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1965 NOVA SS - InNOVAtion
    HOT ROD Magazine's 1982 Street Machine of the Year      




1965 Chevrolet Nova SS 



2” X 3” Main rails


1.75” Round Tubing



Chevrolet 454 LS-7 Big Block



Twin Holley 750 CFM Carburetors

Twin - Roto Master Turbochargers

BDS 6-71 Supercharger

8-Port NOS Nitrous System

Water-Alcohol Injection



MSD 7AL-2 and Distributor



B & M Competition Turbo 400


B & M 11” Competition



6" dropped Straight Axle

4-Link with Coil-Over Shocks



Ladder Bars with Coil-Over Shocks



Dana 60 - 4.56 Ratio


4 JFZ Calipers 

Drilled and Slotted Rotors - F & R


Centerline 15 X 3.5 – Front

Centerline - 15 x 15 Centerline - Rear



Pneumant 5.60 X 15 – Front

McCreary 33 X 15 X 15 – Rear



17 Autometer Gauges

2 - Pro Lights



Deist Flame-Out Fire System

Hand-Held Fire Extinguisher

5-Point Safety Harnesses

Twin Parachutes



  • The Nova was constructed over a two-and-a-half-year period, from October 1979 through March 1982, logging in over 3000 man-hours. The project was based on a pristine all-steel 1965 Nova SS body with 21,000 original miles.


  • The Nova remains in its stock form except for the rear wheel wells, which have been lengthened a full seven inches to accommodate the massive rear tires, and the form-fitting hole in the hood necessary for the 6-71 Supercharger’s clearance.


  • The Nova debuted on the cover of the September 1982 Hot Rod Magazine and went on to be featured in over 200 magazines worldwide, including over 40 covers.


  • In 1982, the Nova received the prestigious “Street Machine of the Year” award from Hot Rod Magazine.


  • At the 1982 Car Craft Magazine Street Machine Nationals, (A 5,000-car event)

      The Nova was awarded:

      Best Car – Best Pro Street Car – Best Engine – Best Engineered – Grand Champion


  • At the 1983 Car Craft Magazine Street Machine Nationals, (A 5,000-car event)

      The Nova was awarded:

      Best Car – Best Pro Street Car – Best Engine – Best Engineered – Grand Champion


  • At the 1983 Car Craft Magazine Street Machine Nationals–East, (A 2,500-car event)

      The Nova was awarded:

      Best Car – Best Pro Street Car – Best Engine – Best Engineered – Grand Champion


  • The International Show Car Association awarded the Nova:

      1983 Northeast Division Champion and Second Place in the Southeast Division.

  • The Nova finished fourth overall at the ISCA Grand Finale in Las Vegas, Nevada.  





Gray Baskerville – Senior Editor

We had a chance to do a few burnouts in Rick’s slick trick. And while the nitrous wasn’t hooked up, neither were the tires. The power, even at partial throttle, was frightening, and the noise generated by the combined turbos and Roots blower was beyond belief.


As its name implies, this Nova has it all – and then some. But unlike many a heavy-handed chrome artist, Dobbertin knows the difference between Overkill and overdone.

And The Winner Is . . . 


Tom Dufur – Feature Editor

And then it happens. You can sense it coming, like an apparition from a Dickens novel. The increased murmuring from the crowd confirms that something is threading its way towards you, and your ears pick up the ominous whine of an approaching blower. When it finally comes into view, Rick Dobbertin’s ’65 Nova is immersed in a sea of onlookers, inching its way through a throng that knows it is witnessing the passing of a consummate street machine, the King of the Pro Street movement, and an engineering masterpiece second to none.

1982 Street Machine of the Year 


The Editorial Staff – Hot Rod Magazine

Rick’s eye-popping boulevard rocket was the hands-down favorite among the staff as well as the readers. We feel it’s easily the most visually stupefying vehicle we’ve seen for the street in a long while. Senior Editor Gray Baskerville went for a very frightening and mercifully short ride in Rick’s masterpiece.

Our hats off to ya’, Rick.  Congratulations from HOT ROD.


Rick’s Roots 


Bruce Hampson – Feature Editor

Take one ’65 Chevy II, paint it blue and stuff it with 454 cubic inches of turbocharged, supercharged and injected Chevy muscle, and you have the stuff dreams are made of. For anyone who wasn’t with us four years ago, this is the Deuce that Rick built – the car that defined the direction of Pro Street for a whole new generation of car crafters.

The First 50 years – Hot Rod Magazine's 50th


The Editorial Staff – Hot Rod Magazine

Rick Dobbertin's audacious blue '65 Nova in the September '82 issue put the entire street machine world in the weeds.

