Having recently attended the NSRA Street Rod Nationals in Louisville, Kentucky, I was surprised at the strong number of G-body Chevy’s in attendance in comparison to other cars from the late-seventies and early eighties. And what really got my attention was the wide range of build styles guys are doing with these cars. There were more than a few Pro Touring builds armed with LS power ripping up the autocross. Of course, there were the typical plain Jane Malibu’s sporting aftermarket wheels and tires, and one drove by with a lifted front end going for the gasser look. It was just a straight-axle short of being super cool… and probably a lot less fun to drive. It actually looked pretty cool. Unfortunately, I never saw it again, so I didn't catch what was under the hood.
There were also some 80’s-era Malibu wagons there, as well. I always thought those make the best sleeper drag cars. I’ve seen some pedestrian-looking long-roof G-bodies pulling killer wheels-up launches and running 9’s in the quarter-mile.
There’s just something about these cars that make them cooler and more desirable than other cars of the same ear. Maybe it’s the strong, square bodylines that just work. Their popularity must be picking up, as two-door Malibu’s are starting to command decent money on the classic car market these days. You can still find fairly nice examples for about 8-10k, if you look hard enough – even cheaper for those needing a bit of work. On the other side of the spectrum, some sellers are asking 20- 22k, but I have hard time shelling out that kind of coin for a nice 80’s G-body when there are some decent unrestored first-gen Camaros are out there for about 10k more. Yes, I know. Picking up first-gen Camaro for around 30k sounds relatively affordable, and one that’s certain to require some work down the road. If you pick one of those up, just don't sandblast it – you don’t want to know what’s under those three layers of paint.
Being a former G-body owner (1982 El Camino and 1982 Malibu wagon), I’m really starting to dig these cars again, and with the amount of aftermarket parts available these days, I'm thinking an LS-powered 1980-something Malibu would be a cool project.
Now I just have to decide whether to build a wagon or coupe, street/drag car, or a cone-hugging g-Machine. Hmmm.
So, if an affordable G-body in decent shape comes my way, I’m going to need your help on deciding which way to take the build. Would you go with a straight-line, drag car or go autocross/road racer?
Either way, this oughta be fun.
Photos: Nick Licata