Solid Project: 1965 Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu SS

This 1965 Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu SS is something a little bit different because while 71,002 examples of the Malibu SS Sport Coupe rolled off the production line in that model year, only 7,234 came equipped with a 6-cylinder engine. This is one of those cars, and I really have to thank Barn Finder local_sheriff for spotting it for us. The Malibu is located in Woodland Hills, California, and has been listed for sale here on eBay. The owner has set a BIN of $8,350, but the option is available to make an offer.

As you can see from this photo, there is some rust that will need to be attended to if the next owner is keen on returning the car to its best. The good news is that what you are looking at here is just about the worst of it. There is the visible rust in the quarter panels, while there are some spots around the edge of the windshield, along with some small areas in the lower doors, and the lower fenders. The owner supplies photos of the vehicle’s underside, and it looks to be remarkably clean and solid. There are no signs of any rust issues with the floors or trunk, which is all good news. It would seem that once the visible rust has been addressed, the next owner can apply a fresh coat of Sierra Tan paint, and the car will look as fresh as a daisy. It also appears that all of the external trim, chrome, and badges are present, and they seem to be in pretty reasonable condition.

Before I considered tackling a restoration of the Medium Saddle interior trim, I would be very inclined to give it all a pretty thorough clean. I say this because the dash, door trims, rear trims, console, and the headliner all appear to be in reasonable condition. I suspect that a clean will improve their appearance enormously, and the replacement of the seat covers and carpets should then have the interior presenting quite nicely. There will still be some minor details to attend to such as restoring the plastic finish around the gauge and radio area, but the general presentation should still be quite acceptable. There are no photos of the engine, but we know that the Malibu features the 140hp, 230ci Turbo-Thrift 6-cylinder engine, a 2-speed Powerglide transmission, and power steering. As a drive-train combination, it isn’t going to provide the sort of performance that will set your pulse racing, but it does appear as though the SS does run and drive. The owner has treated it to some recent brake work, but he does say that it would pay to replace the tires and coolant hoses due to age. He also says that less than 5,000 examples of the SS were built with a 6-cylinder/Powerglide combination. Given the fact that only the previously mentioned 7,234 cars sported a six anyway, I find the claim quite conceivable. In fact, the figure that he quotes might be a bit high when you consider that potential buyers also had the choice of a 3-speed or 4-speed manual transmission.

I would be willing to bet that when it comes to what path to follow with this Malibu SS as a project, our Barn Finds readers will probably be largely split into two camps. Some of you will want to undertake a faithful restoration, while some of you will feel inclined to ditch the existing engine and transmission, and replace it with something a bit more potent. What I don’t know is just how those numbers will fall, so it will be interesting to read the comments on this one.


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  1. Larry Melancon

    Leave exterior/ interior as is. BBC or sbc with automatic overdrive would make one sweet sleeper.

    Like 1
  2. JeffD

    I am a purest at heart, but also a realist. Rarity is always trumped by desireability. I would do a period correct 327 in this one, but many new owners will go further and that is OK. The beauty of Chevelles is they made a large amount of them so more than enough survived in original shape. Go ahead new owner, have some fun. Park the 230 in the corner, it’ll be there for the next guy who just has to have a matching numbers six.

    Like 1
    • David Ulrey

      In this one just to be different I’d stick with a straight 6. A 250 with a few power adding goodies and one you could daily drive on ethanol added, unleaded gas. Yes I love a good sbc but this is one of the rare times I’d go with keeping a straight 6 in it but a bigger one and one that had goodies inside and outside the engine. It would probably draw more attention be it good or bad at a car show.

  3. FordGuy1972 FordGuy1972 Member

    Cute car but the drivetrain is at best adequate for some but I think most would want something with more get up and go. I’d be inclined to go with a period correct small block and upgrade to a 3-speed auto. A close inspection of the bodywork would be in order, especially areas that show old repairs. Looking at the pictures of the seller provided, I’m just wondering if there’s a lot of Bondo present in the quarters and rockers. Overall, while it seems like a nice car to start a restoration on, the old bodywork might present more problems than expected.

    Like 1
  4. Gaspumpchas

    This ol girl has a good amount or rust for a Calfornia car. Particularly the rust in the cowl by the windshield. Expect to see more after you get the windshield out. a 6 cyl auto SS–go figure. Looks funny with those small tires. Plenty to do here for 8500. U guys think its worth the coin? On the upside good pics of the underbelly and it looks good. Good luck to the new owner. could be its a transplanted east coast car. Caveat Emptor.

    Like 5
  5. Jeremy

    Being an original SS car, I wouldn’t want to alter it in any way due to decreasing it’s value. However, being the power junkie that I am, id need more oomph than this powertrain could offer, so I’d search for a non-SS to do the obligatory “LS V8/6speed/3:73 posi”build and let the purists restore this car to its deserved former glory

    Like 3
  6. Troy s

    No tributes, just a day two small block street machine with American mags and Cherry bombs. The rarity here has nothing to do with desirability, my one cent worth.

    Like 6
  7. Glenn Schwass Member

    Why would you pay for the SS option and go with a 6 and a slush box…it would need a 327 at least with a 4 spd to be remotely fun..searching for a 65 block and tranny would take forever but could save it moneywise…

    Like 1
  8. John S

    Having owned both ’64 & ’65 Chevelles, I can attest to the fact that this model is the epitome of simple and practical. They are a pleasure to drive in any configuration, and I agree with a 327/4-speed as being the most fun. As usual, the price seems excessive for this car’s condition… but again, it’s worth what the next guy’s willing to pay.

    Like 4
  9. Del

    I have looked at this over and over.

    It needs some rust replacement but floors and trunk look okay.

    I am not sure restoring to original is going to increase the value.

    I think I would replace the engine and tranny with a SBC and modern auto tranny. Numbers matching is no big deal on this car.

    Looks like it never sold again.Also more issues with Bidders not honoring their bids. The price here is not excessive for an SS

    Like 2
  10. Joe Cat

    I owned a 65 Malibu SS, black with blue interior and the 230, automatic back around 1979 when I was 17-18 years old. Paid $150 to my neighbor who I begged to sell it to me. People could not believe the SS with a 6 cyl and auto. None the less it was a cool car then as it is now. I would leave as is–not many 6cyl SS’s around.

    Like 9
  11. Steve

    Maybe in this case SS stands for super slow.

    Like 3
  12. TimM

    It seems odd to me that anyone would buy a car with the SS package and want a 6 cylinder!! But here it is!! I would have to pull the six and probably go with a 396 and a 4 or 5 speed!! But this is only because I have an extra 396 out of a wrecked 67 caprice in my shop!!!

  13. EricG

    A friend of mine down the street just recently passed away. He has one of these in his shop. It’s red 6 cylinder manual CONVERTIBLE. Bought it 25 years ago for his then 18 year old son. He didn’t want it. He would take it out and drive it once in awhile. Now his son got it anyway. Caldwell Idaho

    Like 3
  14. EricG

    A friend of mine down the street just recently passed away. He has one of these in his shop. It’s red 6 cylinder manual CONVERTIBLE. Bought it 25 years ago for his then 18 year old son. He didn’t want it. He would take it out and drive it once in awhile. Now his son got it anyway. Caldwell Idaho

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