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Phat kitty, the wife's big rim street brawler


Red Skull Member
May 19, 2020
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It's been a long time coming for this build. Time escaped me for the longest and over the years I was slowly collecting parts seeking the perfect car to build. It's being built for the wife as her wedding gift. It's a few years late but we knew it had to come together organically.

it's a simple build and nothing special by any means. The car started as a US forestry car and the 2nd owner was a homeless surfer bum in Cali. One of my old school NYC street race buddies got it and held it in the Hamptons were it sat collecting dust. We scored the car after hurricane sandy and I had my turn with it. We dropped in a 90s lt1 and 200r4 with 4.10s, the goal was a cheap patina everyday beater that got 24 mpg on the highway. Then when we scrapped her g body Monte SS the wife started beating on it. After Miss doesn't understand you have to baby a 7.5" axle with 4.10s spun the tube on the rear.we fixed it and I knew then it wasnt coming back to me. Then I drove it to work in the summer with a leaking water pump the lt1 lost oil pressure after I replaced the head gaskets.

Fast forward to late last year I needed therapy and recovery time from work building structure to a production facility. First thing was to settle on a staged plan to get the car where it needs to be. She wants to run drag week with it(we live in hot rod country with a few winning drag week cars and plenty of all sorts of hot rods passing the house on nice days). After drag week she will hit the south east big rim/dunk grudge races with it. After that it will get daily driven and run 2 Pennsylvania hill climb races per year.

So I started roughing in the parts I had. 1st things 1st since she has meat on her bones and my body is beat was comfy front seats. I scored some 1998-2004 Seville SLS leather seats. I took a few days to build hybrid manual track and power reclining seats. The seat tracks are g body with lots of mods to get them to work with the caddy seats. Power head rests and lumbar support is nice I must say. Plus I like to do stuff the hard and not common way. I mean who wants to see yet another g body with fawking GTO or 6th gen f body buckets.

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You guys gotta bare with me. I will be adding to this on my way home from work.
The car used to ride plush thanks to its washed out suspension and coils. It ran a 195/60-15 front tire so we never tried to turn a corner with the car remotely hard. She want's to run her curb rashed 20" wheels from her Monte SS after truing them up. On either a 245 or a 255 tire as i haven't settled on a tire yet. We have watched videos of the hill climbs we want to run and want the ride to be supple yet like the car is on rails it shouldn't take much. These cars really don't need anything but a huge front sway bar and suspension travel to keep up with a lot of sports car's so the front end is easy.

I then moved onto the front end, again nothing crazy, just all Poly Bushings, fresh Ball Joint's and new premium steering parts. I slathered some flat oil based paint on the frame then Painted the Sway Bar, LCA's and frame braces with some POR 15 2 part epoxy I've had for like 10 years.
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After measuring to get the right length bolts so the shank goes through both frame holes I went with 10.9 1/2" bolts. I torqued them down with Grade 8 flange distorted thread lock nuts for the control arms. Then i got her some Eibach springs for Christmas and put them in. The shocks are just box store brand gas shocks and will be swapped out for double adjustable shocks later down the road when we hit the hill but my thinking is that with the heavy wheel up front, 380 mm front rotors and 4 piston calipers they aren't stiff enough and that will help when we drag race it.
The car already has an F body hollow front sway bar so I put it back on the car when the motor went in for the final time (the rings were gapped and the bearings checked and her and I reassembled it with a cam- more on that later). I want to creep up on the front sway bar size that the car will need, so I'm starting with that one. The frame on the car is a combo of all my trick's I've learned and used over my years of using these cars and being involved in them. I have a trick up my sleeve to stop the 1/4 panels from twisting from leaving on the low profile tires.
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So then I started working on the Radiator support. I wanted to clean up under the hood some, gain some space and save a few lbs. The malibu has less room under the hood as the regal and other g bodies have so an inch here or there helps a lot.

