BMW Fighter: 1975 Chevrolet Nova LN

It’s hard to believe now but 1975 was a turning point for both GM and Ford. GM was offering up this 1975 Chevrolet Nova LN for buyers wishing to buy American but have a more European experience. This example is listed on eBay in Wilmington, North Carolina with a $4,800 buy it now price or you can make an offer. Thanks to the anonymous Barn Finds reader who sent in this rare model!

Ford geared their new for 1975 Granada towards Germany’s finest luxury car, Mercedes-Benz. Chevrolet countered with its nod to Germany’s finest sporty car maker, BMW, with the LN, or Luxury Nova. Road & Track liked the Nova LN. They said that “in general we like that “GM character”, in that it usually implies quietness, refinement of operation and relatively good handling often combined with very sophisticated styling. All these things the Nova has, at least on first impression.”

1975 was the first year of the fourth-generation Nova and GM really wanted them to be competitive with European sedans. The LN was a one-year only designation as in 1976 they would become the Concours. This LN “was found in an old warehouse, where it had been stored for many years. Unfortunately it was near some large windows and got sun damage to the interior and on the hood, trunk and roof.”

The Luxury Nova came with a floor shifter and console, wide reclining front seats, sound insulation, and other luxury touches which are almost laughable today, like a clock and a day/night mirror. “The rocker panels and floor pans look very good, no rust through! There is a rust spot on the bottom of passenger door and the inside of the trunk lid has some on the outer lip. Roof appears to be surface rust only.” The bottom of the rear seat was shorter than usual to give the impression of more legroom than it really had.

For you trivia buffs, the 1975 Nova LN was the first product from GM for “the Americas” that designated the engine size in liters, as shown on the badge on the leading edge of the front fenders. This example is the bigger one, the 5.7L 350 cubic-inch V8 which would have had 145 with a 2-barrel carburetor. After putting on a “new fuel pump, spark plugs, and fresh gas in the tank it fired right up! This car runs and drives really good! No engine noises or smoke!” This is a pretty unusual and rare car especially in this condition. Sure, the interior needs help but being a solid, mostly-rust-free Nova LN with a 350 V8 this would be a nice one to own. Have any of you heard of this BMW Fighter?

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Comments

  1. jw454

    The fine print adds a $250.00 “Documentation Fee”? I don’t think so… pass.

    10
  2. Steve R

    You would be better off spending more on a 68-72 Nova in similar condition. How much aftermarket restoration parts available for this model year, if there isn’t much that would make up for the initial difference in price.

    Steve R

    7
  3. Maestro1

    I need to see a price around $2500.00 for starters and the rest I can handle but I would pass because A/C is mandatory where I live and the car isn’t worth putting aftermarket Air in it. But it is interesting.

    9
  4. Bill Shields

    Back when these came out you didn’t see many LN editions around this part of the great white North.
    People bought Nova’s for their reliability and economy. If you wanted a European style performance type car most people bought a Camaro Type LT as I remember.
    What I do remember making a big mark at the time was the Granada Ghias. They seemed to be the”European” thing.

    8
  5. Jim

    If I recall correctly. Pontiac used metric designations before that. The first gen. Firebird had an overhead cam engine. They had an emblem on the hood. 3.8 litre in 67 an 68. Then 4.1 litre in 69. The GTO had 6.5 on its emblem. The 1973 Grand Am had a 6.5 litre emblem for 400 equipped cars and 7.4 litre emblem for 455 equipped cars.

    5
    • KevinW La

      I am not sure about that. My 1976 Trans Am had 455 on the Shaker hood scoop.

      2
      • Henry Drake

        @KevinW – Pontiac didn’t do it in every case, but they were one of the early users of litre designations.

