Eric Turpin’s ’71 Malibu Convertible Is A Home-Built Hero/Survivor

When you found the classic ride you’re driving every summer, were you actually looking for a car like the one you have, or did it simply fall into your lap? Many times as enthusiasts, we get recognized by local residents around where we live and those “neighbors” always seem to mention a car they saw and thought we might be interested in hearing about. It doesn’t always work out that way, but it does happen.

For Eric Turpin of Wading River, New York, more of an intensive search was required. “I have always had a soft spot for Chevelles,” he states. “Having previously owned a 1974 Chevelle S3 Laguna and a 1971 Chevelle SS convertible, I was naturally drawn to this 1971 Chevelle Malibu 350.”

Malibu

Eric was able to find his ride while searching the internet’s various online classifieds. The ad for the Malibu stated it was located in Connecticut, and according to Eric, the back story is quite interesting. “I went to inspect the car, and as it turns out, the gentleman selling it was in his seventies and was the original owner. After inspecting and test driving the car, I told him I was interested in buying it. He cared deeply about the Malibu and asked me what my intentions were for the car. I was “mostly” honest and told him that I would probably change the wheels and tires, but I would probably keep the rest of the car as is.”

Malibu

The Placer Gold exterior and Dark Saddle interior is a great color combination.

The seller seemed satisfied with that answer and then told Eric he was the third person to look at the car. Eric relayed to us, “He refused to sell it to the previous buyers because one guy wanted to cut it up into a race car and the other guy wanted to send it overseas as a quick flip.” The owner at the time wanted to sell the car to someone that would appreciate it exactly for what it was. Eric tells us he has tried to keep true to his word.

Since Eric purchased the A-body from the original owner, we asked him about the condition of the car when he found he initially found it. “It was pretty much the way you see now. I have completed a few minor upgrades and did some detailing, but that is all,” affirms Eric.

As far as the Chevelle ever receiving any body repairs, Eric says there are none that are obvious to him. He did say it has been the recipient of a repaint at some point before he bought it. Speaking of paint, the color is Placer Gold, and the highly visible interior under the folding roof is a Dark Saddle.

Malibu

Other than a camshaft and intake upgrade, the small-block 350 is just as the factory shipped it.

“Under the hood is a 350 small-block that was completely stock when I bought it, Eric says. “I upgraded to an Edelbrock Performer intake and added a Quadrajet carburetor. The original point-style distributor was upgraded to an HEI unit. I did do a little to the engine internals, as I upgraded the camshaft to a Chevrolet Performance cam. It is the same camshaft that Chevrolet uses in its 350HO crate engine.”

Malibu

The Malibu looks great whether the top is up or down.

Okay, Eric’s Malibu might not be the very definition of “home-built.” However, since he has shown restraint and not fully modified the car, only making a few minor upgrades that do not destroy the car’s originality does mean we will give his Chevelle the home-built moniker. He has saved history while adding subtle touches. Kudos on a great ride Eric.

Do you want to read about more Home-Built Heroes? All you need to do is click here. If you own a Home-Built Hero, we want to hear about it. Since I’ve started the series, I have received more than a few candidates, but I still want to see more — I can never get enough. If you want to see more cars built by you the readers, send a few pictures of your car showing the engine, interior, and exterior, along with all of the pertinent information, and I’ll make you Internet famous. You can send your submissions to [email protected]

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About the author

Randy Bolig

Randy Bolig has been working on cars and has been involved in the hobby ever since he bought his first car when he was only 14 years old. His passion for performance got him noticed by many locals, and he began helping them modify their vehicles.
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