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Stalled Project: 1965 Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu SS

I think many of us have been in the same boat as this seller. We find a killer project for sale, buy it with big plans, get it taken apart and then realize, we just aren’t up to the task. It happens and is nothing to be ashamed of. They purchased this Chevelle Malibu SS with their nephew and they had plans of restoring it. Once they got it pulled apart, they realized they lack the ability to properly restore it. Rather than let it rust away, they have listed it here on eBay. It’s in Beloit, Wisconsin and has a current bid of $1,136.

It’s easy to see why this project could seem a little overwhelming, there’s lots of rust to be dealt with. The body looks pretty straight, but the floors are looking rough. They believe it was restored back in the ’80s, so it’s hard to say what all you will find under the paint. The restoration work might have actually been done properly, as it was parked from 1996 to 2018, which is more than enough time for the tin worm to make it’s way through the floors. That being said, I would still recommend running a paint thickness gauge or at least a magnate over the body to make sure it isn’t covered in filler.

The ’65 Chevelle Malibu SS was offered with several engines, ranging from a 283 all the way up to a 396. If the fender badge is original, than this one came with one of the two optional 327s. We don’t know which it had, as it came with a 350. The seller believes it came out of a 1970 Corvette and that it is paired to a 4 speed Muncie. The custom interior and wheels suggest that someone was racing it or at the very least wanted it to look like a ’70s racer.

I know it can be a bit demoralizing when you realize you’ve taken on a project that beyond your capabilities, but at least this seller realized it sooner rather than later. This really is a big project, but if you are skilled at welding, you should be able to replace the floors. The real concern is what might be hiding under the paint and in the hard to see places. Hopefully, someone with the ability takes pity on it and saves it! So is that person you?


  1. RayT Member

    I’ll give the seller credit for even dragging it home and considering doing a resto. One look at those floors and I’d have been out of there faster than this thing could leave the line with a built 396.

    I can’t weld very well, and this doesn’t like like a good place to try to improve.

    Like 7
    • Robert White

      Welding up floors in an old Chevy is the best place to start welding. If you never attempt to do anything you will never get good at anything. Everyone told me that I could not fix a blown BSA 650 engine before I rebuilt a BSA 650 engine. Everyone told me that I could not do restoration level welding on my 1966 Canso Sport Deluxe before I did restoration level welding on my Canso.
      Everyone around told me that I could not paint my car professionally enough to make it look good before I painted my car professionally enough to make it look good. And literally everyone said I would never complete my 66 Canso in my little tiny single garage before I completed my 66 Canso in my little single garage.

      Never listen to the jerks in life that say you can’t do something.

      When my brother told me I could not play drums when I was first starting to learn drums as a kid he decided to throw the Hoover Upright vacuum cleaner down at flight of stairs at me so it would land right into my face and drums as I was practicing. When I saw that Hoover Upright vacuum cleaner hurling towards me I knew I was going to be a great drummer just as it crashed into my drum set at the bottom of the stairs.

      You just need the motivation, eh.


      Like 29
      • On and On On and On Member

        Bob, When my kids were growing up the one thing I made sure they understood was that you’ll just never know what you or anyone is capable of. You seem to be a living example of that.

        Like 10
      • Gregory J Mason

        Great story Bob. I heard my dad say something very similar back in the 60s. He always said I don’t want to hear ( I can’t do it ) you can do any damb thing you want if you put your mind to it. Since then I’ve rebuilt a lot of basket cases. Now I’m in the middle of restoring my wife’s 65 Chevelle. And yes in a one car garage. So far the drive train is done new trunk floor and I’m starting on the main floor now. I’ll try to send some pictures.

        Like 0
  2. Chebby Member

    Looks like someone did a Cheech and Chong restoration job on it in the 80’s.

    Like 4
  3. David

    Nice bones. hopefully someone in their twenties with tech school talent, a full-time job, and a one bay garage will find this one.

    Like 2
  4. JW

    If I was younger I would give this one a go if I could get it for $1,500.

    Like 3
  5. Troy s

    Old street machine that at one time was probably a lot of fun to cruise on Friday nights. Hopefully it will be brought back to its former glory and remain a cruiser, not another all original kinda boring SS 327 Chevelle.
    Now if it was a Z16 code SS 396, well….

    Like 3
  6. Robert White

    When a project car is looking like a daunting task don’t sweat it by fretting about all the work because everything good takes some time. And here is how to accomplish the task without the worry.

    1) Dismantle the entire car in one day by pulling the seats & dash cluster. Pop the windows front & back, and then take the door windows out of the door slides. Take the no draft window out too, and pull the glove compartment door off while you are in there.

    2) Take the doors off the hinges, and take the hood & trunk lid off too.

    3) Pull the engine & transmission in one go, but to make that real easy to accomplish you will be ahead of the game if you pull the radiator & rad support first.

    4) Call your favorite tow truck driver to haul your car frame and body to the local sandblasting dude that all the local body shops utilize for their parts sandblasting that they get done every week. Sandblasting the entire body & frame will cost you about $500.00 plus the towing costs.

    5) Vacuum out the sand when the towtruck driver brings the rustless hulk back to your laneway. Make sure to beat the car with a BFH on the frame as you get the sand out of the car frame and body.

    6) When the sand is largely gone from the frame & body you can start priming the car with rust inhibitive primer and give it a couple of coats before you clean your paint gun.

    7) Order the floor pans, and trunk pan, as well as any patch panels. And order new carpets front & back.

