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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

Tech Notes
What: '65 Chevrolet Nova station wagon
Who: John Mondt
Hometown: Laguna Hills, California

Short-Block: The 502 is a crate motor that came complete from pan to carburetor. The parts are all GM-branded products, though some of them are private-label aftermarket parts. The big-block features four-bolt main caps and a forged-steel crank. The 71/416-inch connecting rods were shot-peened for strength, and the 9.6:1 pistons are fitted with chrome-moly rings.

Valvetrain: The hydraulic roller cam has an advertised lift of 0.527 inch with 224-degrees duration on the intake side and 0.544 inch at 234 degrees on the exhaust cycle. The stock steel valves work with a set of Edelbrock aluminum heads featuring 110cc open chambers vented by stainless steel 2.25-inch intake valves and 1.80-inch exhaust valves. Street & Performance brackets and pulleys work the accessories.

Induction: A Holley 850 double-pumper with vacuum secondaries rides on a CNC-port-matched dual-plane aluminum intake manifold.

Exhaust: The aluminum-coated Sanderson shorty headers run to 211/42-inch pipes and a pair of Flowmaster Delta Flow three-chamber mufflers.

Cooling: A pair of Spal electric fans pulls air through the Be Cool aluminum radiator. The coolant is fed through an Edelbrock aluminum water pump.

Drivetrain: The engine is mated to a Turbo 400 tranny that's fitted with a Specialty Auto cooler and a Hughes finned deep-aluminum pan. A 2,200-2,400-stall B&M Holeshot torque converter works with a shift kit to pass the power through a stock driveshaft to a Ford 9-inch rearend that was swapped in from an old Lincoln Versailles. John swapped the housing's stock gears out in favor of a 3.25 posi fitted to 31-spline axles.

Chassis: The frontend features an Arizona Nova Mustang II independent setup, though it's been lowered by cutting 111/42 coils off the springs. The rear spring is the stock monoleaf, but the rear has been lowered 2 inches with blocks. Subframe connectors help eliminate flex, and Monroe gas shocks control the springs at each corner. The stock steering system was swapped out in favor of a Mustang II power rack-and-pinion. The front power disc brakes came from a Camaro, and the rears are the stock discs that came with the Lincoln Versailles rearend. Because the engine doesn't create much vacuum, John added a Chevy truck Hydroboost brake booster, which works hydraulically off the power-steering pump.

Wheels/Tires: The wheels are 15x6 American Racing Torq-Thrust IIs at all four corners. The fronts are wrapped in 185x65-15 Cooper Touring tires, and the rears carry 215x60-15 Coopers.

Body: The Nova is shorn of most trim, including the moldings, the roof rack, and the emblems, and John removed the front shock towers and filled the engine compartment's inner panels when he installed the 502 so the engine compartment looks as though it's from the factory. The paint is a custom red mix.

Interior: There's a tweed theme inside. The headliner and the front and rear bench seats are upholstered in tan tweed, and the door panels are tan tweed and vinyl. The stock dash is coated in the body-color red paint, but the upper portion is upholstered in vinyl. The dash holds a full complement of white-face Classic Instruments gauges, including a speedometer and tachometer, monitors for oil pressure, fuel, and water temperature, and a voltmeter. The stereo features an Alpine head unit with a CD player and four speakers. The billet-aluminum steering wheel came out of a truck that John bought, and it's mounted to a GMC van column. John opted for the GMC column shift so he could keep the floor clear and accommodate three people in the front seat. A Vintage Air Super Cooler air conditioner and heater combination controls the climate.

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