The steel front bumper is to go(it's still on the car so I can jack it up with my bumper jack). I am fitting twin 25 row oil coolers, an air to air charge air cooler, ac condenser, radiator and fans on the rad support. I also want the entire package to slide out of the car without removing the front end sheet metal.I had some schedule 40 pipe and emt so I started on a radiator support. It is EMT on the top and poop pipe for the rest.

I mocked it up with a a 3 row copper rad and 4th gen f body cooling fans. That gained me no appreciable extra room.
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So I ordered a double pass radiator and oil coolers for the engine and transmission. I still have to fit an intercooler and condenser, a few mounting tabs and clean up the Windstar fans. Then the support is off to powder coat. Im waiting for Daniel Knapp to finish my fiberglass bumper and air dam so I can figure out the largest intercooler that will fit. Hopefully I will have this done in a few weeks working it an hour a day after work.
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  • So up to this point the frame is reworked.
  • The engine and Th400 are in with the 3200 stall converter.
  • The rings are gapped extra wide at .030 - .032".
  • The cam is in after racking my brain on the lobe specs and lobe seperation angle ( she is from north Georgia so some chop is a must)
  • Poly motor mounts are in.
  • The up and forward headers are in after some rerouting of a tube on the passenger side to save the stock HVAC enclosure.
  • The 9" rear axle is in and all the overkill bracing is done to it.
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For the frame again it had to be the hard way. Still pretty simple with some tube here or there to stiffen things up. The primary tire for the car will be a 305/35-20 nitro drag radial. I left room for a taller tire as the back up will be a 28x9 D5 compound slick.(Disclaimer,crappy welding pics ahead)
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I tied and factory torque box to the lower control arm bracket with some 2"- .120 wall,then went from that brace through both of the frame walls to help stop it from twisting.
I reinforced the torque box, added cross bracing from the torque box to the rear frame hump. Did a mini frame notch to gain a touch more clearance for the tires and wheels. Added 1" tubing through the frame around the axle area to help it resist twisting and cut out the middle section of the frame tossing it in the trash.

The middle of the frame is now 3/16" wall 2"x6" rectangle tube with .500" wall 2.5" DOM for the center body mount sleeves. It gives the frame center section a really high moment of inertia and totally eliminates any beaming of the frame from the firewall area to the rear bumper. The roll bar will be welded to these rails so there won't be much to worry about. When the rear section of the frame was welded in I lowered it 1/2". The rear of these cars will twist and thus put a huge crease in the 1/4 panel when you leave on a low profile tire. So behind the axle I'm going to run soft rubber body mounts with 1/2 more height to help absorb most of that frame movement. Only the rear cage bars are going in the back of the car because Groceries!!!!!
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While I was finishing up the frame I scored a freshly rebuild 9" from a 60s truck. The width worked out perfectly at the 63 WMS I needed to run her wheels and whatever late model wheel we can run across. It has 3.55 gears in it so we are going to add a true track or the cheaper speed master diff. I'd like to go 35 spline but time will tell.

Allstar performance lower control arm mounts, and serrated slider plates for the uppers. Ruff stuff heims, grade 8 9/16" bolts and cheapie e bay control arms. The lowers are on 5/8 centers iirc and the uppers are adjustable on 1/8" centers. I also added some panhard brackets from a high lift and made a sleeve to slide into the holes on the high lift and use a GM 1 ton tie rod on the panhard bar. Hopefully I will find the sweet spot to adjust the panhard. I went total overkill on the back brace and used 2 1/2" tube. Built the upper link tower and also welded tubes inside the housing to help keep the chunk from pulling away from the housing. I should be able to put the rear suspension instant center from just in front of the back tires to all the way out front, above the car and 9" below the ground with the changes.
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I also cut a hole in the floor of the car and will install an access door because I'm too beat to crawl under it to make geometry changes.

Before the work the bare frame would lift 1 3/4" per 24" of distance before the front frame horn would move at all. Now that spec is a tiny 1/16" per 24". This is the bare frame only.

