What’s The Restovivor Story? 1973 Chevy Nova SS

I’d like to hear the full story behind this 1973 Chevrolet Nova SS. It’s listed for sale here on eBay and can be found in West Jefferson, North Carolina (home of some surprisingly great cheese if you every have the chance to go). Right now the auction has gotten 40 bids and is at $5,300 with no reserve.

Although the most of the pictures aren’t terrific, the car looks pretty shiny and we’re told it has 95% original paint. One of these days someone’s going to have to explain how folks measure that so easily; calculating the surface area of curved surfaces, even on a blockily designed car like this Nova, is pretty difficult. Imagine trying to do it on a Lotus Elite where there isn’t a straight line on the car! But I digress. Although the SS was pretty much a tape stripe, rally wheel and blackout grille/tail option for a 1973 Nova, they were still pretty rare. What’s that you say? GM made 35,542 of them? Ok, scratch that, not really rare. So maybe there was no good reason to stop the previous owner from doing what they did. More about that later, but the nose-high attitude of the car in the two previous photographs will give you a clue.

The seller tells us that the car is a daily driver during the summer, which might have something to do with it having working air conditioning, and that the body has some door dings, some small dents, a repair at the trunk lock and two small rust holes, one in the left front fender and one in the right hand door. I can’t find the one in the right-hand door, and there’s not a good picture of the left front fender, so the extent of the rust is largely left to your imagination. However, the underside of the car is pretty nice looking and solid as shown in this shot. Larger diameter front and rear anti-roll bars and Bilstein shocks have been added to improve the handling.

I was surprised to see that seats with this much bolstering made it into a 1973 Nova, but I found plenty of others (yeah, there’s that lack of scarcity again) online with the same interior, so it must be true–the internet said so! Actually, the interior looks pretty nice. It’s possible that the car does have the 71,943 claimed miles, but with a modified suspension and a replaced engine and transmission–oops, I was saving that for the next picture–does it really matter?

That’s right, although this engine and transmission run well, and someone has even taken the time to make the air conditioning work again and keep it relatively clean under the hood, this isn’t the original engine or transmission. According to the seller, they were removed by the previous owner. A little deductive reasoning would propose that the current seller purchased the car from the top two pictures without an engine and transmission and has added those two items and is now selling the car. They have gotten the correct year 350 V8 engine according to the ad. So does that really matter to you? Unless you are a huge originality fan, it may not matter — which will just lower the price of the Nova for those folks that don’t care. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this in the comments.

Finally, as a teaser, the seller includes this picture and a few more of the car in the previous owner’s possession in the 1990s. Is that the man who robbed this Nova of its original drive train? I hope the car looks this shiny and loved again sometime soon. Could it be yours?

Fast Finds


  1. redwagon

    If I had it wo the drivetrain I would replace it w something more imaginative than a same year (# not matching) 350.

    Go big or go home folks. ;-0

  2. jdjonesdr

    *sigh* ………………… Memories……

  3. Geebee

    I had a chance to buy a super nice, somewhat modified, one of these in 1978, from a guy who was selling it to buy a new Trans Am. At the time, his $3500 asking price for the Nova seemed like a fortune.

    • SW

      That’s b/c it was. Crack pipe, in fact. In 1978, you could get a brand new car for $3800.

  4. 68 custom

    I have not seen a set of those tiny hubcaps since the 70s. looks pretty nice but as you said most of the fun bits were gone by 73.

  5. Ray

    I wonder if that last photo is of the PO or from the 1973 Nova sales brochure?

    • Alan

      The black car to the right is most certainly post-1973. But it sure does look like a brochure photo.

  6. Jim

    It’ll be a nice car for someone. One issue I have is I remember GM bucket seats having headrests, also the tops of the Chevy-Pontiac-Buick seats were flat not rounded, I might be wrong but the buckets are from something else and all seats recovered to match.

    • Anthony R in RI

      Later SS Novas had the same high back bucket seats as the 71 up Camaro and Vega..

  7. John

    Didn’t the black painted rear panel and the large engine ID (which I can’t read) indicate a large block (presumably a 396) motor? If so, might that be the reason it went bye-bye?

    • Pedro Rivera

      The biggest engine available in a Nova in 1973 was the 350. Additionally, the 396 was produced from 1965-69. In 1970, it was bored out and became the 402, which was produced through 1972.


      John, it is badged 350.

  8. Stevereeno

    I had a ’73 Pontiac Ventura Sprint a couple of cars ago. It had the 350 and 3 speed automatic, bucket seats, original stripes on the side that read “Sprint”. A fancy named plastic nose differentiated it from the regular Venturas. It was plenty fast, and when I bought it at 3 years old – no brakes to speak of. I kept it ’til we needed to cover ourselves with a big poncho covering the 2 of us when I drove it in the rain. Never saw another one.

  9. John

    I guess I missed the 402 days. I was (un)gainfully occupied on an all expense paid tour of SE Asia. Oh, well, thanks for the info Pedro.

    • BMW4RunninTundra

      THANK YOU for your service and your sacrifice!!!!! We were a very selfish, non appreciating, selfless bunch of idiots (not much really has changed since, except possibly add “introverted” to the description) back then!!! You guys deserved/deserve better than what you got/get!!!! While I was not old enough to know anything, at the time, I am an avid History researcher!!!! Again THANK YOU to ALL of our Vets!!!!
      As for the car, I think it appears to be a very clean representation of a period SS Nova! NO Emissions crap, straight exh, and duals at that! Bet it sounds sweet!!

    • Ryan

      Thanks for your service John !!!

  10. Chris In Australia

    First of all I’d ditch the ’73 bumpers and grille. GM killed the looks of the Nova with the 5MPH bumpers. It’s that bad it could have been Ford’s first attempt at 5 MPH bumpers.

  11. Peter k

    In Mexico , Nova means No Go…..

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