|1977 Malibu Classic Project Car
Todd Birdwell, Lafayette TN
|This is my 1977 Malibu Classic Project car. We have made quite a bit of progress since we started working on it last spring. My mother bought the car new in April of 1977. She drove it to work daily until 1986 when she bought a used 84 Buick Regal. The Malibu sat at the farm until I got my driver's liscense. I drove it all the way through high school and through one year of college. I then had to get some more reliable transportation to make the 120 mile round trip to school 5 days a week and we parked her. The Malibu then sat in the corner of the yard for several years until the winter of 1999 when we decided to give her a makeover. We began by removing the old rotted vynil top. When we pulled it off we discovered that a great deal of the metal had been eaten by rust. The search for a good body shop began. Most places turned up their noses or quoted us rediculous prices to get rid of us because they knew it would require lots of work. We finally found a backyard mechanic to do the work for us. We ended up replacing the entire body with one from a rust free Arizona car that Desert Dog Auto Parts found for us. Thanks to Ebay and various other sources most of the chrome was replaced with NOS parts or repolished junkyard parts.
The color of the Malibu is 72 Chevelle Astro Blue with black 70-72 "SS" Stripes. New Hellwig front and rear anti-sway bars are to be added soon. We also plan to install a complete Flowmaster dual exhaust system. I am in the process of installing the interior. I have new carpet and Headliner to install. We also had the interior plastic components coverd in a contrasting shade of blue tweed. Tinted windows and new wheels and tires are to follow also. We will leave the front wheel and tire sizes alone and probably opt for wider ones on the rear. We still have a long way to go but we can't turn back now. More pictures will follow as progress continues so check back here often. I can be contaced at firstname.lastname@example.org with any suggestions or comments.
|In Memory of Chad (Doc) Pomranky|
|This was my first computerized concept sketch that I started with. Pretty Close huh? I made it with my Photo editing program and my original dealer brochure. I never could figure out how to add the stripes though. Oh well!!|
|Get used to this view!!!!!!! (except for the 77 Model Taillights that is...)|
|Here is the Malibu under the carport with my 2000 Monte Carlo SS. My Silverado is in the foreground. My 84 Buick beast has been evicted for now to make room for her. Just so the Buick wouldn't be left out, you can see my other rides by clicking here!|
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|(Please note that this was only a preliminary design. Don't expect to have one any time soon.)|
|"The forgotton Generation?...Not if we can help it!"|
|Take a look at some more pictures|
|My Other rides|
|Before pics of the Malibu|
|This is a view of the rear of the car after I swapped out the 77 tail lights for the 76 lights I got from Portland Oregon on Ebay. I think they are cleaner and better looking anyway. They don't have as many nooks and crannies for crud to hide in. (Lights installed January 12, 2002)|
|This site last modidfied Feb 8, 2004. Check back often for more updates!!!|
|Site Updates, Sources, Extra Parts|
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|Notice how the new 15 x 8.5" rear wheels fill out the wheel wells better that the stock 15 x 7" stock Chevy ralley wheels did. I used a P245 60R15 tire on the rear. They give my car a "beefier stance"
(Photo added April 26, 2002)
| When I started this project I set out with a few ideas in mind. I wanted this car to be drivable, I wanted it to run and handle great, but perhaps most of all, I want it to look cool. When doing a project like this there are several very tough decisions to make. First of all, came the paint color and scheme selection. When I turned 15, my Mom bought be a 1:18 scale 20 Chevelle, 454 SS. It was Astro Blue with black SS stripes. From that point on I always wanted a car like that. We bought the Malibu when I was 4 years old and kept it around ever since. When it became my decision to restore the car, Guess what paint color and scheme I chose.
Another very important part of the looks of a car are the wheels. I always liked the original Monte Carlo Ralley wheels, but they are 25 years old, and they show it. I wanted something to make the car look good and "tuff" too. After looking through catalogs and magazines for several months, I decided on American Racing Wheels Torque Thrust "D" wheels. They have that classic muscle car look and they didn't break the bank either. (Not cheap mind you, but quality stuff never is). I put 15 x 7" on the front and 15 x 8.5" on the rear.
We did have a problem with the lugs. They lug studs on the Malibu are so much smaller than the holes in the wheel itself, that they woulnd't tighten enough to hold. I found this out the hard way. After I put the wheels on myself, with the lug nuts that the tire store sold me (not their fault), I drove her down to the service station to install my new Hellwig front and rear sway bars and to get a tune up. On the way there I noticed that something was "rattling" in the front end and I just thought I had a bad wheel bering or something. When I went back to get the car, my mechaninc said that the driver's front wheel had almost fallen off. I was puzzled because I knew that I had tighted the lugs before I left the house. He tightened them up and I left the service station. I got about 1/4 mile away when I noticed little silver things flying out of the corner of my eye....lug nuts. I tried to pull into a parking lot and that's when it happened. The same wheel fell out from under the car at about 10 mph. The brake rotor landed on the inside of the rim and gouged a deep gash all the way around the inner rim. That wheel now resides in the trunk as my spare. After a new wheel and the propper shouldered lug nuts, all seems to be OK......for now....
(added April 26, 2002)
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