Super Something: 1973 Chevy Nova

This is a pretty nice looking third generation Nova but have you ever seen a more ridiculous placement of an “SS” badge?  In 1973 the SS option was only the badge, black grill, and wheels. At least the “350” badge is real, although with 140 horsepower it’s not very lively. Someone didn’t check very many option boxes when they ordered this Nova. It’s got a “Taxi” interior; a bench seat, no carpet, and very basic door panels. It does have that 350, with a 350 auto, power brakes and AC. Pat L found this Nova for us listed on craigslist in Franklin, Tennessee. The $8,000 asking doesn’t seem too crazy. Does anyone believe this has only 17,000 miles on it?

The bone stock plain interior looks mostly original except for things like the gauge cluster and steering wheel cover. Luckily they didn’t spend too much at the auto parts store on accessories.

Things don’t look too bad under the hood. I don’t see any overspray, but the missing bolt n the fender makes me wonder if it’s been taken apart.There’s no belt on the AC compressor, so there’s work to be done there. It’s got an aftermarket intake manifold, carb and, of course, air filter. If the carb is jetted correctly, it should add a little life to the 350.

This Nova is a coupe, which most folks prefer I think, over the fastback. It looks pretty nice from this end as well. Remember what the slots in the bumper were for? Do you remember when bumpers were sturdy enough to use as a jack point? Even then, the bumpers always twisted a bit. Did anyone actually jack up their car using those slots? This Nova looks like it has some great possibilities, from driving it like it is to an all out resto-mod. Yellow is not to everyone’s taste. If the yellow was a bit brighter, one could create a Yenko clone.

Fast Finds


  1. grant

    Yellow with a green interior? Gross. Wonder what that seat looks like under the bathmat. Hopefully he isn’t trying to pass it off as a real SS, and personally I think 8K is absolutely rodent-excrement insane for this. To be fair, I’m also irritated that half his ad is completely unrelated keyword spam, so maybe I’m just in a mood here. I see $4500, tops. Let some kid cut his teeth on this while thinking he has a “muscle car.”

  2. Joeinthousandoaks

    I’d get a set of Corvette Rally wheels and change the interior to black. Not a bad car if he is a little flexible on the price.

  3. David J David J

    I’d add some curb feelers, a “Coexist” sticker, green Magic Tree air freshener and an LS2. Now it is fixed.

  4. Tom Member

    Nice trunk. (got to find something nice to say, right?)

    SS = yep…. Super Shady! Or Super Silly for thinking people are idiots. Where did that SS badge come from??….like a 78 GM something?? If an SS I think it would have been down on the rocker panels, probably on the grille but I don’t think that one. On the center of the steering wheel too probably.

    17K miles. No. Structurally not a really bad car unless there are things we can’t see. Keep the Green Interior and do a dark Green Exterior. Dog Dish hub caps with steel wheels or good old school Cragers.

    That exterior color is, not good. And Yes, I have used those slots, many years ago, to use a good ole bumper jack. Oh…bad year for Novas & bumpers =THICK. Yuck. The bumpers need a FOOSEing of sorts.

    Good luck on the $8K. Need a 50% discount for the UGLY factors. They can be changed but it ain’t gonna be cheap!

    • Suttree

      To each his own as to color choices but I’d take this color over green. I don’t recall anybody who posts here being fond of green. I’m sure I could find some shade of green I’d like but this color is OK to me.
      The price? I’ve seen people spend more and get lots less of a car.

      • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

        I’ve posted several times, as have others, about liking green.

      • Tom D

        Love Green! Wonder if this site could support a poll?

  5. Greg

    A 73 yenko clone. Good one

    • LAB3

      Yankov would be more fitting.

  6. Kuzspike

    I’m not sure what you mean by people preferring the coupe over the fastback? This was the standard roof style for that year, although there was a hatchback option available.

    • Blyndgesser

      The hatchback version had exactly the same roofline.

    • Nova King

      Fastback coupes Identification data
      Chevrolet Nova Coupe 250 Turbo-Thrift
      as offered for the year 1974 until September in North America U.S.
      Production/sales period of cars with this particular specs:
      September 1973 – September 1974

      Country of origin:

      Chevrolet (USA)
      Chevy II-Nova 3rd generation

      Nova Coupe

      Optional equipment:
      EEC segmentation:
      D (large cars)
      S-C (sport coupes)
      mid-size / large family car
      Body style:
      fastback coupe
      RWD (rear-wheel drive)

  7. jim k

    The bumpers might have been strong enough bump the bumper brackets were not. :P
    Once the brackets got rusty if you were brave enough to scratch up the chrome on those bumpers, the bracket would bend and make your bumper all crooked.
    What a terrible design for sure.

  8. whippeteer

    Bumper slots for jacking up the car? Of course! Not much of a challenge with this car. Try doing it with a ’73 Cadillac Sedan D’Ville…

  9. Rattrodd

    Back when I was in high school in 84, I had a ’73 4 door with a ’78 trans am engine. Do that to this car and she’d be cherry.

  10. Ken Carney

    If I could find a car like this for the right price, I’d buy it and build it for
    my neice. I’d let her pick the color she wants, but underneath, it would
    be safe, reliable, and old school. cars today are too complicated and
    expensive for kids today. And besides, now that I’m retired, what else does a doting uncle have to do?

