Amazing Creation! 1971 Chevy El CamiNova?

We love to feature unique rides here on Barn Finds. While the term “unique” can be very broad, it certainly fits in this case. This car is so unique, you probably won’t see another one on your block, in your town, or even in your state. This car is so unique, you probably haven’t seen one quite like it before. It is an “El Camino” that was created from a 4-door 1971 Chevy Nova. It can be found here on Craigslist.com with an asking price of $11,500. Located in Columbus, Ohio, you’d be hard-pressed to find a nice Nova or El Camino for this price, let alone a creation like this. Thanks to Pat L. for the tip on this car and let’s take a look at some of the details!

The engine is a 327 cubic inch Chevrolet V8 that has been bored over .040″ and reportedly puts out 365 horsepower. It is backed by an automatic transmission.

Unfortunately, there isn’t much information in the ad regarding the build details or any other details for that matter. I was hoping to see some photos of the build. I hope the builder documented the transformation and it will be passed along to the new owner. Looking from the front you really can’t tell how radical this car is. From the back, it starts to be clear this is no ordinary Nova. From the side, this is a truly amazing work of art.

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Comments

  1. Don Page

    He should have used a 2 door & added rear quarter windows to make it look right. Bucket seats, console & A/C would have been nice too.

    7
  2. Jack M.

    Good way to make use of a 4 door sedan that most people have no interest driving.

    25
    • JoeNYWF64

      except TODAY’S young people.

      2
      • AMCFAN

        They have Civics and Accords

        2
    • local_sheriff

      Excactly what I thought before I read your post Jack M. No rare vehicle cut up, sensible use of a vintage car most would consider a parts donor and it stays true to the Nova design. Killer engine choice, however as others say it lacks a tailgate. (Seems to be) a good build indeed

      5
  3. Wayne

    Being a huge “ute” fan I always appreciate seeing the home built and professional custom creations here. (I am one of the 5 or 6 Ford Durango owners on this site) I am always critical of the way that the designs end up. Too many times they show no imagination for ending the roof and starting the bed portion. One of my goals is to build one myself one day. (the day is coming closer!) And since many of you (myself included) are not partial to 4 door “cool” cars. I have often though that the ideal candidate should start out as a 4 door. Sometimes it makes the proportions look out of whack with the shorter front doors. But it does help with the bed length.
    This visually looks right to me. If the quality of the work (I would always provide additional reinforcement for a uni-body car) is as good as the appearance then I say good job!

    9
  4. Little_Cars Little_Cars Member

    There’s a reason Chevrolet didn’t do as Ford did in using the compact Falcon platform for Rancheros beginning in 1960. A Chevy II/Nova based El Camino just doesn’t work IMHO. But, as Jack said what else do you do with a 4 door Nova?

    4
  5. Wayne

    I just looked at the Craig’s list add. No imagination in the tailgate area. Sorry, it just lost some points with me.

    1
  6. FordGuy1972

    There isn’t a tailgate at all and the backlight curves into the bed which limits it’s size. The overall build looks very well done though a close inspection would be wise. It’s certainly got enough get-up-and-go with 365hp but as noted by Wayne, some work to the uni-body for adequate strength should have been done.

    It certainly is unique but I don’t know if it’s $11,500 worth of unique.

    4
    • Vin_in_NJ

      No tailgate, yet they opted to leave the trunk lock. Why?

      4
      • GP Member

        I agree with you, weld the lock opening shut at least. I like it other wise. Nice blue color.

  7. Ken Carney

    Not much carrying room, but it sure looks
    great! Compared to the ’59 Catamino we
    saw yesterday, this one is fabulous and
    well thought out. I can just see my MIL
    smoking the tires on the way to Winn-Dixie to get groceries, and the stockboys
    fighting over which one gets to load them. Hope he used a basket case to
    build it though. Hi Jack! Long time no see. Had to give up looking for a wheelchair van for Mom. Our healthcare
    provider declined to help us with the purchase price on one. Was using a folding wheelchair til the trunk latch
    wore out on the Buick, and a lot of the
    repair shops want over $2K to replace it.
    Say, I could use this to carry Mom’s chair
    too. (Head slap) What was I thinking?

    6
    • Jack M.

      Hey Ken, too bad about the van. Dodge Caravans are a dime a dozen. That would be the first choice if I was shopping for my Mom. She is still too sharp to let me get her a Buick Roadmaster Wagon.

