Monday, May 27, 2013

Pleasanton Street Sighting - 1966 Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu Wagon

I have a soft spot for Chevelle wagons, in no small part because my father learned to drive in a base-model '68 Chevelle Nomad wagon and adored it. Apparently other people have a similar soft spot, because while I was photographing this car a man came over and started checking it over for originality, remarking that he had once owned one just like it. Then he wrote a note to the owner asking to buy the car and left it under the wiper. You just don't see completely original Chevelles anymore. Even the wagons find themselves being built up into street machines these days, as the steel wheels and small engines are tossed in the trash for a GM Performance crate engine and whatever pro-touring wheel style is popular these days. Had this been a coupe I might have passed on it.

This '66 Chevelle Malibu looks to be on its second coat of paint and is ready for a complete strip and repaint, but it's a nice shade of metallic turquoise that in my opinion suits the car perfectly. I'm impressed with how straight the body is after all these years, and even if the black steelies with dog dish hubcaps aren't original I quite like their subtle appearance. The headlamps are modern halogen units that fit in place of the dim old sealed-beam lights, making the Chevelle safer to drive at night. The fenders bear a V emblem, indicating a V8 engine. However they don't say which displacement, suggesting the 283 cubic inch engine. My uncle once built a 400 small block in his '64 Malibu coupe and deliberately put a 283 air cleaner sticker on it to fool anyone who might look under the hood. It's fun to make people think you haven't got anything special. In this case, though, I'm not sure if I'd advocate a sleeper performance build. The car is just so straight and original. Honestly, my favorite original detail on this car is the Moffett Field Naval Air Station parking permit on the front bumper. I love seeing old military and government parking permits (and to a lesser extent, real period bumper stickers) on vintage cars; it tells an interesting story about their history and past ownership. It tells me that this car once lived in the San Jose area and its owner was in the Navy, perhaps a pilot or mechanic.
I don't know if that man ever convinced the owner to sell him his wagon, but whatever the case I hope it's in good hands that will treat it with respect. I think it's earned continued preservation and a quality repaint.


  1. I still own this wagon, bought it from the original owner