If there is one thing many enthusiasts can agree on, it’s Chevrolet’s late-’70s A-body platform seems to get overlooked as a hot rod. The general consensus is it’s not a muscle car and has never gained as much popularity as older classics. What’s more, there aren’t many of them around. Then, you meet a guy like Lou Moore of Oracle, Arizona.
“My brother-in-law bought this ’79 Malibu when it was new,” said Lou. He got it from O’Reilly Chevrolet in Tucson. He and his wife were expecting their first baby, and he bought it for her.”
The car was a dependable daily-driver for many years. But like happens so often, time took its toll and the couple felt the car should be replaced. That was back in 1991, and when Lou took ownership. Louis told us the car needed a lot of work. “I liked the body style of these cars,” he said. “It took 13 years and three kids for them to realize they outgrew the car. I flew to Sacramento to get it, planning to drive it home. Nine quarts of oil later I made it back to Arizona.”
But, as Lou soon realized, getting the car back to top-notch condition was not going to be easy. “Since the aftermarket did not support the A-body cars back then, I bought springs and other stuff for ’79 Monte Carlo from a local Chevy dealer,” stated Lou. “I cut 1 1/2 coils out of the front springs to get the look I wanted and found a polygraphite frontend rebuild kit which really made a big difference in ride and handling. I also upgraded the power steering gearbox with one from an ’85 Monte SS.”
During those early years of Lou’s ownership, the car was his daily driver. But as any hot rodder can understand, that eventually changed. “In 2002, I decided to get serious and had a local shop build a very reliable, pump-gas friendly 383ci small-block fed by a FiTech EFI unit,” affirmed Lou. “After saving up for a couple of years, I then had another local shop build me a 700R4 with a 2,400-rpm torque converter. After waiting and saving again, I had a custom 9-inch built with 31-spline Strange axles and center section.”
The car was then a full-fledged cruiser, and he spent as much time as he could behind the wheel. “I retired in 2014, and the next upgrade was the interior and the addition of polygraphite body mounts,” quipped Lou. “I discarded the original bench and obtained ‘85 Monte Carlo SS buckets and installed Auto Meter gauges.
But there was another part of the plan that Lou wanted to complete, and that was paint. “The body and frame were in great condition with no rust, but the paint was shot,” he explained. That’s easy to understand since the car spent its life in the Arizona sun. “Today the car is covered in a 1980 Corvette bright yellow base/clear.”
Lou told us he likes the A-bodies because they have full frames, are not very heavy, and have an engine bay that will easily accept a small block, big block, or LS engine. He also likes the fact they are not expensive to acquire for a project. “I am 72 years old, and I think the A-body cars are excellent full-frame cars especially since they are now supported by the aftermarket.”
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