Goin’ All Out! 1971 Chevrolet Nova SS

Jamie PalmerBy Jamie Palmer

“How to go all out in a low-priced car.” That was Chevrolet’s tagline for the 1971 Nova SS, even though you could no longer get the big-block 396 engine that was available the year before. This truly solid, original paint car is being sold here on eBay, where you can buy it right now for $18,900 but the seller is encouraging lower offers. Before you poo-poo that price, I once bought a car that was listed on eBay for $18,000 for less than half of that figure when the seller accepted my offer–so you never know! You’ll have to transport the Nova from Olive Branch, Mississippi if your offer is accepted.

I was surprised to find out that the 1971 SS version of the Nova was the second least popular of the 14 years of Nova SS production, with only 7,015 of the 194,878 made (3.6%) being SSs. What exactly did that entail? Well, aside from the cosmetic modifications (the “special hood insulation” in the ad really got to me–I feel sorry for the lackey that had to write the ad copy) there were suspension changes, “wide” wheels and tires and a “higher capacity” rear axle.

Obviously, on this car the original wheels have vanished, but they aren’t hard to find. I can certainly believe the claim of original paint, and despite there being no claim of no rust (yay for honesty!) you can tell there isn’t a lot. It’s a rare Nova where the trunk floor looks solid. If we believe the license plates, the car came out of Texas, which is a good thing regarding corrosion. I do find it interesting that both front fenders have paint that has deteriorated more than the surrounding panels; perhaps they were painted separately at the time?

This view highlights both the simulated hood vents and the broken areas in the lower grille surround. The panels look very straight and I don’t think the car has ever been in a wreck.

I’m guessing the interior was upgraded due to the Texas sun. While the upholstery is an original-style kit, if I were being picky I’d complain a little about the installation on the Strato-Bucket seats. By the way, that center console was an option, so between the air conditioning, automatic and other features, this was a pretty well optioned SS.

Yes, it’s filthy under here, but it also looks pretty original and since I’m in the South, the air conditioning is welcome. Shoot, I’d welcome this whole car into my garage, especially since the seller says it’s “super nice and tight” and that it “runs and drives great.” Not only that, but they’ve already replaced the front suspension, exhaust and water pump for me. Would you like this one in your garage? And if so, what would you consider a fair offer? Let us know in the comments!

 

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Comments

  1. Gearheaddropping

    I would not do a thing to this car other than get some original wheels on it. 18k is tough to swallow, but you never know.

    7+

  2. doug

    During this time front fenders were put on painted, at least on Camaros so probably Novas too.

    3+

  3. JamestownMike

    $18,900??………so much for a “low priced car”!

    7+

    • Superdessucke

      If you can wait another 5 years these will be low priced cars once again. 80 year olds can only do so many smokey burnouts and most of our Uber riding, car sharing, bike lane riding Gen X and Millennials have no clue what these are or what to do with them, LOL!

      6+

  4. whmracer99

    Bought one of these with the louvered hood and center console with gauges for $600 back in the day with a Corvette engine in it. Raced it at our local dirt track in the spectator races and won almost $1800 with it before it got rolled into a ball (more correctly driven into a concrete wall at a pretty high rate of speed). Took the console out and trashed the rest. There was a time when the Novas were the pick of the litter for dirt track cars — no telling how many of them met their demise on local dirt tracks. Nice to see an old one in good shape. Can’t wrap my head around $18K though.

    5+

    • Dickie F

      So what size engine is in this one ….?

      0

  5. Howard A Member

    My grandfather bought a brand new Nova in 1971 very similar to this, which, at the time, was quite a departure from his tried and true 4 door Impala’s. Not a fancy SS, but a 350, automatic, same color. Pretty basic otherwise, rubber floor mat, dog dish hub caps, but for a senior in high school, when he let me drive it, it was a cool ride. Burned rubber pretty easy, even for a 2 barrel, but ran out of steam in a hurry, needed more fuel. I remember, I went with him to pick it up, and when he drove it for the 1st time, Gramps wasn’t used to the throttle or that light of a car, and screeched the tires leaving the dealer. This was probably the most popular low buck muscle car in the late 60’s and 70’s.

    10+

  6. al8apex

    Fisher Body painted the body and the assembly plant painted the front end … that is why many of these cars “mis matched” from day one, especially certain metallic colors

    They obviously weathered differently as well

    7+

  7. Dt 1

    How do you truly know it’s a Nova SS you could simply just put the SS badges on it and say it’s an SS

    0

  8. JW

    I’m a Ford truck guy and a Pontiac car guy but my nephew had one of these but a 6 banger, tried to talk him in to a V8 conversion but he had no money. I really like these Nova’s for a cheap restomod but this one is pretty steep priced even with no rust.