  11. Paul

    I remember using the jack slots to rotate tires or put on snows for my Dad’s cars when I was a kid. They were the ‘Green bomb’, a 1969 Fury II, and the ‘Gold bomb’, a 1971 Fury II. Hated those things. They were salesman cars for the insurance company he worked for, he bought them at the end of their life with the company. As bare of options as this car.

    • Neal

      I was going to write almost the very same comment! Ours was a Fury (The Green Machine), a 440 Coronet (the Beige Bomber), both hand-me-downs from my grandfather. Also our new ’73 Dart Swinger, which was cherry with a white vinyl top that my mom scrubbed literally to death with Comet cleanser.
      Loved helping my dad change the snows with the bumper jack.

  12. duaney

    The negative comments above are insane. This is a great car for that price. Most of these Nova’s today are rusty, have six cylinders, and if given one for free no one could build it into this car for under $10,000-$15,000.

  13. Doug Towsley

    I like Green, Forest Green, or British Racing green, I used to have a 1970s Chevy Truck I painted a dark forest green with light metal flake.
    Both Ford and GM had a really bad batch of paint jobs in the early 1990s (Probably when trying to use water based primers),. For a long time you saw a line of green/Teal cars lined up outside body shops for a repaint. I know body shop guys who still refuse to do green paint to this day (Scarred for life).
    I cant say for sure on price on this one,,, but this looks like a cream puff and very nice shape for a Hot rod build. I hated the grills on these, But you dont see many like this in nice condition anymore. I had several Novas and IMHO they make a awesome hot rod.

  14. newfieldscarnut

    Is the seat cover there to protect the mint original seat or is the seat a mess ? I am curious I guess …

  15. Old Car Guy

    No way 17,000 miles. Look a picture #22 and you see bare metal on the right side of the brake pedal. Lots of long range exterior shots and fuzzy everything else shots, but none of what really counts, I wouldn’t touch it with a 50 ft pole or believe anything in the listing. JMO.

  16. Rustytech Member

    Hey duaney. I agree with you on the potential for this car, there are a lot of possibilities for the 350ci to turn this into a great cruiser/sleeper. I could live with the color too, but I think $5k should be more than enough to bring the project home.

  17. Rich

    The Nova SS package in 73 consisted of decal stripes, SS lettering (again, decals), bucket seats with a small console, special gauge package with a funky looking tach and a few other odds and ends. They are quite rare. Not a great performance car as it was mostly a cosmetic thing. There is a true 73 Nova SS for sale near me that is all original with 41k miles for $18k.

  18. Tom D

    Maybe it was the power to weight ratio, but I remember these cars being pretty quick? Bumper slots = bad idea…jack up the rear on any incline, and watch the car roll forward (or backward) leaving a nice rip in the slot, and hopefully not falling on your leg!

  19. Doug Towsley

    I had a 72 Rally Nova, which was a similar Decal thing, (Sure wish I had kept it!) That I bought for $400 back in 1981. The grills and front clips were much more stylish IMHO prior to 73, but this car still retains the rest of the body style that is cool (IMHO).
    Power to weight? SURE! Over the years I had mine i ran a variety of motors in it from a 454 to even an Inline 6 briefly,, but most were small blocks and it was a great performance package. Simple to work on, easy to access almost everything (Except the heater core) and even an idiot like me could make it fast and look good. I had other Novas as well, 63SS and 64SS and while they had their charms, looking back the 72 was the best all around version. We came really close to buying another for my wifes hot rod project but we went with a 69 Chevelle instead as it was her first choice. But she was not opposed to another Nova.
    I AM surprised nobody mentioned the old well worn chestnut about the latin-South American market. NO VA means roughly translated “Does not run, move etc…” and many people say that Chevrolet did not understand why they didnt sell real well in that market…Almost everyone brings up that story. Surprised it has not cropped up yet. Truth is, these cars sold just fine.
    Its an urban myth.

  20. Gaspumpchas

    IIRC,the big bumpers were mandated in 1973 by the Govt,to withstand a 5 mph bump. Couple that with the smogging down the engines,and GM used recycled steel that year and from 73 on all American cars sucked. 140 hp from a 350?? Mr Duntov would roll over in his grave. Easy to remedy the low hp,tho, and its a light car.Here in the rust belt not many survived.It’s worth what someone will pay for it!!!

    • RS

      When asked whether he preferred the Corvette with an automatic transmission or a 4 speed (in the depths of the smog era) Duntov replied ‘When is washing machine motor, makes no difference.”

  21. EJB

    My Dad had a 73′ Nova Custom Hatchback when I was a little kid. We went to pick it up new at the dealership and my parents had “wisely” given me a lolly pop. I remember them saying “DON’T TOUCH ANYTHING” when I got in the car. Being a good kid I didn’t. A month later I left my 64 pack of Crayola crayons in the back and they melted into the carpet.

    He still reminds me to this day.

  22. RS

    A buddy of mine in our senior year of high school (73/74) got a full time job at the local Caterpillar place making $6.65 an hour. (That’s $38.20 in today’s money.) He bought a gold 73 Nova SS hatchback and it was light years better than this nauseating looking crapbox.

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