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Hi everyone, I recently found a 1973 chevelle Malibu on Facebook in my area and I really don’t know enough about these cars to know if it’s a good deal. I know 73 isn’t a very desirable year. The car has around 100k miles, rebuilt 350 engine, claims to make 400hp. Needs shocks, dash, seats, and paint. $6800 for the car. Is it worth buying and putting money in or will I never be able to come close to making my money back? I really don’t mind the paint but I would want to fix everything else. But also it’ll probably be harder to resell someday without new paint so I’m not sure.



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I always liked them myself. Priced a little high I think. Look it over with a fine tooth comb. research the parts you will need to fix it up. Most people will tell you that your chances of getting back what you put in does not always happen.
 

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Most people will tell you that your chances of getting back what you put in does not always happen.
It never happens for me. I see that as just the same as any other car.
Depreciation. The wife's current car cost more than my El Camino. In ten years though, my car will be worth more, even if I sell for less than I have into it. Do I actually lose money?
 

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I think he's asking alot for it .
Its gonna need 5 grand and that's if you're resourceful . Could be alot more .
On the other side of that is if you can paint it yourself and do the other work it would obviously be much less actual dollars you'd have to throw at it .
You mentioned you like the 73 and thats a big factor.
My bet is he's either going to be hanging on to the car for quite a while or move quite a bit on price. Dangle 5 grand out there and see what happens
 

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Bad Idea????
That is a personal decision as well as how much you like that body style era (73-77).
IN MY OPINION--------------which certainly is not gospel, the GM A-bodies (Malibu, Cutlass, Lemans, etc) of 73-77, were in GM's darkest period of automotive design.
It is quite obvious that the interest for these cars is very low, plus, because of low public interest, the demand for reproduction parts is nearly non-existent.
This era of A-bodies incorporated LOTS of plastic parts, ESPECIALLY interior parts, which as the years go by, begin to crumble and there is no easy method of repair nor replacement for these interior parts.
I have a 76 Cutlass S which I special ordered new with the factory 5sp. I'm glad that I have kept it through the years, But it is in need of some replacement plastic trim parts which are totally non available.
So, bottom line, I personally feel these cars will not be worth any significant investment. Some models, such as the Laguna MAY, repeat, May command a slightly better value, but still, those models will not likely have much of a demand.
Because of the uniqueness of my factory 5sp Cutlass, I will keep it and invest whatever is necessary for repairs, but I do not expect it to ever be a highly desirable car.
Nope, not much interest in 73-77 GM A-bodies.
 

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Ben Rambow Snohomish, WA
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Spotted this on a local FB marketplace group:
$5500 for a 73
Log into Facebook

They are out there, you may just have to travel a little bit to get the deal you want.
On a vehicle like these with a lower resale value- i would stretch the budget to buy the nicest one you can find (body and interior wise) so you can spent your money/time customizing the drivetrain and wheels/tires to your taste, instead of throwing money at body and paint which you won't get your money back out of. My $.02

Considering its now easily $15k-$20k to buy a Running/driving 64-72 chevelle in the same condition as the 73 the op posted, it should be no surprise that some of these other cars are gaining attention.
Afterall, its a GM full frame car, ready to drop a Big Block or any GM small block you could imagine into that big engine bay, big wheel wells for meats out back...

Here is a friend of mine's... factory SS 454 car (454 is now quite a bit more powerful than original)
 

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I think he's asking alot for it .
Its gonna need 5 grand and that's if you're resourceful . Could be alot more .
On the other side of that is if you can paint it yourself and do the other work it would obviously be much less actual dollars you'd have to throw at it .
You mentioned you like the 73 and thats a big factor.
My bet is he's either going to be hanging on to the car for quite a while or move quite a bit on price. Dangle 5 grand out there and see what happens
5 grand for what? Maybe he doesnt want to do a full resto? Maybe he just wants a cool old car to hot rod around in?
 

