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Crazy Quarter Windows: 1973 Chevrolet Nova

Custom touches applied to cars are as old and common a modification as the cars themselves. While the late ’40s and early ’50s seem to have been the golden years for such undertakings known as chopped, channeled, shaved, and frenched, the antics still continue albeit at a different pace and direction. And that trend is well displayed with this 1973 Chevrolet Nova, located in Morrisville, Pennsylvania, and available here on Facebook Marketplace for $5,500, OBO. Let’s take a closer look. Thanks to Glen C. for this tip!

There’s nothing remarkable about a 1973 Nova. They were great compact cars and almost 370K rolled off of Chevrolet’s assembly lines that year. The SS performance model was still available though down-trodden by emissions controls and Novas, in general, were further hampered by Federally required, ungainly looking, five MPH front bumpers. The styling can best be described as pleasing but generic.

But it doesn’t have to be, right? Let’s go full-on and add that required disco-era styling touch known as “opera windows”. What the…? And here’s the twist, the seller’s description doesn’t even mention the styling change. He references replaced quarters but fails to mention the specifics of the new quarters. Why, of all things, opera windows? Who knows, maybe he got carried away while deep into the project. Whatever the case, the job appears to have been professionally facilitated. The car is finished in primer and there is some rust bubbling through on the lower trunk lid but beyond that, the body is in straight and in well-aligned condition. The seller mentions that his father-in-law did a lot of the work that has been bestowed on this Chevy. If he’s the person who replaced the quarters and performed the window treatment, he has some very nice metalworking skills. There is also a custom grille or a “Barris Grille” that has been installed in place of the original Chevy egg-crate piece, it’s a nice touch. Finishing off the exterior are the almost seen too often, Chevrolet rally wheels in chrome finish and topped off with “police” caps.

Under the hood is a 350 CI V8 engine of unknown provenance. It clearly has had headers installed and the exhaust system appears to exit in front of the rear wheels ala NASCAR style, but it’s hard to tell much more than that from the thin description. This Nova is described as running and driving but in need of some work to be a daily use car. The transmission is a Turbo-Hydramatic 350 utilizing a shift kit and it is connected to a limited-slip differential of unknown ratio. The ratio is easy enough to calculate, just spin one of the rear wheels, while the rear of the car is raised, and count the driveshaft revolutions.

The interior looks quite nice with the seats covered in a vinyl patterned fabric that doesn’t appear to be stock. No worries, it looks good and shows to have been well prepared. There are aftermarket gauges, a replacement steering wheel, and a modified floor shifter that have been added. What can’t be is seen very well is the interior treatment surrounding the opera windows – that’s some substantial real estate that would have needed to have been filled in and covered over. There is an image included in the listing but it’s not very revealing. Also noted is the headliner, the seller suggests that it should be replaced.

Three cheers to creativity but I don’t think I would have put opera windows on the “must do” list, but to each his own, right? This Nova has a nice hot-rod vibe going on with everything else that it has experienced so maybe the window treatment is irrelevant. If I were Nova shopping, I’d hold off, it’s not the look that I would want; but how about you, thumbs up or thumbs down?


  1. Moparman Moparman Member

    AD has been removed from Facebook. (IMO) the alterations to the rear window fall into the category of “just because you can, doesn’t mean you should”! A very awkward looking, odd shaped opera window, which doesn’t improve the looks and hampers visibility.

    Like 22
    • Mike

      They were just trying to be different and it didn’t work.

      Like 8
    • Claudio

      Non no no no no no no no no no no no no
      A 73 nova is already ugly because of the HUGE bumpers and with this added glory hole, it is FUGLY

      Like 12
      • BONE

        I’m probably the only one here that likes the 73 -74 styling ; to me the larger bumpers give the car are more aggressive look . The 68-72 bumpers always looked bent to me, especially in the rear , where they almost always seemed to touch the bottom of the taillights IMO .
        This one , however looks awful, it would look awful if it was a 68 -72 a well

        Like 3
  2. Jcs

    I have seen this car somewhere before.

    Oh yeah, when I looked up fugly…..

    Like 6
  3. hatofpork

    Just the thing to convey the Duke and Duchess to Lincoln Center on a Saturday night! Fill the trunk with cold beer and some fishin’ worms and hey that’s a date!! What???

    Like 3
  4. 86_Vette_Convertible

    The rear windows remind me of what was in the 74 Malibu Classic. In that case GM laid them on top of the big window used in the 73 Malibu and covered the rest of the area with a vinyl top. I admit they look strange on the Nova but to each his own.

    Like 3
    • karl

      Some did, but other Malibus and their siblings had the small windows right from the get go

      Like 0
  5. jerry z

    The quarter window seems to be out if a mid-70’s Grand Prix or Monte Carlo. Yuck! Also Nova came with high back buckets. These are out if a mid-60’s GM car. Wonder what the final price was on the Nova.

    Like 2
  6. Troy s

    Too odd looking on this Nova and the color is not doing it any favors. The rest of the mods are standard issue like the shifter, wheels, steering wheel and dressed up 350. Side exit exhausts were popular at one time, don’t see them as often anymore….
    I seem to be mixed up about here but wasnt there an Olds Omega or other GM like this that did have opera windows? Maybe not.

    Like 0
    • Jimmy

      Troy, yes there was the Cabriolet roof available on all 75-79 x body coupes. It had a sort of opera window, along with the rear half of the roof covered in vinyl. It was also available on 76-77 Vegas and 75-80 Monza and Sunbirds

      Like 1
      • Troy s

        Thanks, Jimmy. I knew I’d seen those before but couldn’t figure what years they were made.

        Like 1
  7. CCFisher

    This one triggers my OCD. That opera window doesn’t line up with anything, and the character line on the quarter panel no longer serves a purpose, either. Burn it, or I’ll have to buy it and fix it.

    Like 3
  8. Mark P

    Did the back windows open as built? If they did then in my state you couldn’t have the exhaust exit under them. Maybe this is why they were modded. A lot of work if that’s the case. Don’t like them either.

    Like 2
  9. Maestro1 Member

    Bizzare. I’ll pass.

    Like 1
  10. Little_Cars

    I little haphazard and over-zealous with the red primer, and another Nova rear panel/trunk that has begun to rust through the edges. Surprised the interior looks as good as it does because otherwise this is a backlot manager special at the tote-the-note used car dealer.

    Like 2
  11. JoeNYWF64

    I would be impressed if they put on older bumpers & tried to make a nova HARDTOP like you could get on the prev gen(&1st gen camaro).
    Is that a cover over the dash? Looks good.

    Like 1
  12. TimM

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again!! It amazes me what some people’s idea of cool is!!! Of all the modifications you could do to a car you decide to make the rear window smaller!! Bad idea!!!

    Like 2
    • JoeNYWF64

      & hard to believe, it’s still bigger than the qtr window on the modern camaro “hardtop”.

      Like 2

    I had a 73 years ago. Moved the bumpers in to make it look better. The windows are FUGLY. Why would You do that?

    Like 0
  14. Maverick

    Put that fugly think out of view. Big ugly bumpers bad enough. Then wtf happened.

    Like 0

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