Anthony C’s 1981 Malibu

Built From The Ground Up

Anthony C's 1981 Malibu

Anthony bought this 1981 Malibu back in 2006 to be a project for him and his youngest son to bond over. At the time his son was only 14 and he really wanted to build a car with his father, as he had seen pictures of Anthony with modified street and race cars back in his own teenage years. This Malibu came up at the right price point, so the pair dove right in.

That meant that the Malibu required a lot of attention. The whole car was in rough shape, the original 6 cylinders had a cracked block, and the interior was a disaster. Fortunately, this left the door open for them to build the 1981 Malibu as they saw fit.

They tore the 1981 Malibu apart and replaced its heart with a small block 383 stroker, a 9-inch rear end with 4.10 gears, and a built TH350 with a 3500 rpm stall. Of course, this Malibu would need to stop quicker as well, so the Cuomos converted to 4 wheel disc brakes to support these power changes.

The exterior of the Malibu was completely reworked at a friend’s body shop, being sanded, patched, and primed for new paint. Anthony’s son wanted to have the 1981 Malibu painted in 2000 Corvette blue, but his friend felt it would be too plain as one color, so he added his own flair with ghost flames and a body stripe. The interior gained reupholstered seats and refreshed door panels and trim, which the trio dyed black to tie the Malibu interior together.

Currently, the 1981 Malibu is in the stages of being totally upgraded. The 383 stroker is being replaced by a 454 bored .60 over, running a fuel injection system as well as nitrous oxide. The TH350 is being retired in favor of a built reverse valve body TH400 with a trans brake and 4000 rpm stall.

These upgrades are being undertaken to surprise Anthony’s son when he returns from his current Air Force deployment in mid-March 2020. He knows that his father is up to something, but Anthony hopes to keep it under wraps for as long as possible.

“I built it together with my youngest son and made MANY wonderful memories! …And it’s FAST!”

This is one serious drag Malibu, with the new power plant upgrades it’s sure to shred tires at the drag strip. Hopefully, it doesn’t break any axles.

Ground Up Parts Featured In This Build

1978-83 Malibu Front Bumper Without Pad Holes




You save: 11%

1978-1988 Malibu Aluminum Sill Plate



You save: 10%

1981 Malibu Reproduction Grille


1981 Malibu


Best Price Available

1980-1987 Malibu Header Panel Emblem



Best Price Available

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