Nancy Camp’s 1966 Chevy Malibu convertible. Once upon a time it was a column shift Marina blue 283-motivated rag top; today, it’s fair to say that it has been transformed fairly completely – and into something that Detroit might have dreamed of, but never quite achieved back in the day. Nancy bought the car in 2009 and the condition of the car left a lot to be desired. The floors were rotted out, the interior was in shambles and all the glass was gone. While Nancy knew what she wanted – a 1966 convertible, no substitutes accepted – she also knew that a purely stock vintage Malibu wasn’t going to satisfy. So, thinking about what the car could be, she handed it over to Dean to sort out some modernization.
“My goal was to have a car that looked stock on the exterior but wasn’t,” Nancy says.” In my opinion, cars from the mid – to late Sixties are the most beautifully designed, but we all know their limitations in performance. No EFI, crap suspension, weak brakes, mushy steering and forget about decent handling. These cars went fast in a straight line, but that’s pretty much all they did. I wanted a car that did that, but also handled well, had great brakes and a performance element to the entire chassis.”
And indeed, the resulting contemporary build offers performance levels beyond what could have been achieved in 1966. It accelerates with the ferocity of a big-block while offering small-block economy and unheard-of clean tailpipe emissions – and it doesn’t have the cooling issues that would prevent Nancy from enjoying herself around her Phoenix-area home. It has a suspension that’s been sorted out for cornering, and it has brakes the size of factory wheels when it was new. In terms of all out and all-around performance, it goes so far beyond the original intentions of any vintage muscle car.
Suspension Geometry has come a long way in the last four and a half decades, and those lessons are all noticeable in the Roadster Shop’s complete A-body chassis. Anti-roll bars front and rear, C-6 Corvette spindles, tubular upper and lower control arms and AFCO billet coil-overs on all four corners. At the rear, a 9-inch Ford housing with 31 spline axles is secured by a triangulated four-bar. Pop the hood and what you see is not unlike what you would see under the hood of any new Corvette, an all-aluminum LS-3 pushrod V8 out of the GM Performance Parts catalog. Add in the “HOT CAM” option and the power range puts you at 480 net horsepower.
Of course the looks on such a car need to be updated too. The big and little Billet Specialties wheels (Front 18×8 and Rear 20×10) are fitted with Nitto rubber (Front 245/40r18 and Rear 305/35r20) to give the car its aggressive appearance and to make room for the jumbo Wilwood 14-inch cross- drilled rotors and four piston calipers.
Getting past the slammed stance and drive line, you’ll notice the body was treated a little more conventionally. The floor pans were replaced with reproduction items because of cancer, miner dents were hammered out and four coats of Evercoat Slicksand primer were sanded between each coat. Four coats of PPG Deltron VW Tornado Red and four coats of PPG clear were applied and sanded between each coat. Other than fit and finish theres nothing trick going on here. All the Chrome trim has stayed including the rear antenna.
The matching bright red interior, from seat vinyl to door panels to carpet are all from OPG’s and are all stock. Other than trading the bench seat for the buckets and a console for the purpose of shifting the Tremec T-56 6-speed and refacing the dash face with a custom made faces to house the Auto Mete gauges, new C/D stereo and Vintage air controls all the interior remains stock from its original appearance.
“Dean did a great job on the car- I cant say enough good things about him and his shop; they did exactly what I was after,” says Nancy.