HomePick of the DayPick of the Day: 1965 Chevrolet Nova classic sleeper muscle car

Pick of the Day: 1965 Chevrolet Nova classic sleeper muscle car

Performance-tuned V8 turns this mild-looking compact into a potent powerhouse


The Pick of the Day is a 1965 Chevrolet Chevy II Nova 2-door that looks like the epitome of a plain Jane grocery getter, a simple economy car that is nonetheless in sparkling condition. 

But crank the ignition, and the unmistakable rumble of a tweaked Chevy V8 let’s you know that this Nova is a classic sleeper equipped to surprise all comers. The “little old lady from Pasadena” enshrined in the Jan and Dean (later, Beach Boys) song comes to mind.  Go, Granny, Go!

“The motor fires up with that unmistakable wallop of extra power inside the V8, and the H-pipe dual exhaust has a sweet tune,” according to the Lithia Springs, Georgia, dealer advertising the Nova on ClassicCars.com. “Best of all, the Muncie four-speed manual transmission firmly puts you in the center of the action.”

This little red Chevy has been fitted with a 350cid small block upgraded with “go-fast goodies like an Edelbrock four-barrel carburetor, Offenhauser intake, MSD ignition, and a custom set of headers,” the dealer says in the ad.


The car has a “cool, time-capsule” aura with stock body and interior, the seller notes.  “The red paint has a good clearcoat shine, but nothing too extreme to give away the sleeper nature. The same goes for the stock wheels with dog dish hubcaps. So few people will probably pick up on the extra-wide tires in the rear.”

The bench-seat interior carries on the old-school vibe, looking very much like an original Nova, if you ignore the auxiliary gauges and the 4-speed shifter poking up from the floor.

“The interior shows more of the cool/classic economy car feeling,” the ad says. “Durable rubber flooring, simple door panels, and a grippy dual-spoke steering wheel prove that any investments were all about keeping a true Chevy II style.


“The seats look terrific as (they) with go with the rest of the red interior. At the same time, the textured cloth inserts are a reminder that being budget-friendly Chevy didn’t mean they skipped out on panache.”

Though compact for that era with straightforward styling, the Nova was still a good-looking car that provided some stylish flair for even the most cash-strapped drivers.

“These first-gen Chevy IIs have some great-looking lines,” the dealer points out. “Over half a century later, we really get to appreciate the front end with a hint of overhang, full-length sheetmetal crease, and the well-done flare on the rear fenders.”

And the Nova’s comparable light weight made it ideal for an all-Chevy muscle car that could hide in plain sight. There’s no word in the ad as to whether the brakes and steering have been upgraded as well.

The asking price for this wide-awake sleeper is $24,995.

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.

Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.


  1. I like Nova’s. I’m not a fan of the car being painted red as there are more appealing colors to paint it. If this is supposed to convey a “ sleeper “ vibe then why would you paint it fire engine red which draws attention to it?

  2. Brakes look to be stock since an original single-bowl master cylinder is still in place Suspension too is probably stock since the original shock-towers are still there. It could have a lower control arm upgrade that we cannot see..

  3. Ahh I I remember my Chevy Nova well. My father and mother bought the car from a friend who was a dealer forgot to mention it was a police special. My friends and I had a lot of fun in that car over the years. Mine was the next model up to two door version also

  4. Would you consider a trade for my truck 2014 f 250 4×4 totally tricked out !! If interested I can show all that it has by the way it’s diesel & very clean & trick


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