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My project car timeline + current/past DD... 56kers go get a sammich

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  • My project car timeline + current/past DD... 56kers go get a sammich

    I have myself a couple projects... seems I've just progressively gone from gnarly body to semi-gnarly body to semit-decent body. When I was 15 (in '97) I paid $450 for an '80 Malibu with an Olds 455/TH400. Of course I was like "YES, A BIG BLOCK!" My dad & I got it started a couple times, and it moved a grand total of 50 feet I think during the time I had it. Stalled one day and just wouldn't start back up... didn't know squat about Olds engines back then, still don't :

    Fast forward about 4 years... I spotted an '81 Malibu sitting out for sale for $600, said it had a 350 with a bad cam & bad TH350. No biggie, I was planning on building an old 350 I had, & could probably get the trans rebuilt cheap. I was working at a junkyard at the time and came across a '78 'Bu with a v6/3-speed Saginaw combo. Got everything (for $85 no less) but the sheetmetal hump for the shifter boot : Managed to get that all in & figured out after a lot of cussin' & realizing I was a dolt for trying a large bellhousing/168t flywheel as opposed to the original bellhousing + 153t flywheel & the correct starter (which caused the whole issue from the start, for me anyway... I was still learning... still am). One night I'm sitting in the garage reading some info in the Haynes manual I had (WTF where'd that thing go????? ???), and I had the distributor out 'cause I was putting on my $45 Holley intake/Edelbrock 1405 combo (yep, from the junkyard). Saw the casting number on the side, so I thought I'd look it up... long story short I discovered via that & the block casting it's actually a 305 :-\ Also discovered via RPM/speed/tire size calculation it has a set of 2.29s... ok because the Saginaw has a 3.50 1st gear & it only turns about 2200 at 70mph with the tires on it right now. I built a mild 350 (GMPP intake, same Edelbrock carb, Vortec heads, Comp XE268H cam) from an '88 block I had, and averaged 17mpg highway last summer. I think I've found a Saginaw 4-speed to swap in for next summer, it's just not that much fun after 55-60mph since I have to upshift (70mph it's at about 4100rpm). Also while I had the motor out I swapped in a set of Hotchkis G-Body springs I scored for $75 at a swap meet, some stiffer sway bars (the 2nd largest 3rd gen F-Body sway bar & a stock G-Body rear bar) and a pair of F-41 frame horn braces at the front. It handles night & day compared to the rolly-polly boat-like ride it had before! I actually had a guy in a GT500 Mustang want to play because I caught him somewhat off guard at a light & held him off through 1st gear (hit 2nd & it was over >). I didn't try after that because I knew he'd just blow me away since my gearing sucked.

    Just after Christmas '07 my dad & I headed down to Missouri to pick up a '78 Malibu that had already been disassembled. It's already had some body work done on it (that I hope wasn't [email protected]$#), but still needs some repair, mainly bottom of one/both a-pillars, firewall over the a/c box, in the door jamb & some minor stuff on the floor. The frame was also sandblasted already which was a plus, but the body mount holes need some repair. I'm still up in the air on the drivetrain for starters, but I'll probably just swap in what's in the '81. My ultimate goal is a force-inducted 6.0 (s/c being more size-friendly, but turbo has its attractiveness too), along with a T56 and probably a set of 3.73s or 4.10s.

    Far as a daily driver goes, I had an '88 2wd half ton Chevy (350/700R4) that already had been done... shaved handles, blow-through from the bed for subs, etc. But alas... it wasn't meant to be. Started rotting in the typical places, and in '03 I was rearended & the insurance company totaled it (minor body damage really). This past fall I picked up a '92 2wd Sierra (4.3/700R4) that runs/shifts/looks extremely well for having over 210,000 miles on it. One day I'll probably put a mild Vortec-headed motor in it for a little more motorvation... I've come to the realization that this thing doesn't get any better mileage than my '88 did, even with almost 90ci. less!

    On to the pics...
    '80


    '81




    '78
    This...

    to this...

    to home!


    '88



    '92




    So... there's my long-winded story (sort of)... I also have a little boy that's currently 3? and his mom hasn't let me see for the past 2 months, but that's another story...

