Home-Built Hero: A Low Riding, Smooth Cruising, ’65 Nova Wagon

There’s a lot to be said about a hot rod with a long roof. They’re often just as cool as their coupe counterparts, but give the builder more space to work with. The extra cab area makes ample room for more seats, and ultimately, more friends.

We're down for the orange and gray color scheme, it's a unique combo that really made this car stand out.

This ’65 Nova wagon belongs to Mark Palmer of Edgewood, Washington. Mark has claimed ownership of the car for 19 years, and turned it into one hell of a cool driver. It has a tubular front suspension, power brakes, and air ride for the smoothest possible cruising experience.

This thing can really get low. And what you can't see in the pictures is that the orange has a blue flake in it that really shows up in the direct sunlight.

Mark didn’t buy himself into a car this nice, he bought it as a low mileage, rust-free project that someone else had already started, and left unfinished. He acquired it from a man named Gary in Eatonville, Washington. “He had already started installing the new engine and automatic transmission,” Mark explained. “He had everything to finish it, so me an my dad went over to his house every night for two weeks to put it together so I could drive it home.”

Nova

The car has only been orange and black for the last seven or eight years.

It came to him in a baby blue color, and when he got it on the road, it had a small-block 350 cubic-inch engine and a Turbo 350 transmission. He drove it like that for three years before he started making changes.

That small-block sure wears those M/T covers well.

The changes started with some fresh paint on the top to repair some surface rust in the top area, and rather than paint it the same color, he went with a darker blue for a two-toned paint scheme. Then, he started making mechanical changes like adding the tubular front suspension, air ride, and a manual transmission.

The fuel door has also been moved into the rear taillight housing like a 1956 Chevy. It’s a cool, custom touch you don’t see all that often in a car like this.

“Now it has a five-speed out of a 1986 Camaro,” he explained. “I also moved the battery to the back, along with the tank for the air ride.” He has a belt-driven compressor to supply the air ride while the car is running, and an electric compressor for when the car is off.

We love the start on this interior and can't what to see what it looks like when it's finished.

While the interior is a work in progress, a lot has also been done to improve things there as well. Mark added a custom overhead console along with all new instruments and Auto Meter gauges. Not only that, but it’s only the upholstery work that still needs to be done, the orange paint inside that matches the exterior color is flawless.

Driving tunes and interior function are important, so Mark has a custom stereo setup in the car. and a really cool custom control panel for the air ride operations. All this thing needs in order to be “done”, is a fresh upholstery job and it’ll be a real show-stopper.

Under the hood is also dressed to impress with Mickey-Thompson valve covers, a chrome air cleaner, and a Holley 650 cfm carburetor mounted to a Holley intake fueling the small-block. The orange on the valve covers really helps things pop under the hood.

Do you want to read about more Home-Built Heroes? All you need to do is click here. If you own a Home-Built Hero, we want to hear about it. Since we’ve started the series, we have received more than a few candidates, but we still want to see more – we can never get enough. If you want to see more cars built by you the readers, send us a few pictures of your car showing the engine, interior, and exterior, along with all of the pertinent information, and we’ll make you Internet famous. You can send your submissions to chevyhardcore@powerautomedia.com.

About the author

Kyler Lacey

A 2015 Graduate from Whitworth University, Kyler has always loved cars. He grew up with his dad's '67 Camaro in the garage and started turning wrenches at a young age. At seventeen, he bought his first classic, a '57 Chevy Bel Air four-door, and has since added a '66 Plymouth Valiant and '97 Cadillac Deville to his collection. When he isn't writing for Power Automedia, he's out shooting pictures at car shows, hiking in the forests of the beautiful Pacific Northwest, or working on something in the garage.
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