For your everyday driver, you don’t need an engine with over the top performance parts. You can have a balanced, smooth, and long lasting car by using middle-of-the-road upgrade modifications. Take for example this 1965 Malibu shown in the video. It’s not loaded with special performance parts, but that’s exactly what makes it special. It’s affordable, reasonable, and made to be both a cruising commuter and a casual track car.
Under the hood is a reliability-delivering LS1 developing 500 horsepower. Behind that is a T56 transmission from sourced from a Viper, and the suspension parts are by Global West. While this car might not sweep wins at the race track, it can hold its own. The best aspect of the car is that you can be sure it will last for years to come with casual maintenance.
For a classic that’s been restored, it has a unique quality to it, and is a fitting example of what you want in a daily commuter or casual show car. As the owner Gil Alfonso said, “anyone can buy a new car, but not everybody can just go out and build an old car and go to the track with it.”
It takes a certain skill to fit the most optimal engine and parts into an oldie without going overboard. Common sense says if you have the budget, use the best engine, exhaust, suspension, and brakes available. However, if your not planning on giving your car continual upgrades and racing every weekend, an “average” build with an engine that won’t work itself to death is more than often the smartest way to go.
Many people who order high compression pistons and building an engine with 800+ horsepower sometimes have a hard time making it all work together. A vintage car needs to have a good feel to it. It’s the little touches that bring it together, and what makes this Malibu comfortable to drive and guarantee reliability. Big power is great for gearheads who are never done building their car, but when you want to stay in the versatile range of comfort and reliability while still bringing a fair amount of kick, moderation is key.