1981 Chevrolet Malibu
The 1981 Chevrolet Malibu, including this four-door sedan,
received a squared roofline with a semi-formal rear window.
The 1981 Chevrolet Malibu received what amounted to a "radical" styling update for a car that had changed little since its 1978 introduction: Sedans adopted a rear roofline more formal than that of their Buick and Olds siblings. Other changes were more subtle.
The 1981 Chevrolet Malibu engines mostly continued from 1980 but now wore GM's Computer Command Control (CCC) emission system. The base 229-cubic-inch V-6 made 110 horsepower (down from 115), as did the California-only 231-cubic-inch Buick V-6.
The 305-cubic-inch V-8, now with 150 horsepower, was relegated to station-wagon duty, so the sole optional engine on sedans and coupes was the 267-cubic-inch V-8 with 115 horsepower. The three-speed automatic added a lock-up torque converter to aid highway mileage.
As before, the bulk of sales consisted of sedans, with ritzier Classic versions being somewhat more popular than the base models. Station wagons and coupes were likewise more popular in dressier trim.
And despite a substantial across-the-board price increase (the most popular model, the Classic sedan, was up more than $1,000, to $6,961), sales dropped only slightly to a total of just under 242,500.
The 1981 Chevrolet Malibu series included this Sport Sedan model.
The wire wheels shown here were a $135 option.
| Model|| Weight range (lbs.)|| Price range (new)|| Number built|
For more picture-packed articles about Chevys and other great cars, see:
- Classic Cars: Learn about more than 400 of the world's finest classic and collectible automobiles.
- Muscle Cars: Look back at tire-smoking Chevys and scores of other machines from the golden age of American high performance.
- Sports Cars: Discover the pleasure of sports motoring at its purest in these captivating articles on the best sports cars from around the world.
- Consumer Guide Automotive: Here's your source for news, reviews, prices, fuel-economy and safety information on today's cars, minivans, SUVs, and pickups.
- Consumer Guide Used Car Search: In the market for a used Chevy or virtually any other pre-owned vehicle? Check out these reports, which include safety recalls and trouble spots.
- All Chevrolet Malibus: The Chevrolet Malibu nameplate didn't die with the 1983 model. Get the lowdown on the new-age Malibu that launched for 1997 and continues today.
- How Chevrolet Works: Get the inside story of one of America’s greatest automotive marques in this lavishly illustrated history of Chevrolet, beginning with its founding in 1911.