Super Chevy
Click here to find out more!

1980 Malibu LS Engine And 4L60E Tranny Swap - Light, Swift... And LS Powered?

We Modernize A 29-Year-Old Malibu With Some Electronic Goodies, Including An LS Powerplant And TCI 4L60E Trans.

By Mike Ficacci, Photography by Mike Ficacci

It seems that every time you open an automotive enthusiast magazine, you come across a first-generation Camaro LS-swap. They are everywhere and the fad is growing faster than this recession. And why not? No car of today can match the spine-tingling appeal of a '60s or '70s Bow Tie combined with the technological advances that an LS-motor provides.

It really is the best of both worlds--you can cruise the streets in a hot rod of yesteryear and make 600 hp with a smooth idle, great manners, simple computer tuning, fabulous miles per gallon, and all while stripping over excess tonnage off the nose. Back that up with an electronic transmission, and you will have bystanders drooling.

We, once again, hooked up with Tune Time Performance as they have opened their shop to our every need time and time again. Our donor hot rod isn't a '69 Camaro, shoebox Nova, or '57 Chevy; it's a car that every weekend drag racer has come to love, the '80 Malibu. Weighing in at close to 3,000 pounds, priced for the average enthusiast, and with a short wheelbase to boot, these Malibus make some of the best drag cars out there. Show up at any Friday night gamblers race and you're sure to see a few with the wheels in the sky.

We pieced together our LS with an LQ9 steel short-block out of an Escalade, Tune Time Performance cylinder heads, LS6 intake manifold, and custom-ground camshaft. To back the LS, TCI Performance Transmissions hooked us up with absolutely everything we would ever need for such a conversion, including its 4L60E electronic transmission, 3200-stall lock-up torque converter, transmission control unit, dipstick, crossmember, and much more.

Follow along as we rip off 30 years of rust and replenish life back into the '80 Malibu.

By Mike Ficacci
Enjoyed this Post? Subscribe to our RSS Feed, or use your favorite social media to recommend us to friends and colleagues!
Super Chevy