'77 Malibu in Progress

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'77 Malibu in Progress

Post by Psychlonic on Sat Nov 06, 2010 10:36 am

Hey all. Here's my '77 Malibu that I bought just last year. She's been in the family since coming off the lot, and there's a lot of work to be done but I've got some big plans for this thing. My cousin gave it the current gun metal paint job back when a great aunt of mine owned this (had the straight 6 in it back then). I was only a little kid but back when it was fresh I knew I wanted this car so there's no other car I'd rather fix up.

Anyways, here's where she stands now:





Thanks for checking it out, as I said - long way to go. Been lurking here since I got the car, glad to finally be able to join.
Have a good one.

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Re: '77 Malibu in Progress

Post by badbiscayne66 on Sat Nov 06, 2010 10:39 am

WELCOME!!
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Re: '77 Malibu in Progress

Post by Limey SE on Sat Nov 06, 2010 12:08 pm

Welcome aboard buddy glad to have ya aboard nice looking Bu you have there well on its way to kewl ride ................again thanks for Joining up here Limey


Last edited by Limey on Mon Nov 08, 2010 12:31 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: '77 Malibu in Progress

Post by JB2wheeler on Sat Nov 06, 2010 2:05 pm

Welcome. Nice ride. That is close to the color of my HHR. Pretty country there. JB
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Re: '77 Malibu in Progress

Post by Laguna Budman on Sat Nov 06, 2010 10:04 pm

Welcome, looks like you have a very nice car to start with.
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Re: '77 Malibu in Progress

Post by Psychlonic on Sun Nov 07, 2010 6:48 am

Thanks guys, but it's definitely one of those cars that gets worse as you get closer to it. There's some really bad cancer behind the rear passenger wheel and the other side has been replaced but it was with really poor quality steel so basically I have to chop both sides off completely and weld on all new steel. I can tell there won't be enough meat on the passenger side when I take all the rust off for bondo.

I've already had to replace the floor pans which had rusted through completely, I guess my aunt just had plywood there for the longest time since you could see through to the road! Yikes.
The paint job it's got now is mostly accidental and is chipping away. It was originally forest green but my cousin who races dirt track mixed together some black, gold, and whatever else he had on hand just so he'd have enough to cover the car and that's how it turned out.

I don't think anyone was really taking restoration very seriously on this car so there are a lot of quick fixes that were done and now I have to undo. The interior even worse of a mess, the old bench had rotted away really bad so it's got '79 Cutlass seats and carpet in there. The dash cap was taken off completely.

On top of this, the 350 that's in there now pushes around 450HP which fried the stock TH350 tranny that's been in there since day one. Because I was looking at the 700R4 swap anyways I went ahead and did that which I'm thanking myself for because it's a wonderful transmission with some aftermarket parts slapped in.

I'm taking some different approaches in how I'm going to work on this car. For one, I've been researching the ever-loving hell out of aerodynamics and think I've got a way to make it just as slick as a new car but also very subtle. This will include an undertray in the front reaching back to the crossmember, front spoiler, lowering a hair, rear defuser, and rear Z28-style spoiler. I'm also going to try to implement a front shutter system behind the front grill that works basically like the new Chevy Cruze, only mine will be vacuum controlled and form an angle when closed. The air will be deflected up through vents in the hood and will essentially make the front end as aerodynamic as the Laguna while retaining the Malibu style which I prefer.

Suspension will be severely overhauled as well. I'd do that first, but body work and the aerodynamic improvements will be going hand in hand and I want to get to work on the body so I can repair all rust damage now and get fresh paint on there before she erodes away more.

Thoughts on this?

Here's a comically bad photoshop edit I did of the car to give a really rough idea of the direction I'm going.


The port holes are not a sure thing if I get rice vibes from them they aren't going. I also couldn't edit it very well, but the idea with the bumper cover is to basically refab it so that the bottom half tucks inwards more sharply and the entire thing will be sunk into the front end deeper.
Curiously enough, sidepipes I suspect are going to improve aerodynamics as well. For one, they will help feed more air into the defuser in the back and second, even though air will drag that hits them, the bulging fenders should make this negligible and it will throw the air off easier than hitting the big back tires which have a lot of exposed surface.

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Re: '77 Malibu in Progress

Post by 1973montec on Sun Nov 07, 2010 12:32 pm

i like the concept.
but loose the port holes and add sport mirrors.

good luck Thumbs up
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Re: '77 Malibu in Progress

Post by The Dude on Mon Nov 08, 2010 10:43 am

1973montec wrote:i like the concept.
but loose the port holes and add sport mirrors.

good luck Thumbs up

X2. What he said.

