Car: 1972 Malibu
Several years ago, after having my 69 Impala Custom written-off, I was in the market for a new car. Being that it was June, I thought “no problem in buying another car to drive”. I ended up test driving all sorts of Chevys before finding two Chevelle Malibu's that I liked at dealer lots. One car was a 70 Malibu sport coupe, Gobi Beige, with a black vinyl top and 71,000 original miles on the odometer. The other car was a 72 Malibu sport coupe, Golden Brown, with an odometer reading of 61,000 original miles.
Now it was decision time, as to which car to purchase. Both had basically the same equipment except that the 70 Malibu was a six cylinder and the 72 Malibu had a small block V8. After many trips to the dealers and dickering on price, I finally settled on a price for the 72 Malibu and drove it away.
It was a great feeling driving around in a Chevy again, especially one with such low mileage. The next couple of days I spent cleaning the car and doing regular maintenance jobs. I found the original owners manual and emissions booklet tucked away in a bag in the trunk, along with the original trunk mat.
Since I've owned this car I've spent a great deal of time looking for parts, new material and checking out body shops. In the twelve years I've owned this car I've had to do very little in the way of maintenance. Three brake jobs, a new battery and a couple of sets of tires. Not bad for a car that is twenty five years old and driven every day to and from work.
To document my car I decoded the factory documentation I found under my back seat. It told me about the origins of my 72 Malibu. Here are all the options installed on my car. They are as follows:
Options / Description
AV3 Three Point Seat & Shoulder Harness
A02 Windshield Glass Tinted
A52 Bench Front Seat
B84 Body Side Molding
F62 Front Springs Computer Selected
G32 Back Springs Computer Selected
G97 Rear Axle 2.73 Ratio
J50 Vacuum Power Brakes
K05 Engine Block Heater
L08 Engine Emission Certification
M38 3 Speed Auto Transmission TH350
N40 Hydraulic Steering
PL3 E78-14-B Tire(2+2) HWY-BB-W/Wall
P01 Wheel Trim Cover
U63 AM Push Button Radio
U76 Windshield Antenna
Z49 Mandatory Canadian Base Equipment Modifications
My Malibu was original except for the paint colour of the car. It had the usual wear & tear done to it over the years. What my car needed was to be restored. So off I went to restore my 72 Malibu back to the proper "Canadian Specifications".
First on the list was to restore the interior. This little job became an eight year search for the factory correct cloth. I had the interior reupholstered in the factory correct cloth and vinyl back to original specifications. Many thanks go to Wayne Simpson of Capital Auto Glass & Upholstery in Duncan, BC for their fine work on my interior.
Next came the drivetrain. After running up over a hundred thousand miles on the car the engine was starting to show its age. So out came the stock 307 V8 and off it went to be cleaned, stripped, balanced and rebuilt with new parts. Now I know most people would have gone to the 350, but I wanted to experience what my car was like brand new when the first owner had bought it. Many thanks go to Gary Stossel, Bob and the rest of the guys at Gorge Auto's machine shop, Victoria, BC for the fine work they did on my engine.
The last thing that needed to be done was the body work and paint. I took my car to Hi-Tech Autobody in Sidney, BC. Graham Lawson had already done three cars out of the club and I was impressed with the quality of the work they did. So in went the car with all its new NOS wheel well mouldings, sill plates and Malibu emblems. After all the sanding and body work was completed the body was treated to the proper GM Golden Brown paint colour. I was a bit aprehensive about what the car would look like when completed. All my worries washed away that bright sunny Saturday morning when I saw my car in the sun.
A few days later the car was in final prep with all the new NOS mouldings being installed. I now understood why the original owner had bought this car. The Golden Brown paint has a steady hue of brown in the shade but, put this car out in the bright sunlight and watch the gold pigment take over the whole car.
I am completely happy with the decisions I made while doing my restoration, there are just a few small items to attend to now. One of which being repainting the factory rallye wheels. Some people still say that I should have put a ZZ3 Hi Per 350 in it. Nah, my 72 Malibu won't win many races, but then again I have no intentions of racing it either.
Article and scan by Dave Weir
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