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Sport Coupe Survivor: 1971 Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu

The mid-size Chevy Chevelle was in its eighth year in 1971 and still going strong. The Malibu Sport Coupe continued as the series’ best seller at nearly 200,000 copies, most with a V8 (and they could be optioned as a Super Sport). Were told this ’71 is a two-owner automobile that could be largely original, though some recent work was done to ensure its reliability. Located at a car shop in Sacramento, California, this Chevy is available here on craigslist for $21,500. Thanks for the nifty tip, T.J.!

It’s nice to see one of these Chevelles that hasn’t been cloned as an SS 396 or 454. It’s a “grandma” style hardtop with a basic 307 cubic inch V8 and a TH-350 automatic transmission. No mention is made if either required any work but the seller does say that $5,000 was recently spent on repairs. That included recharging the A/C, getting the cooling system up to speed, initiating suspension work, and revamping the fuel delivery system. As a result, this machine is said to drive and ride very nicely and may need no further mechanical attention.

The dark green paint could be original, but we won’t fault the car if a repaint was needed in the past 50 years. The beige interior seems okay except for the driver’s seat back which is cracked and falling apart. We’re told that rust has never been a factor with the car, but many of the photos show the vehicle in the shadows which doesn’t help.

We see three different sets of wheels on the car in the various photos and we think the 15-inch Rally’s in the photos here are where the seller has settled. They’re not period correct as Chevy had changed the design used on the Chevelle and Nova in 1971. This vintage find looks fine without SS badging and we hope that it doesn’t become another one, though the 307 may not be potent enough for some folks. But I can’t help but notice that the valve covers are black when Chevy was all about red in those days.


  1. Avatar photo Steve R

    Nice looking car. Expensive, but you’ve got to pay up for a car in this kind of condition nowadays. If it’s as nice as the pictures suggest it should sell in the not too distant future.

    The car does not have AC, which would be a really good idea in the Sacramento area with a dark car.

    Like 9
    • Avatar photo Car Nut Tacoma

      I agree. It is rather pricey for a car like this. I’d be willing to pay between $10k and $15k for the car.

      Like 1
      • Avatar photo Steve R

        I live about 2 hours away from this car. If a 72 or earlier Chevelle in this condition were to show up on any online platform for $10k or $15k it would be sold almost instantly. About the only way to get a good deal around here is through word of mouth or “knock and talk”. This is market price around here, it’s not a bargain, but not outrageously overpriced either. It won’t be long for someone who really wants an early Chevelle to come along.

        Steve R

        Like 3
    • Avatar photo Jim Suter

      I think the description of “charging system, cooling system work” was misinterpreted by the writer.

      Like 1
  2. Avatar photo G hicks

    Darn No A/C

    Like 4
    • Avatar photo RMac

      Ummm no ac ? g hicks then why does the ad says ac recharged recently? Nice car I knew a girl had a sport coupe same colors and bench seat but it had a 350 4 bbl. And a 4 speed wonder where they both are now?

      Like 3
      • Avatar photo Stan

        Thats a sweet setup for a Malibu RMac, and probably a sweet girl too 😊

        Like 4
  3. Avatar photo Gordon Hicks

    Didn’t read it right my oops

    Like 2
  4. Avatar photo Mike76

    It sure is pleasing to see one sans stripes and SS up-dressing. Just a plain ol’ Malibu with a 307. I can’t lie, I even kinda like the pics with the original wheel covers. I doubt that this ’71 will last all that long given its condition and it being an original blue plate California car. Hopefully it does not end up like many of them and get SS-ified.

    Like 3
  5. Avatar photo Tony D

    Ad states cooling system work…probably new coolant hoses….NO A/C on this one,

    Like 3
  6. Avatar photo Nelson C

    Many years ago there was one like this in our little town driven by the proverbial little old lady. She told me that she already had someone who wanted to by it. Time passed and soon you no longer saw her or the car. Probably got sold/carted off from her estate or became trashed. This is another nice looking old Chevelle.

    Like 4
  7. Avatar photo Car Nut Tacoma

    Lovely looking car. I’ve always loved the front of the 1970-71 Chevelle.

    Like 3
    • Avatar photo Al

      I wish if only, I had a dollar for every ’70-’72 Chevelle, born in a few shades of green, heartbeat from a 307 with a column shift & bench seat, that was transformed into a red SS454 clone, I’d then be able to afford a REAL, ’70 SS454 ! Curious if this one will meet that same fate, as then, will be selling for $65k+!

      Like 3
      • Avatar photo Car Nut Tacoma

        I agree. I’d prefer 4 door sedan or a station wagon. Still, this is nice. I’ve seen better colours than this.

        Like 3
  8. Avatar photo Mike F.

    I’m wondering if this car is not originally from California. I had a 1972 Chev Malibu like this one as a company car in San Francisco. It had a 350 and when I picked it up the dealer indicated that the 350 was the smallest v8 available in this car in CA. Anyone know if that was true? Just curious.
    Had to give the car up a short time later….was “promoted” to an inside position….no company car and a few cents raise. Bummer…..

    Like 1
  9. Avatar photo James Kyle

    Wouldn’t trust the seller. States AC is recharged and up to speed – WHAT AC??? Also looks like a repaint as 307 badging is missing from front fenders. Buyers beware!!!

    Like 1
    • Avatar photo Car Nut Tacoma

      I agree. Unless Air Conditioning (AC) was available back in 1970 or 71.

      Like 0
      • Avatar photo RMac

        AC was definitely available in 71 I had an el Camino which was a 307 auto with ac when I bought it
        It did not stay that way but it did have working AC I changed it to a 350 4 speed from a wrecked 70 7/28 but kept the A/C I also later had a 71 350 el Camino ss with air

        Like 4
  10. Avatar photo Car Nut Tacoma

    @RMac: I’ve never owned a car that didn’t have AC. It’s almost a requirement during the Summer months, when the outside can rise above 80 degrees. Inside the car with the windows closed, the temp can get as hot as 100 degrees depending where you live.

    Like 1
  11. Avatar photo Mark

    Very nice clean unmolested Chevelle. Maybe add dual exhaust and a 4 barrel carb and intake set up and drive it. The ralley wheels make it look better. I have had a 1971 Chevelle since high school 1989.

    Like 1

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