Paint Not Included: 1971 Chevrolet Nova

In my opinion the 2 door 68-74 Chevy Nova is one of the most recognizable General Motors products there is, the ’57 Chevy is at the top of the list. When I grew up in the ’80s these cars were everywhere in daily driver stock condition all the way to full drag cars. The seller of this ’71 Nova saw potential in this car and has given it some much needed TLC, now its ready for paint. Find it here on Craigslist near Fairfield, CT with an asking price of $8,500, but if he proceeds with the paint job the price goes up to around $15,000. Thanks to Barn Finds reader Levi for the tip!

I assume this picture was taken when the seller first acquired the car, this car was very neglected and had been parked for 25 years. The car was very rough, but it is a ’71 2-door so it was worth saving. I much prefer the 68-72 cars before the front end grill/bumper redesign in ’73. Looking at the rear window, I hope the car was stored indoors. No interior shots are provided but the seller has reupholstered the front and rear seats.

Apparently, the car had some rust, all of the rust has been cut out and replaced with new metal, let’s hope he got it all. Both rear quarters and the lower fenders have been repaired, there is no mention of the floors so maybe they are ok, the car is said to be ready for paint. To me it looks like the car probably had an Earl Scheib type paint job back in the day, I don’t think the window frames should be red.

There are not any engine photos, but the car is listed as a V8, which I believe should be a 2V 307 or 350, mileage is listed as 72K. The seller has done a full tune up and says the car starts, runs and everything works… let’s hope its got AC. Depending on the condition underneath, this could be a good car with a little more work but the price may be a little high. I usually like to see cars left in stock original condition but in this case, I wouldn’t be heartbroken if it got some tasteful modifications. Another route would be a total transformation and let the car live the rest of its life a quarter mile at a time at the drag strip.

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  1. dgrass

    I am not a professional body man, but common sense tells me that any work this chap did would have to be undone before moving this project forward.

    To the pros out there, could you point out for those interested why this car is not ready for paint?

    Big fan of these, would love to see this turned into a cool sleeper with dog dishes intact.

    • JRATT

      I am not a professional body repairman, but my Dad, Uncle and Brother had shops from 1956 to 2010. I worked for my Dad as a teenager 1969 to 1976, then got smart and enlisted in the USAF. The correct way to do this car is to remove all paint and primer down to the bare metal. Then cut out all the rust and replace with new metal. I would not take anyone’s word that any of this body work was done correctly. The bondo looks too thick in some areas and without inspecting the car, and going to bare metal, you may have rust coming back in just a few years, I have had it happen to me many times buying used cars that looked good when purchased. I know the prices of NOVAs have gone up in the last few years, but this is not one I would pay more than $5K – lots of money and work to restore this to # one.

      I would just buy this one, I like it better than the NOVA
      Copied from Snotty, on another listing

  2. jw454

    I hope he has pictures of the new metal installed in the rusty areas because, to me, it looks like it was just slathered with Bondo over the rust. It really needed quarter panel sections cut out and welded in. You wouldn’t have needed as much plastic. I had a 1968. They are very prone to rust in the wheel arches here in the rust belt.

  3. Steve R

    Unless he has clear detailed pictures of the bodywork as he was performing it I wouldn’t touch this car with a ten foot pole.

    Steve R

  4. Hide Behind

    Where I survive at this is no more than a $25-3500 dollar auto as there are still lots of these in way better, shall we say street driven and more presentsble, for 7-8K, and most have had transplanted 350, wheels and tires plus decent interiors.
    You could,I suspect one would strip nondo, and no it is not paint ready, pour close to another ten grand into it and still have an under 20k value.
    Yes the paint around windows and doors is stock, both my wife’s 71 and her dad’s 69 cheapo no frills 6cyl 3 speeds models came that way.
    While the Pacific Northwest coastal climate is not easy on autos, I know locations in rest of US are terrible.
    Also I notice that demographics plays a large part in value of barn finds.
    Bud used to more than double his flips price by buying Wa. and Ore. half way , presentable 50-72 year autos to Michigan New Jersey, and even 4×5 times what he asked out here.
    This auto will likely sell for far higher than present proce, which is a shame as it takes it out of entry range for youths to enter old auto scene.
    One can buy new, even clone as and Yenko, with all brand new catalogue parts.
    After watching and then getting results of latest big boy auctions an all original restored To better than new SS have rolled across blocks unsold with bids of 15 and under as the high.
    No Charisma?

