March, 1996 Feature Car of the Month

Donnie Gates' 1967 Modified Malibu

One hot day in the Summer of ’78, I decided to go swimming at the Calvert Swimming Pool in College Park. As I was leaving, I noticed a sweet looking car parked at the end of the lot. While driving by admiring this thing of beauty, I noticed a “FOR SALE” sign in the rear window. I wrote down the number and called the owner early the next morning. Later that afternoon I had purchased my first car, a 1967 Chevelle Malibu, for a negotiated price of $600.

Under the hood rested a stock 283 V8 with a 2-speed powerglide transmission. The interior was basically stock except for a set of seat covers and an aftermarket tachometer.

Approximately 9 months later, I replaced the tired 283 with a stock 350 motor from a ’69 Impala. This was the start of my mechanical experiences. For five years I used the Chevelle as a daily driver and a “weekend warrior.”

After many hard years on the road, and the mishap of an accident, it was time to freshen the look. For 3 years I went from car meet to car meet acquiring the parts it would take to restore my Chevelle to what I consider “show” condition.

In January of 1989 I trailered the Chevelle to Beartown Autobody in Waynesboro, PA, where it was stripped to bare metal. N.O.S. GM front fenders and a left rear quarter panel were installed. After the body work was completed, it was painted with Dupont’s Emron paint, a light chestnut metallic color, and then topped with 3 coats of clear. It took them approximately 3 months to complete the paint and body work. It was then time to come home to finish the restoration work.

Most of the old chrome was replaced with N.O.S. GM parts (when possible). The interior was restored back to its original stock configuration except for the installation of a set of bucket seats (from a ’67 SS), a B&M Starshifter, and a Pioneer AM/FM stereo system. A 60 watt power booster and Jensen triaxle speakers were added to complete the sound system.

The Chevelle is now powered by a fresh 11:1 350 balanced and blueprinted small block. On top is a Weiend tunnel ram with dual/quad Holley 600 carbs. Inside the motor resides a Competition Cam 292 Magnum camshaft, hydraulic lifters, and roller rockers. Screw-in studs, push rod guide plates, and many other quality TRW parts were included to complete the package (rings, pistons, bearings, etc.). Burtonsville Performance Machine Shop did all of the machine work. The rest was put together with the help of a few friends.

The powerglide transmission was replaced with a Turbo 400 with a B&M shift kit and 10” Super Hole Shot torque converter. The drive shaft was cut 1” and re-balanced to accommodate the new trans.

The factory exhaust was replaced with set of Black Jack AK5000 headers, Sonic Turbo stainless steel mufflers and 2 ½” pipes all the way back to the rear. The stock 273 10 bolt rear is soon to be replaced with a 355 12 bolt posi from a ’67 SS Chevelle.

The original documentation came with the car including the infamous protect-o-plate. The car is now garaged all the time and shown occasionally. After all of the hard times the Chevelle endured in my early teenage years, it deserves to be treated with love, care and respect. Many fond memories were made in this car and will remain with me always.


Hey Donnie, what are those basketball hoops doing sticking up out of your hood? Is this your idea of “March Madness” or are these things just a giant set of binoculars you use for World Wide Web browsing?

Ah, these aren’t B’ball hoops… and they aren’t giant binoculars either. Yeah! This is a dually quadded, phi-slamma-jamma’d AND tunnel ramma’d, fire-breathin’, 5.0 snake-eatin’ 350 small block!!! This is definitely March Madness at its best!

Yes, but she is still sweet… and, baby, she has come a long way, since that parking lot in ’78. Whether cruisin’ on the boulevard or cruisin’ on the web, she is definitely one fine hot rod Chevelle! Nice going, Donnie.

Donnie Gates (# 044)
Bowie, MD

Click Here to view Previous Features of the Month