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Four Door Time Capsule: 1963 Chevrolet Nova

By Jeff Bennett

In the hierarchy of collectible cars, four doors are the Rodney Dangerfield of vehicles.  No respect at all.  That is sad, because four doors are still sensible transportation for families entering the hobby.  There are a lot of kids that don’t have the opportunity to grow up loving cars like we did.  Maybe if some of the families we see at car shows started looking at the classifieds, they would find that entering the hobby is within their budget.  There are a number of four doors out there in good condition with asking prices far lower than other body styles.  Take for example the car pictured above.  It is one of the nicest Novas in existence, and the asking price is ridiculously low.  Currently for sale here on Craigslist in Louisville, Kentucky, this 1963 Chevrolet Nova four door sedan sets the standard for preservation.  However, does its two extra doors make the $8,000 asking price optimistic on even this 40,000 original mile beauty?

Yes, it legitimately has 40,000 miles on the odometer.  What would the asking price be if it were a SS coupe?  Or, if it were a convertible?  Everything about the car seems to be in the same condition as when it left the showroom.  The paint still has a shine to it, the chrome and stainless trim looks fresh, and there are only a few blemishes on the car that we can see.  Still, the asking price is $8,000.

Yes, I am aware that it sports whitewall tires and it has four doors.  It looks like grandma’s car.  However, think of how much fun it would be for a kid to ride to a car show in the front seat.  Of course, you would have to disable the cigarette lighter for the first few trips so they could slowly be acclimated to life without some sort of electronic device.  Without the means to charge it, they would have to interact with others.  The reaction to a life outside a video screen would be priceless.

Or, maybe the car could be used for a road trip.  It doesn’t have to be the Hot Rod Power Tour.  Maybe just a ride to a car show in a neighboring state, or a camping trip.  You could stash a lot of gear in this Nova, and, given that it packs the ultra reliable Chevrolet inline six cylinder engine and a “three on the tree” manual transmission, you would definitely have no trouble making the trip.  It would just take a little more time.

Looking inside, we see that the interior is equally perfect.  This was definitely a car with few options, but many see that as just less opportunity for things to break.  While the carpets look to be a bit discolored, the seats and the door panels look to be in pristine shape.  Just the right place to see the USA in your old Chevrolet.

If it looked a bit too frumpy for your tastes, imagine what it would look like with a set of Corvette rally wheels and some raised white letter tires.  I wouldn’t go too far in altering it, but a set of wheels wouldn’t hurt anything.  What does hurt is how neglectful we have been as a community in not bringing more kids to car shows and not encouraging their participation.  We have already lost so many potential enthusiasts already.  Car clubs in my area are made up of nearly all retired people.  There is nothing wrong with that on the surface, but the lack of age diversity will end up destroying the hobby in the end.

Look at it this way: if a car in this condition is selling for $8,000 or best offer, then there has to be a car for almost every budget out there.  We have, as a community, become far more accepting of unrestored cars, project cars, and even “rat rod” type vehicles.  Just preserving a car for the next generation is enough.  However, we don’t have many in the next generation to hand them off to.  We need to do something before it is too late.  That is, if it isn’t too late already.

I’d like to challenge all of you to start tagging people on Facebook that might be interested in a car you see for sale on the various car related pages there.  It doesn’t have to be Barn Finds, but we would appreciate it.  Extra internet points to you if the person you tag has kids.  Do what you can to show them the cars that are out there, and how a classic car can fit in their budget.  Tell them how much fun your family has in the hobby, or go that extra mile and take them to a car show in your car.  The goal is to increase our numbers to a sustainable level.

When cars this nice are offered for prices like this, and they still sit unsold, that is sort of a dying canary in a coal mine.  We have to do something to change things for the better.

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Comments

  1. flmikey

    …ask for 8, sell for 7…the price is at the top of the market, I think…I am sure it will sell…the 3 on the tree makes it interesting…

    3+
  2. Dovi65

    Agreed, the numbers of interested next-gen collectors is dwindling. Cars from the 70s & earlier just aren’t appealing to today’s new car fans, that will keep selling prices going lower. Especially for the non-muscle cars. To me, $7k seems to be all this one could bring, thinking $5500 would be where this one settles. Hope this little sedan finds a good home.

    0
  3. jimbunte jimbunte Member

    These used to be everywhere in the early- to mid-1970s, as low-cost family haulers, usually with their original buyers or second owners. They ran FOREVER. This will make a great car show vehicle for a lucky family somewhere.

    6+
  4. Jeff Hillwig

    I wouldn’t do a thing to it. Just enjoy it as is. It’s welcome in my garage anytime!

    6+
  5. XMA0891

    My brother’s second car (after his ’64 Malibu was lifted) was a ’62 Chevy II. It was a white over white two door with (unfortunately) an automatic. The motor threw a shaft. A friend of mine gave us a ’63 four door so we could swap the motor. The summer of ’88 – A long time ago, a lot of memories.

    2+
  6. Dan Anderson

    Sorry, no rally wheels in this car’s future. Four lug hubs.

    6+
    • Dave at OldSchool Restorations Dave at OldSchool Restorations Member

      Dan, billet adapters are cheap, you can put most any wheel on this car safely.

      0
      • DrinkinGasoline

        Amen.

        0
  7. PaulbZ3

    Seller must have seen your post here. Now listed at $8500?

    0
  8. Big Mike

    oh to have it, i would add it my birth year collection. i already have a 2 door of this model, but this would be nice.
    8k i think is a little on the high side for this market, but if it is a clean as the pictures show, and being in kentucky which does not normally have very bad winters, the frame and body could be pretty much rust free. oh to dream of another car to the collection.