        1
  6. Nova Scotian

    Hundreds, possibly a few thousand of these were rounded up at the end of their life for track racing when I was a young man. My girlfriend and I would frequent our local race oval, and watch these gutted out Nova’s compete against one another. It was very possible to see as many as 30 of them race in one group, and have up to 7 groups per Friday night. The winners of each group had the final “race-off”. Once these beaters were “raced to near death”, it was off to the demolition derby pit…a sad (but entertaining end to an automobile that was so very much a part of our culture back then. These Nova’s were all over the place! The roads were full of ’em! You don’t even see even one at the local car show.

    10
  7. Robert Cassinger

    A buddy of mine had a dark brown with tan interior and vinyl top. His grandpa purchased it for him his senior year of high school. It was said to be all orginal and I believed it to be because this was way back in the summer of 1984. It was a beautiful car and we tons of fun cruising the local hot spots. I also remember a 1976 Nova Concourse running around town and it was just as beautiful. Bright silver paint, burgundy thick padded 1/2 landu top and matching interior. Wide and jacked up with classic Cragar super sport rims.

    4
  8. Rube Goldberg

    I like all these “Nova” types, but never once considered these in the same category as a BMW, who I feel invented the sports sedan. I wonder what model BMW they were referring to? It’s like comparing that gussied up Maverick to a M-B,,,nice try.

    17
    • Rube Goldberg

      I wonder if calling the 350 a “5.7 Litre” on the fender was enough to convince some folks?

      6
  9. CanuckCarGuy

    I like this one, but at half the BIN on it; I get the feeling that given the overall condition, costs would add up quickly. The interior finishes all seem to be on the verge of failure, and the rust needs to be stopped asap.

    9
  10. Classic Steel

    I always thought the later model such as this really fit the Mexican name of “no go” as it was really a bulky ugly car.

    I suggest spend your money on the early years to 1972 and let this one stay in a barn or shipped overseas to stay out of sight .

    Certain US cars were ruined in the late 70s such as this one . The foreign cars took over due to plain Jane cars with no mpg or quality.

    No worries it’s coming again as current thought is to roll back mpg or cafe standards while everyone else is racing with electric and hybrids only future builds due to places like Paris and London start banning fossil fuel models 😟

    4
  11. Nick

    Gotta love that $250 “Documentation Fee”, which is just a slick way of kicking up the price another $250! Just one of the reasons I despise car dealers!
    “Let’s screw the customer out of another $250 by telling them it’s a mandatory fee because we’re a legitimate business”!

    16
    • PETER P BAUSYS

      The last I remember, “Doc Fees” were $40 and I said that was a scam. Just shows how long it’s been since I’ve been in a car dealership.

      2
  12. Rock On

    We used to call the $250 fee guaranteed profit.

    12
  13. ccrvtt

    This style is a big improvement over its awkward looking predecessor, but not nearly as well loved for some reason. To compare these cheap throw away cars to BMWs of the era is laughable, but not quite as laughable as the Granada/Mercedes comparison. If your neighbor mistook your Granola for a Marsadies he was either blind or woefully naive.

    Nice find.

    8
  14. gbvette62

    My first job after college provided me with a company car, it was a 4 door, 75 Nova LN.

    Previously the company had used full size Chevrolet’s, but in an effort to save costs, for 75 they gave employees a choice of Impala’s or Nova LN’s. The Nova’s were obviously smaller, but they had much nicer interiors, and a higher overall level of trim and equipment. Plus, they were a lot better driving car than the Impala.

    The LN was really a great car. For the time, they handled well, and with the 350, had sufficient power. One friend of mine liked my LN so much, that he bought a 76 Nova Concourse for his wife.

    The console and floor shift were not standard in the LN. All LN’s came with bucket seats, but the console was optional. My 4 door LN had bucket seats, with a carpeted tunnel, and a column shift automatic.

    11
  15. Rex Kahrs Member

    Does anyone recall that in ’76 (I think) some of the Novas had a body mounting issue from the factory, and the body was a few degrees off center with the wheels? I remember when one of those damn cars came toward you, it looked like they were crossing the center line. It’s hard to imagine that GM would have sold those cars with that defect, but I swear they did.

