1964 Chevrolet Malibu

First used as an upper trim level on the Chevrolet Chevelle in 1964 (shown above), the Malibu name is celebrating its 50th birthday for the 2014 model year. In that time, the Malibu has certainly gone through plenty of changes including eight different generations and a 14-year hiatus from 1983 to 1997.

Though not the kind of celebration Chevy was probably hoping for, the Malibu received an emergency refresh for 2014 bringing a slightly updated exterior as well as more interior space, more engine power and better fuel economy. Chevy issued a press release to track the changes of the Malibu over its 50 years and numerous designs, and more interestingly, it put together a side-by-side comparison for the 1964 and 2014 model years.

Back in '64, the 2,870-pound, body-on-frame Malibu was powered by a carbureted 3.2-liter inline six-cylinder engine producing 120 horsepower; a two-speed automatic transmission was optional. For model-year, 2014 the Malibu weighs in at almost 3,400 pounds and uses a 196-horsepower, direct-injected 2.5-liter four-cylinder as its powerplant. Be sure to check out the full gallery and Chevy's press release, which is posted below, for more details about the Malibu's first 50 years. Or look through our classic Malibu gallery, to see the car through the years.
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Chevrolet Marks 50th Anniversary of First Malibu

DETROIT – 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
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.

Generation 3 – 1973-1977
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
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.

Generation 5 – 1997-2003
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.

MALIBU MODELS COMPARED: 1964 vs. 2014

1964 Malibu

2014 Malibu

Construction:

body-on-frame

body-frame-integral

Drivetrain layout:

rear-wheel drive

front-wheel drive

Wheelbase:

115 in.

107.8 in.

Overall length:

193.9 in.

191.5 in.

Overall width:

74.6 in.

73 in.

Curb weight:

2870 lbs.

3393 lbs.

Standard engine:

3.2L inline-six

2.5L inline-four

Valvetrain:

cam-in-block with pushrods

DOHC with variable valve timing and variable valve lift control

Fuel delivery:

one single-barrel carburetor

direct fuel injection

Horsepower:

120

196

Transmission:

3-speed manual (std.); 2-speed automatic (opt.)

6-speed automatic

Brakes:

four-wheel drum

four-wheel disc with ABS

Steering:

recirculating ball (non-assisted); power-assist (opt.)

electric power-assisted rack-and-pinion

Wheel size:

14 x 6.5-in. (std.)

16 x 7.5-in. (std.)

Air conditioning:

optional

Standard

Infotainment:

AM radio

Chevrolet MyLink

Safety:

optional safety belts

10 standard air bags

StabiliTrak stability control:

unavailable

Standard



About Chevrolet
Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world's largest car brands, doing business in more than 140 countries and selling more than 4.5 million cars and trucks a year. Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature spirited performance, expressive design, and high quality. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at www.chevrolet.com.