80 Malibu Wagon

Well its 3:10am and I am bored out of my mind at work, very slow around here lately. So I figured I would type up some info on my next project.

It’s a 1980 Malibu wagon, previously converted to a turbo regal drive train. It was my friend Jim Dunn's daily driver / race car for about 6 years, and has been sitting outside under a cover for about 2.5 years as a roller, no motor/trans. I have always liked the car, and in talking we agreed on a price. I am buying it as a roller should have all the $ to Jim in the next few weeks, and will be putting it back together, and giving it a little TLC to bring it back up to snuff after sitting for awhile.

I picked up a used stock motor for the car on Jan 18th, I have been working since collecting performance parts and new sensors I wanted for the project to make it a nice driver and reliable, I have rounded up almost everything I need but still looking for a few things.

So far with a few brakes in the winter weather I was able to clean, degrease, & pressure wash the motor. I broke it down to the long block assembly and got a coat of low gloss black plasticoat paint on the block and heads and that’s the way the motor sits for now.

Since things had been slow at work, I had some free time while on shift so I was able to get some things done here. Over the last few weeks while on weekend nights I ported the stock turbo inlet/comp housing, ported the exhaust elbow for a bigger turbo in the future (this is a fender dump elbow), slightly ported the stock TB, port matched the stock plenum, opened up the stock manifold ports up to match the felpro gaskets, and also opened up the cross over connections on the manifolds & smoothed out the jagged pipe connections inside the manifolds, repaired the cracked drivers side header with a gusset and 1/8" stainless diaper welded over the gusset. I cut the turbo shield to clear the fender dump elbow, degreased, cleaned, and painted all the nuts and bolt for the motor, and machined wastegate hole larger to accommodate the larger puck in the elbow.

Friday I went to my friends shop to use his sand blast cabinet to clean up the parts for the motor so I could paint everything. He does industrial painting & powder coating and has been slow due to the economy, long story short instead of me bead blasting & spray painting the parts everything will be powder coated. I could not beet the price, and I didn’t have to do anything and he makes $ a win-win for both of us.

For the motor upon breakdown everything inside was very clean, nothing on the pickup or in the pan, minimal ware in the timing chain, and a nice tight thrust bearing, so as long as the rear main bearing looks good when replacing the rear main seal I am just going to use the assembly as is with the exception of installing new ported front cover/oil pump & front seal, new GM timing set, 90lb valve springs, new intake seals, new water pump, real main seal, etc...

I'll be running a low 12 / high 11 sec combo: 009's, accufab adjustable regulator, turbo tweak chip, stock ported turbo (for now), dutt big neck stock IC, 3" MAF pipe with K&N cone filter, 3" kirban style down pipe, fender dump, ATR 3" single shot stainless exhaust. Still deciding on a fuel pump.

For the trans I had a spare BRF transmission already laying around with a PTS shift kit, hoping to drop it off for a rebuild around the end of Feb.
And will probably go with a 12" or 10” 2800 rpm converter keeping in mind of the future turbo upgrade not sure which yet.

I have to wait for a few more pay checks to pay off the parts I bought and finish paying for the car hopefully somewhere end of March early April I'll have the drive train in and running and will then begin the TLC to make it as pretty as it was before the 2.5 years of downtime.

So that’s it for now, I'll post pics of my progress as I get things done.



Thread killer
May 24, 2001
Andover, Ma
I looked at it last month on my way down to Fl... I was hallucinating using it as a driver/racer. Cool car . Super sleeper:cool:
Dropped the transmission off Friday for a rebuild, etc...

Fuel pump & chip came in today.

Tonight I was working on modifying a stock turbo regal sending unit for the deep Malibu fuel tank so the gas gauge works, as well as painting the rest of my parts. Also got my blue hose coupe links I picked up used all cleaned up.

I have not had time to assemble anything yet. Hope to get the engine together in the next week or two.

And I picked up a TE-44 turbo for the car this week as well, going to run the stock D5 converter for now to save on cost since I have one laying around.



The Reaper
Jun 12, 2001
Elkhart IN.
Hopefully you can make it down to the Nats! Wagons RULE!

I was very tempted to buy this car.. I had to stay away from the ad!!!!

Glad it's in good hands... looks great man!
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