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Reader Rides: 1972 Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu



Jim Douglas

Home Town
Pine Island, MN


Year, Make & Model
1972, Chevrolet, Chevelle Malibu

How long have you owned this vehicle?
7 years

Where/how did you find this vehicle
"Bad Bowtie"
The car started life as a bench seat, 350, 4 speed Malibu with 67,000 miles. I liked it as I can fit the whole family in it. We got the car back in 2004 from an Akron, OH gentleman who had a 496 in it, blew it up and had a dream to make it a 540. For health reasons he could not finish it, but had 95% of the parts, a 540 built, and a TH400 to go behind it.

It sat for a few years before I had the funds and the time to finish it up. A few years ago I took the car to a “hotrod place” to finish it up. (A friend and I got the engine and tranny in, but that was it…) To make a long story short the “hotrod place” fired it up without priming it and it did not live long.

(I have learned a very valuable but costly lesson from this experience… First “hotrod places” charge a ton of money and are not really that good at something that is not a ground up where they use their parts that they are familiar with. They actually build cookie cutter hotrod cars from an engine, electrical & drive train perspective.)

Looking back I am grateful I took it there as believe it or not there was more positive than negative. First, I can say I am very happy for all the help people gave to help me solve problems and issues. After the engine mishap my son JJ (10yrs old) was fired up to get it done. He helped in the whole process and I could not have gotten it done without him. I also had a good friend Tim help with engine and tranny install and I am grateful for it. This was my first experience putting together a car and had a lot of fun doing it and my son was great. It was a great father son project & I do not think I would have ever got it done without his help and passion to work on it. Our plan was to build the ultimate stree/stip car. Courrently my wife and I can take all our 4 kids out for a cruise and/or the strip. Its only drawback is it love for gas. JJ and I love taking it drag racing.

Any projects planned for this vehicle in the future?
Hydroboost brakes, possible cage (really do not want to cage it as it will be hard to get on the back seat), Change stall to 4400RPM

Has this vehicle won any awards?
Only went to 1 car show. Took 3rd best modified in Stewartville, MN

Have you raced it? If so, where and when?
We take it to muscle car day Rock Falls, WI and test and tunes Cedar Falls, IA.

Best quarter mile time
10.99 @ 125.3MPH

Power Train

Engine size and Horsepower
557 BBC 758HP @6000RPM 720ftlb @4900RPM

Tell us about any engine modifications
557 BBC
-Merlin II 4.5 bore
-Callies 4 3/8" 4340 crank
-Callies H beam 4340 rods L19 bolts
-Mahle pack forged 4323 pistons 8cc dome
-AFR 335CNC heads 112cc chambers with Jessel shaft mount rockers
-ISKY EZ rollMAX "no needles" lifters
-Merlin SP intake
-Holley 1000HP carb
-Custom Lunati cam designed by Harold Berkshire.
-Lemons headers and Flowmaster 40 3" exhaust
It was all assembled & dyno'd by Sput's Performance.

Transmission Type and Modifications
-TH400 built by Burt Brown Racing Transmissions (Straight Cut gears normal
Valve body)
-Pro Edge Converter @ 3200 stall
-Gear Vendors OD

Rear axle ratio and modifications
-Strange Dana S60 with Detroit Locker, 4.10 gears, Wilwood disc brakes
-Denny's Nitro custom Driveshaft


Stock Strange SA shocks

AFRC rear adjustable upper and lower control arms, Spohn ARB, Strange SA shocks

stock discs front, Wilwood disc brakes rear


Wheels and Tires
Welds wheels, M/T drag radials.

Tell us about the vehicle's unique options or features, either factory or aftermarket

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