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1968 Chevelle Malibu, upgraded to a 396/TH400 from a 327/PG
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Bad Idea????
That is a personal decision as well as how much you like that body style era (73-77).
IN MY OPINION--------------which certainly is not gospel, the GM A-bodies (Malibu, Cutlass, Lemans, etc) of 73-77, were in GM's darkest period of automotive design.
It is quite obvious that the interest for these cars is very low, plus, because of low public interest, the demand for reproduction parts is nearly non-existent.
This era of A-bodies incorporated LOTS of plastic parts, ESPECIALLY interior parts, which as the years go by, begin to crumble and there is no easy method of repair nor replacement for these interior parts.
I have a 76 Cutlass S which I special ordered new with the factory 5sp. I'm glad that I have kept it through the years, But it is in need of some replacement plastic trim parts which are totally non available.
So, bottom line, I personally feel these cars will not be worth any significant investment. Some models, such as the Laguna MAY, repeat, May command a slightly better value, but still, those models will not likely have much of a demand.
Because of the uniqueness of my factory 5sp Cutlass, I will keep it and invest whatever is necessary for repairs, but I do not expect it to ever be a highly desirable car.
Nope, not much interest in 73-77 GM A-bodies.
I love your Olds, Tom. That thing is sweet. Then again, I've always had a soft spot for the '73-'77 GM A bodies. I first fell in love when I saw the MCR article on the '73 Baldwin-Motion Phase 3 several years ago. To the O.P.: You rarely, if ever break even on these cars. If you really want it, and the seller comes down more, buy it. They're tons of fun. I love my '68. I got lucky, though. Right time, right price, right car.
 

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5 grand for what? Maybe he doesnt want to do a full resto? Maybe he just wants a cool old car to hot rod around in?
Yeah idk . He said the car needed paint and seats . So I figured he was thinkin in terms of makin the car right. Maybe im wrong though. Maybe he wants to ride around in a 73 chevelle that needs paint and seats for 7 grand lol
 

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It never happens for me. I see that as just the same as any other car.
Depreciation. The wife's current car cost more than my El Camino. In ten years though, my car will be worth more, even if I sell for less than I have into it. Do I actually lose money?
I guess not but that may depend on adjustments for inflation and if some people get their way with gas and oil. Will our classics be of any value then? We may have to convert to electric and batteries to drive them or someone may mandate that we crush them all....
 

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I guess not but that may depend on adjustments for inflation and if some people get their way with gas and oil. Will our classics be of any value then? We may have to convert to electric and batteries to drive them or someone may mandate that we crush them all....
Ya, no kidding eh?

Mandates can't happen til they upgrade the power grid, which will never happen.
 

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Spotted this on a local FB marketplace group:
$5500 for a 73
Log into Facebook

They are out there, you may just have to travel a little bit to get the deal you want.
On a vehicle like these with a lower resale value- i would stretch the budget to buy the nicest one you can find (body and interior wise) so you can spent your money/time customizing the drivetrain and wheels/tires to your taste, instead of throwing money at body and paint which you won't get your money back out of. My $.02

Considering its now easily $15k-$20k to buy a Running/driving 64-72 chevelle in the same condition as the 73 the op posted, it should be no surprise that some of these other cars are gaining attention.
Afterall, its a GM full frame car, ready to drop a Big Block or any GM small block you could imagine into that big engine bay, big wheel wells for meats out back...

Here is a friend of mine's... factory SS 454 car (454 is now quite a bit more powerful than original)
Now that's the 73 to buy
 
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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
I’m not looking to make it perfect, but also I wouldn’t keep it as is. So I’m sure I’ll end up with a few thousand in it at least. That 73 in Washington does look a lot better than the one I found. I’m definitely willing to look outside of my local area, I haven’t really had any luck but maybe I can find something.

I am going to reach out to that seller in WA though. Not sure I’d be able to drive it home in the condition it’s in though which might be an issue. Maybe I could do the brakes before I take it home.

Also is 130k miles a lot for these cars? I’m not really sure how much to offer for this one.

