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Low-Mile Barn Find: 1972 Chevrolet Nova

I have a couple of motorcycles that haven’t been started in 36 years but I don’t have any cars that haven’t been started in more than a couple of months. This 1972 Chevrolet Nova hasn’t been started in a decade according to the seller who has it listed here on Kentucky.hibid.com. The current bid price is $5,525 (!), there are two days left on the auction, and it’s located in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. Thanks to Jack C. for sending in this tip!

I shouldn’t be surprised at a bid price of over $5,000 for this Nova since it’s an early model and the last year of having wing/vent windows on the front doors. That very useful and cool feature would go away for the 1973 model year and beyond, unfortunately. BRING THEM BACK! BRING THEM BACK! Hey, if everyone else can protest, why not me?

The photos are interesting but they show a fair representation of this car I think, other than the trunk and any underside photos. The body looks great in most of the photos but it looks scary in one photo of the rust and body putty (?) on the right rear quarter panel around the wheel. There will be some welding to do there and given that photo, I have to wonder what the underside looks like. That rust doesn’t seem to be scaring the bidders in the least.

The seller doesn’t mention rust at all and the description is basically that this car has 62,339 miles, an aftermarket stereo system, and hasn’t been started in ten years. The interior photos are somewhat hard to decipher but overall it looks decent inside, other than the dash which looks like it’s pretty well gone and the steering wheel isn’t much better. Is that a watch hanging from the turn signal stalk? The back seat looks solid although I’m guessing these are seat covers? The headliner will be on the next owner’s to-do list as there isn’t one. The third-generation Nova was made for the 1968 through 1974 model years and Russ is our Nova expert in case any of you have questions on this one.

I like this car because of it being the last year of having wing windows and also for having a 250 cubic-inch “Turbo-Thrift” six-cylinder engine with 110 horsepower. I would guess that 99% of Barn Finds readers would rather see a V16 twin-turbo with 1,000,000 horsepower under this hood, but not me. I like unusual cars and this one would stay a six-cylinder under my ownership. If it had a three-on-the-tree manual transmission that would be even better. How would you restore this Nova?


  1. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry

    I like Nova cars. Bought one new in 69, my first new car. I also owned a 64 model with 194 inline 6 and three on the tree. the 69 was forest green and 396 4 speed. I too would keep the 6 but the automatic is a down turn for me. I suppose it could be turbocharged to give it the needed power, as my late model 4 cylinder turbocharged automatic has more than enough power. But I also enjoy power R&P steering and power disc brakes at all four corners. This Nova is lacking in all the comfort accommodations I’ve grown to love in my cars. this will be a nice car for someone, just not me.

    God Bless America

    Like 4
  2. 8banger 8banger Member

    I knew someone who had a ’71 or so with a straight six. He hopped it up with an Offenhauser kit, 4bbl, etc, and by and by, the “I could’ve had a V8!” jingle kicked in…

    Like 6
  3. Bill D

    This was truly a no-spec version. Only option looks to have been a Powerglide transmission and maybe the OEM radio, likely AM-only. I didn’t even know the Powerglide was still an option as late as ’74. No power steering or power brakes, vinyl flooring instead of carpet, this was as entry-level as it got.

    Like 4
    • Terrry

      also “deluxe” wheel covers. Plain Jane ones had dog dishes.

      Like 2
      • DON

        This looks to have Chevy baby moons with trim rings ; it likely had dog dish caps originally

        Like 0
      • Stevieg

        These baby moon caps are the correct poverty cap for this car. I don’t believe the trim rings were an option, so that is probably aftermarket. Of course, I am human & could be wrong. Anyone else have any input? I am certain on the caps, not certain on the trim rings.

        Like 0
  4. JCA Member

    Good start to a restomod

    Like 6
  5. Terrry

    Five will get you ten, if the frame is still reasonably solid, an LS conversion will find its way under the hood. These are nice cars when resto-modded.

    Like 4
  6. Winfield Wilson

    Nice, base car. In 1981, I bought a ’68 Nova from my roommate: 2 door, white with a tattered black vinyl roof, 307/powerglide. It was just about my favorite car that I’ve owned.

    Like 4
  7. Shawn

    It would be a blast to resto-mod the heck out of this thing for the interior, exterior, and suspension, but leave the 250 and really hop it up. The Nova down in South America never saw a V8, it’s biggest engine was the 250, even in the SS version. Necessity being the mother of invention, they did a lot of wild things with the 250 where power was through the roof! The only drawback is the sound, unfortunately those inlines just never make the sweet noise a V8 can. This is a extremely basic car, but hopefully she finds someone who will love her and get her back on the road.

    Like 4
  8. Steve Clinton

    What’s with the watermarks on the photos?

    Like 0
    • Bill D

      Added by the auction company, no doubt to protect their intellectual property and to thwart use of the stolen photos in fraudulent listings on sites like eBay or Craigslist. Fraudulent listings featuring stolen photos is a huge problem.

      Like 5
  9. John Oliveri

    396, 4speed, front disc brakes, nice rear, buckets console Vintage air, nice cruiser

    Like 2
  10. Bob-O

    I would keep the six, hop it up, add a four-speed automatic and a 3.42 to 3.55 limited-slip rear and disc brakes up front. Then I’d have a nice cruiser that would be happy on the freeway and fun around town.

    Like 0
  11. DJ

    My first car was a ’71 with a 307 and Powerglide. My grandfather bought it new – was similar in that it had the vinyl floor covering, vinyl upholstery, AM radio, and manual brakes. But it had power steering – and it was my first car, so I loved it!

    Like 0
  12. karl

    A buddy of mine insisted on driving 6 cyl Novas with powerglides in the Enduro races at our local track in the mid 1980s , where 150 cars generally started the 100 – 200 lap features….small wonder he never finished one race

    Like 0
  13. Scotty Gilbertson Staff

    Auction update: this Nova sold for $5,625.01.

    Like 0

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