    9+

  9. Jim

    Maybe 8K for it I would have to see it first paint it original color and original wheels

    2+

  10. gaspumpchas

    My recommendation would be to talk to the owner. I got a great deal on a 57 ranchero and got it for like half of what he was asking because he had bought a bunch of cars and had to get some $$$ back to pay for them. The guy is open to offers and he states that,good sign.Good luck- i’d drive as is…My $.02 worth….good luck…

    3+

  11. sluggo

    Reading comprehension seems rather low on this listing where people overlook the difference between Buy it Now and MAKE OFFER! Or the comments about Rust bucket. (Bring back the thumbs down icon!)

    This is a very nice and clean car, wish they all could be found in this nice of a condition,, a little surface rust patina aint no big thang! FPI needed but I bet its just that,, Surface. Not serious frame or body rot.

    As a former owner of my very first personal car ever owned was a 72 Rally Nova, this warms my cockles. Sweet ride! Despite the rarity of that console, I would be inclined to stash it in a sealed container and stick a B&M Shifter in there. The stock console looks like a JC Whitney accy, Same with the paint. It may be stock but not an attractive color. Dark Navy Blue pearly with Alaskan White rally stripes would be the fix.

    But man,, this is a sweet ride. I wont bother making an offer as I am full up with projects and any spare time goes into the wifes 69 Chevelle project,, But Id bring this sweetheart home ina hot second if i could.

    6+

  12. Dave

    Check the Vin #…

    0

  13. Tom

    I just sold a fully restored1971 SS Nova 427 big block th400 12 bolt 411 custom paint job the works for 24k I wouldn’t pay than more than 8k for that

    16+

    • sluggo

      Gotta point there Tom, Sweet ride, * I overlooked the price on the featured car. seems awfully high, still a solid start, but $18k is too much.
      But Toms 71 is one sweet ride. and a bargain at that price as all in to build that if you dont do your own work is a deal. I do my own paint but the cost for that paint job from a quality shop is half your asking price at $24k

      4+

  14. Graywolf

    They were the least popular Nova because they ran like a dog! Emission controls and lower compression was the biggest problems. After 1970, it was down hill.

    1+

  15. sluggo

    Oh C’mon! Dont blame that on the Nova! ALL of Chevy (FORD, MOPAR Etc etc) ALL had those issues,. Are you suggesting JUST the Novas had their performance gutted?
    Sheesh!… Novas weigh less than comparable Chevelles, Camaros, Monte Carlos, Stock power trains compared the Nova wins ever time. But who left all that stuff on them or didnt install cams, intakes, headers, carbs and ignitions? These muscle cars back in the day supported a very healthy aftermarket industry. (I Know I sure did!)
    These were a VERY popular platform for hot rodders and racers, I sure miss mine.
    So saying this ran like a dog is not just unfair, its also untrue.
    (Probably a Ford fanboy or one of those mopar weirdos….)

    9+

  16. Glen Brannon

    I had a 71 with the tubofire 350 and
    3 on the tree.
    Even with a 2bl carb and 308 gears
    it would pull the front end and put a hurting on some bad cars.
    I’ll never forget when I ran a 4 speed camaro and got a ticket for drag racing
    how much the cops ragged the kid after I opened the hood!
    Look what beat you kid lol.

    4+

  17. Troy S

    Cheap thrills they were, not so cheap any more.

    1+

  18. Glen Brannon

    Paid 300.00 for mine sold it when I was offered 900.00.
    Wish I kept it.

    3+

  19. Dan V.

    Reminds me of my brothers 71 Nova 307. Same surface rust , all original paint. When he passed , sold it for $5K. Wouldn’t mind having that SS.

    0

  20. James

    I have cousin that had a nova when he was in high school man I loved that car I can honestly that’s the car that got me interested in muscle cars. Would be a descent starter car for someone but they need to come off the price to about 6000. Still love this car though

    2+

  21. Rob S.

    Once again, dime a dozen for these. This a nice fairly rust free, in my neck of the woods, project. My neighbor has two totally solid novas he used to race that he can’t give away! The price is ambitious, but hey, why not throw it at the wall and see if it sticks! WOW!

    1+

    • Tyler

      Dime a dozen, 30 years ago. I honestly can’t remember the last time i have seen a 68-74 Nova on the road. And I haven’t seen a lot of them at car shows either. The asking price does seem ambitious, but I guess it’s easier to ask high & come down. He is willing to listen to a cheaper offer, so

      These things rusted BAD, especially the quarters & the trunks. In 1980, I bought a 75 model for $500, & it needed both quarters at 5 years old. A buddy had a 72 about the same time, coming over a set of rail road tracks one night, the shocks came through the trunk.

