FEATURE: Jeff Minor’s 1978 CP Malibu
I’m going to give something a shot that I’ve seen lots of other sites do, Feature Car! Most of the online car websites seem to largely ignore autocross cars which is a shame. There are some serious builds out there and really cool cars that could use some attention!
And so, we start with something just a little bit different – Jeff Minor’s 1978 Malibu!
CP is a class that is filled with cool cars, but this one definitely stands out as something different because I can’t think of anyone who would pick a Malibu as an autocross car. Originally built by John Preston in New York, the car was sold to Vinod Shenoy in Houston where Todd and I first set eyes on it. Vinod wanted to make sure everything was good with the car, so we drove it at the Texas National Tour a few years ago. A few modifications since and a baby meant that Vinod decided it was time to move on.
That’s where Jeff Minor comes in. A friend of Todd and I, he wanted to move on from FS to something a little more fun and that allowed modifications. Vinod just happened to be selling at the right time! With only 1 practice event in the car under his belt, we loaded the Malibu up with the Camaro and made the trip to Nationals. It was eventful to say the least, but I’ve already covered that in another post: 2013 Solo Nationals, it’s worth a read if you haven’t checked it out yet!
The idea here is to focus on this car. Jeff was deadset on repainting the car all the way to Nebraska, but from the attention it received, I don’t think that’s in the plans anymore! Grassroots Motorsports wanted to do a feature on his car and Jason Rhoades’ Z/28 Camaro as part of a Chevy article. GotCone? also featured the car on their Facebook page during Nationals week. I tagged along for the feature shoot, figuring this was as good a chance as any to get some cool pictures of the car. I snapped some of Jason’s car and will be posting up another feature on that soon!
Enough introduction. The car is a 1978 Chevrolet Malibu 2 door. This is old school full-frame hardware and an interesting choice of chassis for an autocross car. The car sits on 25″ x 13″ wide Hoosier Racing tires on 16″ x 12″ wide wheels on all four corners. John never got around to putting fender flares on, but the lack of them lets people fully appreciate the width of these tires!
The wheels are Wide-5s, something very common in the stock-car world, but relatively unknown outside. Known for really strong hubs, they give a very cool look to the wheels.
The cockpit is all business with just the necessary gauges and switches needed. The driver’s seat was moved back to improve weight distribution and it shows in how everything is stretched back to accommodate.
The shifter of course is from Hurst. You can spot a neat detail here, instead of slathering the outside of the car with stickers, John chose to line the insides of the doors with them. A neat touch in my opinion!
The car has a presence and looks a bit intimidating! The engine is a very healthy 383 with AFR heads. I… ahem… forgot to take pictures of the engine…
The suspension is double A-arm up front and a 3-link out back. Most of the parts are circle-track components from AFCO Racing and they work very well together. So well in fact that Todd and I will probably be stealing a few ideas and geometry from the rear suspension to adapt to the Camaro!
So how does it work together? Pretty well as you’ll see in the videos below. Jeff was in the trophies after Day 1, even beating a few National Champions in his first competition event in the car! Day 2 he struggled a bit with a steering issue, but there’s always improvement for next year.
All in all, a very cool car. Look for a feature on the Rhoades’ Camaro soon!