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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all, i have always wanted a nova and tomorrow I am going to check out a 74 Nova with a 383 Stroker. What things should i ask about / be looking for. so far i know it needs some interior (work dash/trim/center console need replaced and the right rear interior fender needs repaired or replaced. but dont want to be in over my head with restoration work as this is my first old car. any advice is appreciated.
 

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It really depends on what you are looking for in the car that you are buying. Is it going to be a project car (something that you are going to restore/rebuild yourself)? Or, do you want the car to be fully restored ready to drive? When I was looking for a 1967 Nova that I wanted as a starting point to build a Restomod, I wanted to find one with a very solid body that didn't need any work. I didn't care about the suspension and the driveline since I was going to replace all of that. Below is a list of questions that I used to ask the Seller when I was calling about a car:

Questions for Seller
  • Why are you selling it?
  • Did you do the Restoration?
  • When was the Restoration completed?
  • Are all of the body panels original?
  • How much patch panel work was done?
  • Is the floor pan solid or has it been patched?
  • Who did the front brake conversion?
  • How many miles are on the engine?
  • How long have you owned the car?
  • Do you know the history of the car?
  • Where was the car located?
  • How many previous owners?
I hope that helps
 

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Find a mechanic and/or hot rod buddy to come with. We can tell you problem areas (look close around the windows, top of dash, and rocker panels), but somebody who has done any restoration will be a huge help. Where are you located? Maybe a Steve's guy could come out of quarantine to help you :LOL:
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I appreciate the suggestions. I am in the Norfolk VA but will be moving to San Diego CA in the near future. I don't really have any mechanic/hot rod buddy's but I appreciate all the recommended questions I will definitely ask them. I like the idea of it being a project car, but with no experience I want something that is reliable and I can take my time doing small project by small project while still being able to enjoy the car. I am excited to see it tomorrow. If all goes well I will update with some pictures for you to see and possibly get some recommendations.
 

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I agree that if you are moving (especially to California where the cars are better preserved) before you buy a car.
 

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Also, before you purchase anything, you need to determine what exactly you want. Do you want the Nova to be something that you drive for pleasure only or is it going to be your main mode of transportation?
 

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Problematic rot areas for the 74 (pretty much all.)
Core support mount area and battery box.
*around heater core
  • very bottom rear of fenders
  • rockers and inner rockers
  • where windshield meets dash
  • windshield and rear window channels
  • stress cracks where roof skin meets body
  • 74 trunk floor they do not make and its usually rusted out so if so you'll have to get creative
  • rear quarters around wheel wells and down the bottoms.
  • tailight panel on 73 74 is famous for needing replaced.
Off the top of my head that is all I can think of as far as rot goes that you should look for. Keep in mind a lot of the times rust starts on the inside of something and works it's way out so if a panel looks crusty on the outside you might pull it off to find a lot more rot underneath.


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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
So i went and checked it out. I can have the military ship it to Cali for free so not too worried about that part I will post some pics. Some minor rust hear and there and will need to be painted eventually. The 383 stroker sounds amazing and was a fun ride. It's an 350 automatic with a manual valve body. It has a 3.90 gears a 8.5 10 bolt r end. He wants 9.5K but is willing to work with the price. What do you think?
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Get it on a lift and check out to underside.. Look for evidence of rust in the areas listed above and also collision damage or poorly repaired collision damage. If it looks like it has a fresh layer of undercoating make sure you investigate why.. Undercoating can be a protective rust prevention treatment but it can also be used to conceal patch panels and poorly repaired damage. The noisemaker under the hood could be anything. How is the seller substantiating that the small block is a 383. Any paperwork to back it up.. Assume the worst and hope for the best. $9500 ain’t a bad number but it’s still a pretty good chunk of dough.. Make sure it is a really solid car before you buy it minimize the surprises..
 
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