July 17, 2024
Wheels

Classic Wheels Spotlight: 1972 Chevy Malibu

1972 Chevy Malibu 400 Convertible is a ‘Survivor’

Photos by Rudy Host, Jr. - 1972 Chevy Malibu Front

Terry ‘TJ’ Brown bought this sweet 1972 Chevy Malibu 400 Convertible back in 1982. He first seen the car in his aunt’s brother’s garage, and after a couple of years of continuously pestering him brother about buying the Chevy, he finally gave in and sold him the car.

TJ says the original owner was a woman from Villa Park, Ill. This three-owner gem was originally blue with a white convertible top and black interior. Several years before he took possession of the Malibu, the body was painted black, so after the body was gone over a bit TJ gave it a fresh coat of paint. The top was changed to the black version it has now. Although it’s not badged an SS, it does have some of the SS equipment.

Photos by Rudy Host, Jr. - 1972 Chevy Malibu Side

For many years, the Malibu was his daily driver. With approximately 310,000 miles on it, TJ calls it a “Survivor.” Although he bought a different winter car each year, the moment the snow was gone, the Malibu came back out. His wife used the car to get to and from work for a while, too.

According to TJ, this Malibu is not the ‘I won’t bring it out if it looks like rain’ kind of car. He drove it out to California when he moved there in the eighties. He had a trailer hitch installed on it so he could tow his trailer behind him during the move. The hitch, which is still there, is still used to tow his jet skis or boat to the lake.

Photos by Rudy Host, Jr. - 1972 Chevy Malibu Rear

While it’s been rebuilt a few times and there have been some upgrades done on the big block 402-cubic-inch engine, it is the original from the factory. The Malibu’s compression ratio is at 10.8 to 1. TJ has installed a competition cam, the heads were reworked for better flow, and an aluminum intake was added with a 650 cfm spread bore carburetor.

The Malibu still has factory exhaust manifolds that flow out through a dual exhaust. The turbo 400 transmission has been replaced, and the 12-bolt rear end (the one that came with the car) is the same, except the gear ratio has been changed for better performance from a 2.73:1 to 3.73:1.

Photos by Rudy Host, Jr. - 1972 Chevy Malibu Engine

While TJ has made a few repairs to the seats and some new carpet has been installed, the interior of this convertible, remarkably, is the same as day one.

The factory 4-wheel manual drum brakes have been upgraded to power disc brakes. Front spindles are from a Camaro, which offsets the ride height a bit, and bigger rotors help with better-stopping ability. TJ swapped out the rims with 15x8 Rally wheels from a Corvette. The tires are BF Goodrich 2.35R15 on the front and 2.55R15′s on the back.

Photos by Rudy Host, Jr. - 1972 Chevy Malibu Interior

TJ likes that his Chevy is dependable, and he takes it everywhere on road trips. Sometimes life gets busy, and he doesn’t drive it all the time, though he enjoys taking a spin around the neighborhood to keep it from sitting too long.

Whether he is taking his Malibu to car shows, or just out to dinner with his wife, TJ says the thing he likes most about his Malibu Convertible is “the look of it.” He believes it is best best-looking convertible ever built.

If you have a car you would like to see featured in Classic Wheels, contact Rudy Host, Jr. at Classic.Wheels.Rudy@gmail.com.