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Super Sport Wagon: 1979 Chevy Malibu Estate

This 1979 Chevy Malibu station wagon has undergone a mild transformation, with the front clip from a Monte Carlo swapped in place of its more sedentary factory nose. Another surprise lurking inside this Malibu wagon is a four-speed manual transmission, along with daily-driver levels of reliability, according to the seller. Find it here on craigslist for $13,750.

Thanks to Barn Finds reader Justin for the find. This Malibu sports a clean body and attractive Centerline wheels, along with dark limo tint and a rear spoiler. It’s surprising just how inoffensive the nose job is, despite combining the appearance of vehicles that, by themselves, had totally different target markets.

The Malibu features a small block Chevy which looks quite fresh, but the seller doesn’t spell out if it’s a recent build or if it’s had any major maintenance performed. The only other tweaks mentioned are a set of Bilstein shock absorbers, but really, the SBC and manual transmission combination is all I need to see to know this wagon is a recipe for a good time.

The seller raises a valid point when he asks why you’d drive a Camry over something like this? While sensible people would have plenty of responses to this query, the rest of us know what he’s saying. You could have a vintage American wagon with some trick, Roadkill-friendly modifications while still being able to drop your kids off at school. How can you lose?


  1. Moparman Moparman Member

    Choo Choo Customs did this front end on El Camino’s. Seems I recall someone stating that the actual Monte Carlo front end was a tad wider, and thus, not a direct swap. Actually, (IMO) the front end looks a little awkward from the side. At any rate, I could live w/ everything, EXCEPT the tint and the Weld wheels! :-)

    Like 11
    • ronniecarlo

      Monte Carlo SS as well as all 4th gen MCs are 3 inches wider.But I have seen over 200 ’78-’87 Rl Caminos with real SS clips.Trick is you have to use the Monte Carlo doors forward.

      Like 0
  2. redwagon

    I would drive that.
    Add redlines and a different set of wheels.

    Like 7
  3. Tom Member

    For what it is, that era anyway, pretty cool. I did not read closely, is the 4 speed factory original? I would guess not.

    Being white, would make a nice company promo vehicle with a blended partial vinyl wrap that could always be removed later.

    I think bigger/wider rear tires with a bit of a lift in the rear end would tighten up this look.

    PS…I am not a huge fan of the wheels but what’s wrong with the tint?

    It probably helped preserved the interior (no photos?) and it looks like it MIGHT be in a high heat state….where if you don’t have window tint you will die like a bug in a glass jar !!! Just sayin. (Probably can’t tell that I sell window tinting or vinyl vehicle wraps, right?)

    Like 9
    • Evan

      “is the 4 speed factory original? I would guess not.”

      Why would you guess not? The early 4th-gen A-bodies could be had with 3- or 4-speed manuals, and the Cutlass line even offered a 5-speed.

      Like 5
      • Blyndgesser

        True but they were very rare. Maybe 1200 4-speed Malibus in 1978-79, and none after that.

        Like 3
      • Andre

        …and I was lucky enough to find one in a scrap yard to pilfer all the manual off of to convert my G-body to a T-56.

        Also – 78-79 weren’t the only years for manual trans. The “Irquibu” (1981 special ordered fleet for Iraq to use as Taxi’s, most of which never got off this continent) were all manual/floor shift cars.

        Like 3
  4. Kenneth Carney

    They did indeed. I once saw one at a
    food bank Mom and I visit. The one I
    saw was an El Camino that at the time
    I saw it, looked pretty used up. Having
    my tablet with me, I snapped some pics
    of it and submitted them to Tony Piff at
    oldparkedcars.com. Tried to talk the
    owner out of it but no dice! I could
    see my family having fun with this one!

    Like 2
  5. Andre

    This car would be much better looking with the Malibu front clip IMO. This looks awkward.

    Like 3
    • TC

      I agree Andre, that smiling grille looks like a something that ‘escaped’ from the ‘Cars’ movie, it’s like a grin or smile, looks damn stupid!

      Like 0
  6. Little_Cars Alexander Member

    A neighbor of mine took a Malibu coupe of this vintage and added a standard (non-molded urethane) front clip from a Monte. I could never figure out what I was looking at from a distance until I walked over to check it out. He had wrecked both cars in their original guise in ying-yang fashion and used insurance money to do the graft. I’ve also seen a 70-71 Gran Prix nose grafted onto the front of a similar-year Bonneville. Fugly

    Like 0
  7. SubGothius

    Needs the grille and inside of the headlight buckets painted matte black with black headlamp retainer rings, as done on the Monte SS, much sharper look that way.

    Like 2
  8. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    Since the owner refers to the engine as a “SBC”, I’ll guess that it isn’t a very good , ie. built up, one.

    Like 0
  9. BOP_GUY BOP_GUY Member

    When I first saw the picture, I was thrown cuz I’d never seen one before. Then I got it! I’m a little slow this morning. Looks great though, in my opinion. I’d do like others have pointed out: ditch the wheels for something different with white letter tires, keep the tinting for the 100+ degree summer days here, and do the matte black on the grill and headlight bezels & rings. The seller is hiding the interior for some reason, so would need a lot more information before plunking down that kind of money for a 79 Chevy wagon!

    Like 2
    • Mark

      I agree! I would like to see the interior too!! and put on different wheels, Ralleys!!

      Like 0
  10. pugsy

    Those tail lights need to get out of the bumper and into the tail gate. They just look so wrong.

    Like 3
    • Frank M

      That is a styling holdover from before the wagon shrunk in 1977. Look at the 76 models and they have the tail lights in the bumper also, although it was the bigger body style.

      Like 1
  11. Drew V.

    I’m surprised why nobody has suggested the LS swap with a 5-speed.That would be the perfect sleeper/cruiser to me…

    Like 2
  12. dweezilaz

    I appreciate the effort, but I have never been a fan of the monochromatic look and the front looks really awkward from any angle. It wasn’t an asset on the Monte Carlo of the period.

    For me, it’s not an improvement over the bog stock Malibu wagon, but it’s a nice car for someone else if they like it.

    Like 0
  13. P Wentzell

    Add wood grain siding!

    Like 0
  14. ronniecarlo

    Puhleeze stop calling those Draglites Centerlines..Centerline is a brand as is Weld Wheels Draglites

    Like 0

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