Home-Built Hero: Chris Silver’s ’78 Malibu Epitomizes A Cool Cruiser

It usually takes a family member, or at the very least, a close friend to help shape our ideology of what car brand or model we enjoy. If your dad was a fan of Chevrolet’s Camaro, then you probably are as well. But, as generations progress, the model of car that we enjoy becomes decidedly different. Take for instance the late-’70s Malibu. While it might not be considered a collectible by many, for Chris Silver, it’s still his hot rod of choice.

“I guess my love for these cars came when I was very young,” said Chris. “My grandparents on both sides of my family had Malibus when I was younger. One was a ’78 and the other an ’81.”

Malibu

Chris definitely went all-in with the rebuild.

The story with Chris’ current ’78 Malibu started one evening when he was on his way home from work. “I started down the street, and when I rounded the corner from home, this car was parked in a yard with a for-sale sign in the windshield,” Chris affirmed. “I’d never seen it before, and the owner had just put it out an hour before I stopped in. It was solid and it was immediately mine.

Chris drove the car for the next two summers and did a few repairs and upgrades to it during that time. Finally, in the fall of 2000, he felt the car deserved a refresh, and it was taken apart. “I was talked into taking the body off the frame by some friends,” quipped Chris. With the help of those friends, the bodywork was done, and the car was repainted.

Chris didn’t give us many details about the engine, but he tells us there is a small-block 383 under the hood with a Turbo 350 behind that. Chris did tell us the car currently has a 7.5-inch rear with a 3.08 gear, but he will eventually have a 12-bolt built for it.

Malibu

“I found the original material for the seats that matched the original door panels,” Chris said. “All of the interior plastic was redyed and installed.

“This is the fourth summer my family and I been enjoying my baby,” said Chris. “Whether it’s going to car shows, cruise nights, or just going out to have some fun, this car is a part of my family and a part of me. I love cars and have since I was a very young child. This car is the one I’ll always have.”

malibu

Chris finished by telling us that even though he occasionally hears, “it’s too new” or “they are just as good,” it doesn’t matter to him. “A real car guy builds what he likes and loves, and that’s what I’ve done,” added Chris.

Do you want to read about more Home-Built Heroes? All you need to do is click here. If you own a Home-Built Hero, we want to hear about it. Since we’ve started the series, we have received more than a few candidates, but we still want to see more – we can never get enough. If you want to see more cars built by you the readers, send us a few pictures of your car showing the engine, interior, and exterior, along with all of the pertinent information, and we’ll make you Internet famous. You can send your submissions to [email protected].

About the author

Randy Bolig

Randy Bolig has been working on cars and has been involved in the hobby ever since he bought his first car when he was only 14 years old. His passion for performance got him noticed by many locals, and he began helping them modify their vehicles.
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