So with the frame finished I set the body back down after using some poly body mounts left over from my square body chevy. This raised the body 5/16" that I needed to to clear the front tire with stock height spindles during full bump at full lock.
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T6 framed S488. It's going to be fun fitting it with full accessories and inner fenders. For now it sits in the living room where we can rub out to it.
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Not much progress lately. The hotside is almost complete sans lots of finishing the inside of the tubes. I decided to run 2 60mm wastegates after doing some calculations. I don't think that in street trim the car will ever see more than 10-14 lbs of boost so we need to bypass a lot of exhaust.

so the plan over the next 4 weeks is to;
  • hang the exhaust on the drivers side to connect it to the turbo.
  • Chop up the 4" Donut to snake the exhaust around the inner fender with minimal trimming and to the catalytic converter. Leaving enough room to easily remove the down pipe to gain access to the spark plugs.
  • Finish the radiator support with the oil coolers, intercooler, and condenser.
  • Mock up the AC lines, radiator hoses, cooler lines and send it to powder coat.
I had time today and it wasn't super hot. So I took the morning to weld up the down pipe. I'm not impressed by the cheap 5" clamp that came with the 5"-4" turbo outlet flange at all. But I used 95% of the donut and routed the pipe down and out. The inner fender had to get 2 holes in it for added clearance and the bonus is that I can gain spark plug access with the tire removed if I don't want to touch the pipework. I also got the 2nd 60 mm Waste Gate installed.

We are still going back and forth on venting the gates to to atmosphere or route them into the exhaust. I like the idea of sending both gate outlets through the side of the drivers airdam with a 2 1/2" tube with some sorta ghetto exhaust tip.

that and to scrounge up some hangers.

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I've never used the donuts before, always just buy 180 degree bends and cut them. Might have to try a donut the next time I run exhaust :)

Is that spatter on the pipe just above the frame??
I love the tighter radius they afford. No way I can see to get a sharp turn with 4"
Awesome build man! Where are these PA hill climbs, btw?
Well after plenty of chopping, cutting, grinding, flap wheeling, and deburring the exhaust is all mocked up. The system is 4" from the turbo to the 2nd flex pipe under the car, then it necks down to 3 1/2" stainless. The muffler is a Bosal straight through resonator. There is a mystery to the 3 1/2" stuff. It was a free bee from a good friend who has first dibs on Cadillac warranty scrap. We are guessing it's from a 6.2L Escalade.

From the turbo to the tip the system is 3 pieces now but when the Catalytic converter arrives it will get installed with a v band clamp at the exit. This way we can run an off road pipe when at an event with a cordless ratchet and socket required.
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At the clamp it is 1/2" below the frame rail and at the 2nd flex pipe its 3/4".

The mid pipe has the connecting pipe for both wastegate. the plan is to make a 2 3/8" merge with a 2 1/2" outlet. The 2 1/2" merges into the 4" midpipe at roughly a 25 degree angle and I wound up with a 2 1/2" X 6" oval connection.

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In the picture above you can see the wastegate merge as the midpipe turns left and upwards. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. I just couldn't see myself being happy with dumping anything pre-cat running around on the street at low boost.

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Clearance around the steering rack is tight but just in case we have a spare u joint. All of this will be wrapped up eventually too.

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With some final welding/clean up and one more cycle of the rear axle along with the exhaust hangers it should be good to go.

A few days at an hour a day I should have all the exhaust hangers fabbed up so I can get them in place next. Until I buy the converter and the 2 3/8" u bend needed for the waste gates.

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Sorry brother that's not correct. The only link that i ever put in my sig are from the red sand project for my support and to help spread awareness of human sex trafficking.....

I must be thinking of someone else., carry on with the cool build.

I like the hi-lift suspension.

Getting closer. Sadly I will not be able to fit a 4" thick core intercooler.
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Those chinese 60mm gates coilbind the springs before they're open even 1/2", or at least mine did until I cut and extended the top cap

def. dump them out atmospheric, putting them back into the exhaust gets complex and you gotta put flex sections in them or they'll cause all sorts of cracking issues from differential heating
it'll be quiet until they open, if you're running a muffler on the turbine outlet
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