8k Mile Barn Find: 1972 Chevrolet Nova SS

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The 1972 model year was the most successful for the Chevy Nova in terms of sales (up to then). Nearly 350,000 of them left the factory, an increase of nearly 80% over the previous year, yet the cars looked virtually the same. The Super Sport also saw renewed interest at 12,000 copies even though the engines were detuned compared to two years earlier. This beautiful ’72 edition has just 8,500 claimed miles on the odometer and has spent the last 48 years in a barn. It doesn’t look any worse for the experience, and the motor is freshly rebuilt. The car will be available here on Mecum Auctions at their Orlando event on July 28-31, 2021.

All cars have a history and this one begins with sadness. Not long after it was purchased new in Bristol, Tennessee in late 1971, its owner was killed in a motorcycle accident. Not knowing what to do with the automobile, the family parked it in their barn, and – for whatever reason – it stayed there for five decades. To look at it now, you wouldn’t think that would be the case given how stunning it appears from head to toe.

The L48 350 cubic inch V8, exclusive to the SS version of the Nova, has been rebuilt, even though the mileage is practically nil. It’s also referred to as a K-code which means it’s a real Super Sport. Those engines were rated at 200 hp and reflect the shift to SAE net measurements and other refinements to run on unleaded gasoline. In addition, the master cylinder was replaced as well as the water pump, fuel pump, exhaust system, and belts and hoses. Beyond that, no other mention is made of work done to the car, mechanical or cosmetic.

This Nova cleaned up nicely from its time in the barn. The Placer Gold paint sparkles and there is no evidence of rust to be found. The black vinyl top and matching deluxe interior look equally as good. The 4-speed manual transmission is floor-shifted while the front passengers enjoy a pair of bucket seats, and this Nova has power steering and brakes. Original documentation is provided in the form of the 1972 owner’s manual, original sales invoice and financing agreement, dealer brochure, and the GM Protect-O-Plate. Inside the trunk are the original body-colored wheels and Firestone tires, so what’s on the car now were added later.

It will be interesting to see how the bidding works out on this car. There are many tribute and clone versions of the Nova SS out there and the real deal in great condition can go for up to $70,000. With a supposedly 8,500 miles on the clock, this may be one of the lowest mileage examples still around.

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. Cattoo CattooMember

    Nice looking cars wearing more flattering colors. Might sell faster in the fall.

    Like 1
  2. 1959Buickman

    Love the rare color on this one!

    Like 3
    • Don

      had the same color on my 67 Chevelle. It’s called “Fawn”

      Like 0
  3. Jcs

    I agree. Great color.

    If it’s a Nova that you are after, this one definitely fits into the “find one nicer” category.

    Like 13
  4. Charles Sawka

    I wanna know what they used to clean that color ! I had a 71 Chevelle in the same gold that I could NEVER get to shine like that.

    Like 0
  5. Sam Shive

    I’ve always loved the Nova. This one is Beautiful. Looks like a set of AR or ET Slotted wheels on it sitting in the barn, and it says the original steel wheels AND Tires in the trunk PLUS It now has Magnum 500 on it. Wonder if it had the Rally Wheels on it and if so which ones, The 5 Hole or 6 Hole …. AND I Don’t mean lugs. Looks like it had some company in the barn. 67 Camaro beside it and a 55 behind it. https://www.google.com/search?q=chevy+RALLY+WHEELS&tbm=isch&ved=2ahUKEwi29p6hk93xAhWli60KHV-eA-oQ2-cCegQIABAA&oq=chevy+RALLY+WHEELS&gs_lcp=CgNpbWcQDDICCAAyAggAMgIIADICCAAyAggAMgIIADICCAAyAggAMgIIADICCAA6BggAEAcQHlDRQljNWmCLdmgAcAB4AIABW4gBjwSSAQE2mAEAoAEBqgELZ3dzLXdpei1pbWfAAQE&sclient=img&ei=LALsYLawD6WXtgXfvI7QDg&bih=880&biw=1903&hl=en#imgrc=rhtXoSK6r1B1UM

    Like 1
    • Shawn

      Probably neither. By then the 5-slot rallys weren’t being used on the Nova (I think only the Corvette had them by the early 70s), and the 6-slot rallys were exclusive to the Rally Nova package (RPO code YF1) for 71 and 72. For 71 and 72 the SS would have gotten those terrible cheap looking full hubcaps or the chrome poverty caps with trim rings. With only those two choices, it’s not hard to see why the 71 and 72 SS cars got wheel upgrades almost immediately. The Magnum 500 wheels look great on it though.

      Like 3
    • John

      I have a 1970 nova ss, I ordered the car and have had it for over 51 years, still looks and drives like the day I b0ught it, cranberry red 350 300 hp 4 speed this car just sits in my barn, I take it to car shows a couple of times a year,

      Like 1
  6. alphasudMember

    There is always a spot in my heart for this color of car. Love the period look of the 72 Nova. 72 was the first year the SAE standard was used to measure power as delivered to the customer but leaded fuel wasn’t phased in until 1974 so the 75 model year cars equipped with catalytic converters could be sold. They did however start lowering the compression ratio to reduce NOX emissions along with EGR systems to do the same. 3- way catalytic converters were then later used when the O2 sensor came to market in 76 to further reduce the NOX emissions.

    Like 1
  7. Rocco Russo

    My first car was a 73 Nova Hatchback, 350 auto, bucket seats. Would love to have that car back. This one is very nice.

    Like 3
  8. Neil

    Bought almost the identical car in ’72. Same color combo, except for the interior. I had the Strato Bucket Seats in a buttery cream tan. Sold it in ’74 during the gas crunch for a ’74 Celica GT. I believe I sold it for 1,200.00. Yikes! Big mistake on my part.

    Like 1
    • Michael

      I sold my ‘59 Vette during the gas crunch and bought a ‘74 Celica GT also.

      Like 0
  9. jokacz

    Why is the ugliest version of the Nova so popular? Give me a ’66-67.

    Like 2
  10. Michael

    If you zoom in on the rear quarter panel you will see rust bubbles forming, even near the rear side marker lamp. With a reported 8,500 miles why was the engine rebuilt? It is a beautiful survivor, but should in no way command as much money as a restored vehicle. I don’t care how shiny the paint is, if there is rust anywhere expect to spend 12,000-15,000 on fresh paint and body work.

    Like 4
    • Jcs

      They are only original once. I wouldn’t touch a thing for a long, long time.

      Like 1
  11. Scott Sproul

    8500 miles —> 1/4 mile at a time 🤔

    Like 2
  12. Novass

    The way it was stored in what looks like a very damp building I would expect to see some minor surface rust as is evident here, even on an extremely low mileage car, having pulled a few out in my life, but as noted by others why the rebuild. Maybe a tear down for performance enhancements, but the rust proofing on the underside does not look like it was done 40 years ago. Interior looks like an 8k mileage car, as does the OEM components under the hood, but some things seem a little off to me.

    Like 0
  13. t-bone BOB


    Like 0

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