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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all, last Sunday I bought a 1974 Nova SS and during my pre and post-purchase research I discovered this great site.

Let's see....background...this is my first "classic" car and in recent years I've been more into motorcycles...but since I totalled my 1800cc cruiser I kinda lost the upper hand on logic and with a baby on the way this is my new hobby! That said, I know VERY little about these cars and I'm here to learn. Also, I'm on a pretty tight budget.

Stats:
350/350TH
Edelbrock carb (600? 650? Not sure.)
Headers, not rusted through but nothing special
Dual exhaust
Alum. intake

Good things: It drove home 200ish miles at 85mph with no issues whatsoever. Strong motor, straight lines, solid frame, good interior, lights/signals/wipers/speedometer all work. Not so good: No AC or PS, the brakes are below average and it needs some body work and paint.

Right now I am putting in an MSD ingnition (6AL), distributor, plug wires, etc.

Plans:

Add powersteering. I think I have found a guy with the necessary parts at a good price so I just have to scoop them up then learn how to install it. Thoughts?

Secure dash. The original dash is with the car (and placed in position for the pictures) but the previous owner had it removed and all of the tabs sheared off. I'll wrangle with it and attach it somehow. Advice?

Bolt down the seats. The bucket seats are out of a GTO and right now only 2 of the 4 mounting screws are functional. The seat still works (slides forward and back, reclines, etc) but obviously it shifts a bit and won't pass inspection. I'm thinking this will be fairly easy but I've never done it...tips?

Brake work. I THINK it is disc in front, drum in rear but I haven't checked yet. If so I'd like to do what I can to improve the brakes on a budget. Pads and have the drums turned? Suggestions? I did pads on my bike and my '86 Bronco but that is the extent of my brake work.

Needs body work. The passenger side quarter panel is rusted out and was bondo'd at some point and that bondo is now rippling and trashed. A few small quarter sized rust spots elsewhere but nothing major. Trunk/floorpans are solid.

Paint. I'm in the dreaming stage here...I've already pictured it in many different colors. Right now I'm thinking gloss gunmetal gray with flat black Z28 style racing stripes. I know the 74 Nova never had any stripes but I'm doing this car for hobby/fun/kicks, not for accurate restoration or anything.

So that's my story so far...and here's some pics. Any tips and advice would be MUCH appreciated. I'm located in northern Virginia (NoVA!) if that matters.

















 

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Hey all, last Sunday I bought a 1974 Nova SS and during my pre and post-purchase research I discovered this great site.
First, welcome to the forum and congrats on the purchase. It appears to me that your '74 is not a real SS.
- the "SS" emblems on the fenders are from a 1973 Nova (1974 SS Novas had decals, see pics below)
- the chrome trim around the side windows was not available on SS
- the side window frames should be painted black
- the steering wheel doesn't have the correct "SS" emblem
- SS had black painted sport mirrors
- the rear taillight panel shodul be painted black (I can't see yours)

That probably doesn't make a difference but I just wanted to make sure the previous owner didn't scam you.

Right now I'm thinking gloss gunmetal gray with flat black Z28 style racing stripes. I know the 74 Nova never had any stripes but I'm doing this car for hobby/fun/kicks, not for accurate restoration or anything.
Actually, 1974 SS Novas did have stripes:







Reproduction stripes can be purchased here:
http://www.stencilsandstripes.com/pr_chev_nova.asp

Best of luck with yours and welcome to the Nova enthusiasts community.
 

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Welcome... The car looks like a nice start to a great and expensive hobby but if you were into bikes before then spending money is nothing new to you. Although that new baby might slow things up a bit, congrats on that by the way.

My advise to you at this point is... Do what you like to the car and don't worry about making mistakes, you can always do it again. There are two schools of thought when building classic cars. Some guys are purists and others like to modify things. I like to build a car the way I like it. If I like the "SS" emblems from a 73 and they never came on a 69, I'm going to put them on anyway because I think they look cool.

Just remember that it is your car and you need to be happy with it. If you like the Camaro style stripes then go for it. Don't let anyone talk you out of it.

 

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welcome to steves!!85mph for 200 miles:eek:that turbo 350 must been on fire....what gears do you have??You must have 2.73's...Nice car ..welcome!!bm
 

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welcome to steves!!85mph for 200 miles:eek:that turbo 350 must been on fire....what gears do you have??You must have 2.73's...Nice car ..welcome!!bm

I drove a 70 chevelle with a th350 and 2.54 gears for 500 miles at 90mph in december. not one hiccup and it got 22-25 mpg
 

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Think I been seeing that car on the web for a little while- looked like a good car for the money-

Good luck with it and welcome to the Site !!!!!
 