Baddest Novas Of All Time 


Jeff Smith – Editor

Most important when viewing any Dobbertin creation is to remember his extreme attention to detail. The Nova virtually swept every show it attended that year. In fact, Dobbertin was so influential that the Street Machine Nationals the following year was virtually awash in blue ‘65 Chevy IIs. If you had to pick one Nova or Chevy II that had the greatest impact on the sport, it would have to be this car.

Dobbertin's 1965 Chevy II Nova and the History of Hot Rodding

Barrett Jackson Promotions - July 3, 2015

David Freiburger - Freelancer

Rick Dobbertin's name might as well be welded onto every Pro Street car that came after 1982, when his 1965 Chevy II was HOT ROD's Street Machine of the Year. The car also took top awards at the Car Craft Street Machine Nationals in both '82 and '83. Anyone who was older than 13 and into cars in the '80s remembers this car. It was everywhere.

We see it as a crossover in the hobby: The graphics are similar to what would have been on a show-car street machine in the late '70s, but the tubs and blower through the hood are pure Pro Street. The car's notoriety was earned with absurd levels of detail and its ludicrous big block with twin turbos mated to the supercharger, plus a dash of nitrous for flavor. It did and does run and drive, but it spawned an onslaught of the over-the-top fairgrounds cruisers that were not so functional. The Chevy II was a 21,000-mile original when Dobbertin tore into it.

TAKIN’ IT TO THE LIMIT: Dobbertin’s Nova changed the course of car culture in the U.S.

Barrett Jackson Promotions - August 2015

Staff Writers

Rick Dobbertin’s 1965 Chevrolet Nova, considered one of the most significant and important custom cars ever built, will be crossing the auction block at the 8th Annual Barrett-Jackson Las Vegas Auction, September 24-26, 2015.

In 1982, Dobbertin's Nova kicked the Pro Street movement into overdrive and was named Hot Rod Magazine’s Street Machine of the Year:


As an advertising gimmick in the late 1970s, Dobbertin had some T-shirts printed up to advertise that his Virginia-based automotive speed shop specialized in turbocharging, supercharging and nitrous oxide injection. “I looked at those shirts and thought, ‘Hey, it would be cool to put all that in one car,’” Dobbertin remembers. That’s right: he put two turbos, one supercharger and a nitrous system into this one Nova. Minds were blown.


“Just because something hasn’t been done in the past doesn’t mean it can’t be done,” says Dobbertin about his philosophy. “To this day, a lot of people don’t think the Nova is functional, but it is. It’s very simple when you really sit down and look at it. The turbos don’t really know the supercharger is there, and vice-versa. They work independently, but together.”

Dobbertin put more than 3,000 hours into building this car between 1979 and 1982, starting with a ’65 Chevrolet II and transforming it beyond belief. There are twin Roto-Master turbochargers, a BDS 6-71 supercharger, an 8-port nitrous oxide system, a 454cid LS7 V8, Holley 750cfm carbs, twin radiators, B&M Comp Turbo 400, a DANA 60 rear end,

Dobbertin’s Nova turned the custom car world on its ear. It debuted at Car Craft Magazine’s 1982 Street Machine Nationals, where it was named Grand Champion and also drove away with awards for Best Engine, Best Car, Best Pro-Street Car and Best Engineered.

In 1983, the Nova again swept those same categories at both Car Craft Magazine’s Street Machine Nationals as well as the Street Machine Nationals – East. The groundbreaking machine has appeared on the cover of 14 magazines and has been featured in over 100 publications around the world.

This mean machine is considered one of the most significant and important custom cars ever built, and to this day remains a benchmark for innovation and excellence among hot rod enthusiasts. Still in excellent condition and 100-percent original to the day it was built, the novel Nova starts right up and purrs like a pussycat.


Dobbertin’s Nova is an important piece of automotive history that will continue to inspire custom car builders for decades to come.

Dobbertin’s Nova Up For Sale at September Barrett-Jackson Vegas.

Rick Dobbertin’s 1965 Chevy Nova II is one of the most recognizable hot rods of all time. 

Barrett Jackson Promotions - August 31, 2015 

MIKE AGUILAR - Freelancer

By a show of hands, who remembers Rick Dobbertin’s 1965 Nova? This Nova is the car that sparked interest in the hobby of hot-rodding in the hearts and minds of many gearheads. The car is also credited with having set the custom car world spinning when it was first unveiled back in 1982.

When Dobbertin introduced his Nova, the Pro-Street scene was just gaining momentum. Thirty years later, many hot rodders still remember this car and acknowledge it as the reason they got into the hobby.

