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Black Is Beautiful: 1971 Chevy Nova SS


This 1971 Nova SS is said to be a barn find “in great builder shape”. The seller doesn’t say much else, but does provide a complete set of photos to document the car. It is listed for sale by owner, but appears to be sitting on a dealer lot. Find it here on craigslist in the Gladstone, Missouri. Thanks goes to Joe C for the tip!


He says it is rare, and I think that is true. According to what I could find, only 7,015 SS Novas were built in 1971.


What’s cooler still is that this is also a four speed car, which makes it more rare and more fun to drive!


The car is said to be wearing its original black paint, but needs enough body work it’s unlikely it could be left untouched. It has seen some Midwestern winters, for sure.


While this Nova does have some rust, it is all repairable and the seller says that the floors and trunk are solid. We’ve seen a lot of muscle cars for sale lately in much worse condition than this Nova.


The seller has the original factory manual as well as the original bucket seats, which are not in the car, for reasons unstated.


The interior and trunk both look pretty solid overall too.


No pictures of the engine? That makes me curious. Which 350 engine does this have? Most likely it’s the 245 hp L65, but if it has the gutsier and rarer 270 hp L48, this car will be much more desirable (not to mention, faster!)

1971 Chevy Nova SS

Nova SS cars have a lot of fans and a high desirability quotient, and this 1971 example looks like a great chance for someone to end up with a really nice car. The price seems reasonable enough at $9,500, and I’m guessing it will not last long, unless of course there is a lot less here than is claimed or meets the eye.


  1. Joe

    I really like this car. Black on black 350 4 speed. Some rust, but not too bad. Cowl tag decode seems to match description. If this really is numbers matching as owner says, an L48 and front disk brakes, the price looks good. First thing I would do is extend the exhaust pipes to the back of the car.

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  2. roger

    Do people really get these stupid high prices for these things?
    I can see drip rail rusted out around trunk and bet those torque boxes and most of floor is gone,no matter what seller says.
    Wish I could find some people to pay outrageous prices for my cars.

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  3. Mike

    The craigslist post doesn’t mention anything about the car being an SS and there are a couple of things that point to it being a clone. The grill doesn’t appear to be black, the steering wheel doesn’t have the SS logo and though they could be optioned without the in-dash tach and console instrument cluster, it seems odd that a 4sp bucket/console car with air would roll off the line without them. It does have the SS hood and rear trim but I’d want to see some documentation if it was being represented as a factory SS car.
    If not a documented SS the ask is a little rich.

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  4. MountainMan

    So the CL ad states the car is a factory 350 / 4 speed car but as Mike points out that seller doesn’t claim the car is a factory SS. It’s possible he just failed to mention that in the ad but it does make me wonder. When I saw that he was asking 9500 I was a little floored at first that the ask is that high. I guess if this car is a factory SS 4 speed car with air then $9,500 is probably reasonable for the condition that it’s in but I would certainly research actual values. There’s some rust repair to do but this will be a sweet car when repaired. Has anyone actually bought or sold an early 70’s Nova lately? Now I’m wondering what it’s worth as an SS and just as a 350 / 4 speed equipped car. I’m interested to see what other people think.

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  5. grant

    Personally, I can’t believe these Novas are worth this much in restored condition, but that’s just me. Rusty, boxy ugly 70’s Nova? No thanks.

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    • Mike

      I own a 72 Nova SS so I’m a bit biased and know that the 68-71 models are difficult to verify as SS. The 72 was identified by the K code in the VIN unlike the earlier 4 model years which had no specific identifier except for all 68-71 SS models being equipped with power front disc brakes. If this car had power discs the booster would be visible in the under hood photo and the brake pedal would have the disc symbol. Neither appear in the photos.

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  6. RoughDiamond

    It’s my understanding that the ’71 Nova SS was the lowest year for production during that body style era. Maybe “Mike” who posted above me and owns a ’72 could verify.

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    • Mike

      Nova production
      Total – 183,553
      SS – 5,571

      Total – 251,849
      SS – 17,564

      Total – 307,280
      SS – 19,558

      Total – 194,878
      SS – 7,015

      Total – 349,733
      SS – 12,309

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      • Joe

        Thanks Mike for the numbers.

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  7. motoring mo

    had a banana yellow ’72 in high school.
    bought it for $300.
    rattle canned the hood black. because that’s what 17 year olds do.
    307 w/ power glide transmission.
    fun ride
    left for college, lil’ brother wrecked it.

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  8. James

    I’m the second owner of a 72 Nova with skyroof option,350 3 speed on the floor, bench seat,all original except wheels tires n shifter “very rare”!!!!! Garage kept most of its life, guess I need an appraisal??????

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  9. Nek

    Back then if one was willing to pay the extra you could trick out a car from the order book with SS trim but not ID’d on VIN as a SS…why… to escape the insurance surcharges.

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  10. Peter R

    I don’t know the values today but I did see a really fully restored SS, 4 speed, buckets with air that took about $23k to own – he had owned several similar ones which sold at similar prices and the one I saw was the last of them. I found it too rich for me and took a pass but it was a really well restored one.

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  11. Rocco

    To all the cebby guys;
    It has staggered shocks and multi-leaf springs. Does that mean anything? And is that a 10 or 12 bolt rear end? I had a couple friends that had ’69 SS Nova’s, and they had 12 bolt rears. I don’t know, but maybe all 4-speed cars had staggered shocks. Maybe by ’71, GM just put 10 bolt rears in due to the lower HP. What do you GM guys say?

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  12. Gary K

    One of the best cars (’71 SS) I owned back in ’76, paid $1400. It was a primo condition car back then had about 50k miles on it, an unusual car with just a rubber full floor mat and front bench seat, no options factory 4 spd with the 350. Light green in color, interior was black, tire burning ticket getter, but a fun car to drive. That car and my ’64 lemans 2 dr post I would love to have back today!

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  13. Frank j

    I now can’t believe prices today,but if you want it you have to pay. I’ve owned 10 of the 69 to 72 models. The 12 bolt rear Was a hp choice till 71. The console thing new was available without if you ordered.Had also of good times with all of mine. Here’s one for you a 72 was $1995. With a 6cyl stick.

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