For most people, true love – if you are lucky – comes once in a lifetime. For Mike Appio, he is one of the lucky few to find true love twice. Sparks ignited for a teenage Appio and a 1966 Chevelle Malibu Convertible years ago as he slid into the drivers seat of this beastly beauty for the first time. A love affair that parted ways, only to be rekindled years later.
After many life changing events, Appio was on a mission to live life in the now and pursue dreams he once thought lost. Bucket list item number one was to rekindle his love affair with the ’66 Chevelle Malibu drop top that had been his lost love.
The journey began to find the special ride and resume where they had once left off. After a tireless search, Appio came across a ’66 Chevelle Malibu similar in appearance to his first – where else but the worldwide web. There she was on eBay, gleaming back at him as the memories came flooding back of this special time in his life. Youth about to be recaptured, Appio snatched up the ’66 Malibu from without a second thought.
Shortly thereafter the work began to breathe new life into this neglected ride. With this build project, Appio wanted to create the look of the classic ’66 Malibu but with a modern feel . He found quickly that his new baby was in dire need of some tender loving care and it was going to be a monumental task.
As the Roadster Shop began the build, a donor ride was picked up to aid in the project. Beginning with the chassis, custom 10 gauge frame rails were fabricated along with utilizing proprietary geometry, the front suspension was upgraded to give the ride a modern smooth feel. Powering the ride is a Chevrolet big block 572 ci, backed by a Tremec T-56 Tremec Magnum 6-speed. Continuing performance enhancements, a hydraulic twin disc clutch and Edlebrock TD Victor intake was dropped in.
Giving the ride an angry rumble, the exhaust was upgraded to a custom 3.5-inch stainless steel exhaust with 40 Series Flowmaster mufflers. The custom ride also received brake and tire treatment, preparing the car for street and track performance. The Malibu is now producing 711hp with 733 lb/ft of torque, making it a beastly ride.
Staying with the era and maintaining the original look of the ride, the cabin received a facelift to bring it back to the classic appearance. Moving to the exterior this work of art was given a sleeper look in appearance with custom painting also completed by the Roadster Shop.
Upon gazing at his dream become a reality for the first time, Appio wept tears of happiness. A moment he will never forget. Not long after the ’66 Malibu made its first appearance on the show circuit it took home first place. In attendance that day was his step father, Steve Walker, who joined him with his own ride on this special day, taking home a third place in show.
It was a special day for many reasons for Appio, with the biggest reason being this was the first and only appearance father and son would share together with their rides on a sunny afternoon at the car show. Not long afterwards, Appio’s step father passed away. Father and son had been extremely close and both shared a love for the auto scene. Sharing the nameplate,“Wicked 66”, many great and humorous moments were spent busting each other’s chops over whose ride was the real Wicked ’66. Appio expressed his love for this ride in many ways is indescribable and intangible. A bond he feels for this ride much like a close family member that represent moments and memories forever frozen in time.
Appio continues to attend the local show circuit with Wicked 66 living his dream in the now showing sooner is always better than later. Appio’s Malibu is currently one of the top entries at RateMyRidez.