By: Jared Govender
When Amcar Imports opened its doors in 2009, they probably had no idea that demand for their RHD conversion American imports would skyrocket the way they did. As part of a promotion run by Jack Daniels, they were commissioned to import a new 2010 Mustang, convert to RHD and fit a Roush Performance supercharger. The popularity of their work led to orders going through the roof and subsequently, they have imported and converted over 50 classics, muscle cars and pickups from the US that now grace our South African roads.
As you would expect, being part of such an operation has its perks. Not only do the guys over at Amcar get to work on cars that some of us can only dream about, but every now and then they get to purchase one for their own personal collection. Tyron Whitely, a Restomod specialist over at Amcar, was spoilt for choice with the Mustangs and Camaros at their workshop but in the end, he had to have this rare ’69 Chevelle Coupe for himself and after seeing it in the flesh, I can see why.
The Malibu, hailing from Arizona USA, arrived in SA with zero corrosion due to the climate it had come from and even though the body was in great nick, it was stripped and media-blasted to bare metal in preparation for the impending nut-and-bolt restoration. While the body was receiving pearl-white paint at Paz Customs, Tyron and his team prepared everything else so that the Malibu could be assembled as soon as it arrived back.
The small-block 350 crate motor was fully built for drag racing purposes, but before Tyron imported it, he got the builder in the US to change the rough racing cam for a slightly milder street/strip grind. A whole host of Edelbrock performance parts were also thrown into the mix, while a good ‘ol homegrown Primaforce exhaust gives the Chevelle a spine-tingling growl to go with all that extra grunt. The heavy body meant that the Malibu was never the most agile muscle car around, but the addition of tubular control arms and performance shocks and lowered springs helps remedy that. The inadequate drums were chucked in favour of slotted and drilled discs all round, making the big Chevelle stop in a way that the stock car never could.
Besides the engine being a great performer, it also looks the part. Everything deemed unnecessary under the hood has been removed in the quest for a clean, uncluttered bay. All the wires have been neatened and tucked, while the same shade of metallic blue paint that adorns the exterior has been used to beautify pieces of the engine. In keeping with that level of detail, blue diamond stitched figure-hugging front bucket seats dominate the spartan cockpit of the Malibu. The Dakota digital instruments, although period-correct in appearance, offers state-of-the-art speedometer readings using GPS satellite integration.
When you take a step back and look at the Malibu as a complete package you realise what a fantastic project this really is. The extra effort that has been put into ensuring that every component is of the highest quality is what sets this build apart. Tyron maintains that this Amcar built Restomod Chevelle will remain his personal car for some time.