1978 Chevy Nova: Super Clean But Plain

right front

When this 1978 Nova was ordered they didn’t check many boxes, just radio, power steering and a vinyl roof. Its history is a mystery, bought 11 years ago at a charity auction. The owner has started it weekly and driven it occasionally. The outside looks great but the interior is incredibly clean. Those “taxi cab” bench seats look almost new. Perhaps it really does have only 80,000 miles on it. It would be nice to see a picture of that little six under the hood. This car for me is a real time machine. I can still remember the way one just like it drove and how it smelled, the sound of that whiny little six. When I first saw this car I was tempted to just drive down to Hemet (east of LA) and and just buy it. The $3500 asking seems very reasonable to me. But, it would be hard enough to explain to my wife suddenly buying any car, much less explaining the memory that goes with this old Nova. It would certainly not be good. This Nova is listed here on here on craigslist. The new owner of this Nova may enjoy it as it is, but more likely they will make creative upgrades. What would you do with it?





left rearright rear78

front seat



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  1. Roger Owen

    Maybe it’s just me, but I have a real problem with seeing a car for sale photo with the hose pipe (from the very recent wash-down) still in shot. It puts me off the car straight away. It say’s ‘I’ve just given this car a hose-down’ to make it look better than it really is, and I’m just too lazy to move the hose out of shot or re position the car before photographing it’. Rant over.

  2. Art M.

    I’m Tempted to just send the guy the money and have it shipped here to Kentucky. I really like the “sleeper” look. These cars are only a few years away from becoming collectable. Too bad it doesn’t have A/C though.

    • Francisco

      I bought this car

      • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

        Francisco, congratulations! How about an update with pictures, we’d love to see it now!

  3. jim s

    looks like a nice driver to me. all the stock parts and ton of upgrades are available. this one is much nicer then the late 60’s 4cyl/3 on the tree and nothing else nova that i drove. i wonder why it has not sold already.

  4. Dave at OldSchool Restorations

    “Salvage Title” for a hanging exhaust pipe ??? REALLY …. ! ! !

  5. George

    Problems: 1. Ugly, 2. sans air, 3. 6banger, 4 green, 5. body dents, to name just a few.

    1.Trade it in on a Mustang GT ( -$40K); or resell it to some teenager (+$1000).
    2. Buy Antique Air or other air conditioning companies, install it as directed. I think air-conditioning units can still be purchased for a grand.
    3. Install rebuilt Chevy V-8, 283. (engine: $ = – 1000.00)(Installation $1000.00)
    4. Repaint red $10,000.00
    5. Body work $2,000.00.
    6. Total expenditures (estimate): $15,000.00 plus the price of the car.
    7. Out of pocket: Car + $30K

    1. Could buy a completely restored one for $30K.
    2. Sell it to a teenager for a grand or more than you paid.
    3. Donate it to a Charity Auction. Write off the appraised value.
    4. Have it appraised by a generous appraiser for $20K. Buy insurance for value. Drive it and park it downtown and it will get stolen by morning. Collect $20K from insurance co. (I would insure it with State Farm because those jerks deserve a good loss.
    5. Give it to an economically depressed family, write off the fair market value from your taxes.
    6. Don’t buy cars that need work. The cost of building cars is ridiculous.

  6. Nova Scotian

    These things were everywhere back in the day. Every corner had one in Nova Scotia….thankfully the winter salt rusted them all away within a couple years. If they lasted more than that,..off to the demolition derby. Now you might see one at a car show now and then….likely purchased from the south…

  7. roger

    I would love to have this car.
    New Paint ,cool wheels,and have cool car.
    Eventually add V8 engine.
    Anyone who does not like this cool car must a be rich person.
    Only rich people can afford the early novas.
    This one would be a dream car to me if it was near Florida.

  8. Chris in Nashville

    Keep it stock except for a V8 and stick shift conversion. Always wanted a kick ass sleeper!

  9. Moparmann Member

    What’s up with the WEld wheels shown in one of the pictures?? IMO one of the UGLIEST wheels to put on a non race car, especially one as plain as this one!! :-)

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