Airman Second Class Robert Holland was stationed at Castle Air Force Base in central California when he bought a new car in April 1965. Holland purchased his first blue “300 Series” Chevrolet Chevelle four-door sedan with a 327-cubic-inch V-8 engine and a four-speed transmission. Within a year the young man was discharged and drove his car home to Elgin, Ill.
Today in 2010, Holland still owns that 1965 Chevrolet. He has had so much good luck with it that in the last 45 years he has owned 19 Chevelle and Malibu cars.
“The last one I just bought is a 1965 [Chevelle] Malibu,” he says. “I am a member of the American Chevelle Enthusiasts Society, the national Chevelle car club,” he says.
More than a year ago, he placed an ad in the club magazine searching for a 1965 car. He chased down a few leads but did not find what he wanted. “It is hard to find a good car at a reasonable price,” Holland says.
“One day the president of the club called with information about a 1965 [Chevelle] Malibu,” Holland recalls. The car was located only a couple of hours away near Milwaukee.
Holland and his wife, Rosemary, went to Wisconsin to investigate and were impressed with the car they found. After a brief test drive, Holland and the seller agreed on a price for the Ermine White four-door sedan with a good blue cloth interior.
A week later, Holland and his wife returned to take possession of their car. The odometer had recorded only 62,834 miles. Holland settled onto the bench seat and fired up the 283-cubic-inch V-8 engine and, with his wife in a chase car, set off on the 120-mile trip home.
When they stopped for lunch Holland’s wife asked, “Why are you driving so slowly?” He thought that he had been driving 55 mph, but she said her speedometer showed 45 mph. “I have now found out that the transmission had been replaced with one from a newer vehicle with a different axle ratio,” Holland says. “I allow for the difference,” he explains. “When I want to go 30 I drive with the speedometer at 35.”
Resuming their trip home, Holland noticed at a tollbooth the smell of something burning. “I looked under the car and I could see smoke coming from the brake drums,” Holland reports. “I got my tools and loosened the brake pedal rod to relieve the pressure.”
That remedy was successful. “Everything seemed all right, so we drove on home with no more problems,” he says. Once at home Holland let his car sit until warm weather arrived in the spring. “Then I took the brakes apart and adjusted them,” he says.
A thorough examination disclosed not a bit of rust. Holland believes that his car was originally from down state in Illinois. He says that he is at least the third owner of the 1965 Chevelle Malibu.
When new, he says, it had a base price of $3,035. With the addition of extra cost options the price was bumped up to $3,365. Those accessories include: air conditioning; push button AM radio; front door window awnings; three-speed automatic transmission; comfort and convenience group with day/night mirror, backup lights, trunk light and two-speed windshield wipers with washers.
The floor of the trunk is covered with a rubber mat while inside the cabin the floor is covered with a light blue carpet. “I like blue,” the owner proclaims. That is fortunate because virtually every surface inside the car is some shade of blue.
The 14-inch tires are mounted on rallye wheels with trim rings that Holland says are from a later model Chevrolet. All Chevelle Malibu models came with a coil spring suspension, Holland says. The car rides on a 115-inch wheelbase.
Records indicate that Holland’s car was built at the factory in Kansas City during the fourth week of November in 1964 — a Thanksgiving car. He says it was the 4,323 four-door Chevelle Malibu produced that model year.
During the last year Holland and his wife have taken their Chevrolet to a few cruise-ins. “It’s been a good experience,” he says, “and lots of fun.” — Vern Parker, Motor Matters