Blown LS-Swapped ’65 Malibu Performs as Good as it Looks!

Since the development of the automobile just barely lags our development as a nation, the automobile pretty much defines our lives, there has been a running joke about America’s priorities.

The day that couldn’t wait to be able to vote is long gone now we can’t wait for time to drive.

We will drive if the destination is only a few miles away in case the weather doesn’t seem to fit us, actually you kinda have to drive since it’s practically impossible to walk anywhere because pretty much everything built within the past 100 years is automobile scale.

We don’t have to get tired. We can just look around where we live and we can clearly see our priorities. We will sacrifice the looks of our most expensive investments, our houses, by erecting imposing shrines for our cars. But, the biggest irony is, we won’t park them in there but we’ll let our valuable cars sit on the driveway in the cold and wet for the privilege of packing those giant, blighted rooms with worthless old junk.

Pat Stauner can testify. “I had many new and nice vehicles over the years that sat outside so this car could keep its spot in the garage” he stated.

Judging by the way things are now, it’s justified. 

Until a few years ago his now LS-swapped 1965 Malibu was hardly more enviable than the plastic Christmas trees, tattered couches, and last season’s fashions that most people pack their garages with.

But his car story has to say something kinder about the priorities of us car people. 

Today this sounds so cheap but 3,500 that his boss at the gas station wanted for his ’65 Malibu to a kid in 1981 that was plain robbery. 

To secure the deal he leveraged a motorcycle and money he borrowed from his older brother.

 “After I bought the car, I knew I had to have a 427,” he adds.

He got that too a year later on a pump-jockey’s salary. Actually Pat was so dedicated to his Chevelle that he gave a warning to the cops that were eating at the dinner next to the station that he’d have to drive by with open headers because the mufflers he ordered didn’t come in on time. “‘I’ll give you a five-minute head start,’” he recalled one saying. “When I backed it out of the shop, he just shook his head and went back to eating.” Still, Pat took the long way home. “Nothing sounds like a big-block with open headers.”

But something funny happened over the years, Pat grew up, having the resources to make his love look like the car in his head, he asked his car-building neighbor, Korey Huenink, when he could take on another project. “I told him I’d be ready after he tore it down,” Korey said. “I just didn’t expect him to show up with it the next day!” 

Dustin and Korey smith started the work with the bones, they fortified the factory crossmember with additional tubes,3025 and Korey segmented the center section to make it drop out for transmission access. They then welded and ground the chassis seams and prepped it for a PPG urethane finish worthy of the car’s topside.

Front suspension consists of Global West tubular control arms and coils, QA1 double-adjustable dampers, ATS steering knuckles, and a DSE anti-roll bar. Pat decided to replace the slow and sloppy steering box with a fast-ratio Lee Manufacturing unit. Currie Enterprises built the Fab 9 rear axle. It boasts a 9-inch Ford-style gear case with a Detroit helical-style Truetrac limited-slip carrier and 3.25 gears. Another set of Global West rear suspension parts pins it to the chassis. As with the front, the rear rides on Detroit Speed coils and double-adjustable QA1 dampers.

To each axle is bolted a Boze Force wheel, the front bearing 18×8-inch and Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 235/40ZR18s, and the rear 18×9.5-inch with Michelin’s 275/40ZR18s. The big diameter accommodates something Pat said he deemed necessary: Baer 14-inch drilled and slotted rotors and six-piston calipers.

A Turn Key Engine Supply GM LS3 was his inspiration, but this one here exceptional, if there’s such a thing as an ordinary LS3, for it boasts Race Tech pistons, aftermarket rods, and an extra-special cam to make the most of the artificial atmosphere the Kenne Bell supercharger creates. Korey Huenink fabricated the intake duct that draws cool air through a screen in the driver-side wheel well.

The engine’s deep breathing inspired a set of 1 3/4-inch Eddie Whipple Motorsports headers. Those in turn feed 3-inch stainless pipes and 50-series Flowmaster mufflers that Brad and Rich Gortsema fit to the vehicle. Those pipes flank a Tremec TKO600 five-speed transmission. The Inland Empire built the 4-inch-diameter aluminum driveshaft that it feeds. It’s clear that Pat spent more on his old clunker than it’d cost to buy a new Corvette, But that simply wouldn’t be the same, something which he knows firsthand—he has a Z06, too.

And like one would expect he still has his priorities in order and the Malibu for sure gets a spot on the garage, but the garage has a spot for the Corvette and then some more. 

Because he had the foresight to buy a patch from the big city, he has many excuses to go for a drive.

But c’mon he can’t simply walk the dozen miles to the nearest market , duh!

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