Stored For Years: 1973 Chevrolet Nova SS

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By 1973 the Chevy Nova SS had become basically a graphics package and as you can see, you could even get a vinyl top. This 1973 Chevrolet Nova SS can be found here on eBay in Freehold, New Jersey. The bids are just over $4,000 as I write this.

Go-fast or just a $123 graphics package, I still like to see an SS whether it’s from the 1970s or any decade. The seller says that this is a real SS and that it has been stored for years. It sure looks great but they mention some clearcoat fading. Chevy sold 35,542 SS Novas in 1973.

In 1973, GM introduced the hatchback body style and Chevy offered the SS in either hatchback or coupe. I’ve heard a few stories about weatherstrip issues with the hatchbacks, have any of you owned one and had water issues or rust because of that?

Do they even make brown cars anymore? Subaru used to make an Outback in brown a few years ago but I can’t think of another one. I like it, it’s one of the defining colors of the 1970s for me along with orange, gold, and almost any shade of green. The headliner is sagging which any good upholstery shop should be able to tackle without too much trouble. With only 80,708 miles on this car, it should be pretty nice and it sure looks like it is.

This engine is Chevy’s L65 small-block 350 V8 which would have had 145 hp and 255 ft-lb of torque. Chevy did indeed drop an SBC in this one. Unfortunately, it’s about a second slower than a new Prius is, but still… They say that it fires right up and it sure looks clean other than some surface rust under the hood. Have any of you owned a ’73 Nova SS? If so, was it a hatchback or a coupe?

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  1. HoA Howard AMember

    If you’re a red-blooded American, a Nova has to bring a smile to your face. While the big bumpers totally clashed with the design, this is still a really nice car. I’m partial to Nova’s, my grandfather had a ’72 plain Jane, but it did have a 350 and was a fun car. Can’t go wrong here.

    Like 14
  2. Miguel

    I don-t think you can call it a graphics package if it is an actual emblem on the front fenders.

    Like 3
  3. Nick

    You could fill the inside of the still numbers matching block with 1970-71 LT1 goodness, swap the heads, swap manifolds on both sides of the heads, add a correct though stock looking air cleaner and have a REAL sleeper.

    Like 14
    • jwzg

      I’d have to flip over that air cleaner lid though :)

      Like 19
    • TDM

      Oh yes, yes you cannnnnnn…….

      Like 0
  4. don

    As many as they made, its hard to find any Nova these days that hasn’t been modified ; it nice to see an original . If it was mine, I’d clean up what I could , replace worn/damaged parts with NOS if possible, and leave it just they way it is .

    Like 18
  5. David

    I still own my 1973 Nova SS hatchback that I bought instead of going to spring break my sophomore year in high school, 1986. Yes, the hatch weatherstrip was garbage, and I will need to replace the whole hatch and taillight panel when I get around to putting her on the road again.

    Like 0
  6. Michael

    Nova’s were made to be modified. Great looking, but not really impressive performance from the factory. I like this car and Nick’s idea about upgrades.

    Like 5
  7. Rock On

    I believe clear coat paints didn’t come out on GM vehicles until the mid 80’s. This car would have came from the factory with single stage paint.

    Like 16
    • Dustin Lisner

      It definatly would have had single stage paint, my buick gn even has it.

      Like 9
  8. Will Fox

    The oldest son next door bought a silver `73 Nova “SS” hatchback brand new that year; even got the ‘tent option’ for the open hatch!! Remember those? He kept that car until at least 1980 as I recall!

    Like 3
  9. Ted

    Bought a 73 Nova SS 350 4 speed in 1983, bronze on black, fun car, motored out all right, handled decently but burned just enough oil I figured I’d put heads on it. Heads we pulled you could almost wiggle the valve stems with the springs still on, one of the worst sets of heads I’ve ever seen. Springs that wouldn’t have worked in a Bic pen, and combustion chambers that looked more like Detroit Diesel V6 heads. Gack………….Bought a pair of 882’s that had a fresh top drawer rebuild, put headers on the car and voila!!! Went like a dwarf fugitive on the run but the good heads truly pushed the oil rings into the pan. All for less than a grand, think I still pulled 2K out of it due to the fact it was so clean. 73/74 Novas still don’t get any love, sucks being the ugly sister to the 68/72’s.

    Like 7
  10. Scott

    Actually owned 2 different 74’s in the late 80’s early 90’s both hatchbacks. Loved them both! The first one I picked up for $100 bucks, done very little to it and drove it for almost 2 years and had a couple offers from guys trying to buy it. Didn’t sell it until the freeze plug behind the flywheel started leaking and still got 8 times what I payed for it. The second one I got for doing a motor swap on a car for payment. Unfortunately that one had been sold like seven times without the title being transferred and then the guy I got from lost it. Really clean car only had 78000 original miles. Both of them eventually met their demise on the circle track like so many other Nova’s.

