EXCLUSIVE: 1968 Chevy Nova Sleeper Project

Update – The Nova sold to one of our readers within hours of listing it. Thanks for all those who inquired! It’s going to a good home and we have been promised an occasional update.

This ’68 Nova was parked in a field for a decade or two but the body is solid and the inline-six runs. That means it’s the perfect base for a V8-powered sleeper build! This thing would be sweet with a 350 or maybe a big-block under the hood. That was our plan when we found it, but we have decided to focus on other projects so hopefully one of your readers can finish the job!

The inline-six is a bummer, but it does run so this car could easily be driven onto a trailer. As you can see, this Nova was equipped with A/C from the factory and that does make it a little more interesting. It would be a lot more interesting with a V8 in there though! The transmission does leak some fluid and the carb needs a rebuild, but that doesn’t really matter if you’re gonna do the swap.

If you want to build a sleeper Nova, you need to start with a solid body that looks a little ratty. If it was too straight and shiny, it would give you away! This one checks all the boxes, but the five-spoke ETs may be a little much. Nothing some steelies and dog dish hubcaps couldn’t fix though! The rear driver’s side fender is showing some bubbling, but it’s that’s the worst of it out here.

Unfortunately, someone swapped out the original seat with a power unit from another car. We had planned to track down the correct bench and order a complete upholstery kit in black. Green on green just isn’t my thing. It’s a little harder to find than carpet, but vinyl floor covering is also a sleeper-car must. We did find some small holes in the floor that will need to be patched up, but nothing major. Check out the photo gallery below for a better look.

Parts supply for these 2nd gen Novas is great! Our dream shopping list includes heavy-duty suspension and disc brake kits. Prices are surprisingly reasonable too so that should leave more money for drivetrain selection. So, what do you think – LS swap, crate 350, or something crazier? We would love to see one of our readers tackle this project. You just gotta promise to keep us updated with photos and maybe a test drive when it’s done!

If you are interested, this car is located in Boise, Idaho and it has a clear title. I’d like to get $5k and you can contact me here via email. Wire transfer is my preferred form of payment and the buyer will be responsible for shipping. Inspections are welcomed and encouraged. We will probably regret letting this one go, but as you may already know, the hunt is half of the fun!

Have something to sell? List it here on Barn Finds!

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Comments

  1. Gaspumpchas

    IMHO its the torque thrust mags that set this one off! The faded paint would stay, this one has the look the way it is. Blank slate, 327 4 speed would do it for me! Good luck to the new owner.
    Cheers
    GPC

    12
    • Reginald Berry

      I agree with with gasspump has wheels make the car,replace with steelies and dog dish, yuck, I really don’t understand why anyone likes that look
      Sure that maybe the way the car came from the factory but people ordered them that way to save money and they knew that day two new aftermarket wheels were going on, you would be hard pressed to find any original owner that wanted to drive around in the 60s or 70s with steelies

      2
      • moosie moosie

        Exactly ! leave the dog dish on the floor for the dog but I bet even the dog wont want anything to do with them either. gaspumpchas has the right idea, a nice sedate 327 built to 327/350 L79 specs, 4 speed, 4:11’s fix the interior up a bit, leave the mags, leave the body alone ‘cept for the rot and drive it.

  2. Steve R

    Very fair price, it should sell quickly. I have a couple of friends that have paid that much for 68-72 Nova rollers with straight rust free bodies. The only hinderance might be it’s location.

    Steve R

    1
    • Bill

      not many people see a.nova on street and think sleeper

      3
  3. Stephen Miklos

    A nice 383 stroker and auto 4 speed with 3.73 gears. That’s a nice setup in a Nova like this. I seen one like this and it was wild. 550 hp all motor no juice. 🐻

    4
  4. Al

    Lucky for me, literally just a couple miles away as I’m next door in Meridian!

    6
  5. Stephen Miklos

    Lucky you.. I am in New York.. 🙄

    2
    • Dane

      Lucky you.. I am in Scandinavia.. ;- /

      8
    • Al

      Leave! I left Bridgeport, CT 19 yrs ago for paradise here! Classic car paradise it is! Every day, daily driver muscle cars still seen a few times a day, all different. It’s never too late! My Dad left too when he was 77 for here.

      3
    • PatrickM

      …Maryland… !@*#%

  6. Patrick Farmer

    I don’t know about a sleeper? If I was at a stoplight and heard an engine cammi’n it’s ass off and I looked around and saw this car, I would think “Dead Ringer” before sleeper. Even if it was a Nova wagon, I would definitely think ringer because of how well a wagon launches. The cat’s out of the bag.

    6
    • PatrickM

      Absolutely!! Once a healthy engine is in these, all bets are off. (That’s “Period.”)

  7. bobhess Member

    I’m with the mags and the above comments. Nice car to play with.

    4
  8. Zapp

    I say leave the Six in there, ditch the Powerglide for a more modern tranny, and enjoy. With the automatic and factory A/C it would make a nice cruiser.

    7
    • PatrickM

      ….Daily driver.

  9. Ken Carney

    Oh for Pete’s sake, leave it alone won’t you. To me, it’s fine the way it is. So many of these cars have already been
    turned into fire breathing monsters that
    the young folks today won’t ever get to see a bone stock example of this car.
    Sorry folks, gotta break ranks and say
    conserve and preserve. I’d restore it at
    least to driver qualify, and wait and see
    where this one leads. And maybe, just maybe I might drop in a factory spec 307
    with a 4bbl carb and dual exhausts. Right
    now, the 6 is just fine with me.

    12
  10. Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff

    Lots of interest already and the email hasn’t gone out!

    2
  11. Chebby Staff

    This thing looks cool as is. I agree, spice up the six and add a transmission with 2-4 more gears.

