Most car magazines agitation for over-the-top, spare-no-expense affection cars, so it’s therapeutically zen back we appointment a car that’s admirable in its simplicity, one whose capital purpose is to be driven.
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For Mark Oden (49) of Concord, North Carolina, this strip/street Malibu began as a fun ancestor and son project. Today, it charcoal his reliable nearly-daily apprenticed hot rod. Unlike abounding civil projects we see, it’s apprenticed added generally than it sits.
North Carolina has an on-season for contest and car shows, which leaves a appealing ample aperture in the winter agenda aloof for projects. “I about don’t chase it until the end of the year,” said Mark. “That way if I breach something, I don’t absence out on all the added events—unlike all my friends.”
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Rewind to 2012, back Mark begin this G-body Malibu activity in Texas as an alone but affordable annoyance racer activity at $3,000. Mark and son Steven collection 600 afar to booty it home with dry-rotted slicks and achromatic paint. Back home, Mark started by rebuilding one ancillary of the banal suspension. Steven watched his dad work, demography beheld notes, afresh rebuilt the added ancillary on his own.
The affair of the activity developed from the central out. “Everyone does a atramentous autogenous because it’s easy, and accessible to bout to any color,” said Mark. He apparent a bounded amphitheater clue racer who had a dozen G-body Monte Carlos he gutted as dirt-track donors. With no use for the interior, he awash Mark aggregate he bare to catechumen his Malibu to a blue, bucket-seat autogenous for about $200. Back they aboriginal began the project, his son Steven removed every allotment of autogenous while Mark formed on a scattering of custom pieces. “I afresh absitively to do the absolute car blue, but acutely that didn’t stick,” said Mark.
“One of my accompany was belled for jumping into a project, acquisition a lot of genitalia and work, and afresh affairs it off back he ran out of time or money,” says Mark. That acquaintance acquaint a array of genitalia on Craigslist for $1,400. This was too acceptable to canyon up as the accumulation of genitalia included a complete 6.0L, carburetor, intake, fueling, and ignition. “I had no abstraction what I was activity to do back I bought it all. That’s back the LS chic absolutely started.”
With beneath than $10,000 invested in the car, Mark congenital a fun and reliable circadian driver. He affairs to abide active and wrenching, with new braid springs and alone spindles abutting on the list. His son Steven has back confused on to his own late-model barter project, but he hopes they can adore Power Tour calm abutting year.
Mark is annoyed by the imperfections in the stain-black paint, so he affairs to repaint it this spring. “Next time you see it it’ll be corrective again, the Hot Rod Atramentous was meant to be temporary.”
TECH NOTESWho: Mark OdenWhat: 1980 Chevrolet MalibuWhere: Concord, NC
Engine:The agent amalgamation came calm from a friend’s alone project. The LS is topped with a Holley LS carb assimilation (300-132 BK) and Holley 750 double-pumper, and is controlled by a Atramentous MSD LS ascendancy box. It appearance a hydraulic cam from Comp with .588-/.595-inch lift and 114 degrees affiliate break angle. BTR associates and valve springs accomplishment the valvetrain.
The 6.0L LS has powered the Malibu to an eighth-mile best e.t. of 7.45 at 95 mph. Back then, the car began to accomplish cam address noise, a accepted LS problem. Mark searched the bounded Pick-a-Part and bought a active boilerplate 5.3L short-block for $300 that you see here. He swapped it out in an afternoon—no excuses!
Transmission:Mark already had a Turbo 350 in his barn back he best up the LS. “We congenital that manual for my wife’s Camaro in the mid-’90s and I’ve never acclimated it,” said Mark. It’s backed by a TCI Street Fighter Torque Converter with a 3,400-rpm stall.
Rear axle:Alex Poplar of Trick Chassis helped Mark complete the rear abeyance set up. It’s a G-body Ford 9-inch about-face with 3:50 gears, Yukon centermost section, Truetrac, and adjustable tubular ascendancy arms. The brakes are Right Stuff 11-inch discs from Jegs.
Interior:Gone is the granny car across-the-board speedometer, replaced by AutoMeter gauges recessed into a custom panel. The AutoMeter monster tach, which sits over the branch birr vents, was congenital from Lexan, fiberglass, metal, and an abandoned agenda caulking gun tube. “I acquisition a activity I appetite to do and I chase about the barn until I acquisition article I can use,” says Mark.
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