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Discussion Starter #1
So to start off my journey to this point started several years ago when i became addicted to working on cars. (Still no clue how it happened).

After making a post a few days ago, to feel out my local area and see if there were any Novas for sale as their my dream car. i found what i think is a unicorn. and i just want to make sure that my blinding love for Chevy Novas isnt blocking my decision making ability. So heres what i found. The guy only wants $400.

1971 2 door Nova
250 straight 6 cylinder
powerglide tranny
no front seat
Still has back seat and Passenger Seat.
Engine Ran in 1994 when it was put into storage Its been indoors covered since then.
No Front Fenders or Grille
No hood.
That said, The frame is still good, had 2 spots with surface rust, but no rot or holes. The only real rust damage is on the body. in a couple spots.
Roof has no rot under the vinyl.
Floor Pans are still good.
Tires were low, but when refilled held the air, going back tomorrow to make sure there were no slow leaks and tires are still inflated.

So thats the condition, but car is $400.

I like this one because the price is low, and ive been wanting to do a full restore on a car for a while now. and my dream car would be amazing. Im aware that its going to be an expensive restore, however i will be doing all of the work, Except the Paint Job, as im not qualified to do that. I've got the experience to do the rest though. My current rough estimate is about 10k in parts and materials. to get it running and ready to take somewhere to be prepped, primed, and painted. Heres some photos. What do you guys think? Am i blinded by my love for Novas? or is this worth the time based off everything ive shared about its condition.



 

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Discussion Starter #3
I would buy that in a heartbeat!
You have my vote to buy it, but then again I'm a little nutty

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Ok glad, that im not being completely blinded. God knows i cant wait for tax return next year. Wife already is on board, and said i can take the whole thing and put it towards the car! Looks like im gonna buy it!
 

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Unicorn

Well, it does seem to also have dents in both doors, is lacking a trunk lid and may need both quarter panels.
But Hey! $400 down, with only $20,000 or so to go, And you have found yourself an elusive Unicorn!
 

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I'd say pass. It needs every major body panel on the car. Fenders , quarter panels, hood, trunk,interior etc. You are always better to start with a fairly solid body. as the body work and the price of the parts can really add up. You can easily end up with $25k or more invested and still not be finished bodywise. Then you have suspension, drivetrain etc on top of the body work.
 

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72, 2 Dr, 383, 700r4
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I'm not trying to discourage your plans. Not bad for $400. I would personally buy it as a donor for parts. Only because I have a project car and might be able to use something off it. Anything I didn't use can be sold to recover a few bucks. My concern if I was to rebuild would be the geometry/straightness of the lower body with dents like that. You can trash the sub frame but is the rest still in spec. Is there anything of the interior.
 

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1970 Nova SS 350 Brandon, MS
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1st thing...Welcome to the site!

Now, about the car. Do you really LOVE working on cars? Hopefully so because that one is going to need a LOT of work! Yes the price of entry is low but there is some major expense ahead of you even if you do ALL the labor. As already stated, that car needs doors, quarters, fenders, hood, trunk lid, full interior, and probably all of the small mechanical parts/systems (brakes, steering, suspension, etc) that have deteriorated from sitting for 25 years. I'm sure you will want a V8 so add engine, trans, and rearend to the list. What you are getting for $400 is floors, top, and frame.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying it's a bad deal if the floors and frame are solid, I'm just saying there is a monumental amount of work/$$$$ separating this car from "driver" status....are you up for it? It would be a solid start for a nice build if you can handle what it will take to get there.

There are probably several folks on this site that started their build with much worse and have persevered to have a car they are very proud of; it can be done if one has enough determination, motivation, and financial means to see it through.

It takes 3 things to build ones dream car, or any other car, project, etc. The complexity of the project will dictate the amount of all 3 that are needed.
Time
Money
Space

If you have lots of all 3, then dive off into this endeavor. If you are lacking in any or all, you may not want this large of a project.
 

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OK -- then, not tooo BAD ..... I have seen alot worse cars.

