1964 was a pivotal year for General Motors because the famous car company offered its customers a range of vehicle sizes that ranged from compact to full-sized.
GM’s Chevrolet division jumped into the intermediate car game with the introduction of the Chevelle model in ’64. The Chevelle was unlike its stablemates in 1964 because it had a bold new design that was not found on full-sized Impalas that year since the big Chevys still had an early 1960s style in ’64.
The Chevelle was a practical choice for practical buyers who wanted a car that could hold more people and take up less space when it hit the showrooms 58 years ago. However, the Chevelle could be purchased in sportier versions, including the 1964 Malibu SS convertible models, a fact that was not lost on Bob and Dave Weidner at the time.
The Weidner brothers are part of a busy family GM dealership (Weidner Motors) that was founded by their father Lou, a man who influenced their love for vintage vehicles. About 40 years ago, Dave was at an auction on Canada’s West Coast and spotted a 1964 Chevelle Malibu SS convertible on the list but was unable to purchase it.
The good news is Dave’s brother Bob was the high bidder for the same car a year later-and was able to buy the car for less than Dave’s attempted purchase a year earlier. Bob decided to drive the car back through the Rocky Mountains back to Lacombe, a distance of roughly 705 miles (1136 kms for the metric set).
The trip was relatively trouble-free, save for a wonky fuel pump when Bob hit the Rogers Pass, the highest point on the Trans-Canada Highway in the Rocky Mountains. Years later, Dave was more fortunate when he drove the ’64 Chevelle drop top to Minneapolis, Minnesota for the world-famous Back to the 50s car show that attracts over 10,000 entries on a regular basis.
Dave’s road adventure in the ’64 Chevelle convertible covered about 2400 miles (4000 kms) round trip and was also virtually trouble-free, except for a minor starter issue. Dave kept a steady 65-70 mph (100-110 km/h) pace during the long trip and is still comfortable at that speed on the highway behind the wheel of the Malibu SS.
The main reason is the car’s original powertrain, a 283 small block hooked up to a 2-speed Powerglide automatic transmission. Dave upgraded the engine from a 2-barrel to a 4-barrel carb system and bored out the engine for extra performance, plus it already had a dual exhaust to help the Chevelle breathe better on the road.
The ’64 Chevelle Malibu SS came equipped with power steering, a feature that undoubtedly adds to the car’s creature comfort factor on the road.
The car’s interior is in remarkable shape after 58 years and only required repairs to the front seat, according to Dave, plus it now enjoys a pampered life in the Weidner family, so the Chevelle has withstood the passage of time very well.
BY: Jim Sutherland
Jim Sutherland is a veteran automotive writer whose work has been published by many major print and online publications. The list includes Calgary Herald, The Truth About Cars, Red Deer Advocate, RPM Magazine, Edmonton Journal, Montreal Gazette, Windsor Star, Vancouver Province, and Post Media Wheels Section.