When automotive painter Jeff Weihe refers to his '69 Malibu as "The Blueberry," you might wonder if he's been inhaling a few too many paint fumes. After all, the only blue on this Pro Street beast is the Bow-Tie on the grille. The body is Hugger Orange, the graphics are yellow and purple, and the interior is some sort of cream color. So what gives?
Jeff tells us that the name dates back to 1996, shortly after he bought the rust-bucket Malibu. "It was blue and it was just a bomb when I got it," Jeff says. Shortly after the purchase, a magazine referred to Jeff's other A-body-a show-winning '69 SS396-as a "real cherry Chevelle." After reading that, Jeff sarcastically remarked that if his red car was a cherry, his blue project must be a blueberry! The name caught on around the Louisville, Kentucky, shop where he works (Rodger's Body Shop, which is owned by Jeff's father), and has stuck ever since.
The color isn't the only thing that has changed on the car since Jeff started its frame-up rebuild. In fact, few parts on the bright orange machine remain unaltered. The chassis is a perfect representation of that fact. Tom Moore takes credit for the rollcage and back-halved frame, which features a four-link rear suspension, a narrowed 9-inch rearend with Strange axles and 4.86:1 gears, and 15x15-inch Weld Pro Stars wrapped in Goodyear slicks. The front suspension has simply been cleaned up and rebuilt, and now spins 15x5-inch Welds and BFGoodrich rubber.
Power for the Pro Streeter comes from a 482-inch big-block backed by a Turbo 400. Built by Kroeger's Automotive, the Rat relies on forged rods, Weisco 12:1 pistons, and a high-lift Lunati cam to help it provide plenty of grunt. An Edelbrock intake and Barry Grant carb handle induction, MSD components provide spark, and Hooker headers send the exhaust out through Flowmaster mufflers.
The Malibu has seen plenty of sheetmetal surgery, all of which was handled by Jeff, his father Rodger, and the rest of the crew at Rodger's Body Shop. The new quarter-panels feature extended wheel openings, while an Unlimited Products fiberglass hood now covers the engine compartment. In addition, most of the trim has been shaved and the engine compartment and firewall are completely smoothed. Jeff is responsible for the PPG Hugger Orange paint job, and Danny Taylor takes credit for the yellow and purple graphics.
The metalwork continues on the full custom interior, where the smoothed dash is filled with Auto Meter instruments and accented with striping by Gary Constable. Stitching on the custom seats, door panels, console and fully upholstered trunk is the handiwork of Scott's Jr. Custom Interior.
It took three years to transform this once-rusty hulk into an attention-grabbing, show-winning Pro Streeter. But according to Jeff, it's probably going to take a lot longer than that for the orange beast to lose its blueberry nickname.