Wednesday, October 26, 2011

San Francisco Street Sighting - 1976 Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu Classic

In modern times, Chevrolet has played fast and loose with the word "classic" in its model names. Anything with the word "Classic" in its name now effectively means an obsolete model held over for another year either to ease the entry of a controversial new model or to simply move last year's old inventory. Case in point, the 2004-05 Chevy Classic, which was a carryover 1997-2003 Malibu with "CLASSIC" on the trunk lid in place of the Malibu badge. It was sold primarily to rental fleets while the awkwardly-designed 2004 Malibu took over.
There was a time when Malibu Classic meant something, and the mid-1970s were that time. Chevy's Chevelle coupe lineup had received a new "Colonnade" design language for 1973, with the Malibu making up the mid-level trim model and the new Laguna took the top luxury spot. In 1974 the Malibu Classic was introduced, sporting luxury touches not found on regular Malibus. In 1976, the Classic was given four stacked rectangular headlights and a new diamond-pattern grille in place of the plain horizontal grille bars and dated single round lights of the base car. Also part of the Classic package was a hood ornament; the vinyl landau top was apparently optional. This car rides on Chevy Rally wheels that, as far as I know, were not stock on the Malibu Classic that year but are a popular (and if I might say so, good-looking) add-on.

This car has potential. It needs the bumper re-chromed, and a new grille. I don't much care for the combination of silver and maroon, but my dad's '66 Mustang was originally silver with red interior, so I guess it can work. Speaking of Mustangs, there's a bonus early Mustang convertible in one of the pictures for all you readers who've been waiting to see one. And if you squint really closely, you can also see the blue 1974 Alfa Romeo 2000 GTV I featured a while ago. My primary concern for this car is that the owner pay close attention to the vinyl top. Those are notorious for getting water under them and rusting out the roof, and this one is starting to bubble and peel around the rear window. Get that checked out!


  1. Nice find. I don't think I've ever seen one, much less is this condition.

  2. This was my first car (hand-me-down from grandfather). The wheels are indeed original as I had the same ones. I think the hubs were also on the Corvette of the same year and easily removable...meaning mine were stolen.

  3. Do you know what the paint code might be for the Silver?

    1. Code 13 Silver Poly according to the 1976 GM paint code booklet.

      I can't tell if the vinyl top is 36F Firethorn or 37T Mahogany.

  4. I bought mine new off the lot. Silver with burgundy leather seats. Cost was $5900 I believe. Had the 305 c.i. Traded a '71 Chevy Malibu on it. Took it off the lot straight to a tire shop and put Keystone Classic Mags on it. It was a head Turner. Miss both those cars. My payment was $103/mo. Those were the days....