This post comes from guest blogger, Scott Parkhurst, sharing his story of his 1967 Chevy Malibu Wagon upgrade, which would go on to win the 2011 Car Craft Magazine “Real Street Eliminator”. He goes into some depth about his suspension upgrade with a little help from POL.
There aren’t too many station wagons set up for the kind of all-around performance the Pro Touring movement demands. Mine is one of them, and it was one of the first as well. There are several more cool wagons on the scene now, and it’s great to see them all.
I started upgrading this wagon as soon as I acquired it in a trade deal in 2004. It was three different colors, the 350 had two mismatched cylinder heads, and it had been lowered by torching the coil springs down until it looked cool.
Well…it did look cool, all low and mean. But it didn’t work very well. In addition to the springs being shot, the steering and suspension components were all worn out original parts. It really needed some help.
I wanted to keep the low stance, but improve the performance of everything suspension-related. I called Performance Online and brought the car to them, since I lived and worked close to their Fullerton location. Jim Chaddick worked with me personally to develop the best-possible plan for the car. The worn suspension components were all replaced with new ones, the control arm bushings were all replaced with Energy Suspension polyurethane pieces, a new set of front and rear coil springs were specified and installed, and a matching set of Doetsch Tech shocks were installed too.
What I got back was almost like a different car. The stance still looked great, but the car gained ride comfort and steering confidence. I could now drive the car daily without fear, since I knew it wouldn’t float between lanes anymore and hitting bumps would no longer be scary or loud.
Since then, the rest of the car has been rebuilt and upgraded too. The entire drivetrain has been replaced and upgraded, and it’s received some body and paint attention as well. Additionally, the front spindles, brakes, steering box, and upper control arms have been replaced with improved parts. I also chose to install coil-over front shocks, since they offer ride height adjustability and separate compression and rebound adjustments. Since I’ve been racing the car on road courses, open road rallies, autocross courses, and the drag strip, I needed the additional adjustability. I also went with double-adjustable rear shocks for the same reason, but the rear coil springs are still the same ones Jimmy specified for me back in 2004. They’ve proven to be perfect for my needs. The rebuilt suspension goodies are all still in place as well, and have been put to the test over many miles and in a wide range of competition situations. I’ve never experienced any issues, thanks to the quality components and work I received at POL.
So, I wanted to share an update and say thanks again to POL. I needed some help getting a well-worn old station wagon back to a safe level to drive daily, and I got stuff that I’ve been able to race hard ever since. The car won the 2011 Car Craft Magazine “Real Street Eliminator” competition, and has proven to be a reliable cross-country runner capable of delivering more than 20 MPG on the freeway while making 579 horses at the rear wheels. Thanks again POL!