Chevrolet Malibu Turns 50, We Take a Look Back at Its Eight Generations

Did you know that in 1964, a British firm named Leyland Motor Corp., challenged the United States blockade of Cuba by selling 450 buses to the Cuban government? In the same year, The Beatles kicked off the “British invasion” of America when their song “I wanna hold your hand” landed No. 1 spot on the U.S. singles charts, a first for the popular band.

It was also a good year for the middle class as the economy had fully overcome the hardships of war and people had money to spend. Who could blame them, when a gallon of gas cost 30 cents and a movie ticket sold for $1.25? It was the perfect timing for GM to introduce the Chevrolet Malibu.

Borrowing its name from the Los Angeles-area enclave that was the center of the beach culture in the 1960s, the Malibu began life as the top trim line for Chevrolet’s intermediate platform, which also included the Chevelle as an entry-level model, and the El Camino truck. The Malibu was aimed at the growing number of suburban customers who wanted a roomy yet efficient car for their long daily commutes.

The original Chevrolet Malibu was introduced in 1964 as the brand’s first “intermediate” car and one of the first midsize cars in the United States. Prior to the Malibu, Chevrolet’s passenger car lineup consisted of a range of full-size models, headlined by Impala, along with the compact Chevy II (Nova), Corvair and Corvette.

So, are you ready to take a trip down memory lane and see how the Malibu evolved through the years?

By Dan Mihalascu

First generation: 1964 - 1967

The Malibu featured a body-on-frame construction and responsive coil-spring front suspension. Originally launched as a premium sedan for families, the Malibu couldn’t ignore the muscle car wars of the 1960s and soon the sporty Malibu SS was born. However, the Chevelle SS assumed the role of the lineup’s muscle car in 1966 and the Malibu continued as the premium model. The El Camino was also part of the lineup.


1964 Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu SS1964 Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu SS Convertible1964 Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu SS Hardtop Coupe1964 Chevrolet Malibu1964 Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu SS1964-Chevrolet-Malibu-Convertible1965-Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu SS Hardtop Coupe1967-Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu Sport Sedan1967-Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu Sport Coupe1

Second generation: 1968 - 1972

The 1968 – 1972 models were based on the original intermediate platform but featured a slightly shorter 112-inch wheelbase for coupes and convertibles and a longer, 116-inch wheelbase for sedans and wagons. Like the first generation, each model year in the second generation had distinctive year-over-year styling differences.

1969 Chevelle Malibu1968 Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu1968-Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu SS Hardtop Coupe1968 Malibu Wagon Chevelle1971-Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu Sport Coupe1972-Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu Sport Coupe

Third generation: 1973 - 1977

In 1973 Chevrolet introduced a new frame for the third-generation Malibu that retained the previous wheelbases but featured 5-inch longer and 1-inch wider bodies in order to comply with new federal crash standards. A European-inspired Laguna model stood atop the midsize hierarchy for a brief period.


1973 Chevrolet Malibu Colonade1973 Chevrolet Malibu Colonnade Coupe1977-Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu Classic Coupe

Fourth generation: 1978 – 1983

The Chevelle line was discontinued after 1977, with the fourth generation of downsized midsize cars sticking only with the Malibu name from 1978 onward. Malibu models were a foot shorter and more than 500 pounds lighter, offering V6 and V8 engines. Chevrolet even produced a police car version.


1978-Chevrolet Malibu Classic Landau Coupe31978-Chevrolet Malibu Classic Wagon51978-Chevrolet Malibu Classic Wagon1979-Chevrolet Malibu Classic Landau Coupe1979-Chevrolet Malibu Classic Sedan31979-Chevrolet Malibu Classic Sedan1979-Chevrolet Malibu Classic Sport Coupe1979-Chevrolet Malibu Police1979-Chevrolet Malibu Station Wagon1980-Chevrolet Malibu Classic Landau Coupe1980-Chevrolet Malibu Classic Wagon1981-Chevrolet Malibu Classic Sedan1981-Chevrolet Malibu Classic Sport Sedan21981-Chevrolet Malibu Classic Sport Sedan1981-Chevrolet Malibu Classic Wagon1982-Chevrolet Malibu Classic1978 Chevrolet Malibu Classic Landau1983-Chevrolet Malibu Classic1983-Chevrolet Malibu Station Wagon

Fifth generation: 1997 - 2003

From 1984 to 1996, the Malibu nameplate disappeared, only to be reintroduced as an all-new, front-wheel-drive sedan available with four- and six-cylinder engines in 1997.


1997-Chevrolet Malibu1997-Chevrolet Malibu 31997-Chevrolet Malibu 41997-Chevrolet Malibu 51997-Chevrolet Malibu 62000-Chevrolet Malibu2000-Chevrolet Malibu 22000-Chevrolet Malibu 20042001-Chevrolet-Malibu-22001-Chevrolet-Malibu

Sixth generation: 2004 – 2007

For 2004, Malibu switched to GM’s global architecture that offered improved technology, efficiency and performance, including the return of the Malibu SS, which was powered by a 240hp 3.9-liter V6 engine. The Malibu range also included the Malibu Maxx five-door extended sedan, which brought greater cargo room, sliding and reclining rear seats.