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Just remember that it is your car and you need to be happy with it. If you like the Camaro style stripes then go for it. Don't let anyone talk you out of it.
Welcome to the forum! Great bunch of folks here and lots of expertise!:yes:

^^What he said twice!! What makes this hobby so great is that you get to do exactly what you want with your car. Not that many things in life that are that way, so make the most of it!:D

Dave
 

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welcome to the site and congrats on the little one! looks like you've got a clean start there. the interior looks good and some of the 73/74 interior pieces are hard to come by in good shape. should be a good foundation for a project.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Wow, thanks for the great welcome! I'm looking forward to learning all I can here.

NovaResource: Yeah, I was 50/50 on whether or not it was an SS...honestly I had no idea what the differences were. The seller never stated SS, said he didn't know too much of the history. I wasn't worried about SS vs. non-SS but I do like the black grill and SS emblems so I probably would have thrown those on regardless. Wish I had the black trim and mirrors though!

Something69: That's my thinking exactly. There are probably purists out there that would crucify me for it but I don't care if this thing is a Frankenstein...I'm just trying to make it look cool to me and I don't really have that well defined. Part of the journey!

Batman: I have no idea what gears I have. None. The guy I got it from would buy up cars, fix them up and flip them...he got stalled on this project and sold it midway. He wasn't really into original restoring so I'm not sure he knew what he had and I wasn't really into asking too many questions like that because I didn't know to ask. It looked good to me, drove great, had potential and was in my price range. Sold!

Everyone else, thanks for the welcome...can't wait to get my car looking like some of your rides!

I haven't taken a close enough look yet but since the seats are GTO buckets replacing a bench (I think) then presumably the mounting spots are different. So how will I go about attaching the seats? Anyone done this? Tips?
 

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Welcome to the site, the one thing I have noticed is it seems from what I can tell your car is a drum brake car too, so the cheapest way to change it would be a donor car for the parts. The after market do sell complete bolt on kits, but they're a little more money. Keep an eye on our Classified section, you may find what you want there.
 

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Oh yeah! A lot of us have fooled around replacing seats. Check out the threads in the body and 3rd gen threads.

Dave
 

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NovaResource: Yeah, I was 50/50 on whether or not it was an SS...honestly I had no idea what the differences were. The seller never stated SS, said he didn't know too much of the history. I wasn't worried about SS vs. non-SS but I do like the black grill and SS emblems so I probably would have thrown those on regardless. Wish I had the black trim and mirrors though!
Glad to hear the sell wasn't trying to get more by calling it an SS. As far as the mirrors go, look for them on eBay. That's where I got mine. They were optional on Novas and other non-Chevy X-bodies (Pontiac Ventura/Phoenix, Buick Apollo, Olds Omega/Skylark).
 

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Wlecome. lots of great info and great guys on here. About your seats, more than likely all you'll need to do is pull them out, roll the carpet back, reinsattl them, mark where the missing bolts og, then install some kind of mount in the floor to hold them. It's best if you can make up some kind of reinforcemnt plate for these bolts so that in the case of something horrible happening they dont pull out of the floor. I'm betting that the outer tracks, the ones closest to the doors are bolted down in the factory spot, and the inner tracks are loose with no bolts. Or just the fronts of the tracks are bolted down, and you need to do the rear. You could always drill the holes needed and run the bolts all the way thru the floor and use a big washer for reinforcement. Then weld, or have them welded to the floor. Just an idea, kinda of a hillbilly one, but an idea. Or you can spend the big money and have the factory mounts welded into the car, and then try and find some stock Nova seat tracks, again these are expensive.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Hey guys, thought I'd check in with an update on my progress so far...I'm not very good at keeping up with the internet but I'll try harder. Also, I know I should have pics...I always forget to stop and take them but I'll work on that too!

First off, much thanks to everyone in the thread giving tips and suggestions and especially to 74 Hatchback who has sent me lots of advice over PM. It really helps with both motivation and time saving ideas!

Ok, so far...MSD ignition kit installed...dist., coils, new plugs, new plug wires, etc. New radiator hose bought and installed...if you look at the pics you can see that the old one was too long and would bend and get hit by the shroudless fan...I found a new GREAT hose at Advance Auto that I'll get pics of...but basically it's black and ribbed and has metal wire running inside it and is easily bent. Also bought new Edelbrock air cleaner/filter...the old one was pretty scummy and my buddy had a brand new 10" laying around he gave me for $10 and a six pack. Bought a interior dome light here: http://classicindustries.com/contro...ge=1&productId=18280&productSearchCatalogId=2 and fashioned that on. I say fashioned because the last guy to do the headliner cut the hole to be slightly smaller than the light, not slightly smaller than where the screw holes were in the light so I made an internal bracket out of some plastic and screwed into that.