You might be interested in checking out Doc's car for some inspiration as well. I know it's a Laguna, but your ideas are similar to his car.
http://rides.popularhotrodding.com/ride/1017032/doctorlarry/1976/chevrolet/laguna/index.html

Also, I dig the Quick Tricks. Thumbs up Not many people still rocking them.
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Re: '77 Malibu in Progress

Post by Psychlonic on Mon Nov 08, 2010 12:03 pm

I'm not very fond of the stock sport mirrors that came with these, but I'll keep a look out next time I'm in a junkyard for something that might look good.

Doc Larry's ride was a big inspiration. I stared at his rear spoiler build picture for a good hour scheming a way to make my own and think I've come up with a game plan for that. For the front spoiler I was thinking more of a 70s Z28 blade spoiler as I think that would look good and also stay within that era of styling. Of course, this will be another custom fiberglass job and I'm a bit nervous about it. I'm good with metal but I've never tried messed with fiberglass fab.

Anyhow, thanks for keeping an open mind, guys. I realize it seems rather unconventional but I'm not going to let it turn into a pile of whoa nelly with too much customization. Everything has just as much functionality to it has looks, but if it looks awful then it's not going to make it past the mock-up phase.

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Re: '77 Malibu in Progress

Post by Limey SE on Mon Nov 08, 2010 12:35 pm

Psychlonic wrote: I was thinking more of a 70s Z28 blade spoiler as I think that would look good and also stay within that era of styling. Of course, this will be another custom fiberglass job and I'm a bit nervous about it. I'm good with metal but I've never tried messed with fiberglass fab.

I have this type pre made like his if interested PM me and it could be yours it will not fit on my cutlass the lines are way different


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Re: '77 Malibu in Progress

Post by The Dude on Mon Nov 08, 2010 1:04 pm

Psychlonic, if you get really lucky, there were a few factory 77 Chevelles that made it out of the factory with front air dams & rear spoilers. They are extremely hard to find, but they are out there.

Fiberglass work comes to me easier than metal work. Not all that hard to be honest. OTOH, I can Arc weld & I'm good with the oxyacetylene stuff, but a mig has never been good for me. I say give it a shot.
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Re: '77 Malibu in Progress

Post by bigredlaguna on Mon Nov 08, 2010 10:43 pm

I think that the vents on the fenders would be a good idea if you are going to put a belly pan under the engine bay, unless you have an alternate way to vent the engine bay.
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Re: '77 Malibu in Progress

Post by abajc3 on Tue Nov 09, 2010 2:20 am

nice car and interesting plan!

what parts does the motor have in?

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Re: '77 Malibu in Progress

Post by Psychlonic on Tue Nov 09, 2010 3:42 am

Limey,
Really appreciate the offer, but it's not quite what I'm after and since I'd have to modify it I'll probably just go for junkyard donors instead. Those are cool and someone else will no doubt appreciate it, though.

Rago,
I wish I could find one of those! I had to replace my driver side door glass in March and I took a long shot at a couple larger wrecking yards I called around to, and they didn't know what I was talking about when I mentioned the S.E. Didn't bother after that.

As for the vents, I'm not positive they'd be necessary but now that you mention it they could be needed for ventilation. I had them up because even though I'm trying to seal the engine compartment, it's still very much open and a big goal is to reduce the lift at higher speed. As is, it's pretty ridiculous just passing someone on the highway. Can't be good on gas, either.

I can't claim the motor build as my own, my cousin built it up. No idea what most of the internal parts are, I know he's got a cam data sheet for it and I've been bugging him to send it to me but in the meantime I'm without a clue. What I do know is that it's got 2.02 heads, Edelbrock Performer intake, 650 Thunder Series carb, some old headers haha. Everything is port matched and polished, timing is perfect. Mallory distributor that he apparently ripped some internals out of - vacuum line is no longer necessary, I'm guessing he just didn't care about the cooling feature and wanted one less thing to go wrong.
But, he claims about 450HP and it definitely feel like it which is impressive on the carb/intake setup I think, but what do I know? I'd like to swap with the RPM air-gap and put on sidepipe headers down the road, but I don't want to invest too much time or money into that since as the cowl on the mock-up indicates, I'm wanting to do an entirely new build of my own with a supercharger. I have a block, crank, pistons and rods ready to go, but it's still going to break the bank. That phase may be the last to happen, and I'm trying not to get ahead of myself. Just getting ready to enjoy the body work which is coming up.

