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1965 Chevy Nova Station Wagon - Recycled In Red

John Mondt Makes A Big-Block Look Like It Belongs In A Nova Station Wagon.

Photography by Steve Campbell

John's automotive life has been a succession of nicely crafted cars. "I worked at gas stations and stuff through high school, and my grandfather was a mechanic," he explains. "He always had musclecars around, so I got to see a lot of them. My first car was a '69 Chevelle 396 SS four-speed, 4.10 posi, all original. My grandmother bought the car, and then I paid her back. I think I paid $1,000 for it. I got into a lot of trouble with that car, but I had a lot of good times, too."

After the Chevelle, John owned several other classic muscle machines, including a '69 SS Camaro, a '65 Pro Street El Camino, a '70 SS 396 El Camino, a '67 El Camino, and a '70 Stepside pickup. He also admits to having owned a couple of oddball cars, like a Datsun 510 coupe and wagon back when everyone was lowering them. Now the family fleet includes an '02 GMC pickup and his wife, Bridget's, '69 convertible Camaro and Yukon XL. His daughters have grown up and have their own wheels. The oldest, 19-year-old Caitlin, drives a '95 Chevy Blazer, and 16-year-old Kelsey has joined the sport compact crowd with a Scion tC.

As for the Nova, it remains John's pride and joy. He takes it out when he can, sometimes hooking up with other Nova wagon owners in the Orange County, California, area. Even so, he doesn't abuse the car. Because the dealership where he works is next to commuter railroad tracks, he doesn't use the wagon as a commuter, but he's out with it on the weekends or going to nearby cruise spots at night. It's a clean, powerful, and fun streeter that turns heads on the boulevard.

It's amazing what you can pick up in the classified ads.

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