    6
    • Rube Goldberg

      Yes, I do remember many of these cars “dog tracking”. I thought it was because they ran over a curb, and tweaked the unibody or rear axle.

      8
      • Gregory J Mason

        Hey Rube. I worked for a Chevy dealer back then and we found the center bolt in the rear springs that was also the alignment pin would sheer off and the rear would twist. We were supplied new bolts to replace them but no recalls. GM new all about the problem with the bolts.

        3
    • Crazyhawk

      Yes! That was always a game with my friends. Here comes a Nova! Which way is it dog tracking! How did GM get away with that? Man, things were different back then…

      5
    • Rusty "Pocket Sand" Shackleford

      We called ’em “Sidewinders” for that very reason.

      5
      • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

        sh-sh-sha!!

        1
  16. Pat

    Maybe it’s just me, but I always found it disconcerting whenever I followed one of theses GM bodies. Their alignment was always off, the rear wheels never tracked straight with the front wheels.

    5
  17. Warren

    What the heck – that is a $2500 car. Sheesh.

    6
  18. TMP

    I live in Wilmington NC and the car appears to be at Lovitts, the largest and notoriously sketchy car selling buy here-pay here used car dealer in town. I doubt their business model of buying salvaged/broke down later model used cars and then selling them for huge markups would apply to this car, but still be very careful with them if you want to pursue this car.

    10
    • mike D

      went to their website, it isn’t them, or it isn’t listed, but, you are right, top buck for worn out vehicles!

      1
  19. Dave T

    Anonymously submitted by the listing dealer, no doubt!

    5
  20. Todd

    Asking price is way too steep. You can find one in near mint condition for the price this person asks.

    2
  21. Bob C.

    At least it has a 350. Certainly wouldn’t be a BMW fighter with a six banger or the lackluster 262 v8 first offered that year.

    2
  22. SubGothius

    My folks briefly had a Concours sedan version of this, when we kids started getting too big for the Fiat 124 Sport Coupe they’d had and needed something larger with 4 doors. They never really liked it, so it wound up being a stop-gap car they soon replaced with a Fiat Brava wagon that served us well for the next 7 years.

    3
  23. Rustytech

    Last car I bought, after negotiating the price they put the paper in front of me the $200 documention fee and I said I was not paying it. The dealer then gave me the song and dance “ it’s mandatory” to which I said ok then take $200 off the price. They of course said no, at which time I headed for the door. I never made it, they chased me down and the deal was finalized. I had a base Nova 1975 with the 350 and 4speed. With a few modifications it was a pretty quick car.

    8
  24. LAWRENCE

    Still a strong offering for 1976….doesn’t look that bad for the money….find a pre 1972 for that.

    2
  25. James Turner

    I had driven a 1968 4 door 6 banger for almost 13 years before the engine finally went. and I had a 1976 2 dr. with the 250 C I engine several years. Both Novas were extremely reliable. Does anyone remember when the Nova did a comeback sort of with a completely new body style something in the order of a Chevy Citation body. Horrible . The t v commercial stated, THIS IS NOT YOUR PARENTS NOVA, ( FATHERS ) They were correct about that because the newly designed Nova was complete FLOP.

    1
  26. Pa Tina

    It appears the mighty Nova did not have much impact on BMW sales.

    1
  27. David Ulrey

    I like this Nova but that’s not why I’m commenting. I have sold cars at a few different car lots. Documentation fees known as Doc fees also are nothing but fluffing the price. At least in my state which is Arizona. Title and registration fees are pretty legit but Doc fees are just free money for the dealership. Not for the customer though. The salesman doesn’t see any monetary benefit either. Just the dealer.

    1
  28. James Turner

    My 1968 Cougar XR7 had 6.5 Litre badges on the front fenders.

    1
  29. Chebby Member

    Interesting that it has a floor shift while the PRNDL needle is on the column. That must be a fun linkage to repair. If this car was in mint condition it would be nice to have. As is, it’s kind of a beater.

    1

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