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1970 Chevelle Malibu "400" Clone

80' 427

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Hi, long time no post.


So since I didn't have enough projects and wrecked my 74 malibu crew cab, I stumbled into a 70 malibu that after test driving with my wife she actually pushed me to buy (completely weird experience).

I had known of this car since grade school, when while my dad was picking up a repaired irrigation engine, I could just see the rear end in a rarely opened garage. It was on flat wide tires with likely Cragers or Keystones (my memory is a bit fuzzy). So fast forward to 2 years ago when I had posted a crusty 67 Chevelle ss 396 for sale on face book, stating I wished I could afford it. Shortly after I received a PM from my mom's cousin stating that they were selling a Chevelle. Long story short my wife told me we should buy it since it wasn’t a project like I normally end up with.


So about the car. It is a ’70 Chevelle Malibu in Black Cherry with some incorrectly painted D88 stripes. The car was built out of 2 cars in the late 70s. The owner wrecked his L48/M-20 malibu and swapped the rest into, what I can access as a base Chevelle. When I bought it, it had a mild recently rebuilt 350 and a M-21 that had been swapped in long ago (I think the numbers said “69 Camaro) in place of what would have been a M-20 and a 12 bolt with 4.11s Posi in place of the 3.31s. It is a bucket seat, no console car. Manual brakes and power steering.



The plan from the beginning was a fun family cruiser, room for kids and be reliable and reasonably safe. AC (which is currently doesn’t have), brakes, and fun to drive but not a race car. Early on I planned on cloning it to look like a “Malibu 400” which isn’t really a thing (but they have a web page). Basically in 70 GM decided that it would allow the 330 hp LS-3 in any Chevy A Body (Chevelle, wagon, El Camino). So basically, it was a “396” in a SS, a “400” in non-SS cars and in reality, a 402 in all configurations.



The drivetrain was the first change. The M-21 close ratio wasn’t as great as one would think and the 4.11s were a pain on the highway even with 255/70-15s. So I rebuilt my old 80 Camaro iron case Super T-10 with a 2.64 first gear that I broke drag racing before going to a braked 400. The gears and carrier were changed to a 3.55 posi. This made it much more street friendly but the sbc was pretty Meh.



Next I added a RCA mini input into the stock AM radio. This allows the AM to still work but I can play my phone or other AUX though the radio. It is mono still but works plenty good with 2 new high ohm speakes. I need to redo it so the jack is external to the radio because currently it is in the radio dial plate and has fell into the radio.



The next change was the motor. I had a very worn 79 454 that I received for free and originally put in the 74 malibu. It is a flattop pistons and when swapping into the 70 I added 215 heads with 92cc chambers, GM steel shim .022 gaskets for about 9.8 to 1, Erson E120721 .542*/.542* - 228*/235* - Lobe 110* cam, Harland Sharp 1.7 roller rockers, 3/8 push rods, ¾’ cheater valve covers, GMPP (Edelbrock Performer RPM Qjet), 454 marine Q-jet with mods to the cap jet, air bleeds etc, Hooker Comp headers, 2.5 exhaust wth dynomax turbos. All painted orange. Though it has a ring ridge big enough to tear off your fingernail, it doesn’t smoke, use oil and actually runs ok.



This summer the steps are:



-AC, Vintage air with a A6 to Sanden adapter to use the stock BBC compressor Bracket



-Disk front brakes, Looking at a Master Power Brakes with a manual master



-Line Lock, I have to do line work anyway for the disks, so it is time



-UMI lower control arm relocation brackets (I get a mild hop depending on tank level)



-Driveshaft loop, it will go to the track someday so just as well



-New tires, current 225/70-15 & 255/70-15s are from 2006 so I am getting new tires and going 275/60-15s



Eventually I will save enough to build a budget 496. I already have a gen VI 454 and a 4.25 stroke crank. The plan is stock rod length short block with 18-20 cc forged pistons, 265 AFRs, XR294HR cam, good oil pan, performer rpm q-jet and likely the same 750 marine carb. Something that runs hard to 5500 or so. Nothing crazy.



Then likely a TKX 5 speed.

How it came.jpg

new shoes.jpg

454 install.jpg

Help.jpg

400.jpg

454.jpg
 

Bent77

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Welcome back John!
 

warrpath4x4

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nice, one of my ex girlfriends dad had a blue and white 72 chevelle that he made an SS clone, clone or not they are still sweet cars.
 

