Named for Malibu, California, the Malibu name has had a distinct history that began in 1963 and continued for nearly 20 years. Following a thirteen-year break, the Chevy Malibu name once again appeared in 1996, and again in 2003 as the latest generation was presented.
The name Malibu was originally utilized as the description for Chevrolet's top series models in the Chevelle line in 1964. This line continued all the way up to the 1983 model year. A mid-sized vehicle, the Malibu is produced in the United States by General Motors. Attempting to stay smaller than the full-size Impala model, the Malibu is marketed in the U.S., Mexico, Canada and Israel.
1964 was the original production year of the Chevelle Malibu. Production continued until 1972 and the Malibu was restyled for the 73 model year. The lineup included the base Chevelle Deluxe, mid-range Malibu and the top-line Laguna. The Deluxe was dropped in 1974 and the Malibu took the place as the entry-level Chevelle. The Malibu classic also replaced the Laguna trim package. Continuing until 197, the SS was introduced and replaced the Laguna S-3 model.
Except the Monte Carlo coupe, the Malibu name replaced the Chevelle name on all mid-sized Chevrolets for the 1978 model year. As this was the down-sized version in comparison to previous mid-sized Chevrolets, only two trim levels were available, Malibu and Malibu Classic. A total of three body-styles were introduced, the station wagon, coupe and sedan. In 1981, the two-door coupe, which was mnemonic of the 1964 Chevelle hardtop was last produced. Today this coupe has been a highly sought after collector item for drag racers.
Filling the void for mid-sized police vehicles, once the Chevrolet Nova ended production, the 9C1 police option was transferred to the 4-door Malibu line. A special order of Malibu sedans was also produced in 1981 by GM Canada, though this was eventually rejected due to quality concerns. These Malibu's were considered undesirable with the combination of the smallest V6 engine and a 3-speed manual transmission and the 'Iraqui Taxi's' were auctioned off to the public at an extremely reduced rate.
The final year that a Malibu Classic was marketed, the 82 Malibu shared GM's re-designated rear-wheel drive G platform with the Pontiac Grand Prix and the Oldsmobile Cutlass. Before being replaced by the front-wheel drive Chevrolet Celebrity, 4-door sedan Malibu's were produced until 1983. The El Camino continued to be produced in 1987 though the sedan and wagon were soon phased out.
For 1997, the Malibu was named Motor Trend magazine's Car of the Year. In the same year and an all new front-wheel drive Malibu built on an extended wheelbase version of the GM N platform was introduced. The Malibu shared the N platform the with Pontiac Grand Am, Buick Skylark, Oldsmobile Alero and Achieva and was produced at the Oklahoma City Assembly plant and the Wilmington Assembly plant. Production was eventually moved to Lansing, Michigan.
Before the Oldsmobile Alero, the Oldsmobile Cutlass was a clone of the Malibu as a stopgap vehicle and replaced the Chevy Corsica. Falling between the Cavalier and the Lumina in the Chevrolet lineup, the Malibu has taken the place of the now discontinued Corsica. A high level of standard equipment is found in the Malibu, and due to the competitive nature of midsize sedan market, the price is highly aggressive.
An all-new, front-wheel-drive midsize sedan was introduced in 1997 for the model year.
Emphasized body edges are showcased in the present series, which is a mid-sized, 5-seat sedan that is constructed on the Epsilon chassis designed in Germany also used in the Opel Vectra and Saab 9-3.
Malibu's were designed with a front grille with the Malibu logo in silver in the center from 97 to 99. The blue Chevrolet emblem on the front grille was placed on the 2000 to 2003 models. In 2000, the 3.1 L V6 was updated with 170 hp while the 4-cylinder was dropped. The 4-cylinder was reintroduced in 2004, while the N-body Malibu/Chevrolet Classic continued in production until 05.
By Jessica Donaldson
In 2008, the Malibu is scheduled to be redesigned and built on the long-wheelbase Epsilon platform before being released to the public.
