Chevrolet Malibu

The Chevrolet Malibu, and its partner the Chevrolet Chevelle, won millions of buyers by satisfying those who needed basic midsize-car transportation, as well as those whose need was speed. Learn about both sides of the Malibu and Chevelle in this article.

1964 Chevrolet Malibu hardtop rear view
The Chevrolet Malibu, shown here in 1964 debut form, is a Chevy
success story. See more pictures of Chevrolet Malibu and Chevelle cars.

The Chevrolet Chevelle and Chevrolet Malibu were introduced for 1964 to fill the gap between the full-size Chevrolet Biscayne, Bel Air, and Impala line, and the compact Chevy II and Chevrolet Corvair models.

Chevy's new intermediates were roomy and affordable and had nicely proportioned square-cut styling. Technically, Chevelle was the car line's name, with the Malibu label applied to the dressed-up versions. But even in that first year, when Chevy moved an impressive 338,160 combined total, Malibu editions outsold Chevelles more than two to one.

A big reason was Malibu's undeniably sporty flair, a spirit backed up with the hot Super Sport versions. When Chevy offered the 375-horsepower 396-cubic-inch V-8 in the 1965 Malibu SS, a legendary muscle car was born.

Another strength of the Chevelle/Malibu family, as you'll discover in this article, was its broad range of body styles. These included convertibles, hardtops, sedans, and four- and even two-door station wagons. This appeal was matched by an array of six- and eight-cylinder engines and a long list of available options.

Those assets carried into 1968, when the cars got curvaceous new styling, and into 1973, when convertibles disappeared in favor of a new body with adventurous "colonnade" rooflines.

When Chevy downsized its intermediates for 1978, it dropped the Chevelle name altogether and the line was known simply as Malibu though 1983. That year was the finale for this rear-wheel-drive stalwart; the similarly sized front-wheel-drive Chevrolet Celebrity, introduced for 1982, was the wave of the future.

But the Malibu nameplate proved too good to die, and the Chevrolet Malibu was once a member of the Chevy family when a new midsize car was introduced for 1997. Indeed, Malibu is alive and well today.

1983 Chevrolet Malibu four-door sport sedan side view
The Malibu name has appeared on five decades of Chevys.
This is a 1983 Malibu.

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.