Original Owner SS: 1974 Chevrolet Nova SS

By 1974 the muscle car era was over, EPA regulations forced manufacturers to equip vehicles with power robbing emissions equipment and the Oil Crisis forced consumers to shift their mindset from HPs to MPGs. Still, performance models were offered like the Nova SS and the Pontiac GTO, although they were essentially a trim/appearance package without any real performance upgrades. This example looks to be in good condition and is described as a one owner car. Check it out here on eBay for $15,750 BIN in Fallbrook, CA.

In ’74 the government was putting pressure on the automakers not only for emissions but for safety as well. Low-speed impact absorbing bumpers were required which added length and made for design challenges. One interesting feature of the ’74 Nova was a  switch under the driver’s seat that prevented the car from starting unless the seatbelt was buckled, I’m sure this resulted in some unnecessary tow-ins. From the limited pictures, this Nova seems to be in nice original condition aside from the missing trunk lock. The stripes and huge SS decals on the trunk and fenders look like a custom add-on, but that is the way it came from the factory.

From what we can see under the hood, things look to be complete. At least the red heater hoses seem to be routed correctly.  Since the SS option was a trim package, any Nova engine could be found under the hood including the inline six, this car has the 350 V8. The seller does not include many details in the description other than the car runs and drives but needs some TLC. The headliner and trunk lock needs to be replaced but the A/C blows cold! One of the tires has a slow leak, Goodyear hasn’t made the Eagle ST for around 20 years so its safe to say the tires need to be replaced.

The data plate confirms it’s a real SS. A little over 20,000 SS models were built in ’74 so this is not exactly a rare car but when is the last time you saw one? This car would be a nice driver to use for occasional commuting or car shows, the stock 350 and automatic trans would make for a practical cruiser and the A/C is a plus. The price seems a little high on this one considering it will take some work to get it up and running properly but it is a California car so rust may not be a factor. I hope the next owner will leave it stock and enjoy it as it is.

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  1. Bob C.

    I’m sure by this time the pollution junk has been disconnected and / or plugged up. Shouldn’t be a disappointment performance wise.

  2. Miguel

    Were those big NOVA SS stickers a weight saving measure?

    This car doesn’t look like it was well cared for enough for the price they are asking.

  3. Shingo

    Insane. You can buy a beautiful Corvette from the same era for that money.

  4. Steve A

    Be a lot more fun after dropping a big block into it!!! Price seems a bit high to me too.

  5. Sparkster

    Too lazy to put new tires on it and put it in a driveway or garage , yet they want $15,000

  6. Jeff


  7. michael h streuly

    Just sent the guy a message telling him that he is dreaming if he really thinks the car is worth 15k. Will let everyone know what he has to say.

  8. michael h streuly

    I received an email back from the cars owner and he asked me what i thought the car is worth.

    • PatrickM

      Atta boy!

  9. Mark

    Front seats do not look original and that a lot of money! At least put new tires or tires that hold air on it!

    • nrg8

      If tires were up, the rust would scare ppl away

  10. Firebird69

    Big bumpers little interest

  11. ACZ

    WOW! $15K for a nice $3K car.

  12. chrlsful

    I like the hatch (10 yrs later? can’t B – wuz the same model/lines/look/shape).

  13. Wrong Way Member

    This car has major potential to be a jewel! I remember these so vividly! Back in the day I don’t think that you could drive a mile and not pass a nova! However the SS was the jewel to own! I hope that it’s brought back to show room condition! I am not a Bow Tie fan at all, but the Nova was a very popular and dependable car! Good luck to the new owners!

  14. TriPowerVette

    Close, but no cigar. 1974 was the swansong for the Pontiac Super Duty, for the 454 Corvette, 455 Riviera GS, W-30 455 442, 440 Roadrunner, and 401 Javelin/AMX.

    By this time, as delivered power outputs (in stock form) were way down, from the heydays of the models (even allowing for the changeover from ‘Gross’ to ‘SAE Net’ methods of measurement), but ALL of them could sparkle with simple to not so simple modifications.