    4
  12. Steve S

    I would find the right bench seat for it and get rid of the electric seats. Then leave the engine and transmission alone for now. To zapp what’s wrong with the powerglide transmission. It’s a good transmission a lot of people still use it for drag racing and cruising. My cousin’s old neighbor had a 66 or 67 Nova ss if I remember right with a 283 and a powerglide transmission. That car was white on white and he sold it for $15,000 about 10 years ago or so. My cousin’s neighbor let my cousin use the car once before he put it up for sale and I got to ride in it and it was fun to ride in with the powerglide transmission.

  13. Skorzeny

    The wheels make the car. Leave them.

    3
  14. bruce baker

    Either LS7 it ! Or be the first to put a nearly new Mustang GT engine into a Chevy. I just spotted a totaled late model Mustang GT on the Nightly News. Oh wait the Ford engine won’t fit because of the oil pan sump/pump up front, My bad.. LS It Please !

  15. John

    Almost every Chassis and motor part made fro the Camaro will fit on one of these. They were lighter than the Camaro in 1968 (only year I know about). I always thought the “Ultimagte Sleeper” would be one of these with a full Z/28 motor/chassis. These were much under-rated little cars.

  16. Steve S

    Bruce I would rather use a v8 engine from it’s era like a built 427. Then build up the powerglide transmission or maybe change it to a 4 speed manual transmission. Then put a stiffer suspension on the car. You would have to modify more stuff to make the new style engine fit.

    1
  17. Jason S

    I bought a one owner ’69 Nova in the late 90’s. It was a very similar car but had been repainted in British Racing Green. Not horrible, but I prefer original colors on cars, no matter the shade. I built a 350 for it and was ready to install it when my marriage took a nosedive & I was forced to make some difficult decisions. I’d be all over this one but I just bought & started restoring my grandparents house. Too many projects. Sigh.

    1
  18. pugsy

    This is a nice one, metal wise.

    1
  19. Butchb

    Bought one out of the little old ladies garage in 91. Drove it with the 6 for a long time. 4 big blocks, 3 small blocks and 24 years later I finally sold it.

    1
  20. Louis Q Chen

    Too bad I don’t live near Idaho :( This would be a good car for my up and coming 16 years old! If I was closer I’d buy it and rebuild the straight 250-6 cyl. as well as rebuild the tranny. Re-do the front seat with a bench seat and new interior, headliner, carpet. Repaint the body with a British Racing Green and beige interior. I would budget another 5K for the project since I can do the engine and tranny. This would a great car for Newbies…it’s big and safer than the new ones, cheap to fix and not too bad on fuel consumption. I’d also save the “mag” wheels too-just freshen then up. Happy trail to the next owner!

    2
  21. Del

    400 Small block. Auto.

    Patch holes and paint it bright yellow.

    Keep those wheels

  22. 38ChevyCoupeGuy

    Give all her vital organs a transfusion with new fresh fluid,replace tie rod ends and all the other links in her complex steering compartment, original seat,drive the wheels off of it,buy and store all the go fast and shiny stuff till she leaves you set,then build your ideal street car.

  23. John C.

    What’s the weather like in Idaho? I like how he says it’s been sitting in a field for a decade or 2, as if a decade is only a week or so. lol! isn’t the frame going be all rusted? Looks good otherwise. The detailed pics wouldn’t open for me, so maybe their is some pics of the frame.

    • moosie moosie

      No frame on these, they are unibody construction, but the floor pans can sure enough rot out

      • 38ChevyCoupeGuy

        Sure enough moosie, I’m just wondering what the hell that power seat is bolted to? Maybe floorboards were cut out as well,and just set the whole works over top the 2decade damage.😁

        1
    • Al

      @John C Weather here where we/he is located is High Desert. Very dry. We DO occasionally get snow once a year that may stay a week, two tops. And we’ve had winters here w/o one snow accumulation of an inch thats melted by noon. But usually melts fast because geo thermal grounds I’m told and our 30-35 degree temp difference from 6am to 5pm. Boise/Meridian, we don’t even have snow plows as so rare. Rain few days in March & October, other than that, like the movie ground hog day, every day. Nice :-)

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff

      Take a look at the underside photos. It’s very solid. This part of the country is very dry as mentioned above, but not as hot as the South so it’s generally pretty kind on our old cars.

    • PatrickM

      Weather is mostly dry and low humidity. High altitude, near Canada. Boise is in southwest corner…close… Lots of snow. I lived in Cheyenne, Wyoming for 27 years, in SE corner, 6,000 ft above sea level and still on flat land, 800 feet higher than Denver, Co. Enough geography. Back to the car. If it had the six in it, a person would get a lot of challenges at stop lights. LOL.. Just shake your head a little and creep away form the light as they lay down rubber and get pulled over by the cops. Smile at them, as you drive by.

  24. David Palmer

    Maybe its the Aussie in me but, back in the 60’s & 70’s nothing was better than a Cammy six, balanced & ported with raised compression, 2 or 3 x Carbies, Extractors with a tuned exhaust & 4 speed manual. I love wild V8’s & any other high performance engine, but keep it as a six, I can hear that glorious in-line six sound from here, come to think of it might go look at it next month when we are at our 2nd home in WY, ….. Jagworth.

  25. bruce baker

    Love those wheels/mags.

  26. TimM

    I got a 350 four bolt on the engine stand and a 396 on another!! Decisions, decisions!!

    1
    • pugsy

      Why, did you buy it?

      1
  27. Trudy Ford

    Good grief! This looks almost exactly like my first car, right down to the parts in different shades of green. Bought it used in 1979 for $300. It survived three major wrecks and I drove it till it was on life support in 1983. I loved that car. When I traded it for a piece of crap Plymouth Horizon, it was snatched up within a few hours.

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