The project I am on right now is tucking the rear bumper. I removed the old bumper and gutted the shocks and filler material then mounted it back on. It was EASY! The only thing I noticed is that the bumper now seems to stick out further on the sides while it is being tucked up against the rear. I removed it again and am sanding and priming the underside...when I reattach I'll get pics.

This is my informal list of things I want to do as of right now...but it changes all the time:
1974 Chevy Nova Project and Wish List
• Bolt down seats. Cheap fix: Drill through floor and bolt in using steel plates on underside to reinforce. Use washers or rubber spacers to get level. Paint seat rails black.
• Install/attach dash. Tabs have been stripped so figure way to affix.
• Install interior dome light. (Done)
• Tuck rear bumper. Remove bumper, gut insides of shock absorbers and extra space, oval out holes on car, raise gas cover/plate holder 3/8”. Reattach. (In progress with sanding and priming. Don’t think I’ll have to raise gas cover)
• Customize exhaust. Cut off with grinder behind rear wheel. Attach angle piece then bolt on chrome tips. Remove old U bracket and possibly reposition. (In progress)
• Body work. Best would be to remove all trim, grind and sand down to bare metal, buy quarter fender “patch” (like $70 on JC Whitney) and have welded in. Fill all holes from trim with weld or Bondo.
• Remove front mud flaps. (Done)
• Paint. Cheap fix: Spray on Hot Rod black or similar with HVLP gun. Eventually have professionally painted gun metal gray with flat black Camaro style stripes.
• Change rear end fluids.
• At some point add new Nova or SS custom floor mats. ($90)
• Late summer put on new Cooper Cobra tires.
• Power steering.
• Disc brake conversion would be best. Otherwise, have drums turned at least.
• 12” air cleaner if it fits, otherwise 10” (Done)
• Radiator hose (Done)
• Black wire- wraps instead of blue. (Done)
• DETAIL IT!

As always, I'm open to all tips and suggestions....I'm trying to learn as much as I can!
 

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Welcome, looks like a good start!

I suggest you do the power disks, when I did mine I went from manual drums to power disks and accidently locked the tires the first time I went to stop!!!
You can get a complete kit for like $700, so worth the money!!!
 

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sounds like your off to a awsome start and I have a soft spot for 74s being as i have had two and a 1/2 (buddies car) that rear bumper you can completley throw the shocks away and just englongate the holes a bit and the bumper will bolt right back on might save ya some time
thats my 74 could give ya a idea or two
http://www.cardomain.com/ride/2478940
Good luck with the project
Josh
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Venture, that would be the ultimate brake fix for me...unfortunately that kind of money spending will be well down the road...for now I'm plan to spend a lot of sweat equity but have to do things on the cheap...kid on the way is starting to dictate my spending state of mind. :turn:

Josh, you car looks amazing...I've mentally incorporated some ideas from your example and hope it looks half as great as yours when I'm done with the first take on it.

Ok, as promised, here are some pics. The bumper is fully tucked now, unfortunatley it started raining before I remembered to get finished pics...those will come soon though. Here are some of the bumper tuck process (removal, old shock absorbers, ovaling the holes, sand, prime, etc.) and the quarter panel mess and my attempt at sanding and at least stopping the rust until I can do the body work correctly as well as the new radiator hose, MSD kit and air cleaner. In the wrong order but I think you can get the right idea...and the exhaust is in mid-project so it's a mess right now...I've got plans to dump it behind the rear tire with a chrome turn down angle...just not there yet.

Bumper off and shocks removed:




One of the removed shocks:


The mess that came with the car...the qp on the passenger side.






Bumper removed, filler discarded, shocks gutted, in it's demo state and taken through sanding and priming.
















Engine bay where you can see the brand new MSD kit, new radiator hose that was PERFECT for what I needed and the new 10" Edelbrock air cleaner. Also a bit of cleaning up just of loose wires and whatnot.







This is the final shot of the car with the sanded and prime rear with the holes ovaled out and about to be reprimed real quick before the bumper is put back in place.


So far I think it's going ok...and if it is, I take all the credit :) ...but if it's not going ok then my bunny friend gets the blame. He was hanging out all day interested in what I had going on and hopped around the bumper for quite a while...


Thanks for all the responses so far, I'm having a great time learning online then takind that knowledge and applying it to my summer project! More pics to come soon!

And if anyone is in the Northern VA area, there is an effort going on to start up a solid group.(check the Southeast Forums) We have a few people interested and a possible place to hold the meetings at a workshop so pass the word on...the more the merrier!

And as always, feedback, tips, suggestions, critiques...pretty much anything I can learn from is higly appreciated!

Thanks

Tom
 
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