Volume II, Issue 12, Page 1

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Max Chevy covers all automotive things Chevy. A new issue of MaxChevy.com is published on the 15th of each month and is updated throughout the month.

EDITORIAL

Publisher, CEO
Jeff Burk

Editorial Director
Ro McGonegal

Managing Editor, COO
Kay Burk

Contributing Writers
Bob McClurg
Jim McFarland
John Carollo
Matt Strong
Geoff Stunkard

PHOTOGRAPHY

Donna Bistran
James Drew
Darren Jacobs
Ron Lewis
Tim Marshall
Bob McClurg
Dennis Mothershed
Matt Strong

PRODUCTION

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Matt Schramel

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Clifford Tunnell

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FINANCIAL

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Richard Burk

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Casey Araiza


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Twice Pipes…And Other Stuff

rom the very beginning of all this hot rodding trash, dual exhaust pipes signaled something special under the hood. Or maybe not. Maybe it was just about dual exhaust pipes attached to snarling, popping, and nasty loud god-of-all hot rod mufflers, the almighty glass pack. Some guys had the stones and the constitution to abide straight pipes, no mufflers at all. To get through state inspection, they’d drill holes in the pipes somewhere near the bumper, pack in a wad of industrial steel wool, and then secure the package with a cotter pin. Once the inspection was complete, the rodder (hoodlum, urban terrorist?) would then pull the pins and let the cylinder pressure blow the steel wool wads neatly out the back.

Time I’m talking about was the mid-‘50s and I only remember one guy doing this. His muffler-less duals served a mildly hopped flathead in a ’50 Ford business coupe. Certainly it was nowhere as vicious as a one of those new Chevy small-blocks, but quite notorious in its own right. You looked around and saw that the expensive hellions all had their exhaust pipes defined by tips or bumpers with tips built into them and wore them proudly. In that era, these V8-powered cars (Caddys, Packards, as well as Fords and Chevys) were considered big and therefore powerful and consequently defined by their exhaust outlets.

With the demise of the Musclecar Era and the scrutiny of the Smog Nazis, the V8 as we once knew it was never the same again. The catalytic converter, shrunken engine displacement, and outright emasculation imposed by smog-control band-aids that required only a single exhaust system and no more. Though no longer able to entertain a whim, the hot rodding faction displayed its ingenuity—just as it always has. The factory, which was now trying to satisfy a magnified social awareness and defend their legacy, wasn’t about to put a second catalytic converter on anything. 

Given its bold and exciting short-term history, it was not surprising to see the first emergence a few years back of dual exhaust on Asian imports, soon to be followed by everyone else. Does that mean the advertising prime is in its ‘60s now or that a much younger crew has embraced the critical, cultural link?

The butt-end of the Malibu in the lead shot displays twice pipes regardless if they are full length or not. It’s the thought that counts right now, Y-pipe and all, and it’s a thought that Chevrolet has recently incorporated in many of its models where it would have been considered superfluous in other times. That they grace the 3.6L V6 Malibu is a natural. Coincides completely with the theme. Goes completely with the Malibu’s mission. The first modern iteration of this venerable Chevy marque wasn’t a bad car but it was aimed at a much different market and got no respect from its users. It was well-built but more or less invisible, eventually filling the mass-numbers, fleet-car slot.

The new ‘Bu is an altogether different animal, one that will sustain a place in the mid-range family sedan sprockets now famous for the Camry and Accord. It feels solid, it sounds solid, and it is solid. Fire that 24-valve V6. It sounds like a much more expensive engine, in fact, it really does sound like an engine. The doors thunk shut like the ones on a 50-grand European sport sedan. The brakes nab the rotors like a forge. The 6-speed automatic snaps to attention and dispatches gear changes smoothly and quickly. The manual mode gives a lot more meaning to active control.

What the ‘Bu doesn’t have an abundance of is headroom, which in some cases relates directly to lack of legroom. We had four large middle-age cats in ours and they looked a wee bit red-faced and claustrophobic. So is this car really meant for young families with even younger kids instead? We dunno, either. Regardless, the Malibu represents a long-awaited rejuvenation within Chevrolet. It is likely the most improved car in the industry this year. Never thought we’d say that.

Last February Burk and I went to Detroit and got faked out. We got a preview of the Malibu without even knowing it. Our loaner was a Saturn Aura XR, which uses the same platform, running gear, and is the same mechanicals as the Malibu. Though it has been nearly a year since then, other than the excellent drivetrain response, we don’t remember the rest of the Aura feeling anything like the highly visible square-shouldered ‘Bu. That’s a good thing.