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Clean Canvas: 1970 Chevrolet Nova Project

This 1970 Chevy Nova is portrayed as a former big-block car, which suggests it was once an SS 396, but the engine and transmission are long gone. And the front clip has been replaced by one from a 1969 model, perhaps due to an accident. So, the buyer has mostly a clean canvas to work with since these Novas often find themselves turned into SS clones. As a roller, this Chevy is in Seaford, New York, and is available here on eBay where the reserve is still in play at the latest bid of $4,400.

Nova’s production figures for 1970 exceeded 307,000 copies, yet that made it only the car’s 8th-best sales year between 1962 and 1979. Just 5,567 units came with one of two 396 cubic inch V8s, the L34 (350 hp) and the L78 (375) hp. We assume all of them were equipped as Super Sports, although what’s remaining of this 1970 Nova isn’t conclusive. The car has bucket seats (which were optional), but they look to be from a later vintage, as does the steering wheel. Whatever engine was once there was supported by a 4-speed manual transmission.

We’re told the rationale for this being a big-block Nova is that it has the correct engine mounts and a big-block heater box. But the VIN says otherwise and decodes it as having been an inline-6 from the factory. A 10-bolt rear end with 4.10 gears is still in place but we assume everything that was once under the hood is gone. A fair amount of bodywork appears to be needed and the seller is including replacement panels for the job. Sadly, even the replacement front clip has rust that will need to be repaired. What would be your vision for this project?


  1. North End Mike

    $2,000 tops for this tops if the body is solid, way too many issues with the history on this pile of parts for it to be worth $4,400,….

    Like 7
  2. ACZ

    A big block Nova except that it’s not.

    Like 9
    • Gary

      yep, just because it has 396 call out’s doesn’t make it a 396 car

      Like 1
  3. North End Mike


    Like 3
  4. Nova eric

    Couple issues with this article 1- only 1972 novas had. Vin that signified engine size
    2- the jester box will have the Vin stamped under
    3- 4:10 wasn’t a factory gear in an 8.2 rear

    Like 6
    • North End Mike

      Like I said, WAAAY too many question marks here,…

      Like 4
    • jim

      These novas all had VIN numbers that indicated number of cylinders.
      111 for 4 cylinder
      113 for 6 cylinder
      114 for 8 cylinder
      The VIN in the ad shows that this was a 6 cylinder car.

      Like 5
  5. JoeNYWF64

    396 cube 1970 novas got monoleaf springs & 10 bolt rears like this one?

    Like 4
  6. BB

    Only original bigblock nova’s have the heater core box and hoses moved towards the passenger fender on firewall in order to stuff that motor in, and small blocks had the heater core closer to the tunnel, behind passenger side head on motor. From what I can see, this car appears to have had a factory bigblock.

    Like 0
  7. jefftrey davis

    one soso way to tell and u cannot one this one is the opening in rad support is wider on high h/p modles unless they happen to have org. support

    Like 1
  8. geezerglide 85

    When I was a kid (small town) we used to hang out in the parking lot by the local bank. One car that was always there was a Nova with the 396 emblem on the front fender, it belonged to one of the tellers. I asked her one day if it was really a 396, she said “well its got a big V-8 in it and its really fast”. It was just a regular 2dr. bench seat and a powerglide. So maybe they did make some that way. There was a time when you could order a car any way you wanted.

    Like 1
  9. Darren Brulotte

    I’d like to see what the trim tag says…….

    Like 1
  10. Robert Atkinson, Jr.

    I’m with the folks who say $4400 is too much for a car with a missing driveline and significant visible rust issues that are sure to only get worse once the body has been stripped of paint. The replacement front clip suggests that the car has been hit at least once, so a session on a frame table to check for straightness would be advisable. With the included replacement parts, I’d not go higher than $2500. At $4400 with the reserve unmet, Thanks, but No Thanks.

    Like 2
    • Eric

      If it’s a true 68 big block car even with a different front end and no engine or trans and the rust it’s worth what the asking price is

      Like 0
    • North End Mike

      Bidding is up tp $5,500 as of now: and That for a car that’s going to need front and rear fenders, front(and maybe rear) wheel wells, engine and tranny, rad and all the plumbing, very likly a new wiring harness, and probably other stuff that we can’t see in those pics. At this point the bidder is basically paying for the VIN number,…

      Like 0

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