Harold Trout bought this '80 Malibu wagon because he needed a place to put his 650hp big-block. It measured 489 ci, and Harry spent good money filling it with the best parts he could afford. He was rewarded with good horsepower and 599 lb-ft on the dyno. These are numbers the engine could reliably make all day long on 93-octane gasoline (unlike in California, that's pump gas in most of the country). It just didn't have a home.
All he had at the time was a tubbed S-10 truck that already had a small-block Chevy in it. Harry seriously considered dropping the big-block into the little truck but just couldn't bring himself to pull the trigger. "When I calculated all the money I'd have to spend to get the truck to handle the power, plus the cost of the engine, it would have been a $40,000 S-10. All my friends would have laughed at me." In considering other options, he decided a Malibu wagon would be an ideal candidate. "You don't see many of those around here, and I like wagons," Harry says. So the search was on.
Four years later, he bought one. Why the delay? Partly because Harry had to save up some money, and partly because he didn't see a car he liked. Not for lack of trying, however. Harry tells us he was looking constantly. So, on the day this particular Malibu showed up on RacingJunk.com, Harry was on the phone with the seller. He flew a friend out to Pennsylvania to inspect the car for him, and a week after that, he flew this same friend back to the Keystone state, cash in hand, to purchase the car. The car was loaded onto a transporter and shipped to its new home in Minnesota.
Though he bought it as a roller, the previous owner did have a big-block in it, so Harry was able to drop his engine and trans in place right away. Even cooler, this 'Bu had already been 'caged, back-halved, and fitted with a 4.10-equipped Dana 60 sporting massive tires inside those cavernous wheeltubs, so the bulk of the work had already been done for him. Harry beefed up the Dana with a billet yoke, added a chrome-moly driveshaft, and dropped the car off at a local paint shop for the ghost flame job on top of the already good-looking refrigerator-white paintjob.
Harry finished the car just in time for last year's Car Craft Summer Nationals. He's only been down the drag strip once, but that pass apparently looked more like a John Force burnout. He's got a pair of slicks on the way and is looking for mid-11 second passes on the motor. After that, he's scheming up a two-stage, direct port nitrous system that will drop him deep into the 10s. We want to see this thing up on its bumper soon.
Who: Harry Trout
What: An ice-cold '80 Chevrolet Malibu wagon
Where: Chilly Brooklyn Center, Minnesota.
Engine: It's a big-block, and we love it. Wouldn't it have been cool if you could have ordered one this way in 1980? This engine is a fresh, 0.030-over, four-bolt main 454 with a forged Scat Superlight stroker crank. Eagle H-beam rods and JE 10.0:1 pistons fill out the reciprocating assembly. The Cam Motion camshaft specs at 252/261 duration with 0.615/0.605 lift. Manley pushrods and Comp Pro Magnum 1.7:1 rocker arms actuate the Ferrea Competition Plus intake and exhaust valves. The cylinder heads are Dart Iron Eagles that have been ported "quite a bit," according to Harry. An Edelbrock Victor Jr. intake manifold is topped with a Proform 950-cfm carb that is fed by an Edelbrock fuel pump drawing from a 16-gallon fuel cell. Brooke Erickson of Extreme Engines in Farmington, Minnesota, machined and assembled this brute. On the dyno, it made 650 hp at 6,400 rpm and 599 lb-ft at 4,800.
Transmission: For a short time, Harry had a Turbo 350 behind that engine. By short, we mean that it failed almost immediately. No worries, he had a willing TH400 from an '88 Chevy 1-ton van ready to go. With billet internals and a manual valvebody, this trans is up to the job of spitting out torque. A PTC torque converter and Rossler transbrake will be good for wheels-up launches.
Rearend: Billet yokes, solid 1310 u-joints, and a custom chrome-moly driveshaft from AA Driveline get that torque to a Dana 60 rear axle. With 4.10:1 gears and Strange axles, clouds of tire smoke are just a fact of life.
Exhaust: "The car is loud," Harry tells us, sounding almost apologetic. He said he draws a lot of attention from the law enforcement community wherever he goes. No need to apologize to us, Harry. We'd give you the keys to the city. His big-block soundtrack is amplified by Hooker Super Comp headers and Aero Chamber mufflers in a 31/2-inch exhaust system that ends in turndowns under the car.
Paint/Body: The Malibu was in excellent shape when he bought it, so Harry didn't need to mess with a lengthy restoration. All the original sheetmetal is intact, save for the Harwood fiberglass cowl-induction hood. A local paint shop added the ghost flames, and Harry decided to leave it alone after that. "I didn't want a crazy paintjob. I like white cars-like we had when I was a kid." Inside, the car looks mostly stock, too-well, except for the 8.5-second certified rollcage, racing buckets, missing rear seats, and larger-than-stock wheelhouses, that is. But we'd argue that this should have been the stock interior.
Suspension/Brakes: The front is stock. Ladder bars and a Panhard bar hold up the rear. Wilwood discs are under those rear tires.
Wheels/Tires: Weld Draglite wheels are on all four corners. They measure 15x5 up front and a whopping 15x14 out back. The tires are MT Sportsman, sized 26x7.5 and 33x19.5 respectively.
Thanks: Harry wanted to thank his nephew, Tyler Ricker. He couldn't have finished the car without his help.