We’ve become enamored with resurrecting used NASCAR parts for street use, and this road-weathered 1965 Malibu provides a beautiful example of the potential that hand-me-down stock car parts provide. Second-hand NASCAR parts make up every piece of its suspension and drivetrain, including its screaming 10,000rpm, 14.5:1 compression SB2 small-block.
Dean Noseworthy, 57, of Mooresville, North Carolina, purchased this car nearly 20 years ago for $6,500. With original vintage steel, a modern engine, and homemade chassis, the car was built in the traditional manner that honors the sum of its NASCAR parts. “I raced years ago when I was 15,” said Dean whose dad raced an asphalt Super Late Model. “Then I got married and had a family, so I took a break.”
You may assume a street-driven NASCAR engine has to be heavily detuned in order to drive on the street—quite the opposite here. Gibbons Motorsports of Mooresville, NC, helped Dean develop a NASCAR small-block with more torque than the actual racecars, as a street car doesn’t have to follow a rule book. The 410ci engine made 688 lb-ft of torque at the flywheel.
This version of the car started five years ago when Dean decided to return to his racing roots. He began collecting parts from used NASCAR parts houses (like Hendrick Raced Parts and SRI Performance) as well as local auctions. He fabricated parts and worked closely with Gibbons Motorsports for roughly ten months developing their version of an SB2.
“[I wanted] not only a fast car with a big motor, but drivability, handling, and stopping also,” said Dean. “I just wanted a monster.” After the engine was constructed, Dean hand-built a stockcar chassis using Penske coilovers and then swapped the body on top of it.
On the car’s first and only top-speed event—a standing half-mile—it ran an impressive 170 mph. Now Dean wants more, with plans to attend Bonneville with friend Bob Keselowski, who smashed the stock-car land-speed racing record last year (271.846 mph).
The Malibu has a sheepish street appearance with a wolf lurking underneath. It’s far from a street car, but it is street-driven and road legal, making it the perfect car for us to love. Loud, brash, anti-social, politically incorrect—all the things we admire in a car, making it right as rain in our book.
Dean was excited at the high torque output, which they’ll need to punch through the air at a place like Bonneville. Dean, satisfied with the final product, only worries about finding the time and resources to run all the tracks he wants with the Malibu. He got back into racing a couple of years ago, now campaigning an open-wheel, dirt-modified car most summers.
“I’ve always had racing in my blood. You never get rid of it,” said Dean. “It seems like if you start with it, you only take a break, it never goes away.”
- Who: Dean Noseworthy
- What: 1965 Malibu
- Where: Mooresville, NC
Engine: Some engine builders consider the 327ci SB2 the best traditional small-block available. Its high-revving character allows builders to make reliable 900-plus horsepower naturally aspirated. The small-block generation 2 (SB2), as it’s formally known, replaced the original Chevrolet NASCAR small-block in 2001. The SB2’s current replacement, the R07 (2007 debut), departs from the traditional design, leaving the SB2 the last remaining true small-block.
Gibbons Motorsports doesn’t have a rulebook to adhere to, so they took the design and made it better. They started by upping the cubes to 410 ci on a bare block (the SB2 was limited to 327 ci), with a 4.155-inch bore and 3.75-inch stroke.
King Cranks in Denver, North Carolina, helped develop a one-off crank for the engine, with Carrillo H-beam rods and CP pistons with a 4.5cc dish. The ultra-lightweight crankshaft uses a unique combination of small Toyota main bearings. The resulting 14.5:1 compression ratio is higher than the 12:1 rulebook limit. The custom Comp roller cam with a .740-/.750-inch lift and 266/276 degrees duration features roller bearings and a Jesel belt drive. The valvetrain also includes Jesel .937 lifters, rockers, titanium retainers, and PSI double-springs.
An MSD blaster coil and MSD 6AL box feed power to an MSD Ford-style distributor. A Holley 850 double-pumper supplies fuel through an Edelbrock Victor SB2 Spider intake.
The SB2’s oiling technology keeps it alive for continuous high-rpm operation. An external, belt-driven oil pump with a dry sump oil reservoir resides in the trunk, and circulates 16 quarts of oil through the system. The valve covers also feature oil squirters to cool the valve springs.
Custom-built headers dump into 3.5-inch collectors and Schoenfeld connection mufflers. The pipes then dump into a tri-y design into a Cup-style slash-cut, rectangle-shaped boom tube, which exits behind the passenger door. The engine made an impressive 854 hp at 7,200 rpm and 688 lb-ft of torque at 6200 rpm.
Drivetrain: The SB2’s lightweight internals result in high-revving power. This lack of rotating mass means the driver needs talent and patience to get the skinny 7.25-inch clutch engaged without stalling or smoking the tires. The used road-course combo of G-Force 4-speed transmission and 10.5-inch flywheel shifts easily without the clutch. Unlike the SB2, the G-Force currently runs in the Cup series, meaning they hold their value on the used market.
A Ford 9-inch locker with 31-spline axles features a 4.22:1 final drive ratio. (A Ford 9-inch locker is much easier to find on the used market!) A custom aluminum driveshaft measures 4.5-inches.
Chassis: Dean and a friend built a 2×4 steel frame on a frame table while the Malibu remained intact. Dean pulled the schematics of the original frame and welded pedestals in place. The final chassis design is that of a stock car.
Dean built the double-wishbone front suspension with used tubular upper A-arms mounted on multiple slugs welded to the top of the frame. The optional slugs allow different positions of the upper A-arm for adjusting caster.
More precision was desired than a typical racecar, so Dean opted for Penske coilovers in place of OE-type shocks and springs. He simply welded mounting brackets to the lower arms beside the balljoint. The Malibu retains its original rear-steer design with a 12:01 ratio box. The final suspension settings are .5 degrees of camber, 8 degrees of caster, and 1/4-inch toe in.
Out back you’ll find a custom-built four-link rear suspension with coilovers. It also features an adjustable Panhard bar. The Malibu weighs 3,200 pounds with driver, 100 pounds lighter than a Cup car.
Interior: Dean left himself open to the possibility of competing in the Optima Ultimate Street Car Challenge, which awards points for radio and full interior. (He did adhere to at least one rule book!) The factory dash houses new AutoMeter gauges and a removable radio. The original steering column features a quick-release Momo steering wheel.
Procar by Scat racing seats and 5-point harnesses sit in front of the original rear bench. The NASCAR-certified steel roll cage (.090-inch diameter wall thickness) was custom built inside the car after the body swap.
Exterior: With all the road-weathered dents and dings, car show spectators are often surprised to learn that the body never served time on a stock car circuit. The otherwise stock body features a front and rear spoiler. Dean handmade the splitter starting with one from a Cup car, then fabricating an aluminum sheet to connect it to the Malibu’s original bumper. The rear spoiler is a simple piece of bent aluminum painted black with stock car supports.
Brakes: NASCAR-spec Wilwood brakes accompany the NASCAR spindles. They feature 12.12-inch rotors all the way around with six pistons up front and four in the rear. The brakes are designed to fit inside steel 15-inch NASCAR rims.
Wheels/Tires: The 15-inch Aero steel wheels are common on stock cars. These are wrapped in road-legal, white-lettered BFGoodrich 245/60R15 radials.