Daily Driver: 1973 Chevrolet Nova

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For whatever reason, I’ve been coming back around to the Chevy Nova as an ideal starter classic car. From my youth, I can still remember how commonplace they were, just a cheap beater that was often spotted in neglected condition. Now, nicely preserved cars like this 1973 model here on eBay are harder to find than over-modified examples, which makes this one extra-appealing. Bidding is at $4,150 with the reserve unmet. 

These were not exotic cars by any stretch, but they occupy a space in my mind like the modern-day Chevy Beretta: not particularly special, but often times spec’d with good options and powertrains that made them decent performers right out of the box. This example has some mild body issues (noted as “bad spots” per the seller), and I suspect I see some rust bubbling underneath the vinyl top.

The interior isn’t perfect, but it also doesn’t need any major restoration. The bench seat is un-torn and the dash appears to be crack-free – but I can’t quite tell if a corner is pushed in on the passenger side. Some aftermarket gauges have been added down below, and the steering wheel sports an unfortunate wrap. With the automatic and bench seat, cruising will be easy in this ’73 Nova.

In the large Georgia collection we’ve listed here as a Barn Finds Exclusive, there are two rare Nova hatchbacks up for grabs. If you want a Nova project but want one that will stand out in the crowd, a hatchback model could be the way to go. No matter which model you choose, does anyone else agree that nicely preserved Novas will start to find more favor with collectors?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. Troy s

    Like the color and the wheels, interior is in really nice shape…too bad it’s not black. A cheap car that only needed a set of mags and there you’d have it—instant cruise material…a planned out build could make one really go.
    Like the equivalent Dodge Dart, these sure ain’t cheap no more.

    Like 3
  2. Lance Platt

    This car isn’t perfect but for a 46 year old unrestored vehicle it isn’t bad at all. The Nova has the 350 V-8 and automatic combination per the eBay listing. Besides having larger displacement engine than one can get today in a compact, I love the fact that the roofline isnt so aerodynamic that you bang your head climbing in. Todays cars could benefit from the engineering of 1973.

    Like 5
  3. gbvette62

    If that car has a 350, it’s not the original engine. The “F” in the VIN number, indicates that the car started life with a 307 2bbl. If it had a 350, it would have also had “350” badges over the front marker lights.

    The seats appear to have been recovered in a none original color and pattern, and I suspect it’s been repainted. From the rust that can be seen, you have to wonder what the car looked like before the repaint.

    A friend of mine had a new bright blue 73 Nova hatchback, with a white interior and a 350 2bbl, with a 3 speed floor shift. It was a nice little car, but with the big bumpers, and other styling changes for 73, they just never had the same appeal to me, that the 68-72 Nova’s did.

    Like 8
    • dweezilaz

      I always likened the looks of the 73-74 Nova to that of the 53-54 Chevrolet full size, Gbvette62. From the time they were new/late model. The 68-72s were just right.

      The battering ram bumper regs ruined the looks of a lot of cars back then, plus the C pillar change for 73 made the car look dumpy with very little effort.

      Like 1
      • Roy L

        You think that bumper looks bad, take a look at a 73 Jag XKE and see how a bumper can ruin a beautiful car.

        Like 0
  4. Comet

    Has anyone installed earlier small (68-72) bumpers on a 73+ Nova? If so, how big of a project?

    Like 0
    • Karl

      I suppose it could be done ; back in the early 1980s we ran a 70 Nova in the Enduro races at our local track. We took the flimsy original bumper off and bolted on a 1973 front bumper – we never lost a radiator after that !

      Like 0
  5. 123pugsy

    Reserve not met? There is a ton of rust waiting to rear it’s ugly head.

    Like 2
  6. Gary

    The “pushed in” corner of the dash is supposed to be there. It clears the door when shut.

    Like 0
  7. Poncho

    Thumbs down on the Nova Hatchback. Too many Nova’s out there to fix up a hatchback. UUUUUGLY!

    Like 0
    • 123pugsy

      Where is this hatchback you are referring to?

      Like 0
  8. Timmy

    I bought a 71 SS for 2200 no power train left but save the doors, front clip, dash and rear bumper from the hatchback then smash the carcass that’s what we do with hatchback Nova’s

    Like 0
    • pugsy

      That’s what you do, huh?

      Like 1
  9. PRA4SNW

    $5,300 was top bid.
    Did not meet reserve.

    Like 1
    • pugsy

      The guy’s nuts. Undesirable year with clearly all kinds of rust below the surface and he feels it’s worth more? Probably another flipper.

      Like 0

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