Car Craft
Click here to find out more!

Patrick Topolinski’s ’79 Chevy Malibu

What Started As A Small Project Car To Give Students A Way To Get Hands-On Experience Rapidly Evolved Into One Of The Major Players In The Nmca’s Factory Street Class

Photography by

A project car often leads to a number of things. It can create a bond between friends and family.

Sometimes it’ll break the bank. Or, in the case of Patrick Topolinski, an instructor at the School of Automotive Machinists (SAM) in Houston, Texas, this ’79 Malibu project car has lead him and his SAM students to haul ass. What started as a small project car to give students a way to get hands-on experience rapidly evolved into one of the major players in the NMCA’s Factory Street class. That’s where we saw the big bad ’Bu in action back in January at the NMCA season opener in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Factory Street has a number of restrictions, but the ones that stand out the most are those that require cars to use factory production cylinder heads and to run on radial tires. It’s not hard to figure out that mixing big horsepower with traction-limited rubber could easily overpower the tires and result in slow and inconsistent e.t.’s. But that’s not the case for this ’Bu. Patrick and the SAM team spent beaucoup time researching different combinations on the dyno, the flow bench, and at the dragstrip to produce a car that can run 9s at close to 140 mph. As impressive as that is, Patrick says, “It’s not just about the horsepower and driving. It takes a dedicated team effort to get you through the rounds of racing, because without it, you’ll never get a chance at a win.”

Enjoyed this Post? Subscribe to our RSS Feed, or use your favorite social media to recommend us to friends and colleagues!
0 comments
Car Craft