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Re: '77 Malibu in Progress

Post by Psychlonic on Mon Jul 18, 2011 12:03 pm

Alright guys, I'm currently in the process of trying to acquire a 73 Laguna front clip assembly and I've found one with a good price but it's got some really bad rash on the material and the chrome headlight trim seems to be missing.

Is the rubbery material on these repairable? Any solutions at all here can be considered, so long as it can hold paint and not crack all over the place within a year.

Second, is the chrome trim easy to get without having to get an entirely new front nose? I can live without the chrome, but I certainly want it.

These questions aside, my aforementioned undertray fabrication is just about finished and I'll be installing it then snapping pictures for anyone interested after I install some new tie rods. Actually this reminds me as well, if I were to get one of those bigger Trans Am sway bars, I'm wanting to go ahead and get polyurethane bushings for it. Will those bushings install easily enough in place of my old malibu rubber ones?

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Re: '77 Malibu in Progress

Post by Limey SE on Mon Jul 18, 2011 12:27 pm

Psychlonic wrote:Alright guys, I'm currently in the process of trying to acquire a 73 Laguna front clip assembly and I've found one with a good price but it's got some really bad rash on the material and the chrome headlight trim seems to be missing.

Is the rubbery material on these repairable? Any solutions at all here can be considered, so long as it can hold paint and not crack all over the place within a year.

Second, is the chrome trim easy to get without having to get an entirely new front nose? I can live without the chrome, but I certainly want it.

These questions aside, my aforementioned undertray fabrication is just about finished and I'll be installing it then snapping pictures for anyone interested after I install some new tie rods. Actually this reminds me as well, if I were to get one of those bigger Trans Am sway bars, I'm wanting to go ahead and get polyurethane bushings for it. Will those bushings install easily enough in place of my old malibu rubber ones?


What you need to repair the nose for the laguna ...



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Re: '77 Malibu in Progress

Post by Mcarlo77 on Mon Jul 18, 2011 4:18 pm

I think I know where there is a pair of headlight trim rings for a '73 Laguna. Will take a look this week if interested. If memory serves me right, they do have some pits in the lower corners. Better than nothing? Let me know.
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Re: '77 Malibu in Progress

Post by Limey SE on Mon Jul 18, 2011 6:03 pm

I have a spare just waiting to see which is better will know when I pick up nose in a week or so

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Re: '77 Malibu in Progress

Post by Laguna Budman on Tue Jul 19, 2011 12:34 am

Ok will make a huge deal! I have a 73 complete Laguna nose or a 74 that is ready to go if anyone is interested. Done with this Laguna crap! Will sell cheap plus the shipping. Also have xtra grilles. My Laguna will now be a CHEVELLE!
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Re: '77 Malibu in Progress

Post by Limey SE on Tue Jul 19, 2011 12:43 am

would you sell just the square turns mine have went MIA

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Re: '77 Malibu in Progress

Post by Psychlonic on Mon Aug 29, 2011 5:43 pm

Limey, thank you for the repair info. I ended up having to delay the front end a little longer, seems I had just enough power to destroy the original gears in my rear so I had to replace them.

This turned out to be a good deal though as I was able to go from 2.73s to 3.73s which really make the car scream with my 700r4. This is mostly a temporary config though that I did on used parts for next to nothing, I've got a guy here with an original Hone-O-Drive unit he's going to sell me. It's the type that goes directly onto a Furd 9" so I'll be picking up one of those with 4.55s when I find one that'll fit my car. The gears should effectively become a 3.08 or so when I hit the Hone-O-Drive so I'm pretty sold on the idea, having both massive acceleration and great top end. I'm planning to install a good air locker and weld on some coilover mounts when I do this, as well as upgrade the trailing arms and convert to rear discs. With some luck, this will all be done by spring.

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Re: '77 Malibu in Progress

Post by 77mali on Mon Aug 29, 2011 8:35 pm

Nice car, good luck w/ it Thumbs up
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Re: '77 Malibu in Progress

Post by Limey SE on Mon Aug 29, 2011 10:26 pm

NO prob buddy how about some Pics ?? Glad that helped yu

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Re: '77 Malibu in Progress

Post by Psychlonic on Fri May 25, 2012 12:54 pm

Not much has changed with this car visually in the past couple of years aside from some subtle grill work and wider tires all around. Some pictures from last month, anyways:





Don't mind the Laguna in the background, it'll get a thread about it eventually. Still have a ton of work to do on that one.



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Re: '77 Malibu in Progress

Post by 77mali on Sat May 26, 2012 8:43 am

Lookin good...nice view from your yard too.
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Re: '77 Malibu in Progress

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