Canada was the host country for the 1976 Montreal Olympics and automakers celebrated the occasion with special edition vehicles.
General Motors offered a host of choices that included their Chevy Malibu models that were decked out in red and white paint/decal schemes in the finest tradition of the Montreal Olympics that acknowledged the colors of the Canadian flag.
According to its new owner, only 1017 of the Malibu Classic Olympic Edition models were built for the Canadian market in 1976-and even fewer of these cars are on the road in 2019. 43 years is a long time in car years because the rigors of daily driving and harsh Canadian winters will eventually win the battle.
Doug Ziebarth was the new (and only second) owner of a survivor 1976 Malibu Classic Olympic Edition when MyStarCollectorCar interviewed him exactly one day after he bought the mid-sized Chevy. However, he pursued the car for about 30 years and was well aware of its history.
The previous owner purchased the car as a demo model from the dealership in 1976 and always looked after the Malibu. The car was garaged throughout its entire history after it began service as a family car in 1976.
Doug discovered a transmission cooler and trailer package on the Malibu that indicated the car was used for summer vacations during its early years.
The car only has 66,000 original miles (about 106,000 kilometers) on its odometer because it was eventually used sparingly over the past 43 years. In fact, the Malibu was off the road in storage for about ten years before Doug became its new owner.
The previous owner was careful about the Malibu’s prolonged storage and started the car on a regular basis so Doug told MSCC it “fired up right away” when he became its new owner.
Doug had a long career as a body man and quickly determined his survivor Malibu required minimal cosmetic work. He also respects its originality and wants to preserve its history as a survivor model.
The Special Edition Malibu even has its stylish hood ornament that celebrated the Olympics in its own unique way. Doug mentioned these hood ornaments are scarce because many of them were ripped off the cars during their time on the street.
Doug also pointed to the rally wheels on his Malibu and added they were available as an option for the car in 1976. They were actually factory white wheels with chrome rings-unlike most GM models that had completely chrome wheels as an available option.
The Malibu also had an aftermarket 8-track unit in it and Doug intends to leave the period-correct sound system in the car. He thought he might have to begin a search for 8-tracks to play in his car.
The ’76 Malibu has a few factory creature comforts that add to the driving experience. The GM option list includes power steering and power brakes in the car.
One of the indications the ’76 Malibu was built during the 1970s fuel transition era from leaded gas to unleaded gas is the original decal just behind the hidden (behind the rear license plate) fuel filler. It stated the Malibu required unleaded fuel.
Doug was the right owner for the survivor 1976 Malibu Classic that celebrates the 1976 Montreal Olympics because he respects both the car and its history.
We at MyStarCollectorCar believe the car was well worth the 30 year wait for him and his Malibu.
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.