Here is my Question --- where's ... Council Bluffs .... ?

anywhere close to Chino Valley, Arizona --- Northern Arizona, Prescott, AZ. area. ? ?

$400.00 ain't a bad price -- you're getting a 2dr Nova w/motor & trans, rear-end and still alot of useable parts --- .

you say the front seat is missing --- Bench seat or Bucket seat.

LOOK CLOSER === about The RUST in those quarters / both-sides .... you don't need rust . That other "damage can be repaired" ........ and, RUST can be fixed - just alot better with-out major RUST or RUSTED out 1/4's. Anything can be repaired --- just cost you ALOT MORE.

Just ask around here (SNS) : like - rquad , or J Mark , or those other guys that deal with MAJOR RUST issues ............ almost - not worth-it (sometimes). and, I'm NOT knocking that Nova -- cause -- I have all those missing Parts ...... so, 400.00 sounds good to me --- gota start somewhere !

Did I say anything about ... RUST


good luck ... jim
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Do you really LOVE working on cars?
Yes, I litterally spent 8 hours two nights ago, rebuilding and restoring the Stock Throttle Body Injector on an 86 El Camino the the point it looked brand new. If there were a word to describe my passion for working on cars that was stronger then Love, i would use that.

I'm sure you will want a V8 so add engine, trans, and rearend to the list.
No I dont want a V8, I want the stock motor thats in there. I could give a rats ass about turning it into a race car. Lol.

that car needs doors, quarters, fenders, hood, trunk lid, full interior
Doors: The dents are big from stuff hitting the side through the years, but their all still able to be popped and beaten out. Idk why the hell id replace all the doors completely over dents Im not really worried about the time it will take to fix them.

Hood: Not missing Just Detached, is still in good shape.

Interior: Need New Driver Bucket Seat, and then Reupholstered. Anything else on the interior that i redo will be because im nitpicky.

you don't need rust . That other "damage can be repaired" ........ and, RUST can be fixed - just alot better with-out major RUST or RUSTED out 1/4's. Anything can be repaired --- just cost you ALOT MORE.
The Majority of the rust in photo is surface rust, which while annoying, can still be easily gotten rid of.
There are the couple of spots where the rust has caused damage, but thats nothing a patch panel or a trip to upull it cant fix.
 

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That's a hard pass car for me, unless you're buying it for a parts donor.

-All of the major panels are whacked, detached, or otherwise in disrepair. Fuel tank is missing, trunk is off, the entire front end is off (even if the guy "says he has it", think about all the little bolts, nuts, clips, and wiring that isn't there), and the interior is probably completely ruined with the windows being open.
-All of the brightwork (bumpers, trim) appears ruined, or otherwise damaged.
-Both quarter panels are ROTTED. Look at how much of the quarter lip is missing on both sides- that is full-blown cancer, not "surface rust". And, if that part is soft, imagine how much rot is hiding in the wheel wells, under the glass, in the trunk seams, etc.
-The whole "ran when parked" thing doesn't tell you anything about the drivetrain's current state. Judging by the way every panel on the car is trashed, it's covered in dirt and grime, and it's halfway taken apart, I would take the seller's statement with a grain of salt that the motor is any good at all; same for the trans.


This would be an okay car to grab for the rear end, glass, and some other stuff you might need for another driver... but you'll pour $10,000 worth of time, effort, and parts into it before it's even close to being a driver. You can go out and find one that needs some TLC for less than that, and be driving it the next day.
 

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i'd look for a more complete nova. you'll spend lots of hours/days repairing that body an panels an still be a long way to a driver. look for a more complete car an put your money into drive line an finished interior.
 