    • Steve R

      There are always deals out there. The problem is most people aren’t willing to compromise or put in the work necessary to find them. People trash flippers, but they are finding these cars somewhere.

  5. Alexander

    I’m not sure why we keep seeing the same misguided comment — usually regarding Novas — that the window frames must have been painted over by mistake when the car in question was repainted. As I have commented before, the base model Nova, not to mention the sister GM cars that used the Nova shell, came without shiny trim around the windows. The upscale trim levels had snap-on aluminum over these very same frames. Overall, the strength of the metal base gave the Nova a tank-like sound when shutting the doors.

    • Miguel

      That is an easy way to see it is a base model with very few options.

  6. Gaspumpchas

    Price high to begin with, then an overpriced IMHO paint job. No pics of the engine or description?? Seems like he doesn’t really want to sell. Go Figure..

  7. ccrvtt

    Novas of this era always look like the guys who designed the front worked in a different building from the guys who designed the back. Taken separately, each end is a pleasant, if not remarkable look. Combined they just don’t flow together.

    It seems the GM philosophy was to make the higher line (and more profitable) cars look the best. This left the economy lines (usually the smaller bodies) to look like, well, economy cars. It was styling snobbism if you will.

    But my snobbish opinion doesn’t alter the fact that there are tons of these out there well-loved by their owners and devotees.

  8. Tort Member

    Looks to me like very amateur body work. My fear a quality paint job would like nice for possibly a up to year and only then if it was block sanded properly.

  9. Bob C.

    The window frames on a lot of these Novas were painted the body color. I have to say no to air conditioning because most cars that came with factory air would have tinted glass, which this doesn’t.

  10. Neil

    No reputable painter would shoot this car, not knowing whats underneath all that bondo. My Dad was having a ’35 Caddy frame off restoration done over the years ’65 thru ’68. We were at the shop one Saturday doing some grunt work on the car. A kid came in with a ’55 Chev all in gray primer. Said he’d heard the painter had a good reputation and wanted a bid on a paint job. The painter looked out at the car and said, ” 10 grand ” The kids jaw dropped, and he said ” are you crazy ? ” That’s my price was the reply. After the kid huffed off, I asked what that was all about? The painter said: ” I don’t put my paint on anything I don’t personally prep. My name and reputation goes with it. “

  11. Miguel

    This is what $8000.00 buys you in Mexico for a 1973 Nova.

    I am not sure if it is a V8 or 6 cylinder though.

  12. Hard On

    Looks like the car that was for sale I NY awhile back!

  13. Wade anders O

    I it’s a base model no trim

  14. Howard A

    Wait, I take that back ( from Toyota post), there’s California AND Texas, and the rest of the world. They’re nuts, and I don’t mean to step on BF’s toes,( although, I’m not sure it’s any skin off their rear) but don’t pay these outrageous prices for these cars. It’s the only way they will come back down.( due to lack of interest, you can buy a full classic for peanuts today, relatively speaking) My grandfather bought a new stripped down ’71 Nova like this, only, yep, you guessed it, green, and it had a 350. I thought all V8 Novas had that call out on the fender.( 307 or 350) It, like this, was a BASIC car, and was hardly a muscle car. Apparently, the seller thinks all Nova’s were wheel standers. Not so. Grandpa’s 350, 2 barrel was kind of quick, but no muscle car. A paint job will not make this into a $15,000 dollar Nova, and sitting 25 years, you are going to have to do more than a paint job.


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