Real Super Sport Project: 1972 Chevrolet Nova

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Horsepower ratings were in decline in 1972, but not all of that was because of tightening emissions controls. The industry changed its reporting measures to be in SAE net terms. So, the L48 350 cubic inch V8 which was rated at 300 hp in 1970 was now stated as 200. But I’m not sure that a 1972 Nova SS 350 would have lost much in a quarter-mile run. This ’72 Nova is said to be a real-deal Super Sport but it needs a total restoration. The seller has a build sheet to confirm its authenticity and the Chevy can be found in Quincy, Massachusetts. It’s available here on eBay where you’ll have to beat $11,650 to take it home.

Nova production was up by 80% in 1972 over 1971, but I think much of that can be attributed to labor issues during the ’71 model year. Of nearly 350,000 copies of the popular car built, just over 12,300 of them were badged as Super Sports. And the only engine available was the 350 4-barrel (the 396 was gone after 1970). The VIN on the car has the “K” code which speaks for the L48. This engine is paired with a 4-speed manual transmission, but no mention is made of anything being numbers matching.

Though it doesn’t look like it, we’re told this Chevy runs and drives, but we suspect that may only be up and down the driveway.  No bucket seats here, so a bench will have to do, and it needs to be reupholstered (the back seat looks fine). The Nova has power front disc brakes, but the original owner didn’t spring for power steering per the duplicate MSRP. In fact, the overall automobile has few extras.

We’re told the Chevrolet has the “usual rust” for its age. So be prepared to spend some bucks with the body shop. But a fresh coat of Sequoia Green paint should look impressive, especially with the black interior and steel wheels and dog dish hub caps. This car could look like a sleeper if it weren’t for all the SS identification fore and aft. Unlike so many seemingly forgotten muscle cars, this one has plenty of documentation, like the owner’s manual, build sheet, and Protect-O-Plate.

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  1. Nova guru

    For 1972 Novas, if the fifth digit in the VIN is a “K”, it indicates the car came with a 350 4bbl engine, which was exclusive to the Nova SS for 1972. Novas from 1968-1971 did NOT indicate if it was an SS by the VIN.

    Like 11
  2. Terrry

    These Novas used to be as common as little rocks in a pile of gravel. You couldn’t go a day without seeing at least a couple. Most had the 6 or the 307 V8. I’ve known at least a half dozen people who owned one at one time or another. Not surprising that a Nova of this generation in excellent shape brings top dollar now.

    Like 21
    • BK

      So true, back in the 80s I paid a few hundred bucks for a 70 2 door with a 307, 2 speed powerglide and AC, if I needed a part for it there were dozens of them at the pick and pull yard. By the end of the decade it got a Mr Goodwrench 350 with a decent intake, carb and headers and a 350trans. Fun and good looking car, another one that got away.

      Like 13
      • Rocco Russo

        Paid $400 for my 73 hatchback, 350, auto on the floor, buckets. Sure like to have that one back.

        Like 2
    • Ronald Reed

      So this author doesn’t think a 200 HP engine in a Nova SS would’ve lost much time in the quarter? Hahaha 🤣🤣🤣🤣
      I don’t know anyone from that era that considered a 72 a real SS except in badge only!

      Like 4

        Had this car in the mid 70s, with the six banger – what a rust bucket!

        Like 1
  3. BK

    Ahhh the Accel Super Coil, brings back 1980s high school memories. People knew you were serious about performance when you popped the hood and there was the bright yellow mass attached to the firewall. Add a chrome air cleaner and a set of yellow 8mm wires and you were now at the beginning of being a real hot rodder at the age of 16. I miss those days…

    Like 40
  4. Dean Trimble

    Yeah. Back in the spring of 1972 a friend of mine and his father order a nova SS 4 spd and an El Camino SS with a 402 big block automatic. They did this because they found out what the 1973 models looks like. Dean

    Like 1
  5. Cooter CooterMember

    My friend had this exact car in school, except it had Cragars, 60’s rear, and 70’s front. He thought it was fast until another kid came to school one day driving the ugliest green 68 Thunderbird 4 door you ever seen. 3 hubcaps and one white door on the left front. He was bragging how fast it was, his uncle used to run moonshine and was never caught and Jeff laughed at him. So a drag race ensued after school. I rode with Jeff in the Nova. The Nova took off quickly per the yellow traction bars and we could hear the Bird schreeching tires. About 1/3 of the way we heard that bird coming. It went by like a rocket and disappeared. Jeff broke the horn cover that day when he punched the wheel. Come to find out the bird had a 429 interceptor engine and, per the claim, also had hidden plastic tanks under the rear trunk cover, explaining why the trunk only appeared to be about 3” deep when you lifted the lid. Wish I had both those cars today.

    Like 21
    • 8banger 8bangerMember

      Your (excellent) story sounds like what 70s B-movies were made of! May Burt Reynolds smile down upon you.

      Like 0
  6. Shuttle Guy Shuttle GuyMember

    If I had the patience to wait around for the body shop to complete this would be the one.

    Like 4
    • Henry DavisMember

      I feel for you Shuttle! I’ve got a 74 SS, with a 396 here by my desk waiting for the body shop to finish it’s work…He’s had it for nearly 18 months!

      Like 4
      • Henry DavisMember

        Should never have used the phrase “There’s no hurry!”

        Like 6
      • Rhg357Member

        Had a 69 396/ 375 horse. 4 speed triple black with bench seat. That car was FAST. Flipped it to make 800 bucks after 3 weeks. Whats that car worth now

        Like 1
    • Rhg357Member

      Had a 69 396/ 375 horse. 4 speed triple black with bench seat. That car was FAST. Flipped it to make 800 bucks after 3 weeks. Whats that car worth now

      Like 0
  7. 8banger 8bangerMember

    And BTW, we laughed so hard at your story this morning that orange juice nearly shot of our snouts!

    Like 0
  8. Jack Moore

    I had a 71 ss 350 4 speed12 bolt rear, power disc brakes, no power steering, black on black, bucket seats, factory tach, factory gauges in the floor. Here is the kicker, I also had a 72 sky roof rally nova 350 3 speed sunflower yellow black vinyl top sold the ss for 400 dollars in 1980 and the sky roof for 700 dollars in 1977. Hindshight will get you everytime

    Like 1
  9. PRA4SNW PRA4SNWMember

    That’s not the “usual” rust for Quincy, MA. Build sheet says it came from PA, but maybe it took a detour further South for awhile. Or was stored during those salty winters.

    Like 3
  10. JT

    Why does the author think it’ll only run “up and down the driveway”? It’s not like it appears as if it’s dilapidated.

    Like 0
  11. Robert Atkinson, Jr.

    The car I wish my Mom had bought instead of the 1972 Ford Maverick we finally ended up with! Either that, or a Dodge Dart with a 318. Couple that 350 to THM350 or THM400 instead of the four-speed, and Mom would have loved it! Although Mom wouldn’t have sprung for the 350, she would have insisted on a 307 as the smallest V8 you could get in 1972, as Mom wanted another V8 after her Buick 215 aluminum V8 died in her 1961 Buick Special.

    Like 3

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