    1975 was the full implementation of the EPA Inquisition and Insurance Mongol Invasion. At this time, there ceased to be ANY joy in Mudville. The government had struck out (at all of us).

  15. tom

    I’m always surprised to hear people say they can make a car more powerful with some bolt on goodies…It was the smog era, which meant economy cam profiles and smaller valves…plugging the pollution controls (EGR/A.I.R.) wouldn’t really net you much. The reduction in power was primarily due to lower compression ratio’s due to the mandate of unleaded fuel. Those are the things you change to make more power.

  16. TriPowerVette

    @tom – This is absolute gold! Increasing compression = higher horsepower. Added that to my knowledge base.

    Also; little net increase in H.P. by blocking off pollution controls? Got it.

    Change in cam profile and and port job/valve size improvement can add power, too! Where has this advice been all my life? Would headers and intake work help?

    What you’re saying is that my idea that some 8mm spark wires, an Edelbrock air cleaner and chrome valve covers won’t get the job done? Not a speed-knob on the steering wheel to improve handling, either? Who knew? What about curb feelers? Where do you stand on those?

    Man, this stuff woulda saved me soooo much time and frustration as I will now completely ignore the ’74 440 Road Runners (which sells for jack squat, compared to the ’70 version of the same car), and try to breathe life into this 350 Nova (which can be done, with an LT-1 swap).

    BTW – Wha’d ya tink an LS6 or a 440 magnum or a… would cost to drop in (then and now)? ‘S a straight across swap, for the most part (sorta).

    Or just yankin’ the top end and massagin’ a bit? Or improving the diff gears. Or adding a tube or 8. You really haven’t had to chuck the whole car, in order to get it combat ready. Insulted minds want to know.

    • nrg8

      You forgot the thrush stickers on the side rear windows.

      • TriPowerVette

        @nrg8 – Hit forehead with palm of hand!

  17. tom

    I gave you a thumbs up :)

    • TriPowerVette

      @tom – I was constrained by dictates of civility to reciprocate (get it?).

      • tom

        Two thumbs up (get it?).

  18. Bodyman 68

    I think barn finds has lost its way. Too many newer cars and nothing from a barn ,then the comments are funny as i wonder how many of you have ever worked on an old car ? As i see i dont think many have . Define bolt on performance, ive had numerous smog engines and ditched the smog pumps bolted on heads ,cams and intakes and got a hell of a lot more performance. Ive also had my share of restoration’s and tons of rust repair where i have junked better cars then i have seen here for stupid money . But theres an a$$ for every seat and this guy will find some one to fill it ! Good luck to them . Finally its time to change the name from Barn Finds to Bash n Trash ! I think it fits better lol

    • tom

      Bodyman, thanks for your perspective. I enjoy this site and don’t want to contribute to bash and trash.
      TPC, I’m sorry if what I said struck a chord with you, I did not mean to offend wish no ill will.


      • TriPowerVette

        @tom – One of the thumbs up for @Bodyman 68 – is mine.

        I agree with you on this.

        Apology accepted.

        I apologize, if it seemed like I was too thin-skinned, but I tried to handle it with humor. Thank you.

        BTW – I’m pretty much amazed that @Tom Allen -, the person at whom my original comments were directed, never chimed in…

      • TriPowerVette

        …that is: “Scott Allen”… yet another apology. It was a senior moment.

  19. tom

    Good deal

  20. Superdessucke

    Always had a sweet spot for these ’73-74 SS’s. A cool kid in high school had a gold one. Same stripes, but with a 4-speed and the old school Chevy rally wheels on it. It looked, and was, awesome. Another kid had an orange ’73 SS with a black vinyl roof. He modified it and it was really, really fast.

    If this was priced, oh, say about 1/5 of this I’d seriously consider buying it just to have a project to work on. But 15k? No way!

  21. Alexander

    Trunk lock busted out. Dirty velour seats instead of dirty vinyl. NO SALE! :)

  22. Herbee

    Nova’s suck in my world. Can’t get any decent rear tire size under da rear.

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