Home-Built Hero: Classic Style And Modern Flair In A Big-Block Nova

The Chevrolet Nova packs all the punch of classic muscle car looks and power into a relatively small package that delivers a great power-to-weight ratio — especially when you drop in a big-block under the hood like what’s powering this one.

This Nova belongs to John Carpino of Prosser, Washington, and although he’s owned it for just five years, it’s been in the family for more than a decade. “My dad bought it and then owned it for ten years before I got it from him,” John said. The history of the car and the family connection behind it are part of what make this build special.

“It was pretty run down when we got it, and we took it all the way down to bare metal. My dad and I built it together. Basically, we took it down to the frame and started over,” John stated. They rebuilt everything, and dropped in a big and nearly bulletproof drivetrain that would help this little car fly.

The engine is a tried-and-true performer, a big-block 427 cubic incher that’s fueled by a Holley 750 cfm double-pumper four-barrel carburetor. Linked to the engine is a 700R4 automatic transmission and a 4.11 geared 9-inch rearend.

“My favorite part is the power,” John said. With a big-block for motivation, who could disagree? “The nice thing though is that my dad helped me build it.” He continued, “It’s in our blood.” The two of them did a great job building the car and it’s not only made to go, but it looks great, and we love the way they put this car together.

The paint scheme really does this car well.

The silver and gray color combination helps this Nova pop, especially with the stripe that goes over the cowl-induction hood. The subtle heartbeat line on the back panel is another great touch that eludes to the iconic, “Heartbeat of America” tagline by Chevrolet. The way John did is subtle, and doesn’t call too much attention to the design.

The custom upholstery matches well with the exterior, and features grey vinyl with silver cloth inserts. It looks great and the style flows from the outside in. The interior doesn’t call too much attention to itself or detract from the overall appeal of the rough-and-tumble look of the exterior. It adds cool style by maintaining a simple look that goes a long way with the classic B&M floor shifter, shift shroud mounted gauges, wood steering wheel, and the column-mounted tach.

Upholstery is always a tough decision. Using grey and silver was a great choice.

The Nova is a great platform for a muscle car, and John and his dad did a great job putting this one together. The simple and cool exterior works well with the modern interior, and everything comes together under the hood where there is just the right amount of chrome, polished aluminum, and painted steel to give this car an undeniable, classic look that we just can’t get enough of.

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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