In the event you requested a toddler to attract a automobile, the outcome would most likely be one thing that appeared just like the Chevrolet Malibu.

For many years, this reliable midsize automobile was a stalwart of the American highway. As a result of that sort of factor is now not in demand, it got here as no shock when Basic Motors introduced on Wednesday that it will discontinue the mannequin because it shifts its focus to sport utility automobiles and electrical vehicles.

The Malibu by no means had the back-alley glamour of the Chevrolet Camaro or the brute power of the Chevrolet Impala. It was the last word normcore-mobile, made for a time when Individuals have been content material to drive easy, gas-powered sedans, reasonably than rugged S.U.V.s, high-riding pickup vans or electrical automobiles that cruise alongside in close to silence.

The Malibu initially appeared within the Nineteen Sixties as a part of Chevrolet’s Chevelle line. It was a constant vendor by way of the Seventies. For a time, it was used as a patrol car by police departments throughout the nation. Basic Motors took it off the market in 1983 and introduced it again in 1997.

Upon its return, the critics weren’t precisely type. “Ah, Malibu,” Automotive and Driver journal wrote in a 1997 assessment. “The phrase evokes photos of surf bunnies, film stars and languid decadence by the ocean. Not the form of imaginative and prescient that involves thoughts on first sight of this new Chevrolet sedan. Perhaps Chevy misspelled it. Mallibu sounds extra prefer it.”

However the very basicness of the Malibu was what made it so interesting to the greater than 10 million individuals who purchased one. And maybe surprisingly for a automobile so unassuming, it had a big cultural footprint. Repeatedly, filmmakers and songwriters created situations centered on the Malibu that appeared to touch upon its plainness.

A custom-made model of a grey 1973 Malibu Coupe is the main vehicle for the protagonist of the moodily violent 2011 motion movie “Drive,” in line with the automotive publications SlashGear and Automotive & Traditional. Ryan Gosling, the movie’s star, is claimed to have discovered the automobile in a junkyard and labored on it himself.

The Malibu was the appropriate automobile for a brand new sort of antihero. Mr. Gosling’s anonymous character, a stunt driver for films who works as a getaway driver on the facet, is delicate and taciturn. Like his prized Chevy, he’s not a show-off.

Seventeen years earlier than “Drive,” the director Quentin Tarantino gave a Malibu a key supporting function in “Pulp Fiction.”

Vincent Vega, the good-natured hit man performed by John Travolta, is behind the wheel of a purple 1964 Malibu when he takes his boss’s spouse, performed by Uma Thurman, on a date that goes horribly awry. Just like the Fifties-style restaurant the place they type a bond, the classic Malibu harks again to an idealized America that’s only a fantasy for these two characters, given how deeply they’re blended up in a lifetime of medicine and homicide.

A Malibu is a focus of the 1984 cult movie “Repo Man.” Like different filmmakers, the author and director Alex Cox performed towards the automobile’s blandness. Within the trunk of this unremarkable automobile is one thing exceptional certainly — maybe a nuclear bomb. (No matter is within the trunk is rarely defined.)

Extra lately, Lana Del Rey, who typically feedback on all-American tropes in her modern-day torch ballads, name-checks the Malibu in “Shades of Cool,” a 2014 track a couple of lady’s love for a tragic type who appears misplaced in a haze of substance abuse and self-absorption.

Like Vincent Vega and the unnamed loner in “Drive,” the unreachable fellow in her track has just one factor that appears to bind him to the workaday world: “He drives a Chevy Malibu,” she sings.

However the automobile was used to greatest impact in Cameron Crowe’s 1989 romantic comedy-drama “Say Something.”

The protagonist, Lloyd Dobler, an underachieving Everyman performed by John Cusack, drives a 1977 Malibu sedan. The automobile units him aside from the strutting yuppies of different Eighties movies — consider the teenage cad performed by James Spader in “Fairly in Pink,” who has his personal Porsche, or the stockbroker performed by Charlie Sheen in “Wall Avenue,” who drives a BMW.

Dobler embodies the slacker ethos that typified a lot of Era X. When he’s grilled by the daddy of the woman he loves, he explains that his essential objective is to spend as a lot time along with her as he can. When he’s requested how he plans to make a dwelling, he says, “I don’t need to promote something, purchase something or course of something as a profession.”

For this sort of man — proudly unambitious, besides in the case of love — the unflashy Malibu was the right automobile.



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