Robert Schumacher was just 17 when his father invited him to join the family landscaping business. To sweeten the deal, Schumacher the elder offered to replace Robert's 1957 Chevy four-door hardtop with a new car. Robert had been considering selling the Chevy anyway, as its power brakes had become less than reliable. So Robert and his father went to Ted Lauck Chevrolet in West Bend, Wisconsin, and ordered this Tropical Turquoise Malibu. He picked it up on June 8, 1968 (an easy date to remember, 6/8/68).
Robert didn't spec a fire-breathing street/strip car. This was a more modest driver, with a 250hp 327, three-speed manual on the floor, and bench seat. Power brakes were not on the order. As delivered, the Malibu came with wire basket wheel covers, but Robert's father thought steel wheels and hubcaps would look better, so they were swapped at the dealership.
For the next four years Robert drove the car, but sparingly, racking up some 18,000 miles. He took meticulous care of the Chevy and kept every piece of paper related to the car, even the canceled check from the dealership.
The Malibu has always had a particular quirk: You cannot open or close the hood without giving it a little push to the right. Robert considered fixing it, but ultimately declined, concerned about altering the car from its original condition.
And we do mean original. Robert parked the Malibu in 1972, and between June 1968 and November 2017, the only items replaced on the car were the oil filter, tires, and gas in the tank. Robert started the car once a year to make sure it still ran—a duty his son Scott now performs. Scott buffed out the paint five years ago. Scott maintains the paint's shine using Wizards car care products, but otherwise the Chevy has remained untouched (well, except for the two hours Scott spent getting tiny pebbles out of the tire treads before the show.)
We asked Robert how he stored the car, assuming it was kept in a climate-controlled garage during the cold Wisconsin winters. Nope. It has lived in a dirt-floor aluminum pole barn since 1972. "It breathes with the outside air and helps preserve the car," he says of the shed.
At MCACN, Robert and his sons set up the Malibu adjacent to the Vintage Certification area. When certification chief Steve Shauger saw the car, he knew it had to go through the evaluation process. After the team pored over the car—and Robert came up with two of the Malibu's original tires, date-coded to match the spare in the trunk—it was awarded a Time Capsule certificate, the top award given by Shauger's team.