Parked for 20 Years: 1974 Chevrolet Nova 350 SS

Sometimes a car will come along that turns out to be a surprise package. This Nova SS is just such a car, not because it is in amazing condition, but because of the fact that it has actually survived at all. This car has spent the last 20 years sitting outside, unused in all of the different weather conditions that the Seattle area could throw at it, and it has survived as a solid car. You will find the Nova listed for sale here on eBay in a No Reserve auction. Located in Lakewood, Washington, it is being sold with a clear title.

The seller purchased the car from the estate of the original owner, who had been in possession of the car for 40 years. The car was parked in 1998 and sat out in the weather for the next 20 years. Considering those conditions, the car is in a pretty incredible state. The rust that you can see around the rear wheel arches, the front edge of the hood, in the tail-light panel, and in the lower fenders is just about it. There are a couple of spots beginning to appear in the passenger side foot-well, but the rest of the car is clean. The original vinyl half-top has peeled away, and there is some surface corrosion there, but the chrome edge trims are still in place.

Under the hood, it is a case of bad news, good news, great news. The engine that is in the car is not the original 350ci V8, so that’s the bad news. The good news is the fact that the car starts, runs, and drives really well, but the brake pedal is a bit spongy. The great news is that as well as the engine that is fitted to the car, it also comes with its original, numbers-matching 350 engine, complete with the original carburetor. We don’t know why the engine was changed, but hopefully that original can be rebuilt and be returned to where it belongs. Another plus is that even though the wheels fitted to the car at present aren’t original, the original rally wheels do come with it.

The front seats are going to need new covers, there’s a single crack in the dash pad, and the headliner is a bit on the sad side, but the rest of the interior looks quite good. The only thing that doesn’t work is the original radio. All of the lights, gauges, and even the rear defrost all work. I still find it amazing that even the interior has survived so well over all of these years sitting outside, exposed to UV rays.

As a restoration project, this Nova SS looks like quite a good one. The distinct lack of major rust is incredible, all things considered, and the fact that the option is there to return it to its numbers-matching, original condition is even better. The fact that it is being sold in a No Reserve auction is better again. At the time of writing, bidding has reached $5,500, but there’s still time to bid for those that really want it.



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  1. Arthell64 Member

    This is only the second nova I seen in the last 40 years that came with the console and gauges. Just add the optional tent and go camping.

    Like 7
    • JWK

      I had a 75 350/4speed hatchback white bucket car with them

  2. Big Len

    Maybe the motor was changed because the original 350 had 160 hp.

    Like 17
  3. Dave Mika Member

    Man, those parking bench bumpers!

    Like 9
    • dweezilaz

      Dave, a kid across the way drives an identical Nova SS in the same color and has replaced the front and rear bumpers with those from a 69-72 and the front fenders from the same period.

      It’s looks infinitely better.

      Like 4
  4. NovaRon

    Looks like car when I purchased it! But mine is White., since has been restored!

    Like 15
  5. Timmy

    While I was working in Iowa I bought a 71 SS Nova missing the running gear I paid 2200 it’s being fitted with a 383 4 speed should be done next spring

    Like 12
  6. amature

    Why is the cowl plate held on with screws?

  7. dweezilaz

    Reading the ad, the engine is from 1972.

    1974 was the absolute low point for drivability due to the crude emissions controls used.

    Could be that was the reason. Lots of changes for 73& 74 industry wide IIRC: lower compression ratios,EGR, unleaded gas appearing.

    See what Hot Rod did to the strangled 350 in this 74 Nova:

    And it could be the old engine was just shot.

  8. bowmad

    Step 1: restore the interior
    Step 2: rebuild original engine while enjoying riding in the restored interior
    Step 3: pull the front clip and go through everything forward the firewall. Detail, install well suited motor and original front clip.
    ~ not an exacting list. Tires, drivetrain south of the windshield and better add a few beers in a period correct cooler for the journey.

    Like 1
  9. Tooyoung4heyday Member

    Decent car for something thats been stuck outside for long time. Cool to see the rallye console in this saveable SS but nobody has pointed out the somewhat hard to come bye for 73-74 hatchback option.

    Like 2
  10. Patrick Shanahan

    I’ll bet it wasn’t sitting on dirt or gravel. 4o years of moisture would have killed it.

  11. Bob C.

    The 73 and 74 Novas probably would have been good for Demolition Derby with those bumpers.

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