Carport Find: 1973 Chevrolet Nova SS

The Nova (aka Chevy II) was one of Chevy’s most popular cars in the 1960s and 1970s. 1973 models would give the nameplate its second-highest production year-to-date since its launch a dozen years earlier. The SS (or Super Sport) was the performance edition of the compact auto and just an appearance package by 1973 since the once-hot muscle car market had cooled off. This one has a 307 cubic inch V8 and a 3-speed manual and has been off the road for a while from the photos provided. Located in Modesto, California, this Nova is available here on craigslist for $10,000. Thanks for the heads us on this car, Pat L.!

Fourth-generation 1973-74 Nova’s were heavily restyled versions of the 1968-72 cars that sold so well. Many of the changes occurred to help accommodate the larger, federally mandated bigger bumpers front and rear that were designed to absorb impacts of 5 and 2.5 mph front and rear, respectively. They also received a hatchback body style for the first time that would prove to be rust magnates (no worries, the seller’s car is the standard coupe). The gas tank was increased from 16 to 21 gallons in size to provide a greater cruising range, requiring a redesigned trunk pan.

Once a formidable player in the muscle car arena, the SS option was strictly for looks in 1973 and could be had with any engine/transmission combination. Which would explain why the seller’s car only has a 307 V8 where a 350 would have lived just a year earlier. We don’t know if this is the original engine to the car or how well it runs from sitting up. The seller says it starts, runs, and drives without giving us a lot of fanfare as to how well these things get done. It may need a new set of hood hinges as it doesn’t seem to close properly.

The car wears black paint that cleans up decently, but the seller says it needs some cosmetic work though the body is straight. Perhaps that attention is needed in the interior as the blurry photos show loose-fitting aftermarket seat covers everywhere with no indication as to the condition of what’s underneath. The carpeting appears to be faded from what we can tell. At 93,000 miles, this Nova has been treated with new American Racing wheels and tires along with redone front disc brakes (power-assisted). We’re told the power steering lines are bad, so it will be hard to steer until those are replaced.

Chevy built 369,509 Novas in 1973 of which 35,542 would be SS editions, a record year for the latter. But that’s because buyers liked the appearance of a car that might go fast. California buyers will have to pay a few bucks to get the registration reactivated and the seller will entertain a trade if it’s for a Chrysler 300 or Dodge Charger of equal value. As a side note, 1973 would be the last year for the 307 V8 which had been around just since 1968.


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  1. Cadmanls Member

    Maybe I am just too old to see this as 10 K project. Interior is probably cooked, that was some cheap plastic too. The 307 was right there with the 305 as less than desirable and this is a big bumper car. Plus side not rattle hatch and solid bones.

    Like 12
  2. RKS

    I would definitely bring a magnet (or magnate) when inspecting this car. Seller says body is straight but look at that left rear quarter behind the wheel. $5000 dollar car tops and that’s if you want to put the work in.

    Like 10
  3. Al

    That 307 is a dog. Doesn’t even have angle plugs if I recall right. Have to pull & drop a 350 crate in or an LS1. But it’s still a Nova, entry level ‘muscle’ car. Rather find a Vega & drop the above in as a friend done long ago. Drove like a raped ape!

    Like 1
  4. EricN

    10k for a bare bones SS? That thing needs a lot of work and the 73-74 are not real collectors cars. If I were to buy it I wouldn’t give more than 2k for it and I’d have to give it a good look over.

    Like 1
    • M.C.S.

      The 73-74 Novas are my favorites, and certainly are “collector cars”.

      Though this particular specimen is NOT how I would want mine equipped (especially with those goofy wheels).

      Like 2
  5. wjtinfwb

    As much as I liked the ’68-72 Nova, I loath the 73+ versions, The heaview styling, huge bumpers and crap powertrains all drug the once proud nameplate down. I’d rather find a rust free but patina’d V8 ’69-72, drop in a 383 stroker crate engine coupled to a T-5 and relive my misspent youth. I’m typically a Ford guy but Chevy got it right with the ’68-72 Nova’s.

    Like 1
  6. Paul

    cam eating 307

  7. Greg Hurley

    Please stop sending any information to me at:,my 2nd request!

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