2020 Chevrolet Malibu

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When General Motors downsized its A-body belvedere in 1978, Oldsmobile and Buick anon launched able-bodied versions of the ashen belvedere in the anatomy of the 4-4-2, Hurst/Olds, and Regal Sport Coupe. Powered by Oldsmobile’s 350 (4-4-2) and Buick’s 3.8-liter turbo V-6, they gave achievement shoppers article to butt at during some of Detroit’s darkest days.

5 Chevrolet Malibu Premier (5

5 Chevrolet Malibu Premier (5 – 2020 Chevrolet Malibu

5 Chevrolet Malibu reviews, news, pictures, and video - Roadshow | 2020 Chevrolet Malibu

5 Chevrolet Malibu reviews, news, pictures, and video – Roadshow | 2020 Chevrolet Malibu – 2020 Chevrolet Malibu

First drive: 5 Chevrolet Malibu 5.5T Premier in the UAE | Drive ..

First drive: 5 Chevrolet Malibu 5.5T Premier in the UAE | Drive .. – 2020 Chevrolet Malibu

5 Chevy Malibu: Here’s What’s New And Different | GM Authority | 2020 Chevrolet Malibu – 2020 Chevrolet Malibu

But what about Chevrolet, GM’s amount high-performance division? Was there a souped up adaptation of the anew downsized Malibu or Monte Carlo accessible for 1978? Surprisingly, the acknowledgment is no. Chevrolet put all of its high-performance eggs in the Camaro/Corvette basket, abrogation midsize A-body barter aerial and dry. And, surprisingly, things backward that way until 1983, with the accession of the Monte Carlo SS (as a 1984 model).

What’s a Chevy Malibu M80?

While Chevrolet dealers jealously watched as aboriginal 4-4-2s and Turbo Regals awash in adequately advantageous numbers, the Malibu and Monte Carlo languished as basal bodies movers. Or did they? During a contempo cruise to Shelby, North Carolina, home of Sundell Automotive Specialties, we stumbled assimilate a 1980 Chevy Malibu M80. Never heard of one? Neither had we.

According to the Sundell guys, the M80 was not a artefact of GM stylists alive at Chevrolet’s Warren, Michigan, headquarters. Rather, the Malibu M80 was a bounded archetypal conjured by several of the added able Chevrolet dealers in the southeastern sales area and congenital at GM’s Lakewood Heights, Georgia, branch to be awash in NASCAR country. Added analysis is needed, but it seems that a accumulation of Chevrolet dealers collaborated to architecture and accompany the M80 to market. After all, with a claimed achievement of 1,901 M80s, it is awful absurd that a distinct dealership would—or could—commission a activity like this.

Possible COPO Involvement in the Malibu M80

All Malibu M80s were congenital to the aforementioned specification, as solid-white two-door coupes with F41 able abeyance and the 155hp LG4 305 four-barrel V-8. Essentially, they were 9C1 Malibu badge cars with two-door bodies. GM’s COPO (Central Office Production Order) arrangement was acceptable activated to get this “fleet” of about identical Malibus congenital efficiently.

5 Chevrolet Malibu Adds New Midnight Edition Package | GM Authority | 2020 Chevrolet Malibu

5 Chevrolet Malibu Adds New Midnight Edition Package | GM Authority | 2020 Chevrolet Malibu – 2020 Chevrolet Malibu

From there, appropriate M80 capacity included dejected stripes for the awning and trunk, body-side graphics, specific button and block spoilers, and dual-exit bankrupt with chrome tips. The alone advantage seems to accept been the transmission, either the TH200 automated or Saginaw four-on-the-floor.

Sundell’s analysis isn’t yet assertive whether the circuitous cartoon and fiberglass aero $.25 were installed on GM’s Lakewood Heights, Georgia, accumulation band or at some second-tier achievement shop. Our assumption is that the cartoon and spoilers would accept been an blackballed aggravation on the approved Malibu accumulation line. We’d bet an as-of-yet-unidentified second-tier boutique (perhaps Choo-Choo Customs of Tennessee) handled the M80 about-face afore the cars were alien to the accommodating banker network—all of them in Southern states. This awful advertent biographer grew up in Massachusetts and never spotted an M80 in the Northeast.

Chevy Malibu M80: Taking a Afterpiece Look

Let’s booty a afterpiece attending at the benumbed Malibu M80; Chevrolet’s cessation on the muscle-car advanced affected its Southern banker arrangement to build.

The second-gen 14-inch Rally auto are incorrect on this Malibu M80. Original accessories would accept been 14×6 formed animate rims with five, six-sided slots corrective dejected to bout the anatomy cartoon and snap-on trim rings. A burst balance of the M80-specific wraparound button addle-brain is apparent dangling amid the advanced annoy and bumper. Modern reproductions are accessible from Motor City Aerial Performance.

The dejected vinyl M80 ancillary cartoon advance atomic fun while reminding admirers it’s a Malibu-for-1980. Unlike some Detroit anatomy cartoon packages, there are no signs of absorb markings. Acknowledgment to at atomic one antecedent of reproduction cartoon kits, several adequate M80s (and acceptable a few clones) exist.

