1978 Chevy Malibu
Dan Millholland, Maryville, TN
Best E.T.: 7.55/93 (eighth-mile)
It's somewhat ironic that this Malibu wears a coat of Torch Red paint since it was originally a Chattanooga Fire Department car. After its service days were through, it eventually ended up in the hands of Dan Millholland's brother, who built it into a big-block-powered street machine. After retiring from powerplant operations four years ago, Dan began looking for a new toy, since he had time on his hands and his stable was currently empty. His brother offered the Malibu, and a deal was struck for $8,000.01-one penny over what it cost to build the car.

After losing a lifter, wiping a lobe on the cam, and damaging the crank with the debris, Dan pulled the basically stock 454, and decided to keep it street friendly, but make it a more fun ride at the local eighth-mile strip. Working in his garage with his friend, Todd Huffstetler, Dan rebuilt the big-block with oval-port heads, 9.5:1 Sealed Power pistons, and a Lunati cam. Behind that went a Turbo 400 upgraded with ATI internals and a set of 4.56 cogs in the 9-inch Ford rear. Since less rotational mass equals speed, Dan also upgraded to a lighter set of wheels.

All in all, the upgrades weren't expensive or extensive, but they served to both make the car his own creation, while making the Malibu much more fun to drive on the street, and capable of ripping off mid 7s in the eighth-mile.

WHERE THE MONEY WENT
'78 Chevy Malibu: $8,000
Wheels: $800
Tires: $620
Pistons and rings: $425
Valves, guides, seals: $250
Bearings and gaskets: $175
Machine shop labor: $480
Cam and lifters: $175
Pushrods: $100
Rockers: $180
Springs, retainers, locks: $155
Valve covers: $300
Timing set: $50
Intake: $195
Carb: $325
Air cleaner: $65
Distributor and ignition box: $300
Plug wires: $60
Mufflers: $120
Trans: $500
Torque converter: $200
Shifter: $175
Ring and pinion: $155
Seats: $270
Gauges: $600
Total: $14,675

BY THE NUMBERS
'78 CHEVY MALIBU
Dan Millholland, 54 • Maryville, TN
Total cost to build: $14,675
ENGINE
Type: Chevy 454 big-block
Block: stock GM
Oiling: stock GM pan, Melling pump
Rotating assembly: GM cast crank and rods,
Sealed Power forged 9.5:1 pistons
Cylinder heads: GM cast-iron oval-ports (049s)
Camshaft: Lunati 235/235-at-.050; .550/.550-inch lift
Valvetrain: Crane 1.7 roller rockers,
COMP Cams pushrods, Lunati springs
Induction: Edelbrock Performer RPM intake manifold,
Holley 750-cfm DP carb with Proform body
Ignition: MSD 6AL box, distributor, Blaster coil, and plug wires
Exhaust: Hooker Super Comp 2-inch headers,
dual 3-inch with Flowmaster mufflers
Output: 453 hp at 5,800 rpm
Built by: owner and Todd Huffstetler
DRIVETRAIN
Transmission: GM Turbo 400 with 10-inch 3,000-stall Daaco converter;
Hurst V-matic shifter
Rear axle: narrowed Ford 9-inch rearend,
4.56:1 gears, 31-spline axles,
Eaton limited-slip differential
CHASSIS
Front suspension: stock with Moog springs and Monroe shocks
Rear suspension: Competition Engineering 150 lb/in coilovers
Brakes: stock GM disc, front; Wilwood Pro disc series, rear
Rolling Stock
Wheels: Billet Specialties Street Lites, 15x4, front; 15x12, rear
Tires: M/T Sportsman S/R radials 26x6.00R15LT, front; 315/60R15, rear