Car: 1970 Malibu Sedan replacing a 1971 Malibu Sedan
First I would like to thank Dave Weir who was instrumental in providing me with valuable advice & guidance. It has become obvious, even to me, that I could not drive my rusted out & twice rear-ended 71 Malibu sedan much longer. Thanks to a fellow at work, I was directed to Dave who was patient with me, is extremely enthusiastic about Chevelles & is virtually a walking encyclopedia on these cars. During my short association with the club I have come to realize that he is a rare asset which most members should be thankful for and treat with respect. Although Iíve dealt mostly with Dave, I can also see that Don Earnshaw and Rick Outingdyke possess similar qualities, dedication to the club and helping others.
As you can tell neither of my cars are what car fanatics would really be interested in. In fact I feel more than a little out of my league when I see the cars that other members here on Vancouver Island have. For a start no one seems to have a four door (or want one). However I bought my 71 Chevelle Malibu four door sedan in 1977 for $1400 in Ottawa because thatís what I preferred for practical reasons, (i.e. I needed a car for traveling to or from work and could not afford the gas economical Rabbits). I also had the influence of my friend, Mike Bazuk, who spent a lot of time expounding on the virtues of Chevelles and other GM products. He was obsessed with GM products after having worked at the parts warehouse in Dorval (or Pointe Claire ?) during the summers and was making about 2 and Ĺ times what I was in my jobs. It was to the point that I began to question whether Mike had money in GM parts.
He owned either a Beaumont or Chevelle. As Mike was the ultimate GM booster and has as much natural confidence and ability to sell a product as any salesman, I took his advice and went for the Chevelle rather than the Rabbit. I bought the 71 Chevelle Malibu with 50,000 miles on it from a policeman in Ottawa (second car for their family) and drove it across Canada to my new job in Victoria.
The 71 Malibu gave me good service, received only the most basic of maintenance that I was able to do and required next to no repairs. In 1988 the Malibu has about 125,000 miles on it, but much of that mileage was very shorts trips around town. A brake line went and the rust from Ottawa was coming to a head. A year later or so before I had spent quite a bit of money having headers and dual exhaust installed plus shocks and rear springs. I decided to see if it was worth fixing up a bit. I went to Philís Auto Service as he was advertised as a Chevy Specialist and is into rebuilding engines. He also works with his crew and drives a rail style dragster, which is part of his business logo. Phil convinced me that the car was still salvageable and I decided that I would get it to work better than stock. Over the next few years I got a complete engine rebuild with head work, mild cam, replaced pistons rebored the block, bearings, Edelbrock manifold, Rochester four barrel carb, electronic ignition, transmission rebuilt with shift kit. I attempted body repairs with body filler and got the finishing touches and repainting done at G & L Collision, performance tires and chrome 15 x 7 rims, etc. The car now had pretty good performance and worked like it never had, plus it looked real good with the new bright green paint instead of the former ugly khaki green. It was quite an adventure (a pocket book trauma at times) reviving, transforming and catching up on 15 or so years of repairs. Various people at work had names for it like the Green Machine, but my favorite was the Green Guzzler, because a friend said it had eight thirsty cylinders.
Options / Description
A02 Front Windshield Tinted
AV3 Three Point Seat & Shoulder Harness
A52 Front Bench Seat
J50 Vacuum Power Brakes
M38 Turbo 350 3 Speed Automatic Transmission
N40 Power steering
P01 Wheel Trim Cover
PL4 F78-14-4 Tire (2+2) HWY BB W/Wall
U63 AM Push Button Radio
U76 Windshield Antenna
Z49 Mandatory Base Canadian equipment modifications
All was going well until I got rear-ended by a Volvo while I waited for the three cars ahead of me to start moving when the light changed. The fellow behind me didnít wait and took a run at me from about 20 feet back, as it seems his carb stuck open. My trailer hitch went through the Volvoís bumper. This did some damage to my already rusted out rear end, but G & L Collision repaired what was covered by the insurance, i.e. not the rust. A year later I got rear-ended again by a young driver who failed to stop at a red light. This time the rear end was bashed down and the rust was really messed up to the point where ICBC was prepared to either pay me less that it was going to cost to repair or settle by giving me $1500 for the car. After all I had done to the car I was not about to give it to ICBC for $1500. I was able to negotiate a fairer cash settlement for the repair costs with the help of Gary at G & L Collision.
The fellow at ICBC told me that I had better look for a better body and put my money towards that. I went away a bit shell shocked as I had driven the car for 19 years, but knew the time had come. However I was able to drive the car for the next year as it was, but it was a major pain with rain in the trunk, sticky doors and trunk. It was with great reluctance that I called Dave Weir and looked at another car. My mechanic, Phil Ruskowski (Philís Auto Service), told me not to buy the first car and was able to show some major faults that I was not ware of.
I did not like looking at cars, so I only looked once in a while in the paper and did not look at another car until June 1997. This time it was a four door 1970 Malibu that the fellow was selling for his widowed mother. I took a quick look at it on the way back from somewhere and arranged to see it on the weekend. It was bough new, maintained meticulously, everything is stock, had frequent paint chips repairs, solid, really quiet, virtually rust free and had a paint job that was almost unblemished. This car appeared to have been garaged kept, the interior was immaculate and the trunk was dry and not full of holes. In the meantime I consulted with Dave and Don at the club, and got a lien check done. In the past 15 years it has been driven 45,000 miles after the engine was rebuilt at 100,000 miles. I donít believe they had any other offers on the car as it was a four door sedan. I decided to put in an offer on this car and within an hour or two I owned the car. My intention was to do an engine swap from my old 71 Malibu to the 70 Malibu , but it urns out the engine in the 70 Malibu ran smoothly, accelerates beyond the speed limit without a whimper, although the modest power compared to what Iím used to. As a result I can not see doing an engine swap at this time. Iím still torn when I see my old car now unlicensed in the driveway after driving it for twenty years. However I feel I have been really blessed to get a car such as this have and cleared a spot in the garage for the new car (after six years of never having a car in the garage since we moved in).