ZooMad75

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Hell yeah! Nice Malibu! Doing great so far. Keep it up
 

80' 427

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So to give you more back story and explain a little of what I hope to get as "successful" pictures. The car was assembled and painted not a long time before the previous owner had life set in. So this resulted in many years as it shared the the 2 car garage with the family car. This resulted in a large amount of door and bicycle scratches down the pass side of the car. It wouldn't be so bad if the car had been sanded to bare metal but instead the underlaying "aztec gold" (Idk what it was called in a chevelle). This resulted in dozens of small gold specks that shown though the Black cherry. I started by trying regular black cherry touch up paint. I have a buddy that is the application specialist for PPG so he has been helping where he can. I have now tried touching in water based paint and it has filled much better and lays out better but doesn't fill (lots of and is flat. I tried touching over the paint with clear nail polish. The result now is a great 20'er but the clear is much higher than the base so I am working on knocking that down to base level then wet sanding it all with 1000-1500-2000-2500 then using a DA wax applicator with aggressive rubbing compound ( I will have to look what 3m it is) and finally mothers cleaner way. I did a few stops with sanding and it made a huge difference in the base paint. The idea is just to make it better not show car. I am not a painter or a paint guy at all and I have poor patience, so I expect less than professional results but a guy has to learn. Biggest thing to learn to stop messing with it and walk away.
 

USSkoval

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Good looking car. It's nice to see a Malibu still wearing the belt line trim. I also like the stock-ish looking engine compartment.
 

max 02

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I like them in the order of the pics.
1 2 3

Cool part is I assume he has all three sets so changing up the look is easy. And they all look great.

Nice Chevelle!
 

80' 427

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So to catch up. I added a few things and I am still waiting on some.

To start I bought a front disk set up with a new manual master, prop valve and disk stuff from Master Power Brakes. I don't know if it is better than anywhere else but I wanted to keep the brakes manual to allow what ever cam I wanted.

I also bought a new hard line kit form Inline tubing for the car but, actually only replace the front after finding the rear brake line to the rear axle goes up and over the frame and is bolted so the body must be removed to loosen. I also added a line loc because, well it was time and it is needed with a stick.

I also ordered a UMI driveshaft loop, but have yet to install it.

I ordered retrobelt seatbelts and installed them, no pics. it now has shoulder harness front and 3 lap belts in the rear. It was missing all the belts when I bought it so something had to be done for the kids and some racing. Belts for these cars are stupid expensive and these were cheaper. Not sure If I like these chinese belts but they have to be better than nothing or 50 year old sun bleached belts.

I ordered an AC kit from vintage air. It should have been here on the 14th of Aug but like everything it is delayed.

The tires on the car are old and the plan was to get new 225/70/15s for the front and replace the rears with 275/60/15s (currently 255/70-15).
A) tires are expensive, B) the z28 wheels are just 15x7s.

I have new drag radials on the Camaro that is out of commission, because I am lazy. So the thought was just put on the draglites from the camaro. The fronts are too short for my taste and the rear wheels don't fit at all. The outer wheel arch is actually sitting on the tires in the pic. So I would have to buy new rear wheels for them to work.

Marty had some extra vette wheels so I tried them with 255/60-15s. They look OK but the rear tires look too short to me. Plus I want my mods to be more day 2 and these wheels are too new. I would need center caps and I could swap the 275/60-15 drag radials on to them.

My favorite are still the 71ss/z28 wheels, but they are really too narrow for the 275/60 15s I want on the back. I like how it sits down over the taller tire and they fill up the wheel wheels better.

I am kinda stuck on what to do. Buy new tires? What size? Buy new 225/70 15 fronts and swap the 275s on the too narrow 15x7 z-28 rims? Buy new cooper cobra or BFG 275/60 15s. I also like American Racing torque thrust Ds (the gray cast centers) and the 200S but I am poor.

Finally I am piecing together a budget 520ci bbc for the car. I found a used 4.375 stroke forged BRC crank with center counter weights at my local machine shop for $150 that is good but needs a grind to 10/10. I ordered some H beam rods in 6.385 (eagles were all that were in stock), a Canton 13-330 oil pan and pick-up. For a block, I just bought a bunch of big block stuff. In that hoard was 3 blocks. A Feb 1970 512 4 bolt I have been trying to sell. A std 2 bolt '73 289 casting and a .060 over '75 595 2 bolt casting. My plan is to sonic check the 595 block and see if it will go .100 over. If not I will use one of the std 289s blocks I have (I already had one in the garage). Then order some pistons with 12cc domes from Racetech. The plan would be a mild hyd roller cam with solid roller lifters, 265 afr heads and likely a perf rpm intake with a 850-950 holley hidden under a stock air cleaner.

I am hoping for a honest 550-600hp at 5500-6000 and 600+ ft/lbs of torque. Something that will lug a 3.55 or higher gear with the 4 speed, spin the tires with ease and lug this pile to 11.99s but still make it to cruise-ins run ac etc. The heads are the hardest part to get currently so it may get 781s or some used aftermarket heads I can find if I get the short block finished and get too itchy.

Until next time, if the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.

chevelle drum.jpg

chevelle disk.jpg
 
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