Here’s How Much A 1971 Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu Is Worth Today


Summary

  • The 1971 Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu can be worth between $17,000 and $200,000 depending on condition and trim.
  • The convertible models of the 1971 Chevelle are more expensive than the coupes.
  • The 1971 Chevelle had unique features such as a facelifted front and a special variant called the “Heavy Chevy” that offered high performance without the higher insurance premiums of the SS models.


The Chevelle nameplate is one of the most iconic vehicles not just in Chevy’s lineup but in muscle car culture. From its second generation which began in 1968, The Chevrolet Chevelle was completely re-designed and set its sights on other cars from Dodge, Ford, Plymouth, and others. During its production, the second-gen Chevelle received many changes which made certain years more desirable than others.

Cars like the Chevelle are sought after according to their model year because they can come with unique features that aren’t available on other model years. Our focus here will be the 1971 Chevelle and the major changes made for this year. While they may look similar and have the same powertrain, some of these changes also help determine what these cars are worth today.

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In order to give you the most up-to-date and accurate information possible, the data used to compile this article was sourced from various manufacturer websites and other authoritative sources, including Chevrolet, Bring A Trailer, and Classic.com.


Here’s How Much A 1971 Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu Is Worth Today

If you wanted to buy a brand new Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu in 1971, You would spend between $2,700 and $3,500. Adjusted for inflation, the Chevelle would cost around $20,450-$26,500 in 2024, and there is a host that factors that contribute to this price. Just like modern cars can be had with different options, Classic cars like the Chevelle were available in different body styles and options. The Chevelle could be had in different body styles but the sport coupe and convertibles are the most desirable versions.

In today’s current market, prices for these cars range between $17,000 for good condition cars and as much as $200,000 for top trim models. According to classic.com, $53,629 is the current average selling price of the Chevelle which is a positive gain for anyone who had bought one when they were still cheap. Below is a table that details the expected values of the ’71 Chevelle Coupes and Convertibles.

Valuation Highlights

Condition

Coupe

Convertible

#1 Concours Condition

$20,000

$55,200

#2 Excellent Condition

$17,200

$47,500

#3 Good Condition

$13,500

$36,800

#4 Fair Condition

$9,500

$26,800

Original Base MSRP

$2,980

$3,260

MSRP Adjusted For Inflation

$22,570

$24,690

From the table above, we can clearly see that the convertible variants are more expensive than the coupes. Apart from this difference, the values remain relatively the same for each body style despite the engine choice. However some changes are unique to the 1971 model.

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Unique Features Of The 1971 Chevelle

1971 Chevrolet Chevelle in black front and side view
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As mentioned earlier, the second-gen Chevelle went through a lot of changes during its time. The 1970 model saw the biggest design change, while the overall shape was the same, the front became much more square with a shorter rear overhang. for 1971, the Chevelle retained the same styling but there were some changes made for this year.

The front received a facelift with a single headlight and indicator light integration into the sides, unlike the previous year with the double headlights and bumper indicators. The grill was made wider with a horizontal line running across. At the rear, the square taillights were replaced with two round lights. These were the many changes but there was also a special variant that was released with this model.

The Heavy Chevy

High-performance cars like the Chevelle SS models had higher insurance premiums than regular cars. So for the 1971 model year, Chevy released a version named the “Heavy Chevy” but unlike the name suggests, it wasn’t a heavier car. To reduce the insurance premiums for Chevelle owners who wanted a high-performance car, this car was made as an option to help bypass this predicament.

The Heavy Chevy was an RPO (Regular Production Option) which was available only on the base Chevelle Coupe. It had many suspension and Chassis upgrades similar to what was done on the SS models. But the best part was that this car could have any V-8 engine of its choice except the high spec 454 (7.4 liters) big block V-8 which was exclusive to the Chevelle SS. Most people consider this to be a Chevelle SS without the badge and it is more affordable. Good condition Heavy Chevy’s can be found for $20,000 but an SS would be around $50,000.