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so negative on this thread...
I want to point out that folks are responding with what THEY would or wouldn't do based on there experience, ability and aptitude. that is what you asked for.
My answer is different.
If you want it buy it. for 400 bucks you can, at a minimum, learn a lot about the 72 Nova, and your skills will grow as you work on it. should you decide at some future point that the car will not be salvageable, you can part it out and recoup part of your investment, and take your new knowledge and experience and move on to another ( hopefully a nova) project.
Poke around here and you'll see lots of rebuilds from the ground up, and some refreshes etc. Note the order they did things when it was successful, and the mistakes they made as well.

couple notes that may help:

evaluate the car as you go along, make list of what you need, for budgetary only, until you are far enough into the process to know if you will need them.

Big ticket items like 1/4s, fenders etc, definitely wait.

SS396, classic industries etc have frequent sales so avoid the temptation to by 1k in sheet metal you wont need say for a year just cause its on sale now. It will be on sale later as well.

decide early if you want to do a frame off, PPP the frame etc , what level of detail, or if your more concerned with a good running safe car .

You may have explained why the subframe is hanging......that concerns me a bit. there are only a few reasons to do that, and none are simple. is the tailshaft of the tranny sitting on the ground?

GL and one final thought.
This project car is a journey, a process not an event, it is going to take time and effort, most likely there will be periods of backwards progress, no progress ( life ) and slow steady progress. Enjoy
 

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You may have explained why the subframe is hanging......that concerns me a bit. there are only a few reasons to do that, and none are simple. is the tailshaft of the tranny sitting on the ground?
The Subframe is currently unbolted. The owner had started unbolting it to continue removing body panels as he was starting to work on it again recently, unfortunatley he had a stroke. Which is what led him to selling.
 

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Do you have all the paperwork for it?? The 1/4's are indeed rotted, have you ever replaced a quarter-panel?.. I wouldn't bother with those doors, they are pretty beat.. My reasoning is you're buying a roof, front suspension, firewall, and hood for $400 bucks.. You need everything else in way of sheet metal.I'd buy it, park it somewhere, and give it a REALLY good look at what you have, make a list of what's missing, and then decide if you want to keep it.. A nice paint job here will cost between $7k and up.
 

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The price is good for what it is, but I'd pass on that to restore unless buying it for a parts car. Save up and buy the best body/least rusty/most complete car you can afford. It will be cheaper that way in the end and more enjoyable for a project. My :2cents:
 

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It’s not unusual for me to pick up a basket case.. I harvest parts off of them for my projects and sell off the rest.. I’d probably look at it pretty good though.. Rust like that didn’t come from being covered up in a barn and I figure there’s probably a good bit more there then what you see.. That’s just the way rust rolls.. If the front subframe is good and not bent up or rusted out, the engine and trans are not totally cooked(beyond rebuildable), and the rear end and springs are solid then these all items I like to have in inventory to rebuild/restore and swap onto my projects, or sell off or trade for parts I do need.. Even if you’re not going to rebuild this particular Nova it still has some parts value for the the money.. I’d probably be in.. If it doesn’t roll on its own it will be a pain in the ass to move.. You’ll need a flat bed truck or trailer.. Does the owner have the title and is it in his name?
 

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Those doors don’t look to me like accidents in the barn.. Both doors are damaged the same way.. Looks to me like somebody kicked them in.. I think they’re too similar looking to me to be accidental..
 

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Not sure how plentiful Novas are in your area. I'm in Houston, TX. They do come up every so often but a car in the condition as the one your considering easily sells for around $1000 here. That being said, it WILL BE ALOT OF WORK AND MONEY. But, for me it's just as much about the journey as it is the destination. Classic cars are therapy for me and most of us spend money on one thing or another. So, buy it if it makes you happy.

At the very least, you can sell it for more money if you repair/replace the quarters and door skins then epoxy primer the whole car. Old paint and brightwork will almost always hide cancer. But it all depends on your final build goals.

I say, have at it and enjoy. We all only ask for updates WITH pics.

Good luck,
Jv

Btw, it's true, you need determination, money, space and time. Life WILL get in the way. Just keep plugging away.
 

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I def would buy that if the frame and floors are decent the price is great and you can build it your own way so definetly go for it
 

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I'd say buy it, 400. Is cheap, people are pulling junk out of yards with no title and selling for thousands!
 
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