Texas Hatchback: 1974 Chevrolet Nova

Scotty GilbertsonBy Scotty Gilbertson

The Texas sun can turn soft and/or shiny things into hard and/or dull things and that’s what’s happened to this 1974 Chevrolet Nova hatchback. The seller has it posted on Craigslist in Duluth, Minnesota and the photos can be found here on the CL archive when the listing goes away. They’re asking $4,500 for this Nova, less than Hagerty’s #4 fair condition value.

Rust is the scourge of most cars in the upper-Midwest and being from Texas has helped the body on this Nova stay pretty solid. The front floors will need to be replaced and there are a few small rust areas, but compared to if this were a car from Minnesota it’s in much better condition, rust-wise. But, then there’s that fried paint from the hot Texas sun, so I guess there are trade-offs with everything.

And those bumpers, wow! 1973 was the first year for the hatchback Nova and they are pretty unique. The seller has included quite a few photos which is nice but there are no real interior photos which is unusual. Or, I should say, none showing the seats, dash, or door panels. They did include one showing the space under the hatchback.

This is it for interior photos showing the passenger compartment. Hey, a floor shifter is cool, that’s a plus, no? It was a three-on-the-tree manual originally according to the seller and at some point it was converted to either a 3 or a 4-speed on the floor, they aren’t sure which one it is. They have included a few underside photos which is nice and it really looks like a solid example overall, other than the floors.

They have also included a YouTube video showing the car driving through and around a parking lot and then the hood is opened. They say that it’s an “SBC / 2bbl (original to car we think)” and the only engine available in the ’74 Nova would have been a 350 cubic-inch V8, which with a 2-barrel carb would have had a mere 145 hp. They have done a fair amount of work including “new brake shoes, brake hoses and wheel cylinders” and you can see a new master cylinder in there, too. Given that parts shouldn’t be a problem this could be a nice restoration project. Or would you do something differently with this Nova hatchback?

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Comments

  1. EJB

    My Dad’s 73′ Nova was a a hatchback. He still has fond memories of that car.

    4
    • 71FXSuperGlide

      My uncle, who was a fireman and drove one of the trucks, also had one. Every single body panel had a dent and all four hubcaps were missing. Says a lot about how much abuse these could take. 😀

      Good car for someone looking to get into the hobby on the cheap, especially with the manual and 350.

      3
  2. Poncho

    In my opinion, a hatchback Nova is about as desirable as a four door anything. Not much more than a parts car to me. Find a more worthy restoration project for $4500.

    3
    • Tim S.

      Sorry, gotta respectfully disagree. Lots of fun can be had in/with lots of classic 4-door cars. But I do agree, $4500 is more than I’d ever pay for this.

      8
  3. Angrymike

    145 hp ? A set of heads, headers and a 4 barrel would wake this anemic sbc right up. It’s really amazing how easily these can build up. Leave the faded paint, redo the floors and get out there and take some shiny Lookers to the woodshed ! That’s how my Camaro was for a while, big fun !

    10
  4. SC/RAMBLER

    Not bad shape all and all, a set of vortec heads, aluminum intake, headers and q. jet carb cheap engine upgrade hopefully it is a 4 speed tranny, then add a posi rear 3:55 gears fix floors and int. make a nice toy.

    6
    • Poncho

      How much does a set of Vortec heads, aluminum intake, headers and q. jet carb cheap engine upgrade and a posi rear cost? Add $4500 for purchase price, and what do you have? Still a Nova hatchback! Put the money into something worthy.

      1
  5. Crazyhawk

    The first thing I would do is leave it with the seller and look for something else. Nova, meh…

    5
  6. Art M.

    My uncle had a hatchback Nova. It was an SS with buckets and console, blue with gold decals if I remember correctly. It was much more functional than the coupe.

    6
    • Poncho

      I don’t think guys buy Nova’s for function anymore…Especially for $4500 for a hatchback.

      1
  7. Jimmy

    For a father / son project to get him interested in the hobby and bond a little this car to me would do but I would have to negotiate a lower price.

    5
  8. Davis

    After fixing, paint it bright red and keep the wheels and hubcaps.

    3
  9. Ronald

    Had a friend with one of these maybe in ’77 and not only was it slow the gas mileage was terrible but so was my uncle’s ’72 C10 with a 350 automatic purchased new. Personally do not care for the 5mph bumpers.

    2
  10. jw454

    Seeing it’s in Duluth in the rust belt, these have been gone from the streets for quite sometime. That may have a bit to do with the asking price which, for the area, may not be too far out of line. Besides, this one does have the third pedal and eight cylinders under the hood. That’s a head start on something nice if it’s all you can afford. If the ability to repair lots of rust isn’t in your personal tool box, then, with a little price negotiation, this car could be a deal for some Duluth freshman automotive hobbyist.

    4
  11. Poncho

    So a freshman project? A father and son project?
    In todays world of internet searching for a project, and as a learning experience for a son, I would rather take that $4500 and put it towards a rusty 57 Chevy or even a decent Chevy Vega/Monza 2 door coupe/notchback (or just about anything other than a hatchback or 4 door). You can throw a V8 in a Vega/Monza and kick lame Nova hatchback butt and still teach that impressionable mind how to do the work, keep a sleeper stance, and still beat the popular guys on the street. For $4500 I’d find a more worthy project. For the guys whose father had a hatchback…it was probably because he couldn’t afford a coupe (Present that question). $4500 is a decent chunk of change guys.

    1
  12. Bob

    Vegas are hard to find

  13. Bob C.

    145 net horsepower isn’t as bad as it sounds on paper. If you measured it in gross, it would be more like, say 225?

    2
  14. Alexander

    Judging from the under rocker panel photo, this could have started out as a green car. Very ubiquitous color in those years, and probably the color I would go back to if I repainted at all. I’ve had enough of faded “resell red” cars in recent years. This Nova in dark green would not be too hideous…

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