Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Tomales Street Sighting - 1968 Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu wagon

In 1968 my grandparents walked into Val Strough Chevrolet in Oakland and traded in a 1963 Ford Galaxie coupe for a brand new light blue Chevelle Nomad station wagon. It wasn't much to write home about, a 307 V8 car with a Powerglide 2-speed automatic, but it was the car my father learned to drive in and it made an indelible impression on him. Sadly, that Nomad eventually went the way of so many low-spec cars of the era -- a hand-me-down car that broke one time too many and was left for dead. Today, one never sees a later Nomad, but the higher-spec Malibu has been saved in larger numbers.

This is a '68 Malibu wagon, lightly customized with American Racing Torq Thrust II wheels. The trim panel on the tailgate has been removed, and the mounting holes filled with a curious combination of chrome spike things and several little eyeball things. Paint color looks to be either a very dirty Ermine White or, perhaps more likely, Palomino Ivory. It's a bit hard to tell since the body is what one might call "well loved". I'd say that if someone loves their car they'd try to keep the rust away, but it's not hard to believe that someone bought this wagon recently and bigger wheels were their first priority. These days that seems to be typical.

The last time I saw this Malibu the front end was sitting up higher than normal and the front axle was sitting on jack stands, suggesting that the owner has the engine out of it. Hopefully it's getting a rebuild. Personally I like the wheel choice; it's cliched but as I always say, everyone uses Torq Thrusts because they look good on so many cars. What I'd really like to see is the car benefit from a thorough check for rust and then get a quality paint job after all the rust is remedied. The stock color would do nicely, I think, and surely replacement trim could be found. If I ever won the lottery it would be tempting to surprise my dad with a restored '68 Chevelle wagon. Light blue, of course.

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