But I do agree with most of you that the car I’m looking at in my area is overpriced. I’ll just say I talked to some people who know these cars and I could pay $5k for it. He’ll probably just never respond but whatever.

My only other option that I like in my local area is a 78 v8 nova for $3800. 70k miles and pretty much nothing to do to it. Seller seems a lot more honest too. I do think a 73 chevelle is better looking and cooler but the nova really isn’t bad in my opinion. Could be a good intro to classic gm, since I don’t really have any experience in or around these cars- if that wasn’t already glaringly obvious lol
 

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Nope, not much interest in 73-77 GM A-bodies.
x2. They're too big, too heavy and most of them are rust buckets. Also there's next to nothing in aftermarket parts for them which shows how little popular they are... Alkso, I never understood the idea of mounting the rear passenger's ash tray at the rear of the front doors!... Naaah, definitely not for me.
 

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I’m not looking to make it perfect, but also I wouldn’t keep it as is. So I’m sure I’ll end up with a few thousand in it at least. That 73 in Washington does look a lot better than the one I found. I’m definitely willing to look outside of my local area, I haven’t really had any luck but maybe I can find something.

I am going to reach out to that seller in WA though. Not sure I’d be able to drive it home in the condition it’s in though which might be an issue. Maybe I could do the brakes before I take it home.

Also is 130k miles a lot for these cars? I’m not really sure how much to offer for this one.

But I do agree with most of you that the car I’m looking at in my area is overpriced. I’ll just say I talked to some people who know these cars and I could pay $5k for it. He’ll probably just never respond but whatever.

My only other option that I like in my local area is a 78 v8 nova for $3800. 70k miles and pretty much nothing to do to it. Seller seems a lot more honest too. I do think a 73 chevelle is better looking and cooler but the nova really isn’t bad in my opinion. Could be a good intro to classic gm, since I don’t really have any experience in or around these cars- if that wasn’t already glaringly obvious lol
You'll have to smog that 78 Nova once every two years. 1975 is the cutoff year so 75 and before that you don't have to smog it anymore. For the most part you could do whatever you want on the engine. After that you have to retain all the smog crap that came on the car and it has to work and pass emissions testing
 

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x2. They're too big, too heavy and most of them are rust buckets. Also there's next to nothing in aftermarket parts for them which shows how little popular they are... Alkso, I never understood the idea of mounting the rear passenger's ash tray at the rear of the front doors!... Naaah, definitely not for me.
ALL are very valid comments.
I almost got rid of the Cutlass 2 times in the past, but have hung onto it since new.
I wanted BOTH the 455 and 5sp, but they were not available together (the original style 5sp is very anemic). So, I opted for the small V8 and 5sp. It now has a built Olds W30 455(468) and Richmond 5sp.
Unlike a Chevy SB to BB swap (NOTHING interchanges), swapping in a BB Olds engine (400-425-455) is a simple natural swap------------------TOO EASY. Since I am the original owner, it has mostly been garage kept. BUUUUUUUUUUUUUT, as mentioned, these 73-77 A-bodies were prone to rust. Mine has some rust that needs to be fixed. It's not bad rust, but needs to be done. Also, back in the 70s, vinyl tops was the rage----------------------WHAT A MISTAKE!!!!!!!!!!! I ordered it with a white vinyl top and that will be permanently removed and the rust areas around the edges will be fixed. Because of the low value of these cars, it is hard for me to justify having it done, but it is in the future plan.
 

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For the years you want to get into and you're considering a Nova, that's the way I'd go.
But take your time. Searching is fun, and there are some good deals for 75 - 78 Nova's out there. Subscribe to Barn Finds. They send an email every day with classic cars.
 

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1966 Malibu, 327, Muncie, 3.23 posi
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I knew 2 girls in high school that had nice 73's when they started driving at 16. One was an SS 454 the other was a Laguna with a 350. By graduation, 2 years later, both cars were roached from driving year round and salty winters.
 
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