    Like 2
  11. CycloneJeff Jeff BMember

    I had a 73 SS Hatchback a few years ago. I had it painted and I replaced all the weather stripping and had no leaks at the hatchback. But my 73 had a 4spd factory bucket seat a gauge console with oil, temp,volt, and fuel since the factory Tach was in the dash. I owned it for 18 years before I sold it fun car. Had factory posi 3:42 gears as well and had a built 383 in it. Fast and fun. Better than the low comp. 350 that was in it.

    Like 5
  12. J_PaulMember

    Interestingly enough, a few of the German hi-lux brands—BMW, Porsche, Mercedes—have offered metallic brown as a paint color in recent years.

    Like 1
  13. Doug

    With surface rust under the hood, I’d be concerned about what that vinyl top may be hiding…. Especially on a car from this region. My favorite Nova is the gen 2 1966-67 SS 350hp 327 & 4spd. Would put stock GTOs and 396 Chevelles on the trailer all week long.

    Like 5
  14. Rod

    Bought a 73 SS coupe new. 4 speed with center console. Put 3 clutches in it the 1st 2 years and traded it in for 70 GTO.

    Like 1
  15. Rick D.

    I had a 73′ SS coupe that I bought in 86′ as a senior in high school. The original 350 was replaced with a 350 4 bolt main that was pushing over 350 horse after I was done with some “slight” modifications. It was an awesome sleeper and what an amazing feeling as a 17-18 year old out on a Saturday night and blowing the doors off the Mustang GT’s and IROC’s of the time. Talk about a shot to the ego!!!! I had it for a couple years then full time college and full time work demanded I get ride of it. I can close my eyes and still hear the thump of it sitting at an idle waiting to launch!!!!! Those were the days!!!!!

    Like 3
  16. dweezilaz

    The Nova SS package started out as a trim, bucket seats and console package for the hardtop and convertible and was first offered in 63. No V8 yet.

    My best friend had one.

    They were essentially a trim [graphics] package from the start.

    Even a full size Impala could be had with a 6 and the SS package.

    Like 1
  17. dweezilaz

    The Nova SS package started out as a trim, bucket seats and console package for the hardtop and convertible and was first offered in 63. No V8 yet.

    My best friend had one.

    They were essentially a trim [graphics] package from the start.

    Even a full size Impala could be had with a 6 and the SS package.

    SS package included styled wheels as well as suspension upgrades in 73.
    See above.

    Like 1
  18. W9BAG

    Weird thing; the Sky Roof. How did it keep water out ? I saw a ’69 Nova SS today. First one I have seen in years. Beautiful, and a 427 to boot.

    Like 1
  19. Superdessucke

    The build sheet shows that it originally had white decals. I assume that refers to the huge “Canoe” stripe that was unique to the ’73 SS. So, if so, either this car was repainted or they removed it somehow. No big loss IMO. I always thought that stripe was hideous. Maybe not as obnoxious as the stripe package on the ’74 but pretty bad.

    Like 1
    • George Smith

      I bought a new 73 hatchback with a 350 stick. Put a quadrajet 4 barrel on it when the warranty ran out in 12000 miles. Only rust problem was over the rearwheel wells. Sold it to a neighbor with close to 100000 miles. Her 17 year old son piled it into a tree about 2 months later. I wish I had it now. Loved that car.

      Like 0
  20. JoeNYWF64

    Odd they didn’t offer the 245 hp 350 z28 motor in ’73-4 – in the Nova SS.
    That’s a kewl blacked out rear panel – can’t u just bolt on a ’68-72 rear bumper & possibly a front 1 too?
    Was the muncie 4 speed still available?

    Like 0
    • Superdessucke

      That would have been cool. But it was just available with the regular Nova engines: 250 six, 350 2-barrel and 350 4-barrel. There was no extra power with the SS package. It was really just a trim package.

      It was available with a 4-speed. I don’t know if that would have been a Muncie or Borg Warner but it was available with a 4-speed for sure. A buddy of mine in high school back in the day had a 74 with a 4-speed.

      Like 2
  21. TimM

    I like this one and it’s close!!

    Like 0
  22. Novaman

    Keep it just as it is. Spruce up the paint and interior. I love novas. I have a 75 nova custom since 97 and don’t plan on ever getting rid of it

    Like 2
  23. PRA4SNW

    No sale at a high bid of $9,000.

    Like 1

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