Big Block 396 V8: 1970 Chevrolet Nova SS


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This 1970 Chevrolet Nova SS may look a little rough but it has a lot of power under the hood. It is listed here on eBay with 8 days remaining in the auction. This particular Nova is equipped with a L34 396 cubic inch V8 big block that has undergone a full engine and transmission overhaul and a variety of exterior and interior enhancements. The car is currently bid to $10,600 but the reserve has not been met. The Nova is located in Buckeye, Arizona near Phoenix.

The L34 396 cubic inch V8 was a bigblock engine option in the 1970 Nova SS. It was rated at 350 horsepower and 415 lbft of torque and was only available in the SS model. It came with a 4barrel carburetor, chrome air cleaner, chrome valve covers, and chrome oil filler tube. The engine could be ordered with a Turbo HydraMatic 400 threespeed automatic transmission or a Muncie 4speed manual transmission. The engine had a cast iron block and heads, and was equipped with a highperformance camshaft, dual exhaust and a Holley Quadrajet carburetor. This engine was the only bigblock option available in the Nova SS and was capable of 060 mph times in the low 7 second range.

The interior is spartan in a Nova but the 4 speed shifter on the floor draws all the attention anyway. The seller bought the car in 2002 and shipped it to Integrity Automotive Machine in Illinois to have the engine rebuilt. Lots of mechanical work has been done to make the car a fund driver. The steering column has been rebuilt along with a restoration of the fuel system and brakes. The seller provides the history and numbers on the car to show the engine was built in 1970.

The Nova has been kept in a garage and driven sparingly, and is backed up by copious paperwork detailing the work done to the car. The exterior is a little rough and there are some dents but the car is said to be fairly clean since it spent most of its life in Arizona. According to the National Muscle Car Association, the 1970 Nova SS with the L34 396 cid V8 had a production total of 2,919 units.

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  1. bobhess bobhessMember

    “Fund driver” is a good description as the indicated mechanical work couldn’t have been cheap. Still not going to be cheap if you want it to look as good as it runs. Getting rid of the slab sided, overgrown rear flares would be a good start. Wouldn’t put more than 10K into it as the remaining work is going to cost way more than that.

    Like 7
  2. Danny B

    Cool bumper sticker

    Like 2
    • Tim

      Danny B- I can’t make it out but I’ll take a guess:
      “@ss, Grass or Cash, No One Rides For Free!”

      Like 3
      • PRA4SNW

        Very popular bumper sticker on the shaggin’ vans back in the day.

        Like 0
  3. Blue

    Time for me to go to school, I full of misinformation:

    I thought Quadrajet was a Rochester (325 hp), not Holley (350 & 375 hp) on the 396.

    I know that Harrell, Gibbs, Yenko, and Queen took delivery of 50 1968 Nova COPO 396/375 Turbo 400, I had one that did 0-60 in under 4 seconds. I thought by 1970 the same guys plus Baldwin-Motion continued to offer them, even up to a 427/450 with warranty.

    I do not think those are stock valve covers, but I like them.

    Like 5
    • sakingsbury20

      Holley does make a spreadbore carb but it was Rochester Quadrajet on 350hp 396 nova for ’70

      Like 3
  4. Big C

    Do you think the seller would kick in a couple cans of DupliColor black with the deal? So’s you could touch up that hood?

    Like 2
    • Jon Burgess

      I bet he had a fiberglass cowl hood on it and sold it so he had to put the old ratty original back on for the sale.

      Like 3
  5. Jeff

    1970 Nova could be ordered with L34 396/350hp (with quadrajet carb), or with L78 396/375hp (with Holley carb). Both were available with manual trans or TH400 automatic.

    I believe the L89 aluminum cylinder head option was also available in 70 to add to the L78 engine.

    Like 7
  6. John Lang

    I love the quarter panel flares that are reminiscent of Aloha Bobby and Rose!

    Like 1
  7. Eric

    The L34
    Was not the only option
    The L78 was also available
    And if you checked the right box you could get the L89 aluminum heads as well

    Like 1
    • Blue

      I would guess the fender flares are there to fit bigger tires.

      Like 1
    • Blue

      At the time I do not recall anyone using the option number for the engine, except for he famed L88. Not even the dealers as he ordered a new car referenced those numbers.

      Like 0
  8. "Edsel" Al leonardMember

    Hmmmmm….maybe time to part with my ’69 SS…..and buy another Edsel….

    Like 7

    Oh man, I love Novas and this one is right up my alley. I’d give my left nut and half a t***y for a black SS396/4 speed Chevy Nova, wish I was in the market for one right now. I’d probably upgrade the engine to L78 specs and add a FAST fuel injection system, modern 4 wheel disc brakes and suspension, paint that fugly hood and call it a day. Love these cars!

    Like 4
    • Blue

      I would guess the fender flares are there to fit bigger tires.

      Like 1
  10. Rainer Beran

    Id buy it for the 10.500.00 price as the motor and tranny work cost at least that much,I would definately get rid of those silly rear fender flares,messes up the lines,especially after looking at Edsel Al Leonards sweet 69. Love those old Nova,s would drive it on weekends and continue the resto on it to completion.

    Like 1
    • Rainer Beran

      LOOks like Bidding has hit 14,500.00 on it already.

      Like 0
  11. Henry DavisMember

    You’re right about a build not being cheap! I’m putting together a 74 Nova SS w/396. Renewing or replacing just about everything…396/350, turbo 350 with B&M upgrades, complete new fuel system with custom Quadrajet, new posi rear end, springs front and back, new front suspension, new power steering system, new power disc system, factory air, new upholstery and console gauges. Got more than $40K in receipts for parts alone, and it’s not ready for paint yet. Prolly gonna have $50+ in it and it won’t be perfect. But I won’t be afraid to drive it!

    Like 5
    • Blue

      Great build plans!

      I am sure you just moved past it in listing the fun stuff, but I recall the ignition system being a weak link, in keeping with it is either fire or air.

      Good Hot Rodding,

      Like 0
      • Henry DavisMember

        Thx! This is kinda typical for me…buy a pretty nice car that l can drive home, take it apart, throw money at it for a couple of years, then l’ve sorta got a “Nova kit”, and try to figure out where all the pieces go.

        Like 2

    I thought the quadrajet was used on the 325 hp 395 and a Holley was also used on them. My 67 Chevelle SS 396/350 hp had the Holley carb
    I purchased a book how to hot rod the big block Chevy and that’s what it said regarding both the 325 horse and 350 horse 396. That is if memory serves me right. Long time ago

    Like 1
  13. Stanly

    Nice car I love these Nova’s I’d spruce up the interior a little bit get a spray can of black and spray the hood and drive the crap out of it and never worry about someone scratching the paint, if I was in the market!!!

    Like 0
  14. Kirk M Stankiewicz

    Me Like! I had two of them in the 70’s- Blew one up and wrecked the other- then I grew a brain-

    Like 1
  15. Lee Wells

    Exactly the kind of hot rod that would be in my high school parking lot circa 1979. I love the early 70s Novas, and wouldn’t change much on this on this one, even keeping the flares.

    Like 0
  16. "Edsel" Al leonardMember


    Like 0

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