The Old Malibu Returns

As you may or may not know, I got my hands on an old 1979 Chevrolet Malibu Landau in Bend during the days of the wobble-box. Realizing that I couldn't work on the car (or afford the gas to put in the big V8) once I returned to college at Oregon State, I drove it up to my grandparents' house outside of Pendleton, where it would gather dust for a few years awaiting my return. On many days of study in Corvallis, I would find myself wandering off in a daydream of getting this car back and driving around town with the windows down, listening to the small block rumble as I toured through towns around Oregon. Last week, the big day finally arrived...




September 2, 2006

Part I - Prepare for the Ride Home


What a day! - Three years have finally passed, I've graduated from college, found a career and now it's time to recover the old Malibu. I've been really amped up about this since Spring Term (see blog entry from February 13, 2006). Since I dropped it off in 2003, it has become an official classic, the tires have lost some air, and lots of wasps and spiders have found new homes under the hood. That's okay, we'll get her all washed up and ready to go, and I'll try to tune up the engine once I get it home.




The boxes in the trunk were safe and sound - water never even leaked in. Hey, there's my brand new torque wrench!




A few cobwebs and wasp nests, but otherwise pretty much how it looked when I left.




Time to let in some fresh air!



Note cans of bug spray on the roof.



Scaring off some of the upset insects.






Part II - The Ride Home


Once cleaned up and ready to go, I went into Pendleton to rent a trailer. U-Haul was closed, but Budget at a local Sears was open. Thank goodness! The only catch was that I had to rent one of their trucks to tow the trailer with, and let them hook everything up for me. I suppose this is for liability reasons, but in this case that bit of detail created a twist...










They didn't drop the trailer all the way onto the towing ball.





This is both sad, funny and seriously ironic. If I had personally hooked up a rental trailer, I would have been able to make sure it was properly connected, hearing the telltale "thunk" that a hitch makes as it drops into place. The guys who hooked this one up missed a step.





The trailer made it no more than 1/4 mile before it dropped onto its safety chains and went into a nasty fishtail - once that happens all you can do is gently apply brake and pray for a guardrail to slow you down. The truck was fine, as the trailer stopped really quickly once the security chains broke.





Marks on the top of the ball show wear patterns where you really hope to never see them. You may ask - "How did the trailer make it out to the Malibu's location to begin with?" My best guess is that the frontal weight distribution of the light unloaded trailer allowed it to stay attached under a empty-load tow.





Thank goodness for the short section of guardrail - there's a ledge to the right which drops off about twenty feet to homes below.





This 30-foot section will keep the highway workers busy after they return from the long Labor day weekend.





Fortunately, the front left tire strap and front chassis chain held on, holding the car, mostly. Also fortunate is that the trailer went right and not left!





Front bumper, grille, fender, hood, door and exhaust all seemed to be a bit messed up. And you should see the alignment!





I'm really hoping that crease in the top of the fender doesn't reflect frame bending.





I do like to spend time with my family from Eastern Oregon, but not like this...



In summary, my heart is broken - having a car in the garage to tinker with is my mental therapy. Having it wait three years for this kind of mess is such a shame! Hopefully this all gets resolved soon - I'll keep you updated. :(




2006 09 03