1978 Chevrolet Malibu Classic.
Queens County Farm Museum, Floral Park.
Jumping ahead from the roaring twenties to the malaise-era of the late 1970’s with this pristine Malibu Classic coupe, and its solid, stately lines. The design is probably as much a rejection of the curvaceous forms that characterized most early and mid-seventies auto design, as it was a product of a society that had lost faith in so many institutions - government and automakers alike. Recall President Jimmy Carter’s 1979 “Malaise Speech” in which he sought to reassure a country which he said was suffering a “crisis of confidence”. Even the model name, Malibu Classic, rendered as it was on the rear fenders, in an elegant cursive, seemed calculated to evoke a time in the past when things were better, as if to reassure buyers that this was a vehicle they could rely on.
Funnily enough, as a child, your correspondent was frequently conducted to and fro in Malibu sedans - a ‘78, and later an ‘80, both spartan company cars (sans wire wheels) - supplied by his father’s benevolent employer. Consequently, the steering wheel and the banal dash with its idiot lights, sliding climate control switches, radio knobs and clunky buttons, are all as familiar to him as the exterior lines of this workaday sedan. It is nice to see one in such immaculate condition, with the original paint to boot.