The car was first unveiled at Car Craft’s 1982 Street Machine Nationals, where it garnered a number of top prizes, including Grand Champion and Best Car. It repeated these awards in the 1983 event as well as the Street Machine Nationals-East. The car made such a mark in the hot-rodding industry that Hot Rod Magazine named it their Street Machine of the Year.

This innovative Nova has graced the covers of 14 magazines at last count. It’s also been featured in more than 100 publications, not just in the United States, but internationally. There is no argument that Dobbertin’s Nova is one of the most influential and significant custom cars that the hot rodding world has ever seen, and it continues to influence builders to this day.

Car builder Rick Dobbertin put in well over 3,000 hours over 36 months while building the car. He used not one, but two Roto-Master turbochargers during the build. That wasn’t enough boost, so Rick also stuck a BDS 6-71 supercharger on top, and plumbed-in an eight-port nitrous system. All this feeds the 454 cubic-inch LS7 V8. Torque and horsepower is fed through a B&M-built Turbo 400 automatic and Dana 60 rear.

Rick Dobbertin’s Pro Street Nova Set for Barrett-Jackson Las Vegas

Barrett Jackson Promotions - September 8, 2015

Brandan Gillogly - Writer

If you're old enough to remember watching new episodes of The Dukes of Hazzard, then you know this car. Rick Dobbertin's 1965 Nova was such a milestone car in the Pro Street world that it was named Grand Champion of the 1982 Car Craft Nationals when it made its public debut. It also took home awards for Best Engine, Best Car, Best Pro-Street Car and Best Engineered at the show for two consecutive years.


When Rick Dobbertin began building his 1965 Nova he decided to show off his talents in tuning turbocharged, supercharged, and nitrous-fed engines all on one powerplant.


The attention to detail on the entire car is amazing, but it's that mysterious 454ci big-block that most of us remember. With twin Roto-Master turbochargers drawing fuel and air through one Holley 750-cfm carb each before feeding into a BDS 6-71 supercharger, the induction system always had people scratching their heads. In addition to the boost, Dobbertin plumbed in an eight-port nitrous oxide system to give the car the over-the-top excess that Pro Street was known for.


If you're looking at the butterflies on the injector scoop and wondering how they function with the turbochargers providing boost upstream, they don't. The injector has a divider behind the butterflies that seals the boosted intake. Despite the fact that the carburetors are so far from the intake plenum, Dobbertin did indeed tune the car to run with that wild induction system.

The 6 Kings of Pro Street: How the Biggest Builders Ruled the Era.

Looking back at Pro Street's biggest builders and the hot rods that took the ’80s by storm.

Hot Rod Archives - January 4, 2023

Tim Bernsau - Writer / Photographer

Of the hundreds of hot rodders who built Pro Street cars in the Eighties, a handful became famous. Six builders—Rick Dobbertin, Mark Grimes, Matt Hay, Rocky Robertson, Rod Saboury, and Scott Sullivan—were probably the most famous, and the Pro Street cars they built are probably the best-known. Now, 30-plus years later, we tracked them down to find out what became of the cars that ruled Pro Street.


Rick Dobbertin

If any car is associated with the outrageous engineering extremes of the Pro Street era it would be Rick Dobbertin's 1982 Pontiac J2000. A few years earlier, his blue 1965 Chevy Nova was a foreshadow of what was ahead.

1965 Chevy II Nova: Dobbertin's Premier Pro Streeter


When Gray Baskerville wrote about Rick's blue '65 Nova in HOT ROD's September 1982 issue, he titled his story "Overkill." It was not a criticism, but an acknowledgement of how far the car stretched the limits of hot rodding.

Rick says he built the Nova as a way to promote the shop he owned at the time. When he started the project, it was a low mileage car had slightly more than 20 thousand miles on the odometer.


The world got its first look at the Car Craft 1982 Street Machine Nationals three years later. Show judges named it Grand Champion, the highest of several awards it won there. The air scoop rising through the hood topped a 454-cubic-inch big-block engine with a 6-71 blower, two turbochargers, and two Holley 750 carburetors.


Two nitrous oxide tanks mounted in the trunk fed a 20-port nitrous system. The interior resembled a meeting between motorsports and science fiction. A full cage surrounds a pair of racing seats, from which the driver faces 17 Auto Meter gauges. Two parachutes and wheelie bars were added in the back.

Rick's Nova spent the year raking in awards and media attention, and was named HOT ROD's Street Machine of the Year. Rick recently told us that the car eventually ended up in the Chicago area and looks like it did when we saw it in 1982.

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