There always appears to be a driving force behind many of the project cars we feature. For Randy Minnix, of St. Augustine, Florida, that driving force was to build a car with the body lines of a previous era. But he also wanted something that could be driven on a daily basis, with the option of an occasional car show scamper.
The boxy style of '64-65 Chevelles appealed to Minnix, so he started searching for his new baby. He found what he was looking for: a donor '65 for $4,200. It represented a good, bare bones starting point for the restoration, as the car came without a motor, transmission, rear end, or interior.
The work process started with the body being taken off in the spring of 2004, and ended with a trip to the Gainesville, Florida, Super Chevy Show about 18 months later.
With the hood popped, the thing we immediately noticed was the show-quality engine bay. It holds a marine-grade 454 big-block that was worked over by Paul Vandiver Motor Works, of Gainesville, Florida, with a .060-overbore, raising displacement to 468. The mill has also been balanced and blueprinted. GM cast-iron square port heads were employed in the engine buildup, along with a Holley intake, a Barry Grant Street/Strip Demon 750-cfm dual pumper, Speed-Pro 9:1 pistons, and a Comp cam. Minnix figures the motor is making somewhere north of 500 hp, but hasn't had a chance to make a dyno run yet.
Other engine bay highlights include a Griffin radiator, which keeps motor temps out of the red, GMPP aluminum valve covers, an MSD ignition, and a March serpentine belt system.
Fumes from the cylinders are transmitted toward the rear through 2 1/4-inch Hooker Super Comp ceramic-coated headers, which are in turn connected to an awesome Flowmaster 3-inch exhaust system. Also at the rear of the car is the Currie-built 9-inch rear, with 35-spline axles, 3.50 gears, and a Detroit Locker limited-slip. The big-block is mated to an '84 Chevy R700 transmission with four forward gears, and was assembled by Joe Curbie.
On the sprung/unsprung side of things, Minnix went with front Superior 2-inch-drop spindles, GM A-arms, and Monroe shocks. In the rear, Koni shocks do their work with Hypercoil springs. The rear also holds a Morrison 4-link kit, installed by Minnix and friend Jack Studeville, which helped facilitate the tubbed rear.
Wheels are American Racing Torque Thrusts-7x15 up front and a monster 14x15 rear (4 1/2-inch backspace). Goodyear rubber wraps the front wheels (215/70/R15), and Hoosier directional radials envelop the rears (31x18.5R15LT).
The interior was also completely refurbished. Old City Upholstery redid the GM factory black leather and custom installed the matching black carpet. Dolphin gauges adorn the custom RodDoors console, and the Lokar shifter sits perfectly above the leather shift boot. Minnix also added a GM cassette deck, which only adds to the interior appeal of the Malibu.
The exterior was almost entirely shaved of door handles, emblems, and other miscellanea, giving the car a "more subtle" look. The car is covered in a '93 Mitsubishi variant of Denver Silver Effect paint, sprayed by Jimmy Ammons of Auto Creations in St. Augustine. It just so happens that Minnix and his wife, Dawn, own a vinyl decal company, and did the custom artwork "emblems" at the corners.
Minnix's idea of building a clean-shaven Chevelle Malibu appears to have paid off. The hardest part Minnix had in the buildup was getting the correct stance-and making the rear tires appear factory-like, rather than the pro-street hot-rod look.
"I must have had the tires on and off like 50 times," Minnix said.
We were definitely fooled, up until we pulled the '65 out to take some pictures. After one of his massive burnouts, we all ran over to see where the hell all the smoke was coming from. Minnix just stood and laughed, and we looked at the massive tires in awe, as he had just tricked some of the best in the business.