifty bucks for the car back then. Not because the blue paint was shot but because it was a run of the mill A bodied Chevy. That someone is asking 16 K for the same car today, although admittedly nicer looking, either means inflation has done it’s job , someone has lost their mind or i just don’t get it. I’m going with number three.

    Like 3
  11. Nate

    Damn, that’s a beautiful car. I’d clean up the motor so that it presents as well as the rest of the car and then I’d drive it everyday. Wow, love it.

    Like 3
  12. Comet

    My father had a 65 Impala with a 283. That car ran so smooth and quiet, on a couple of occasions I remember him turning the key to start it while it was running. We all know the sound it made.

    Like 5
  13. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    Add 2 more doors and otto would drive it.

    Like 3
  14. Del

    Hagertys says this car is worth a minimum of 18 grand.

    My first V8 was a 64 Malibu 283 with a Saginaw 4 speed.Any Mopar even 6 bangers could beat it off the line. But it was the nicest car I ever owned and hardly any repairs.I even bolted on a 4bbl and intake from an Impala 327. All it needed was a new gasket.

    This car is not getting the attention it deserves.

    If I had it the only thing I would add on below the dash was a decent sound system.

    Like 3
  15. David Ulrey

    Some people would be apalled by my idea and some wouldn’t. I would pull and rebuild the Powerglide, pull and rebuild the 283 but some head changes to make it more friendly to today’s gas. Add a couple mild mods in the engine while it was out, nothing too radical. An aftermarket aluminum dual plane intake, maybe grind the brand name off, a good Quarajet and good flowing factory exhaust manifolds if the current ones aren’t the better ones. Paint the engine, including the intake manifold back to Chevy orange and just really enjoy it as a daily driver.

    Like 4
  16. 427Turbojet 427Turbojet Member

    In early ’76 I was working my way thru college as a night service adviser at a large Chevrolet dealership. A customer came in with a nice looking ’65 Malibu coupe that was leaking gas. A tech put it on a hoist and found a fist size hole in the top of the gas tank, along with almost no trunk floor to fasten it to. I showed the customer the damage, he decided it was time for a different 2nd car. He asked if we could get rid if the ’65 so I told him I’d give him $50.00 for it. He was glad not to have to deal with it any further.
    It was red/red with a 230 six(with the chrome dress up kit, chrome valve cover, air cleaner lid and dipstick handle) and a powerglide.
    I had just parted out a ’66 Impala sport sedan and found the gas tank was almost a perfect match with the filler neck being a couple inches longer. Used some metal straps frame rail to frame rail to hold the tank in. Worked great. It was a little low in the rear so I put Cutlass wagon rear springs in. Now it was too high, so I put a plywood floor in the trunk and shoveled gravel in til it sat just right. With 400-500 extra pounds and not enough power to spin the big snow tires, it would go through snow like a snowmobile. Was a good winter beater for a couple of years and then the body went on to a new life as a circle track car.

    Like 7
  17. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    Nice… dad bought his mom a new 1965 4 door in that pretty green color but sadly sold it after she passed with I know were very low miles.

    Like 1
  18. MorganW Morgan Winter Member

    Love this car; I remember when these were a dime a dozen. Not too many have survived like this one. Too bad the seller is even suggesting using it to build a clone!

    Like 3
    • Dan Newton

      Gotta agree, the thought of modifying this beauty seems rather destructive. Clean it to the bone, keep it original. Clean up engine compartment and you’ve got the winner

      Like 1
  19. big_d

    My first car was a 65 Chevelle 4door, bought it for fifty bucks from one of my dad’s co-workers. It had been sitting in a field for two years, I put a battery and fresh gas in it and off I went. It was on 1974, drove it for a year, and went on to a 67 327 Camaro with a 4 speed, and then a 68 Firebird 400. Good times.

    Like 3
  20. Troy s

    The kind of car people used to build street machines out of. For that kind of money I doubt that will happen now….maybe. Z16 SS 396 Chevelle was a lot more than just a big engine under the hood as we all know. To clone one seems pointless.
    Sure would be cool with period correct mags and a raspy sounding 327, just can’t help but see that here.

    Like 2
    • David Ulrey

      My approach to this is a little different than yours but I can’t say I hate your idea…at all! Lol

      Like 2
      • Troy s

        Your approach sounds just fine to me, David, keeping the mods hidden and all. I new a kid who had a much older brother with this year Malibu, dark color if I remember right but it had American mags and a very healthy exhaust note. It wasn’t a drag car or street freak, just a really cool daily driver…and fast as stink.

        Like 2
  21. TimM

    I want it!!!

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