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Available With Various V-8 Engines

1971 Chevrolet Chevelle engineEngine Specifications

Engine

307 V-8

350 V-8

402 V-8

454 V-8

Displacement

5.0 liters

5.7 liters

6.6 liters

7.4 liters

Power

200 Horsepower

245-270 Horsepower

300 Horsepower

365 Horsepower

Torque

300 pound-feet

350-360 pound-feet

400 pound-feet

465 pound-feet

Drivetrain

Rear-wheel drive

Rear-wheel drive

Rear-wheel drive

Rear-wheel drive


Muscle cars have always been characterized by their big screaming V-8s and the Chevelles were no different. There were V-6 engines available but not for the ’71 model year, some V-8 engines were also discontinued for this year. There were four V-8 engines available with the base engine making 200 horsepower and the top-spec 454 engine making 365 horsepower but this was only available for the SS.

The 350 (5.7 liters) V-8 had two states of tune a two-barrel that produced 245 horsepower and an optional four-barrel carburetor bumped power to 270 horsepower. There were four transmission options available which included a 3/4 speed manual and a 2/3 speed automatic which were automatically fitted depending on the RPO box you ticked. All of this power was sent to the rear wheels but while these cars were fast for their time, they could only top out at 130 MPH.

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1971 Chevrolet Chevelle SS

1971 Chevrolet Chevelle SS in yellow front left and side view
Bring A Trailer 

While the Heavy Chevy was a cheat code to get the power and handling of an SS, the top model was still available for those who did not want to compromise. For 1971, instead of being a standalone model, the SS designation was reduced to an RPO code known as RPO Z15. Ticking this option meant you wanted the SS treatment which gave you access to any powertrain option except the base V-8 engine.

The Super Sport (SS) with the 454 was a beast on and off the track compared to other models. It was a race-ready car from the start with rumors being that the engine power was conservative as most believed these cars made close to 450 horsepower and 500 pound-feet of torque. It was one of the fastest cars of its time and could keep up with the very best muscle cars of its time.

This was available only as a Coupe and Convertible, unlike the other models that could be had as a sedan. These were the highest-performing versions of the Chevelle and today they’re also the most sought-after Chevelle variants with every model year. This means they command massive premiums over regular models with most concours examples fetching close to $200,000.

Condition

Coupe

Convertible

#1 Concours Condition

$51,600

$66,700

#2 Excellent Condition

$43,800

$57,000

#3 Good Condition

$32,200

$45,300

#4 Fair Condition

$23,500

$36,300

This Hagerty valuation is based on models equipped with the 350 cubic-inch V-8.

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What To Look For Before Buying A 1971 Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu

A parked 1971 Chevrolet Chevelle Heavy Chevy
Mecum


One great thing about Chevelles from this is their stellar reliability and the 1971 models are no different. Most owners give these cars an 8/10 reliability rating and that is high praise for being an old classic. But the initial running cost can be quite high especially if the car hasn’t been well taken care of. But once sorted out, these cars can continue driving as long as they’re maintained. But there are some common issues to look out for with these cars:

Rust

The Chevelle has been out for more than five decades and one of the major issues you will come across is Rust. The steel used to make the body panels was not the best and wasn’t treated against rust like modern cars. So almost any car that has spent some time outside will have varying degrees of rust mainly in the wheel wells and other spots where water can hide.

Engine Health

These big block engines were built to be driven hard which makes them very robust and reliable. But there are things to watch out for like camshafts since these big block engines wear out their cams around 100,000 miles. Other engine components should need to be checked to make sure they aren’t bad or affected by rust.

Electrical Problems

A car that’s more than five decades old will definitely have some corroded or worn-out wires. Even if the car has been used regularly, it is advised to make sure every connection works fine or needs replacement. These cars don’t have as many connections as modern cars and should be relatively easy to sort out.

Doing your due diligence and making sure the car is exactly what the seller says is important. Getting a mechanic or an expert who knows these cars and can spot any issues easily will go a long way. Whether you’re looking for a pristine concourse example, a good condition, or a project to build on, there are many options to choose from.



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