Chevrolet Marks 50Th Anniversary Of First MalibuDETROIT
– In 1964, a gallon of gas cost 30 cents and a movie ticket cost $1.25. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed the year at 874 and The Beatles made their historic appearance on the Ed Sullivan show. It was also the year Chevrolet introduced the Malibu.
What a difference half a century makes.
The 2014 Malibu is a technologically advanced midsize sedan delivering efficiency, comfort and connectivity unimagined in 1964. Compared with the 2013 model, a new, standard 2.5L engine with stop/start technology contributes to 14 percent greater fuel economy in the city (25 mpg) and 6 percent improved mileage on the highway (36 mpg).
Stylish for its day, Malibu made its mid-1960s debut as Chevrolet's first 'intermediate' car – and one of the first midsize cars in America. Before then, 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.
Named for the Los Angeles-area enclave that was center of the beach culture in the 1960s, the Malibu was the top trim line for the intermediate platform, which also included the Chevelle as an entry-level model, and the El Camino truck. It was lauded for its robust, body-on-frame construction and responsive coil-spring front suspension.
The 2014 Malibu is the eighth generation of the nameplate and its standard 2.5L four-cylinder engine delivers 65 percent more horsepower than the original Malibu's standard 3.2L six-cylinder. The technological progress extends to safety, comfort and connectivity features. What has not changed is Malibu's mission as a midsize car with styling that stands the test of time.Generation 1 – 1964-1967
Although originally launched as premium sedan for families, the first Malibu was quickly caught up in the muscle car wars of the 1960s and soon after its introduction, the sporty Malibu SS was born. The Chevelle SS took the lead for Chevrolet's muscle cars in 1966 and the Malibu continued as the premium model, tailored for the growing number of suburban customers who sought roominess yet efficiency for their long commutes everyday.Generation 2 – 1968-1972
Generation 3 – 1973-1977
Based on the original intermediate platform, the 1968-72 models' dimensions shifted with a slightly shorter 112-inch wheelbase for coupes and convertibles and a longer, 116-inch wheelbase for sedans and wagons. Like the 1964-67 models, each model year in the second generation had distinctive year-over-year styling differences.
The 1973 introduction of the third-generation Malibu brought a new frame that retained the previous 112-/116-inch wheelbases, but to accommodate new federal crash standards, the bodies grew about five inches in length and one inch in width. A European-inspired Laguna model briefly dethroned the Malibu from its perch atop the midsize hierarchy.Generation 4 – 1978-1983
Generation 5 – 1997-2003
Chevrolet discontinued the Chevelle line after 1977 and the next generation of downsized midsize cars would stick strictly with the Malibu name from 1978 onward. They were a foot shorter and more than 500 pounds lighter, offering V-6 and V-8 engines. There was even a dedicated police car package.
After a five-year run with the fourth generation, the sun set on Malibu from 1984 until 1997, when it was reborn as an all-new, front-wheel-drive sedan, offering four- and six-cylinder engines. It was named Motor Trend Car of the Year for 1997.Generation 6 – 2004-2007
Malibu moved to GM's award-winning global architecture for 2004, offering greater technology, efficiency and performance – including the return of the Malibu SS, which featured a 240-horsepower 3.9L V-6. The Malibu range also included the Malibu Maxx five-door extended sedan, which offered greater cargo room and innovations such as the ability of the rear seat to slide seven inches fore and after and reclining rear seat.Generation 7 – 2008-2012
Riding on an enhanced, longer version of the architecture introduced on the 2004 Malibu, the seventh-generation models introduced greater levels of refinement, performance and efficiency – along with enhanced safety features, including standard head curtain side air bags. It was voted the 2008 North American Car of the Year at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.Generation 8 – 2013-2014
Redesigned for 2013, Chevrolet further enhanced Malibu for 2014 with greater efficiency, new connectivity features, comfort enhancements and a new front-end appearance. It offers the segment's first engine with standard stop/start technology and an available 2.0L turbo engine with 259 horsepower that continues a performance legacy established 50 years ago.Source - Chevrolet