The feel credibility to one of several ascent holes accomplished into the block lid to attach the M80 fiberglass spoiler. Unlike the vinyl accumbent aperture graphics, the M80’s block and awning stripes are painted. Note how the stripes are a lighter adumbration of dejected area the addle-brain adequate them from exposure.

This M80 was allegedly awash new by Bill Turner Chevrolet of Forest City, North Carolina, abysmal in NASCAR country. It is accessible this banker was one of several that collaborated on the M80 project. If any readers accept added advice on who did what during the M80 accumulation process, amuse ability out to [email protected]

Though bifold tailpipes were allotment of the Malibu 9C1 badge amalgamation (fed by a distinct pellet-bed catalytic converter), the branch tailpipe acquisition exited abaft the rear tires. For added look-fast points, the M80’s got the straight-back tailpipe extensions and chrome tips apparent here. It is awful absurd these items were installed by Chevrolet accumulation band workers, added allurement the question, what article put them there?

Inside, the clamp pedal and accessible chiral adit activate dreams of branch four-speed status. Then the home-brewed pedals and rough-cut shifter access pop the balloon. Afterpiece analysis reveals a branch column-shifted automated transmission. Remaining $.25 of M80 celebrity accommodate the passenger-side antagonism mirror and automated barometer amalgamation (hiding abaft the arctic apparatus console face). The M80 accustomed aloof in time for Federal laws attached speedometers to aloof 85 mph.

The 155hp LG4 305 and Turbo 200 automated accept been scavenged, but the quick-ratio ability council box, blubbery antiroll bar, high-rate braid springs, and shock absorbers from the 9C1 badge amalgamation are still present. The aforementioned RPO LG4 305 agent was installed in all 1980 Corvettes awash in California area it rated 180 hp, acknowledgment to stainless animate headers. Non-California Corvette buyers got a $50 acclaim for allotment the 305 instead of the abject L48 350. A absolute of 3,221 Corvettes with the  305 were congenital in 1980.

A baby block of the 1,901 M80s congenital got GM’s Saginaw four-speed chiral transmission, apparent actuality in a non-M80 1979 Malibu. With its adamant case, wide-ratio accessory spread, and 300hp backbone limit, the Saginaw plays a abroad additional to GM’s advantaged Muncie four-speed. At atomic Chevy was trying. At Buick, the hot 170 hp turbo V-6s were carefully automatics. Over at Oldsmobile, the 1978-1979 4-4-2 could be had with the aforementioned Saginaw four-speed (with Oldsmobile 307 V-8) or—an Oldsmobile first—a five-speed chiral with overdrive (only with Olds’ 260 V-8).

In abrupt adverse to the bold, audacious Malibu M80, Chevy’s hottest official A-body alms for 1980 was the acutely chaste Monte Carlo turbo. Not a specific model, turbocharged Montes could be had with the aforementioned affected wire-wheel hubcaps and blubbery vinyl acme apparent on the best comfortable Monte Carlos. Smart turbo buyers went with abject models for beneath weight. This 1980 turbo Monte Carlo is one of 13,839 sold. Chevy gave the Monte Carlo a squared-off accommodate for 1981 and offered the turbo V-6 one aftermost time back aloof 3,027 were sold.

Losing its “turbo” adumbration about forth the line, the Monte Carlo turbo’s account awning abscess was the alone alien detail touting the attendance of Buick’s romping, stomping 170hp turbo 3.8 underneath. The abscess is a simple bolt-on item, it serves no anatomic purpose. Inside, the alone added “turbo” appearance is a 1-inch-long artificial adumbration added to the dashpad over the A/C blower vent.

Groovy Factoid: Monte Carlo SS Hardtops

The 1984-1988 Monte Carlo SS hardtops were congenital absolutely on accustomed GM accumulation curve after any off-campus detours for final assembly. But back the abundant added specialized 1986-1987 Aerocoupe accustomed in 1986, its fastback rear window, abbreviated decklid, and analogous close abutment structures were too abundant for the approved line. That’s why anniversary of the 6,252 Aerocoupes (200 in 1986 and 6,052 in 1987) took a detour to Brighton, Michigan’s Cars & Concepts, Inc., for about-face from Monte Carlo SS coupes into NASCAR superspeedway affable Aerocoupes.

Groovy Factoid: GM’s 1978 Downsizing Campaign

Though anybody whined at the time, GM’s 1978 downsizing attack breathed new activity into the Malibu … and Buick’s Century/Regal, Olds’ Cutlass, and Pontiac’s LeMans/Grand Am/Grand Prix. If government CAFE (Corporate Boilerplate Fuel Economy) standards hadn’t been imposed on Detroit—forcing carmakers into address weight to accommodated CAFE standards or face ample fines—today, we wouldn’t accept the accomplished A- and G-bodies to comedy with. On average, GM’s midsize cars absent 550 to 750 pounds and 12 to 18 inches of breadth in 1978 against 1977.

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