      5+

  22. TradmodelA

    Speaking from experience, a half price offer is pretty offensive if you are the seller.

    1+

  23. Rob

    My first car was a 1970 Nova. This car takes me back. Wish I was rich. 🙁

    4+

  24. 68 custom

    must be a early 71 build since it has a 12 bolt rear they were slowly phased out and replaced with the 8.5 ten bolt rear in 71. all gone by 72. yes the price is a little ambitious but when was the last time you saw a bone stock SS nova? too bad it is not a 69/70! I like the Z/28 wheels but they need the right caps not the 14 inch SS wheel cap,fugly!

    1+

  25. K-Mack

    Although not an SS, this is the 70 Nova my sister just gave me after my Brother-in -laws passing. Very solid with only surface rust. Interior is in great shape woth no rips. Original 350 engine is out for rebuild and upgrades. Brother-in-law was original owner. Engine, trans and rearend modified and upgraded over the years. Sat outside for a couple of years before being moved back inside. I will be bringing this from Ohio to NC soon to get her back on the road. Sentimental value is worth more than $$ to me on this one since this is the car I really got my introduction to muscle cars and the love of working on them.

    5+

  26. Robb

    As is the ceiling is $7000.00 tops!!
    Fully restored $18,000 tops!. Even at Barrett Jackson Auction.. actually it’s not really that desirable at all I guess it’s the fact that it’s all original has a little bit of value but by 1971 it was all it is.. is a couple emblems and bucket seats.

    1+

  27. Peter Balon

    I just sold a 68 camaro that I did a frameoff with 350 4 bolt main factory air full gage package power Windows .tilt wheel.for 43000.00. People want them you just have to find the right person.

    0

  28. hank

    It’s way too pricey for what you get. The 71 engine has low compression and low HP. Easily fixed, but will cost.
    I do have to say this—It’s VERY HARD to find an unmolested original Nova of any model year.

    Another owner who needs to learn how to price a car, and understand just b/c it’s old doesn’t mean it’s worth a ton of dough. We’d ALL like to get 18K for something we have in storage. But realistically, If he priced it BIN at 7000, he’d probably already have it sold.

    2+

  29. CaCarDude

    Wow, Talk about memory lane I had the same model ’71 SS same color car back in ’76 just after my first divorce, bought it for $1400 had about 50k on the clock, one big difference was it had black interior bench seat no carpet just a factory rubber floor mat, but was a 4 spd 350 car only option was PS and an am radio. She was a great runner at the time, went thru one clutch and only kept it a year, sold it for $50 more than I paid for it as I recall. Nice car wish I had it today! The one listed is way over priced for what it is IMO, maybe $7-8k Tops, too much work needed, and rust not my ideal job to tackle. Nice find!

    1+

  30. Horse Radish

    No Va…… zz.

    It’s obviously not only about pricing it low enough($7k ???,really,on 18k asking?) ‘to blow it out the door’.

    Which I respect, unlike others….

    0

  31. Likeman

    Rust is beautiful it needs some clear

    0

  32. Badrebel

    Hey sluggo, not all of us mopar guys are weirdos ya know, kind of insulting, just saying

    0

    • sluggo

      Badrebel, ANYONE into vintage cars or motorcycles (Boats-airplanes-trains etc) are ALL weirdos in their own right.
      But I was making a very obscure reference to a 1970s T shirt that was popular, Might have been a Rat Fink or Von Dutch type of thing but was a monster in a Hot rod type of picture and big block letters said “MOPAR WEIRDO” I knew a couple people that wore those shirts proudly.
      I know Tyler malinky who started a small business thats now a big business in his garage in Ohio (I helped with some design ideas early on) and he co-opted that saying and sells merchandise promoting his business and
      “I’m a LOWBROW Weirdo”.
      And for the record, I own a 38 Plymouth cope and a 39 Dodge coupe, but I am mostly a Chevy guy at heart.

      0

  33. Rocco Member

    I wonder, if it has a 2V or 4V carb?

    0

    • Johnny the mailman B

      I owned one of these in the 80’s, if memory serves correct engine was a Turbo-fire 350 4bbl, Turbo-thrift 350 2bbl carb….
      I bought mine for $100.00 from a Pontiac dealer I worked for. It was going to be sold off for parts as it was too old to sell retail….bought as a winter beater but man I fell in love with my Burnt Orange 71 SS…great little car, auto on the column, black bench seat interior rubber floor covering, sold it 2 years later for $900.00….miss that car

      0

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