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1978 Chevy Malibu - 11-Second Fun for 4K

Eric Solomon's '78 Malibu

Tech Notes
Who: Eric Solomon

What: '78 Chevrolet Malibu

New parts: The new parts included 4.11:1 gears and a new Jegs diff cover, the kind with the bolts that preload the caps. Eric thinks the cover has been saving the 7.5-inch 10-bolt from destruction. The most expensive new part was the 5-inch cowl hood from Glasstek, but he wanted it. Instead of buying lighter hood springs, he simply unwound the stockers one turn and reinstalled them. The 90/10 Lakewoods and the Competition Engineering rear three-way-adjustable shocks are new, as well as the Moroso trick springs—these parts were key in getting the car to hook. Eric also bought a set of adjustable upper control arms from so he can adjust the pinion angle. He also bought a set of antihop bars that raise the mounting point of the upper arms to move the instant center.

Used parts: "In Kentucky, the junkyards are different. No concrete, there are weeds, mud, cows, and snakes." The wrecking gods produced a complete rearend housing with a GM limited slip, and the swap meet delivered the 3310 carb, the Weiand X-celerator manifold, and the '73-'74 Vega manual steering box. Eric found the original M/T valve covers in his neighbor's basement.

Homemade: The Malibu isn't an AC-delete car—the fiberglass was sawed off and re-formed with Bondo fiberglass filler. Eric also built his own crossmember out of 2x3 square tubing and pulled the sway bar, crash bars in the doors, and sound insulation to save weight.

Rollers: The wheels are Weld Drag­lites that were a Christmas gift. The rears are 15x8 with 3.5-inch backspacing to fit the 28x12.5-15 M/T ET Streets. The fronts are standard 15x4.5s with VW 165 tires.

Cheap: Eric had a machine shop retouch the valve seats and reface the valves, check the deck, and bore the block 0.040 to fit the pistons. The rest of the rotator is stock. The cam is a Comp Extreme Energy solid flat-tappet with 0.510 lift and 236/242 duration at 0.050.

Carb: Eric used a Proform body to soup up the carb. It adds the four- corner idle circuits, screw-in air bleeds, and a measure of control of the carb.

Trans: The last speed trick was to add a shift kit to the TH400 and buy a 3,500-stall-speed converter. "I wanted a stall around 3,000 to get the car moving, but I knew I needed a loose converter to get there with that engine," Eric says.

Best e.t: 7.69 at 86 mph

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