      3
  8. JohnD

    I put the over and under at 3 gallons of bondo.

    7
  9. Dan Mar

    Not having a tailgate is the deal killer for me.
    With all the fabrication that was done, I don’t understand why it was not done right with a tailgate.

    1
    • TC

      Perhaps they left the tailgate off in case if they cut the back out for one it might compromise the unibody strength with nothing to tie the sides together, unless a heavy stiffener was used across the tray rear and up the sides.

      1
  10. Tony Primo

    At one time stripes on a car had a real purpose. They were originally put on to help line up your race car on the track to help you place it properly in the corners. They serve no use on a tailgate or on the roof. Here’s looking at you Mustang and Challenger owners.

    5
  11. 86_Vette_Convertible

    It is unique to say the lease. Too bad they didn’t add a tailgate from something like a station wagon to make the bed more usable. It sounds like a tire burner with a big engine and no weight so to speak over the rear wheels.
    If you had a tail gate, it could be a fun parts hauler.
    I actually kind of like it, especially when compared to the Pontiac conversion from the other day.

    3
  12. Keith

    Looks like it should be one of the Mad Max movie cars!

    2
  13. Kenneth Carney

    Thanks Jack. We’ve thought about that. The only thing stopping us would be
    reinforcing the center part of floor to take the extra weight of the chair and
    fabbing up a piano hinge to create a manual ramp to move the chair in and out
    as needed. I already know that I’ll need at least 10 feet of ramp to bring the
    chair out safely. The ramp too would need to be hinged at the halfway point
    on the ramp so that it would fold into the van once the chair is loaded inside.
    I’d also have to fab up some type of restraints to secure the ramp while the
    van is moving. My calculations are based on using the side door to load and
    unload the chair. The width of the opening is exactly 27″, wide enough to load
    The chair with little or no effort. Most every repair shop I’ve spoken with tells
    me I’m nuts to even try something like this. They also say that it can’t be done.
    Well, I’m just about to try it once I find a Caravan that we can afford. Had the tranny not quit in the ’97 Voyager we had, this project would’ve been done a
    long time ago. BTW, my MIL said she’d take the Roadmaster wagon. My only
    concern would be that she’d do her little old lady from Passadena impression
    while driving to the market! Better get started, time’s a-wastin’.

    1
  14. David Ulrey

    In most ways this car screams UTE! I’m not saying that in a negative or positive manner. Just saying that it does. I certainly wouldn’t mind owning it. I really like some of the UTEs. I find Australian cars fall into the same category as our American cars, some are blah and some are wicked cool.

    2
  15. Wayne

    Kenneth Carney, having been involved in some wheelchair vans. The best one to use is the Caravan. I have seen it done many different ways. But the other thing to remember is the height. In many cases it is impossible to get the “wheel chair rider” to bend themselves down far enough to make it through the doorway. Make sure that measurement is taken.
    Just sayin’.

    3
  16. bobhess Member

    I’d say for what started out as a pretty boring car this one looks pretty good. I’ve done enough sheet metal modifications to tell you sometimes you have to use what pops up in front of you as you build. This is a nice looking conversion. I agree the paint job could enhance the build more than it does but then good workmanship can overcome a design flaw quite often.

    4
  17. Little_Cars Little_Cars Member

    There’s a reason for the stripes on this car — to take the viewers’ eyes off the places where filler was used. Areas behind the doors down low show wavy filled lines where there should be a seam. And, the “tailgate” that’s not really a tailgate was photographed with sun glare on the left. If you look closely you can see the outline of the original trunk lid. Layered filler beginning to perish.

    1
  18. 200mph

    Love ‘utes, and this is different, but it really needs an opening tailgate to qualify.

  19. TimM

    It takes some tenacity to pull off a project like this!! It’s not my cup of tea but I commend him on his efforts!!!!

    1
  20. MDW1966

    There was a Ford Tempo creation similar to this in my area for a while. I called it the Tempcharo

  21. Troy s

    Perfect for carrying an ice cooler and some fold up chairs to the local car show. 327 bored .40 over, does that equate to 335 cubes? Whatever it is I’m sure a 365 horse small block is plenty for this rig. Only thing that don’t really jive with the custom appearance is the dullish interior. Cool custom ride.

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