Barebones Barn Find: 1972 Chevrolet Nova

1972 Chevrolet Nova

Just the other day I was thinking that it would be fun to pick up a barebones Nova. You know, something with a 350, 4-speed, bench seat, and dog-dish hubcaps. This particular example doesn’t check all my boxes, but it comes close and is claimed to be a barn find. It supposedly only covered 55k miles before going into a barn in 1986. This one is fitted with the 307 V8 and an automatic transmission, but it does have AC. The seller just got it running again and was able to drive it around a bit. The brakes are still going to need attention, as will most of the other systems. There’s some rust in the rear quarter panels too, but otherwise this does look like a solid starting point for a bowtie project. I’m going to keep looking for one with a 4-speed, but this one can be found here on eBay out of Mount Airy, North Carolina.


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  1. Warren

    Wow. Just Wow.

  2. memikeyounot

    I bought a ’72 Nova, new in 1972, 350, automatic with one of those sliding fabric sunroofs that were pretty rare in those days, It was white with tan interior and vinyl roof.

    Sadly, it was a pretty bad car. It overheated on the way home from the dealership first day and I took it back time after time and they couldn’t figure it out. (Oh, for today’s lemon laws).

    I still loved the car, even though I had to change the thermostat every summer to prevent overheating. Wish I had it now :)

  3. Mark E

    Amazing how just a picture of a car can trigger so many memories. My friend had a Nova like this. Small V8 and all rusty and beat up. We’d drive it 45 min each way to a seasonal job at a Birds Eye corn packing plant. 12 hour shifts, 7 days per week if it didn’t rain. The paychecks were HUGE with the overtime but there was barely time to sleep, eat and drive to and from work. Just looking at the front of that car brings back all the weariness, the free corn and yes, the joy of when we left our shift at 4am one morning and there was hard frost on the windshield which meant the end of the job as they could not harvest corn so many hours after a frost. Ah, nostalgia! -_-

  4. roger

    I would leave it as is engine wise.
    Fix rust and paint it blue with white rally stripes.
    Nice wheels and some SS badges and have a cool cheap fun car to drive.
    I like it !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Horse Radish

      I would first rip out the thirsty V8 and put in a nice economical straight six,
      Then paint it pink with a white bow on the hood, call it Daisy.
      And then I would think of what else I could do to ruin a nice survivor car like this.

      No va , all the way

  5. Gary

    Wow, the memories of a fun time I had in a ’71 Nova SS I purchased back in ’76. One of the best little Chevy’s IMO. My Nova was a light green with a black bench seat interior no carpet, rubber floor mat, and with the 350 and Muncie 4 spd. That was a tire smokin’ ride and ohh the fun. Seeing this ’72 just rekindled the fire, there may be a Nova in my future….

  6. kenzo

    The write up in multi colour, some upper case and some lower case I guess is to attract some attention or make a statement. The whole story seem a bit questionable but if his history is correct as a basically one owner then it is worth some money. Not 8 grand plus shipping and handling. Maybe 4500. It is a basic level entry mom mobile, nothing more.
    It is sellers like this that ask higher dollars and buyers that pay it that keep the starters like me out of the market. 8 grand for the car plus probably 1 grand for pre-inspection including travel and lodging, 1 to 3 k for shipping. and a bunch more for fix me ups and your into a very basic 72 Nova 2 door for 10 to 12 thousand plus. I don’t believe it is worth it unless you just needed one of these. I’d rather spend 10 to 12 grand on something more roadworthy, less bodywork and fun.
    Just my thoughts.

  7. JW

    I like it the way it is, just repair the quarters with patch panels and fix the pin holes in the floor, touch up paint on quarters where repair has been done buff out rest of paint, paint floor with rust protective paint. Fix brakes / go thru mechanicals / get A/C working and drive it. Now I agree with kenzo if I’m going to buy something described as this it would have to be fairly local so I could inspect myself and haul it home without paying someone.

  8. jim s

    with 12 hours to go seller needs to remove the reserve and take the money. this might make a driver and it has a/c. but not barebones. my families 1969, bought new, with 4 cyl/3 on the tree and no options was bare bones base price plus frieght car. gas pedal would catch on the factory rubber floor and would not return. as a result the motor would race until i pulled the pedal back up with my foot. cut the right side of pedal off and the mat away to solve that issue, since dealer could/would not fix problem. had to clean the inside of the windows very often because of plastic gasing. but GM sold a lot of these. nice find

  9. jim s

    on ours with drum brakes, with slow no power steering, no anti-roll bars and single ply rear leaf springs you had to work real hard to not get behind on the steering.

  10. DENIS

    I think it’s plenty of $ for a plain-Jane but it’s still got a nice story to go with it. If it was closer and a bit cheaper, I’d buy and put a big-block in it….
    at least it’s minimal rust instead of the usual barn-find rat’s nest disaster…

  11. John H

    Great looking car to have fun with.
    Make it a safe,reliable daily driver-leave the patina and have fun.
    Anybody notice the bias ply spare tire?

  12. krash

    Back in the Summer of’72, my parents took me and an older brother across the U.S./Canada and back to Massachusetts in a brand new Nova with a rented pop-up camper in tow…
    It was the basic model, (no air con.) small 6….
    not a lick of trouble….car ran like a charm for years, for all 7 kids….
    Dad made the mistake of allowing one of his crazier offspring take it one weekend back to his notorious party college and he and his coterie of nitwits wedged it in between two dorm buildings at 20 mph….
    …sadly, he blew up the motor trying desperately to unwedge it before security arrived….

    next stop..graveyard..

  13. pontiactivist

    I remember this lil cute red head that drove a blue with black top and interior ss350 4speed 70. She was hotter thsn the car and almost as much fun to take for a ride. The fun we had as kids. Lmao!

  14. Rudy

    Hello, I am the new owner of this car, just happend to be surfing the web and came across a picture of my Nova, and here I am. I’m happy to report that everything about the car was true , right down to the original protecto plate and bill of sale from the original owner. The car is currently undergoing a mild is in good running order . The car never sold on ebay , I was able to make a deal with the seller and acquired this car within a week when the auction ended. The Nova is now in Sunny Florida. I am having tons of fun with it.

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      Thanks for the update Rudy! Glad it went to a good home.

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