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Old 01-23-2014, 09:17 AM   #1 (permalink)
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A lot of this was partly inspired by Murilee's **** Impala series. I had the car before that, but hadn't quite figured out the direction I wanted to take with it, and then I came across his "art car" proposal and it dawned on me..... I'm going to turn that little old lady sedan into that bad-guy getaway sedan from the 1970's (and early 80's) media. This will be posted in a few different parts (same thread) as the car goes from worn out malaise sedan to something far more sinister. Part 1. Why the F*** did you buy that? The summer of 2010 was coming to it's last few months. I'd been stuck working at a RV dealer for about a year now after graduating college in one of the worst economic downturns. I was on my way to a job interview down in the south part of the city, you know, the crummy part, and I had gotten down there with plenty of time to spare. After the interview I drove around the corner to check out a old tan Malibu I had seen on the way in. See, I had received a just-about-mint condition 1979 Malibu coupe from my mother when I was younger. She bought it new, it was always the family's 3rd car that mostly sat in the garage, and became mine when I turned of age. Factory 4spd car, I re-did the engine. This isn't about that car though, but I love these cars, and I'll go as far to say that when it comes to the general construction of the vehicle and the chassis, the late 70's GM A/G bodies were some of the best cars ever made. Full frame, front A-arm suspension, roomy and comfortable, but light. So I had to check this little gem out. V6, automatic, tan bench seats, 99k miles. Worn but solid, unmolested, and priced at $2,500. I got the job and I was making a considerable more amount of money then my last gig, my new commute right through the city was awful, and the first year I had my 06 Liberty CRD I put nearly 20k miles on it. I needed a good daily driver, something cheap, and cheaper to keep running. Something I could work on myself. Then I remembered the car I saw a little over a month back. It was one of the last Fridays in August, I went by the lot after work. The man selling it said it was his son-in-laws mother's car. She had gotten to old to drive it. The faded paint, which itself was a cheap re-spray job from some years back, had collected that black moldy stuff that you usually find on cars that have been sitting more then moving. Took the car up the road some, everything seemed OK. It ran a bit rough, A/C was dead, but not bad. The price went down to $2,250 (everybody said I over paid) I went to the bank, got the money, and drove that car home that night. Everybody though I was nuts, but then again, buying some old piece of junk and bringing it home was nearly a yearly thing with me. Some new plugs and wires, an oil change, radiator flush, cleaned up the intake some, and it was running great. I now had my new daily driver. Next up. Part 2, the first year, or, can you really drive a 78' Sedan everyday in this modern era?
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Old 01-23-2014, 10:57 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Looking forward to Part II
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Old 01-23-2014, 09:13 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Part 2; Year one. Beyond some of the basic maintenance stuff I mentioned previously, I did a few immediate upgrades to the car. The old speakers had disentegrated, and got replaced. The car was ordered with a 4-speaker stereo setup (which was a huge upgrade from my other Malibu's factory 1-speaker system). I also added your typical CD player. I also replaced the shocks, which made a huge difference. I also took some polish to it, cleaned it up real good. The car worked out pretty well as a daily driver. It took the rough city roads and I-95 like they were nothing, I got about 20mpg, and it was a comfortable ride. Nobody was really convinced any of this was a good idea yet, so I decided to take it a step farther and take my first trip down to my hometown, thanksgiving day, which is when this picture was taken.┬* Everybody was betting on my breaking down, but the car made the few hour trip with ease. The next few months were pretty boring. Some simple stuff broke, like the fuel pump started to leak, but it was a $25 part and took less than 30mins to install. I also had a fuel line leak and dump a half tank of gas in my work-place parking lot. The gas lost cost more then new fuel line and clamps. The choke went crazy for a bit there, but anything that broke wasn't something I could fix on the fly, like say in front a toll-booth, and it never left me stranded. I had to pull the dash apart and re-tighten some of the gauges, had to replace a head-light switch. But nothing was ever that big of a deal. Several months went by. We moved out of the city into a rural area, and once we got settled in I decided to start doing some of the restoration. First was the interior. Some of the pieces were disintegrated, most of it was faded. Luckily GM products on this platform are pretty common, so some standard junk yard digging netted some decent grey A-pillar covers and door panels out of a early 80's Buick regal. The rear Buick door panels had a swatch of very-fake wood trim on them that my Malibu didn't; swanky. Everything got sprayed with vinyl and plastic black paint. Then there was the headliner. It was disintegrated and I had a vision while bumming down the road in the car with Eric Clapton's 461 Ocean Blvd. on the stereo; palm trees. So I searched out some fabric on the internet and came across a line of Tommy Bahama outdoor-use fabric. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves; Also around the same time I was booking it to work at 90mph when I had one of the old dry-rotted tires spring a leak out of the sidewall. Luckily, it went flat in like 5mins, not 5secs, and I didn't die. Still, it looks like these old tires were shot, and because I keep/hoard everything, I had a set of black steel wheels from my other Malibu. I also painted the grill black at the same time to match the new wheels. The car was starting to come together. At this point, I was not only driving the daily, I was driving it nearly all the time. It made the perfect car for inner city, driving down to the river for the day, battling it out in suburbia parking lots. The bums would leave me alone on the corners, the gangsta types gave me their little nod of approval as I rode by, the yuppies kept their distance and dare not challenge me for the right-of-way, and even the hipster kids couldn't help but notice this old car coming down the road. There was far more traveling in the car too. Running back and forth from my hometown, taking day trips. The first year I had it I put nearly 10,000miles on it, and best of all, that was 10,000miles I didn't put on my newer fairly nice Jeep; mission accomplished. Still, this isn't quite what I had envisioned. That didn't come together until the 2nd year, when one morning some unlucky ******* would rip off the front end of his Honda CRV with the side of my Chevy.
