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Chevy 2 Only Tech Talk

Tech Bulletins:
NOVA WAGONS
TO: Nova LoversDATE: 4/28/09

Novas are so popular these days that if you were on the hunt for one, it’s highly unlikely that you’d be able to pick up the local want ads and find an SS or a sport coupe for anything less than a few thousand dollars. A few years ago you might have been able to get one for a few hundred maybe, but not today. With this being the case, many Nova fans are looking for alternatives, and many are trying their hand at building a sleeper four-door or a long-roof model (station wagon) instead. With the popularity of these once-not-so-popular versions growing, one of the best bits of information that potential owners can get is that many manufacturers are gearing up and producing reproduction parts!  

Most repro firms like Classic Industries, SoffSeal, Trim Parts, and Goodmark are realizing that Novas, in general, are hot cars. So, it only makes sense that they jump on the repro parts bandwagon now, to be ready for the wave of cool cars to come.

While some people balk at the notion of building a Nova with more than two doors, the truth is that the market is just the opposite! The popularity of these cars with “two doors too many” is rising as I write this column. As an example, at Chevy 2 Only, our own in-house project is a ’65 four-door “Xtreme,” which is due to be running and driving not long after you read this. Our “taxi” will include as many of the cool bolt-ons we can get: four-wheel disc brakes, a 700-R4 transmission, a 385-inch fast-burn GM crate engine massaged to 430 hp, modern rolling stock, etc. This car has also been a test vehicle used to fit some of our new and upcoming products, such as oil pans, frame connectors, electric fan brackets, and door panels, just to name a few items.

One of the neat things about wagons that many people don’t realize is that the extra length comes from the center of the rear wheels back to the rear bumper, which leaves the wheelbase essentially the same as that of a two-door coupe. This makes swapping a lot of the mechanical parts already manufactured a simple proposition.

All of the weatherstripping for the side windows is available now, while most of the tailgate weatherstripping is available or near completion. The one part that still needs to be produced is the lower quarter-panel sheetmetal behind the rear wheel. In the past, we have used two of the repair panels for the two-door cars on each side, but a “correct for wagons” part would be wonderful— sheetmetal manufacturers, take note! And, just for all you ’65 wagon nuts, the rear taillight lenses are on the way soon. And hopefully we will get the back-up lenses in the future, as well!  

To help motivate anyone interested in building a wagon or four-door, we have documentation and pictures of some of the rare wagons that have surfaced over the last 20 years, which proves that these haulers were originally intended for more than just a jaunt to the grocery store. How about a ’65 wagon with a four-speed; a ’66 L79/four-speed combo; a ’67 with a four-speed, disc brakes, A/C, and tinted glass! We hope to have photos of these cars posted on our site soon.  

Probably the single rarest option we have come across to date on a Nova wagon—even more rare than a ’65 with an AM/FM stereo—is the RPO A66 divided second seat. This was found in a loaded ’65 V-8-powered wagon. GM records state that only 14 wagons were equipped with this type of seat, which is similar to the late-model Suburban’s second seat, 60/40 style.

As of right now, I don’t think any real rare fourdoor “non wagons” have surfaced with special performance features from the factory. But if anyone out there has knowledge of something interesting or has a cool wagon hiding in a garage, let us know; we’d love to hear about it. Until next month, go out and see what you can find, then keep an eye out for this column to learn how to improve your little Deuce.

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** THESE TECH ARTICLES WERE ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN SUPER CHEVY MAGAZINE **

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