Time Capsule: 1973 Chevrolet Chevelle


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According to the seller, this Chevelle has a very interesting history. We know it’s been stored since 1985 in a garage in Hickory, North Carolina, and is now up for sale here on eBay, where bidding is beginning at $3,500 with no reserve. But it’s what happened before it was stored that I find the most interesting.


Originally sold by a local dealer, the Chevelle was traded in on a new Chevy in 1985 after having been driven 120,000 miles in 12 years. The dealer “refurbished” the car, repainting it, putting new tires on it and generally bringing it back to like new cosmetic condition (apparently with the exception of under the hood).


The truly puzzling thing is that at that point, the dealer closed it up in their garage and just left the car until now. Or at least that’s what we’re told. The one point that doesn’t jibe with the rest of the story is the May 1998 inspection sticker on the driver’s side of the windshield. That might be worth a question to the seller if you’re interested in this car.


The interior certainly looks coddled, and I possibly would have believed a 20,000 mile claim rather than 120,000 based on how nice it is. But the biggest question to me is why? Why would you choose a very plain, non-air conditioned, low-optioned plain four-door to preserve this way? Maybe there was some sentimental reason lost to time? The first car that dealer ever sold? Who knows?


It does look awfully stock under the hood, with possibly the spark plug wires being the only deviation from new (if any of you are Chevelle experts, please let us know any other differences). The other question mark in my mind is how was the car stored? Was the gas tank drained? Has the engine been turned over to keep it free, and were the cylinders oiled down for storage? I’d want to know answers to these questions, too. Finally, assume for a moment this car has captured your fancy. Would you leave it stock (possibly returning it to stock in the case of the spark plug wires), or dress it up a little?

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  1. Mark S

    With 120000 miles on this car the engine/ drive line will have to be rebuilt as they will be getting worn and tired out by now. Unfortunately as we all know, the 4 door car does not command the same popularity as do the 2 door models. The new owner will need to really want this car as it will never be valuable, especially in this colour. These were good cars in there day as the family hauler but certainly not the most stylish cars ever built. For the right buyer this will hold memories of childhood and family, I guess that is something worth valuing. Nice find.

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    • grant

      I would be inclined to agree with your “never valuable never collectable” statement, but then I remembered how many wildly overpriced Chevette’s, Pinto’s, tin stamped Fiesta’s and even Yugo’s have been featured here. My point being, I don’t see it either; but someone will.

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  2. Charles H.

    That’s an interesting find, since it’s in the the very same town I reside in, and was born and raised in!…..I may try an stop by and check out this one in person!

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  3. Blyndgesser

    Great sleeper if you put the right crate motor in it.

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  4. Woodie Man

    Why would anyone much less a dealer save a car like this AND repaint and refurbish it? Then park it?

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  5. angliagt

    We hated these when they came out –
    UGLY bumpers,& bland styling.Compare it with a ’72.
    I never thought that these would be collectable.

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  6. Marvin

    Somebody doused the motor with a can of orange spray paint…vacuum lines and all. Missed the lower part of the thermostat housing though…..Unless we can get an eye on it we’ll never know if the refurbishment was an Earl Scheib $79.95 job or not. Might just be a car someone was fixing up for their school kid…or work…or whatever. Right?

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  7. Chebby

    So many shades of banana cream pie. God forbid you wash it.

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  8. Texas Tea

    This was the first year for the federally mandated 5 mph bumpers as I recall. I remember seeing my first one of these chevrolets and thinking to my self how absolutely ugly they were. I think the design engineers must have gone on vacation for years. Because it took years for them to incorporate these bumpers into the body designs to look some what normal.

    Why anyone would spend a dime on refurbishing such an ugly 4 door car is beyond my understanding. At least the ugly cars of the 40s, 50s, and 60s had some character.

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  9. Roselandpete

    You’re right about a dealer refurbing a car for more than what it’s worth. It makes no sense.

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  10. jaymes

    nice dash cap, cosmetic only refresh,low budget. make a nice cab

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  11. Paul Guthrie

    I had a 1973 two door in the same color back in the 80’s. I beat the snot out of it, but I agree with everyone that the 4 door and being a non AC car has no interest to me. Sleeper maybe/

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  12. Rando

    The grille, fillers, and underhood are all in primer. Why? Overspray on cowl piece. Crappy engine detail. And the hod itself – that must be the “dust” that needs washing off? Not seeing the value in this one.

    Like 0

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