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Old 01-24-2014, 05:38 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Great series of posts. I can't wait to hear more.

Were I to do something like this, I'd probably grab a 1981-85 Volvo 244 sedan with a stick and use it for an occasional driver. I was driven around in a Volvo 240 as a small kid and would not mind having one as an affordable classic.
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Old 01-26-2014, 06:32 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Loving it. I was hoping Murilee's Impala **** Project would inspire other people to do something to a car that spoke to them. I've thought about "unmarked car" tributes (UNOFICL) or adding useless brougham-y accessories to a vehicle, but hey you are actually doing it.┬*
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Old 01-27-2014, 12:00 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Fun read. ┬*Wish I could see the pictures full size, this forum is using some Java that my Mac hates. ┬*Honestly, why do you need Java to link to a pic?
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Old 01-27-2014, 09:57 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I'm using a regular computer, and still can't see pictures full size, even though I posted them under something like 300X400. When I went to post them, they showed much bigger while typing everything up. Something with the forum I guess, and it's a shame.



getting around to part 3, probably tomorrow.
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Old 01-30-2014, 07:54 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Alright, part 3 is a little late. I spent Tues checking out a 1964 Chrysler Imperial. Long story short, the description and pictures didn't match the actual condition of the car.┬* Part 3: A new coat of paint. I was well into steadily driving the car now, even in winter. Me and my wife were headed out to get groceries one morning, it was about mid-March. The roads weren't very busy as it was weekday mid-morning. As we passed through the intersection I felt the car slightly shake accompanied by a loud noise. I looked back in my mirror, I didn't see anything in the road, then I saw a new Honda CRV sitting back at the intersection with half it's front end ripped off. The man in the Honda was in the turn lane, who had a red light. As I drove by him he turned right into my moving car, where my rear door, 1/4 panel, and eventually the part of my rear bumper that slightly sticks out, ripped off the front end of his car. The police came, no real drama. They wrote him up, we exchanged information, and we continued with our errand. A few days later the adjuster came out. I was afraid they were going to total the car due it's age. Nope, they cut me a check for about $1,300 for the damages. Now, I was at a crossroads. A few months earlier my wife had lost her job, and while I was fortunate enough to scrape us by on my job alone, we were still in a bit of a bind. I could leave the car as is, and just let it slip into beaterdon, or I could take this opportunity to do what I really wanted with the car. Luckily for me, I knew somebody who owned a local body shop. I removed all of the trim, grille, etc. I gave him some of the insurance money to fix the damage caused in the accident, while I used his shop to fix some of the other small dings, spots of surface rust, and the large dent in the roof. I'd go over for a few hours before work everyday, do a little bit of body work on a section, and after I left he'd go back over to smooth it up right. After a week of that I took the car home, started to tape off the rest of the windows, trim, lights, etc. Then drove the car over to Maaco. I didn't take the cheapest paint option. It was the in between option, the car, and the trunk, for a little over $500. The paint job turned out fairly well. For the money, it's hard to complain. Here is a picture after the work was completed with my other Malibu. I'd like to think of them of the good buys vs. bad guys car. One, lightly colored V8 coupe. The other, a dark understated sedan; Even after the work was done, I still pocketed a little over $100. So, thanks to one fateful morning and a man who didn't look before cutting out of the turning lane, my vision was more completed then ever.
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