2004-Chevrolet Malibu Maxx 12004-Chevrolet Malibu Maxx2004-Chevrolet Malibu Maxx 22004-Chevrolet Malibu2004-Chevrolet Malibu 32004-Chevrolet Malibu 22006-Chevrolet-Malibu_Maxx_SS2006-Chevrolet-Malibu_SS2006-Chevrolet Malibu SS2006-Chevrolet Malibu SS 12006-Chevrolet Malibu SS 32006-Chevrolet Malibu SS 5Chevrolet Malibu Maxx SS 1Chevrolet Malibu Maxx SS 22006-Chevrolet Malibu

Seventh generation: 2008 – 2012

The new generation used an enhanced, longer version of the platform introduced on the 2004 Malibu. It also featured improved safety features, including standard head curtain side air bags. It was voted the 2008 North American Car of the Year and was a critical success for GM exceeding the brand's expectations.


2008-Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid2008-Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid 22008-Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid 32008-Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid 42008-Chevrolet Malibu LTZ2008-Chevrolet Malibu LTZ 22008-Chevrolet Malibu LTZ 32008-Chevrolet Malibu LT2008-Chevrolet Malibu LT 22008-Chevrolet Malibu LT 3

Eighth generation: 2013 -

The all-new Malibu offers the segment’s first engine with standard stop/start technology and an available 2.0-liter turbo engine with 259 horsepower. The standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine delivers 65 percent more horsepower than the original Malibu’s standard 3.2-liter six-cylinder unit. The 2013 Malibu received mostly lukewarm reviews forcing GM to usher in a facelift only 18 months after launch, with the 2014MY sporting light styling tweaks, improved interior space, and updated powertrains and chassis.


2013-Chevrolet Malibu-232013-Chevrolet Malibu-22013-Chevrolet Malibu-24Malibu-2014-Facelift-04[2]2014-Chevrolet Malibu-12014-Chevrolet Malibu-22014-Chevrolet-Malibu-3[2]2014-Chevrolet Malibu-32013-Chevrolet Malibu

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Time was, as summer rounded into autumn, you kept an eye out for that first cool, dry weekend after the leaves started to turn, when the air remained genuinely chilly in the shade all day long, and then you tilted back your floppy coppola hat, hooked your thumbs into your suspenders, gazed thoughtfully into the middle distance of your rustic Emilia-Romagna village, and knew it was time to make lasagna, you and all the other ridiculous olde-thymey caricatures in the hopelessly inaccurate lunatic fantasy being described here.


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Check out this Eado XT, made by China's state-owned company Changan. Don’t bother with the name, because you’ll have probably already forgotten it up to this point, exactly 31 words later.

What you won’t forget are the looks of it, which are mix of many different brands’ ideas that have somehow translated into a very cohesive-looking and may I say, a stylish hatchback that’s currently exclusively available on the Chinese market.

This is a new model, and while there’s also a sedan version of the same car, I think this shorter version is a better effort. Power comes from either a 1.6- or 1.5-liter petrol engine, and the latter comes with a turbocharger that squeezes up to 168 hp out of it.

It would be a real stretch to call the design original, because it isn’t. I won’t tell you what I think it looks like, but feel free to do so yourself - there’s a place for that, and it’s called the comments section.

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New Holden VF Commodore International Edition Brings More Features for Better Value

To celebrate 35 years since the launch of the first Commodore, GM's Australian subsidiary Holden has released a new special edition model called International, available both as a sedan and Sportwagon.

The Commodore International is based on the VF model with the 248hp 3.0-liter SIDI V6 engine and comes with added luxury and styling features, including leather seats, 18-inch alloy wheels, Blind Spot Alert and Reverse Traffic Alert. Other features are LED daytime running lights, dark bezel headlamps, “International” badge and the rear cargo blind for the Sportwagon version.

These features add to the VF range’s standard equipment that includes, among others, dual-zone climate control, Electric Power Steering, Hill Hold Control, Hill Start Assist, Holden MyLink Infotainment System with 8 inch high-resolution color touch-screen display and voice recognition.

The Holden Commodore International sedan is priced from AU$36,990 (US$34,945), while the Sportwagon starts at AU$38,990 (US$36,835).

“We wanted to celebrate the anniversary of an icon by introducing even more great value features on the all-new VF Commodore,” said Holden Executive Director, Vehicle Sales, Service and Marketing, Phil Brook. “At such a competitive price, and loaded with technology, we expect it to be another winner in our showrooms,” he added.

Holden said it will build a limited number of vehicles from the special edition series but didn't provide a specific number.

By Dan Mihalascu


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