    1+
  9. jaymes

    i dont understand why no one likes the four doors??? they cost more new and are more popular, try and find a 2dr car today,sans supercars.

    3+
  10. Metoo

    Let me tell you a story. Some years ago I moved to northern AZ. One day I was driving down Route 66 about 10 miles west of Kingman. I came to a really bad looking junkyard and repair shop. In front they had a 4 door Nova they were trying to turn into a 2 door. Back doors removed and sheet metal welded on place. The welding looked like it was done while drunk or high I am sure they thought they were making it more valuable. And I am also sure it is still there, in the back, sun baking with the rest of the the unsellable junk. But the funniest thing I ever saw.

    5+
  11. Joe Howell

    Basic family transportation. The older I get the more I like cars like this. I still love old Muscle but cars like this are special. To most Baby Boomers they represent the bread and butter cars of our parents, grandparents and neighbors. They were examples of getting a new car without breaking the bank. Four doors were handy for loading groceries, kids and pets. More importantly perhaps was picking up other ageing adults for church on Sunday. Climbing in and out of the back seat of a two door while folding the front passenger over with the seat back was something the ladies didn’t much care for. I remember when my Grandfather traded his two door Pontiac Tempest in on a 4 door Nova for the above reason. My Dad went from a 2 door Olds to a 4 door Buick.

    6+
  12. JohnT

    A straight six with a 3-on-the tree and low miles! I would be all over this if it wasn’t so damn expensive. Does Scotty G. know about this old school Chevy Nova?

    2+
  13. DrinkinGasoline

    I like this one, a lot. Replace the “K-Mart Sport Mirrors” with OEM, add fender skirts for a sleeker look and jump one tire size up for a cushier ride. Split exhaust manifolds with duals (not for noise, just for the cool factor). Drive, drive, drive !

    3+
  14. Will Owen

    After many years of going through the exercises involved with letting people in and out of the back seat, I got a four-door, not because I wanted four doors exactly but I did want that pretty Peugeot, and that’s how it came. Suddenly, taking some friends out to dinner, or better yet for an all-evening pub crawl, was a whole lot simpler. So was grocery shopping. Now my fondness for sporty sedans and my preference for Alfa Romeos has rendered any lingering “granny-car” references as irrelevant and silly as they deserve to be. The arrival of our Giulia should close the question once and for all.

    This Nova is the very one I see in my imagination whenever those cars come up in conversation or reading, down to the color. A Brockbank cartoon in R&T when these were new showed British auto-show attendees being amazed that an American car could look so … NORMAL. What’s funny about that is that NORMAL was exactly the badge GM wanted these to wear proudly, and they hit that one out of the park. With the Chevelle they went back to PRETTY, and got that right too.

    1+
  15. Rustytech

    Nice car, four doors and all. It’s funny to think that when these were built they were considered a compact, but they are about the same size as what we consider full size today. The asking price is a little high, but this would make a great daily driver, especially wit vintage air conditioning installed.

    1+
  16. fish56

    The aftermarket side mirrors don’t fit the car’s styling, would need to find some original ones. All in all, though, I like it…for about half the asking price.

    3+
    • John T

      Half of the $8500 asking price is $4250 … Now that’s more like it, Much more reasonable but much less than likely to happen!

      2+
  17. JJS

    I wonder how many drivers could handle a stick shift these days. It will probably be bought by an old grey beard like me, who will take it to car shows and also use it to putz around town.

    2+
    • John T

      This here old man would love to putz around town in this here old standard shift Chevy 4-door sedan. As for the comments below concerning the radio, a simple AM/FM unit would suit me just fine, could live with AM only but would rather not. I would be seriously interested in this Nova but the asking price is way too high.

      0
  18. Lincolnluvr

    I LOVE IT … but I would have to find a stock radio to put in and at LEAST have AM or something as I would go RAVING NUTS without some kind of music…Even AM ….

    1+
    • MSG Bob

      Yeah, but just try to find an AM station these days that isn’t all talk, news, or sports.

      2+
    • Neal

      I’m not a big tech guy, but I imagine a rechargeable small Bluetooth speaker down in the console running from an iPod or iPhone would do the trick just fine.

      0
  19. craig sibert

    Had a 1966 chevy two ,four door ,bought it for 600 in 1986 6 popper automatic.gas guage and speedo no sway bars so when you turned fast you thought you were falling out of the doors.my most boring car ever glad to see it go……….coulda had v8 …………

    0
  20. angliagt

    The teacher at a auto tech class I took years ago,
    had his Aunt’s car,almost like this.It only had 10K miles on it,
    & she mainly drove it less than a mile on local trips.He told me
    that a lot of work needed to be done to it.The body was cherry
    on it though.

    0
  21. Loco Mikado

    Nice car. The only thing I never liked about them was the long rear mono leaf spring. The later ones and V8’s had multi leaf springs.

    0
  22. Mountainwoodie

    A nice preservation class car even if it is fairly simple uninspiring low cost 4 door transportation. Time often makes simple unadorned yet original vehicles more valuable.

    0
  23. Roger

    I grew up with a ’62 two door Nova equipped like this one,Dad and Mom bought it new and used it until 1968 when Dad traded it on a new International pickup,only issue with it was the front end had issues in which it wouldn’t stay in alignment so Dad started putting recaps on it but he loved the little 194 six cylinder engine (new for that year)he said it regularly gave 22 mpg and once on a road trip to visit some of Mom’s family he got an amazing 28 mpg-never before or never since though.

    0
  24. 62 Nova

    To any Nova fan,… it’s worth it.

    0

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