  • #2
    Re: My project car timeline + current/past DD... 56kers go get a sammich

    Cool projects,and ive never seen a pic of a 4,3 in those pick ups.Looks like it has a lot of room ;D.

    That pick up you had that was rear ended...The insurance scrapped that for that little damage?.

    Ive had a lot of those malibus.Those rear ends doesnt hold up for my driving.They explode ;D

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    • #3
      Re: My project car timeline + current/past DD... 56kers go get a sammich

      I have a '78 Malibu just like the Green one on your Trailer. Mint,2-Owner(Grandfather then Grandaughter..)44-thousand mile Car. It's got a 3.8 V6 with a factory 3-Speed 'Stick. A rare combo. I've had it for six years and I still have no idea waht I want to do with it ;D. Interior is Beiage(sp?). And yes,I had a Red '95 Chevy Extended-Cab full-size,Chevy-1500 with the 4.3. Ran GREAT!! Nice an smooooth,not to stingy with the Gas either. Good luck with you projects. And remember:---You can NEVER have enough Cars..... ;D! J/W-OO6.

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      • #4
        Re: My project car timeline + current/past DD... 56kers go get a sammich

        If it's solid I'd say put a stout small block in it with a TKO 500/600 or a T56! That or maybe a GN drivetrain :D There's a site I'm a member at (www.maliburacing.com) where the guys have just about every range of Malibu. Seems like most are straight-line guys, but many of us like the corners too :D I'm personally aiming for a pro-tourer look with mine, with a paint scheme similar to the F-Bomb (not sure what shade/tint of green, but a flat black spoiler/air dam & black/gunmetal 17" wheels).

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        • #5
          Re: My project car timeline + current/past DD... 56kers go get a sammich

          I like my Malibu just the way it is...DORKY(an harmeless..) ;D!! I like to do a Carberated 4.3 one day with it. It's all pie in the sky right now though. I have an old Doug-Nash 5-Speed laying around,so that's an idea. It runs fine as it is right now. ~J/W-OO6.

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          • #6
            Re: My project car timeline + current/past DD... 56kers go get a sammich

            Set up to handle, with an aluminum LS, and the DN 5spd.

            Sounds like fun to me ;D

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            • #7
              Re: My project car timeline + current/past DD... 56kers go get a sammich

              Originally posted by Junk Whisperer
              I like my Malibu just the way it is...DORKY(an harmeless..) ;D!! I like to do a Carberated 4.3 one day with it. It's all pie in the sky right now though. I have an old Doug-Nash 5-Speed laying around,so that's an idea. It runs fine as it is right now. ~J/W-OO6.
              Are you thinking what I am in the way of the article that's been in 3 or 4 different magazines (300hp 4.3)? If so, they actually went another step & bolted on a centrifugal s/c and it made somewhere around 500hp :o

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: My project car timeline + current/past DD... 56kers go get a sammich

                Yes. I remember the Engine. In FACT,Freiburger STILL HAS the 4.3 they built for the feature in Hot-Rod. If I went that Supercharged route,I'd want the use of the flat Hood,not that I have a thing against the Cowl-Induction-Hood,it just seems everybody & their Mother has 'em :. So,no Cowl Hood. I DO have ANOTHER Malibu,a '79 in Two-Tone 'Charcoal & Silver with a Red Velour 'gut.' Like the Green Car it's an Ex-1-Owner job,has not a trace of rot anywhere,was never smoked in...the only thing that IS 'Smoked' is the 305(spun Cam Bearing,plus,the Bearing in the Water-Pump was shot. 'Shot' as in falling COMPLETELY OUT of the Pump Housing :o :o....I never seen that before :P....). The car is sooo clean,when I picked it up I though someone gave it a T-cut-N-Polish. The Charcoal/Silver Paint is stunning,very few scratches are in it. I could never think of changing the color. I paid $75 for it ;D. Someday,I might put one of my Caddilac 500's into it. I,too have all the Hotchkiss Suspension parts for these Cars(bought second hand at the E-Town swap-meet...),I also have an 8.8 Axle out of a Gran-National(another swap-meet score....$1100...). I'll build 'something' out of either one of these things someday(they're too nice to just sell 'em off...I'd never find nicer ones like thses again...) ;). ~J/W-006.

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