Refurbished Daily Driver: 1976 Chevrolet Nova

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The popular Chevy Nova got its final redesign in 1975 which would carry the car through the balance of the decade. It would be replaced in 1980 by the front-wheel-drive Citation which was not an improvement (in some people’s minds). This nice ’76 edition sat for years but was brought back to life by the seller and runs great now. Located in Apollo, Pennsylvania, this compact Chevy is available here on craigslist for $6,400. Another GM tip from Rocco B.!

For the 1975 model year, the Nova received the greatest number of changes within the Chevy fold. The cars had a whole new “European” look but retained their visual kinship with the hugely popular 1968-74 editions. The 305 cubic inch small block V8 was available for the first time in the Nova in 1976, good for just 105 hp SAE net. The 350 was still available and a more potent choice. At nearly 335,000 units in 1976, it would be Nova’s fifth-best year. Nearly half of those were 4-door sedans and more than one-third overall had the 305.

The seller makes no bones about why this auto is for sale: he/she needs the money! We guess the seller found this Nova in a garage and decided to revive it, starting with a tune-up. Some suspension work was also done, and new tires were mounted on all four corners. Add to that a new water pump, hoses, fuel pump, and a carburetor rebuild, and we’re told you’ve got a good-running Chevrolet at 91,000 miles. The only undone mechanical item is that the fuel gauge could use a new sending unit to work properly.

Cosmetically, the body looks good as does the blue paint (a color change from white?), though photos are few. The interior presents well, too, but the Plain Jane seating material almost looks like it has been redone. As a tune-key car, this Chevy is likely to have plenty of life left without the need to pour a bunch of money into it.

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  1. Kincer KincerMember

    Wow I know exactly where this pic was taken! Doesn’t look like too bad of car, I think it’s a little on the high side in price though. I’ve never seen this car running around my area but I’ll be sure to check it out closer if I spot it.

    Like 8
  2. AMonFM

    Actually, the 305 in 1976 was good for 140 HP SAE Net, or 105KW. Just a clarification. Quite adequate to push around this car.
    In 1977, the 307 was in play for the Nova, which more willingly gave up those RPM’s and added a bit more fun factor for a 5 liter engine, even with a two-jet. The 305’s hated to rev. But the biggest drawback: both engines were noted for their love of eating oil.
    Nice stripper model here. Most certainly a fleet/rental car with an Earl Shieb style respray.

    Like 12
    • Bob C.

      Those early 305s loved camshafts too.

      Like 4
    • Jason V.

      Nope. The Chevy 307 was discontinued after 1973.

      305 burn oil? Nope. 307s OTOH were known for this and other issues. 307s were designed as an “economy” engine (economy meaning cheap) and were a no cost option to a 6 cylinder on many of the cars they were in. They were made this way on purpose because buyers wanted a V8, when the 6 was in fact a better engine. It was how GM covered their margins.

      Yes, some 1977-1979 305s (and 350s for that matter) had a camshaft defect and were known to wear lobes prematurely.

      You got the HP right on the 305 though. This is the second find in as many days that got that wrong.

      Like 5
  3. Zen

    Not a bad deal for a toy in nice shape, but I’d get bored with it after a while. Just a basic grocery getter. It has a 305 which is better than the 250, but no A/C. Hopefully it finds a good home.

    Like 8
    • SJMST

      My parents had one. Not fun, but reliable.

      Like 4
  4. TimS

    Fantastic car? No. Would I do a double take in today’s melted-bar-of-soap traffic, or look it over in a parking lot? In an instant.

    Like 19
    • Jim C

      Well said! You could at least tell cars apart in 76.

      Like 12
  5. Todd

    Totally reminds me of my Grandma’s 75 Nova, especially the back seat and rubber mat. Her’s was light green originally with a famous Earl’s color change to brown. This was the car between the 72 Comet and the 80 Chevette. Ah nostalgia

    Like 2
  6. Nelson C

    Saw lots of these back then. This was our driver’s ed car except ours was in 1975. We also had a six cylinder Malibu and a Bel Air. Us kids were rolling deep. The Nova was the Ace with a 350 and cloth seats. Nice looking old ride painted corporate fleet blue

    Like 9
  7. Jim

    I’d say this is a much better deal than the yellow 1977 posted yesterday.

    Like 7
  8. Rex Kahrs Rex KahrsMember

    Does anyone recall the Nova cars from around this era where the bodies were mounted off-kilter on the frames?

    The body wasn’t straight on the frame from the factory for some reason, and if one came toward you on the street, you would swear they were veering into your lane.

    Like 4
    • Nelson C

      The rear spring would break and cause the car to dog track.

      Like 6
      • Rex Kahrs Rex KahrsMember

        Thanks Nelson. So, are you saying that within a year or two, the rear spring would break? I recall my 74 Nova had sagging rear springs around 1980. I guess the Nova’s quality went even further downhill from ’74.

        My 65 New Yorker’s springs are still OK.

        Like 1
  9. angliagt angliagtMember

    I like the look of these Novas,but that color of Blue always
    makes me think of of a backyard paint job.This wasn’t a factory
    color,was it?

    Like 4
  10. RalphP

    Correction! GM re-badged a Toyota Corolla as a “Nova” before the “Geo” line was introduced.

    Like 4
  11. Car Nut Tacoma

    I remember this car! My late father had a girlfriend who drove a 1976 Chevy Nova. It was the same colour, everything about it looked like this car. Since I was still too young at the time to drive a car, I had no idea what it was like to drive. If only more photos were taken of the car. It would’ve been cool to see everything of the car, the engine, the trunk, underneath, the interior, etc.

    Like 3
  12. Robert Atkinson, Jr.

    I don’t know if that blue was a factory color or not, but I like it! Cars like these were a dime a dozen when they were new. Entry-level compacts that were cheap to buy, relatively cheap to run, and served millions of families as grocery getters for Mom, while Dad drove an Impala. The restomod crowd would prefer a two-door coupe, but it’s nice to see a four-door sedan example preserved once in a while. Parts are plentiful, and there’s all kinds of performance parts available for those so inclined. Most of these rusted to nothing and were sent to the crusher, so survivors have become somewhat rare.

    It’s almost perfect, just two (2) things would make it so, IMHO. Replace the taxicab/police package vinyl seat covers with something a bit more comfortable, or even better, bucket seats and a console, and maybe some engine upgrades to overcome the atrocious 1976 anti-smog gear that did such a number on gas mileage, power and drivability.

    Like 4
  13. Tom

    I had a retired ‘76 9C1 Nova cop car. That thing was a blast to drive! Basically a 4 door Z/28

    Like 2
  14. Lance Platt

    I love the size easy to park but not a minicar for decent safety. The boxy shape made getting in and out easy umlike today’s turtle shell design. The 305 V8 is adequate for this compact car. I personally love the blue color. The vinyl interior would be cold in winter and hot in summer so air conditioning would be necessary. As stated, looks like undercover police or taxi package seats so this car could have a lot of fleet miles on it even in civilian or company car use. I love old Novas and always glad to see one in BarnFinds.

    Like 4
    • Car Nut Tacoma

      I agree. I also prefer this version any day over the later version built in cooperation with Toyota. I have nothing against the Toyota Corolla/Sprinter, I owned a Toyota Corolla for over 10 years, and I found it to be a reliable car. But this is a Chevy Nova, not a Toyota Corolla.

      Like 0

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