Mark Johnson got involved with cars through his neighbor, a backyard mechanic who also happened to work in a salvage yard. Mark's first loves were Fords-Rancheros and Falcons-and he went through several of each. As with many car crafters, however, marriage and family diverted Mark's attention from the automotive hobby for a number of years. When the urge returned, Mark dabbled for a while with a '65 El Camino project, but it demanded too much time, money, and effort. The day he sold it, he dutifully took the proceeds to the bank on his way to his daughter's soccer game. On the return trip, however, he saw a '67 Chevy Nova station wagon parked at the side of the road with the hood up. Mark stopped to help, chatted with the owners, made an offer on the car, went back to the bank to retrieve the El Camino cash, and headed for home with the Nova. His wife was not pleased, but he has now built the wagon into the family cruiser that he'd been hoping for.
Bob Santana met Mark at a car show in his hometown of La Verne, California. Bob had been into anything with wheels since he was a kindergartner, growing up with a father who owned and worked on a '49 Merc. Bob's first automotive foray involved a '66 Volkswagen, which he sold after high school to purchase a '69 Z/28 Camaro. His eclectic history also included Porsches, vans, and more VWs, but he was driving a '67 Nova Sport Coupe when he met Mark at a La Verne show-and that may have planted the station-wagon seed. After losing the coupe to a rear-end collision and becoming dispirited, he abandoned cars for a while. As with Mark, though, the urge returned. Bob decided he wanted a station wagon, so he went to the famed automotive swap meet in Pomona, California. After spending the day searching and almost making a deal on a '66 Chevelle wagon, he gave up and went back to his daily driver VW. There, parked next to it, was a '67 Nova wagon, and the die was cast.
While both cars were roadworthy when Mark and Bob acquired them, each needed work.
In the years since they met, the two men have become close friends, talking frequently, digging up sources for esoteric parts for each other, and eventually helping to develop an informal network of Nova station wagon devotees. (Over the next few months, we'll shine the light on a few more of these cars.) Mark tends to visit more car shows, has gone on the Hot Rod Power TourTM twice, and planned to accompany the Car Craft Anti Tour this year, but Bob joins him whenever possible at local meets.
It's good to have buddies-especially those who share rare tastes.