    8) grind out all the remaining rust from the floors and set you new floor pans into place with tack welds from your Mig Welder.

    9) Finish the welding by running continuous beads until everything is fully welded up and there are no holes left to patch.

    10) Prime the car again after all the welding is finished.

    11) Now you have a car that just needs the finishing bodywork and some paint.

    12) Drink beers and think over allowing a professional body shop to finish the body work and paint job from there. First time backyard mechanic paint jobs are not that great so it’s best to get a body shop to do the rest of the body work & paint so that it is professionally done and you don’t wind up with runs or fisheyes in the paint.

    That’s how it’s done, folks!


    Like 11
    • 69RSz28

      Good advice Bob although the chop top taildragger Merc in the picture took considerable old school talent and experience to chop, only get one cut, custom windows all around, air or hydraulic suspension to drop it on it’s skidplate’s, just sayin

      Like 1
      • Robert White

        The Mercs I post are just examples of what I would like to actually own in real life aside from the beater 1996 Monte Carlo I actually own & drive daily. And I agree that chopped & slammed Mercs are a tad more complicated to do that a stock rebuild of a 60s Chevy. I will have to win the lottery in order to play around with the Mercs, and I figure the costs are broaching $100k after paint & hydraulics.

        Wish me luck on the lottery.


        Like 1
    • RedRacer

      your logical order of restoration is a real inspiration; thanks

      Like 1
  7. healeydays
  8. Retired Stig

    A shame for the owner, not fun when your project collapses. Personally, as a hot rodder of a certain age, I’m not buying the ’80’s restoration story. The diamond tuck, yellow plug wires and dorky valve cover wing nuts look pure ’70’s high school to me. But the turbine wheels….

    Like 5
  9. Steve R

    To protect myself, I wouldn’t bid higher than 50% of the value of its parts.

    Steve R

    Like 4
    • Yoopermike

      Good one Steve R.

      Like 0
  10. Classic Steel

    I could build it. The floor pans are a easy fix but I can weld. They make one piece and half pans. I would keep the tunnel and cut out the pans and weld in half pans. The rest can be redone. The interior needs to be rebuilt by getting on craigslist or Ebay and buy buckets for a GM 1964. The aftermarket magazines and online will allow one to rebuild it properly and put skins on the side where they flared the wheel wells. (notice the convert rear wheel openings) I suggest go all in and get a four speed console.

    These cars look great put back together for the right price.

    I have a 64 Chevelle convertible with the original six bangor and chrome vale covers and breather. Its a 230 six tied to a three on a tree. Its a non SS with the side chrome on the side panels. I have the original full cover caps for the wheels as the ones on are not non SS. I plan on keeping mine original but have for a future build have a 396 punched to a 403 engine.

    Like 5

    Is the heater box rusted out at the bottom ? Might need to pass on this one…..

    Like 0
  12. 86 Vette Convertible

    Kind of ‘How do you eat an elephant?’ One bite at a time. Long as the basic talent is there along with time and money, it’s doable IMO. No money or room at the time to even think of something like this.

    Like 3
  13. Tempo Matador/ Ray

    Hey Robert White,

    Thanks for your bit on a logical sequence to follow when taking on a new and interesting project. I too have been restoring interesting projects ranging from classic mid-century muscle cars and vintage air cooled vehicles to Art Deco era bicycles and unique scooters. Your bullet points should steer folks in the right direction. Nice “sled” too.

    Like 1
  14. Nickr

    Nice that it’s a real SS 138 car. I’m not that old but geez, life’s to short and I don’t think you’d see day lite money wise when you finally finished this one.

    Like 1
  15. Tyler

    IF the reserve is indeed reasonable, $5k or less, IF floors, rockers & quarters are all the sheetmetal gat needs replacing, IF the drivetrain doesn’t need a full overhaul, & IF you can do some or most of the work yourself, this could be a good project that won’t break the bank.

    As Robert White said, these cars are about the easiest thing in the world to weld a new floor into thanks to the full frame. On unibody cars like Camaros, even with full bracing, they still flex & getting everything lined up is a chore.

    And it’s a real 65 Malibu SS, not near as common as the 66-67 & 68-72 body style. And not another big block clone. Add Vintage Air & cruise it!

    Like 2
  16. Kevin Lee

    I agree with Retired Stig. This looks more like a ’70s street machine. The rear wheel wells have been cut out for tire clearance, and the steering wheel all point to the seventies styling.

    Like 0
  17. Mark


    Like 0
  18. Pete

    I knew a Detective here who bought a 66 Chevelle in about the same condition. He had it up on a lift for months at a local car shop. I watched him try to replace damn near every body panel except the fire wall. He had two major problems. He tried to do all the panels at the same time instead of doing the floor first and then working out from there. The second problem was getting himself arrested for having sex with a minor when he was about 80% done. No idea what happened to the car after that.

    Like 3
  19. Gregory J Mason

    I’m in the middle of restoring my wife’s 65 Malibu sport coupe. Replaced the trunk floor and I’m starting the main floor. Rebuilt the steering column put front disc brakes with split power master cylinder. 350 4 bolt with performer cam serpentine belt drive, turbo 350 trans, 308 posi rear. It’s a lot of work. She wants it painted original Danube blue with black bucket interior. She also informed me she wants the exhaust to dump under the rear quarters like stock not straight out the back. Well 1 more month of body work and it should be ready for paint. ( I hope ).

    Like 3
    • Nikrnic

      Sounds real nice. Danube Blue is a great color as well.

      Like 2

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