1965 Chevy Nova
Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing
Jon has had his beloved Nova since 2020 but actually the two were connected since 2009 when his best friend Shannon Gauthier purchased the car. In January of 2020, Shannon was looking to offload it and due to another project taking all his time and attention so Jon scooped it up to keep it safe and in the family. And just like any other car guy who just bought his dream machine, Jon had ideas of what the future would hold.
No Shortcuts Taken
Since the interior would be the star of the build, Jon wasted no time contacting the R&D department over at TMI to get not only a complete custom interior, but one that had all of the little custom touches that would make this interior shine. He chose to go with a full interior kit that included Pro-Series Universal Low Back Seats in Sport-QR pattern, and went with Madrid White Vinyl to compliment the exterior paint, adding Red Vinyl, with Black Unisuede inserts and matching red going down the middle, and red stitching to set it all off. A set of matching door panels, rear quarter panels, and front kick panels were included, along with a 1-piece molded headliner.
If you were to guess that the console is 100-percent custom, you’d be absolutely correct. It started life as a TMI-sourced 1971 Camaro full-length console that was matched in the same Sport QR pattern, Jon then proceeded to measured out where his Art Carr shifter with custom billet shift knob by Evans CNC would be mounted and the TMI R&D guys happily obliged. Another custom touch is the 3D printed phone cradle that his buddy Shannon designed for him. Although it is currently in is raw plastic form, it will be sent out to Evans CNC to be replicated in billet aluminum. The console itself was chosen due to the fact that it was full-length and Jon needed a little extra space for the Vintage Air vents, an integrated cell phone dock and charger, all while still having room for at least one cup holder.
Rocketship with Wheels
Just a few short weeks after picking up the Chevy Jon was already ripping into the engine bay to remove the 350 small block, the 2004r, and the original 10 bolt leaf-sprung rear end. Wasting no time, Jon had dropped a BluePrint Engines 6.0L iron block LSX with LS3 rectangular port heads complete with a bevy of performance parts. Jon knew he wanted the reliability of an LS-based power plant, and he outfitted it with a Eddie Motorsports valve cover, water pump and belt drive system, a K&N air cleaner, Champion radiator with Derale 16-inch fan, a DC Power Engineering 270 amp alternator, with Fitech ECU. The “boosted” portion of this build comes in the form of a Magnuson TVS2300 Supercharger equipped with Eaton twin four-lobe rotors. That may be a mouthful, but seeing it in the engine bay makes it seem like it was specifically designed for this application. And being in the passenger seat when that Magnuson hits is quite the rush!
All that power is routed to a TCI Super Street fighter 4l60E which turns a 4-inch Inland Empire Driveshaft which connects the Currie Turn9 9-inch read end, which is equipped with 3.70 gears an Eaton TruTrac with limited slip. Spent gasses get sucked out of a set of TCI LS headers connected to a Gibson 3-inch system with Superflow WMA mufflers and X-pipe with side exit and rectangular tips. With the engine and transmission setup, Jon rolled onto the dyno and his Nova pushed out a healthy 634hp and 572 lb-ft!
All that power needs some guidance and this ’65 stay planted in the corners with a dialed in suspension setup. The whole front clip is a Heidts front clip which was upgraded with a CPP Power Rack, and SPC adjustable upper control arms and QA1 Coilovers. For the rear he selected, a TCI kit that included a 4-link, subframe connectors, and Panhard bars. He then upgraded the control arms from single to double adjustable with Johnny Joints, which were appropriately developed by John Currie.
Beautiful on the Outside Too
The exterior is unmistakably Nova with that factory Ermine White shining like a diamond white a set of vinyl Currie Red racing stripes grace the hood streaming out of the Eddie Motorsports SS hood vents. All of the exterior trim was bought new, while a Glassteck Front Spoiler and custom rear billet spoiler by Evans CNC out of San Diego, CA, who also created some slick one-off CNC’d mirrors. Fesler headlights do a good job of lighting up the road.
Stopping the Beast
Jon is quite handy in the shop having built most of this car himself so it comes to no surprise that he made the wheels. “Wait, what?!?! Like he made the wheels himself?!?!” you might ask. And the answer is yes, he designed, cut, and finished the wheels himself. Next the time you want to DIY something and think you can’t, think of Jon. Hopefully that’ll inspire you.
His creation paid homage to vintage Trans-Am wheel from the early ‘70’s called the Mini-Lite and took the form of a three-piece billet aluminum wheel in Tinted Gold powdercoat over brushed aluminum measuring a meaty 19x8 and 19x9 and wearing Falken Azenis RT-510K tires 235/35/19 in the front and 255/35/19 in the rear.
Built to Ride
Jon’s goal for his ’65 Nova build was to create a very capable car that could hold its own on the track and be comfortable to drive on the street. With its perfect blend of classic styling, a very well laid out interior thanks to TMI, and the long list of go-fast parts make this Nova a blast to rip around in. Jon likes to attend local shows and events to where he is located in Southern California, and is planning on going to the Quarantine Cruise, Donut Derelicts locally in SoCal, and even Hot Rod Power Tour and Hot August Nights.