• Single-family ownership from new until 2014
• Recently completed restoration of a low-mileage car
• Rebuilt original engine; numbers matching drivetrain
• Protect-O-Plate, Owner's Guide, original Tennessee registration
RPO L-79 327 cid V-8 engine rated at 325 HP, single Holley four-barrel carburetor, four-speed manual transmission, independent front suspension with A-arms and coil springs, four-link rear suspension with coil springs, hydraulic four-wheel drum brakes; wheelbase: 116”
From its landmark debut for 1964, Chevrolet’s intermediate “A-Body” Chevelle and upscale Malibu sub-series were wildly successful, thanks to their very attractive styling, excellent proportions, long options list, and sheer value for the money. While powered at first by economical inline sixes and reasonably powerful small-block V-8 engines, a wide list of high-performance engines soon powered Chevy’s popular mid-size models.
While the rare and lavishly equipped 396 big-block ‘Z16’ of 1965 is considered the first “true” high-performance Chevelle model, savvy buyers gravitated to the RPO L-79 327 high-performance V-8, which was curiously – and likely arbitrarily – rated by the factory at 325 horsepower, 25 fewer ponies in the Chevelle than as advertised with the Corvette. Delivering a sizable weight advantage in relation to the much heavier big-block engines that were also available, the L-79-powered Chevelle was a stormer and left many competitors in billowing clouds of tire smoke. A high-winding and reliable power unit, the L-79 327 continues to be renowned as one of the finest performance engines ever designed and offered for public sale.
Available only with a four-speed manual transmission, the L-79 327 featured free-breathing cylinder heads with 2.02-inch intake/1.60-inch exhaust valves, an aluminum intake mounting a 600-CFM Holley four-barrel carburetor and chromed twin-snorkel air cleaner, 11:1 compression, low-restriction exhaust manifolds, and a maintenance-free high-performance hydraulic cam – the first of its kind offered by an American auto manufacturer. On the street and strip alike, L-79-powered Chevelles regularly outperformed many big-block competitors in a much lighter overall package offering outstanding weight distribution, balance, and handling to boot. In addition to its strong performance and ease of maintenance, the L-79 option was an outstanding value, adding just over $100 to the Chevelle’s already affordable base pricing. Firmly ranked in many – if not all “best engine” lists compiled by experts for automotive books and magazines over the past 50 years, the L-79 small-block remains as famous for its high-revving nature, useful power curve, strong low-end torque, and smooth idle. As written by respected author and historian Roger Huntington in his book, American Supercar, the L-79 was “…one of the sweetest and best-performing small-block Chevy engines of that era,” completing his summary of RPO L-79 with just two words: “Tremendous engine.”
This L-79-powered 1965 Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu SS is a great example, having spent almost its entire life with the original owner’s family, who retained it until 2014. Prior to its sale, the car received extensive restoration, with the work begun during 2008 and performed over several years by Bob and Daniel Bowman. Finished in Crocus Yellow using a two-stage base/clear coat paint system and nicely contrasted by a Black interior, this SS retains its original, matching-numbers RPO L-79 high-performance 327 cubic-inch engine rated at 325 horsepower, which has been rebuilt and retains the original Holley four-barrel carburetor, dual-snorkel air cleaner, and chromed valve covers. Power is delivered through a new clutch and pressure plate to the original four-speed manual transmission, which was also rebuilt during the vehicle’s restoration. The original rear end was also retained. Equipped with Strato-bucket seats and a center console, the interior of the SS also features the original vent windows and frames, steering wheel, shifter, and gauge cluster, all refreshed to as-new condition. Finished off with Super Sport wheel covers and riding on a set of period style blackwall tires, this carefully restored 1965 Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu SS shows 44,000 miles, which are believed original. Documentation is excellent, including the original Tennessee registration document, owner’s manual, leather key holder, and the all-important Protect-O-Plate.
1965 Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu SS L-79