73' Nova


#1

Should I buy a 73’ Chevy Nova for 1000$ that has been sitting in a garage for about 18 years, last inspection sticker is form 1900, whos body is good, and has only 16,000 miles on it, or should I worry about engine damage that may have been cause by sitting in a garage for so long?


#2

You can assume that every seal in the car is going to leak. You can’t trust the brakes to work without a complete overhaul. The engine may or may not need major work, depending on whether the cylinders are rusted from sitting in a damp environment.

If you’re competent with mechanics, this might be an interesting project. If you’re thinking of buying this as cheap transportation, forget it. This won’t be cheap by any stretch of the imagination. There’s a LOT of work in making this car streetable again.

And it hasn’t been inspected in 108 years.


#3

JMHO, but if the body/interior is straight and you can do the minor mechanical repairs it may need I would say go for it, especially if it’s a 2 DR.

It’s unlikely to have any engine damage but may need a number of small things repaired; fuel pump, possibly brake hydraulics, water pump, carburetor work, etc.

If you can’t do this stuff yourself then you should pass. The car is very easy to service and parts are generally cheap but if you have to pay someone to cure every problem that may surface it could become a pricy headache.
It’s intriguing to me because of the 16k miles and the price.


#4

Also, with only 16k on the odometer, it is very possible that it still has the original tires. Even if the tread looks okay, those tires MUST be replaced due to their age. Even if the rubber doesn’t look cracked, the rubber compound has hardened to the point where you will have VERY poor traction in an emergency situation. Even if they look okay on the outside, they are no longer structurally sound, and will subject you to a blow-out if driven at high speed.

Also–don’t expect either handling or braking that is up to modern standards. You will probably be shocked by how poor the brakes are, even after they have been put in good working order, and you will be probably be shocked by the poor handling. Replacing the bias-ply ties with radials will help to some extent, but this car cannot be driven as “enthusiastically” as a car made over the last couple of decades.

Don’t cheap out on getting this car ready for the road. Do everything that has been suggested, and be prepared for unexpected repair problems to crop up. Also, try to locate an old mechanic for the day when your carburetor gives you major problems. Younger mechanics have likely never worked on a carbureted car and will have no idea of how to adjust one or to rebuild one.


#5

This is a GREAT project car to have fun with. As OK said…if you can’t do the work yourself then pass. If you can then it could take you a few weekends to get it running. You have the V8 or in-line 6???


#6

A 53 Chevrolet was in a collapsing garage for 20 years. As a favor to the family I took a battery and some gas to the car and after a few minutes it was running and was backed out and driven to the street on its own power. It smoked and the brake pedal went to the floor but it ran. I was amazed. Someone bought it for a few hundred dollars. I sometimes wish that I had bought it. But I would likely still be working on it every spare moment instead of the boat.


#7

The very low mileage and the simplicity of the car makes this an ideal project car. Agree with others you will likely need new tires, battery, have the brakes done, oil changed, lube job, rad flushed, new drive belts etc. None of these things should break the bank!

In the South I would say this car would even make a good daily driver, since these cars had very little rust protection.

My neighbor’s toy is a 1972 Nova with a big block Chevy V8 and steamroller back tires. He had no trouble getting parts.


#8

i accidentally put in 1990 when it should have said 1990, sorry


#9

Well, I am actually only sixteen years old and want this to be something like my first car. my parents are willing to pay the 1000 the owner is asking for, but are only worried about the motor, other things such as brakes they are not worried about the cost. The engine is an in-line 6.


#10

I had back in the 60’s, a 1967 Chevy II, which was roughly the same thing. My six cylinder was the biggest in 1967, and had a tremendous amount of torque.

I like this car for a 16 year old, it will keep you safe, since you won’t be driving it much, heh, heh.

Age on cars in those days harmed as much as miles. As Jay says, every seal in the car is going to leak. The motor has seals that will leak. The transmission has seals that will leak. The rear end has seals that will leak. I suspect even the shock absorbers have seals that will leak.

Every rubber part will be bad, most likely.

If you want a car to actually drive, this is not the one. You will be rebuilding and rebuilding and rebuilding from one end to the other. By the time you buy the parts, one at a time, months will have passed. Do you have the knowledge and experience to replace all those parts? At age 16, one assumes not, and paying mechanics will quickly approach a better car.

Someone pointed out that large, older cars, because of the low gas mileage, such as Ford Crown Victoria, well maintained by the older people who usually drive such cars, can sometimes be bought at a modest price. Because of lower gas mileage, you would have to ration your miles driven to keep within your assets. but you will have to do that anyway.

Not to knock your parents, but they may simply not be aware of the deterioration of all rubber parts, and the costs involved. I agree, except for seals and carburetor, the motor is the least of your worries.


#11

The in-line 6 is a very durable engine and very easy to work on. Do you have any idea if it still runs? It could be a nice car if it runs…OR you have willingness to learn how to fix cars.


#12

For an extremely low miles car with only 16k miles, and especially considering your age and the 6 cylinder engine, I would say buy this car if you and/or your father has some mechanical ability.

This is an extremely easy and cheap car to maintain and could be a valuable learning tool in helping you gain some mechanical experience. The 6 cylinder just makes it that much easier/cheaper and that engine will have all of the power you need.
A little cleaning, waxing, along with a decent set of custom wheels could make this car a looker, especially if it’s a 2 DR, and it will stand out among all of the cookie cutter car everybody else is driving.


#13

Well the whole debate over buying it is whether or not the engine still runs because my dad and i are not ready to take on engine repair, too much time and money. I just wanted to know if there was someone here that could be pretty sure the engine would still run, because im worried that it may have seized up after all that time


#14

yes, i agree. becuase i don’t want to go driving around in just some factory line car. i would rather drive something like the nova, which is a two door, than something as standard as a jeep.


#15

A 2 DR car would be a done deal IMHO. Some cleaning and a spiffy set of wheels (save the originals) and it would stand out among all of the garden slugs out there.

Down the road it would be a simple matter to convert this car to something with a few more ahem cylinders if desired.


#16

Do It!!! The engine is indestructible. It has points ignition, somewhat troublesome, it can be replaced with a STOCK '75-'80 HEI distributer.

In my opinion, the BIGGEST problem may be the old fuel…Todays gasoline can degrade into a NASTY TAR/VARNISH SUBSTANCE that can ruin the engine. Try to siphon out a sample and see what it looks/smells like BEFORE you try to start the car. I would remove as much of it as I could, add 10 gallons of fresh gas (unleaded regular is fine) disconnect the fuel line at the carburetor (there is a filter in that fitting) and pump fresh fuel through the line before reconnecting it. Be careful with the carb inlet fittings, they strip easily. And have FUN with it!


#17

sorry, but what does IMHO mean, im not good with car terms


#18

IMHO simply means “In my humble opinion” and I agree with Caddyman that the fuel system will probably be the biggest problem.
Gas turns to varnish over time so this means possible replacement of the fuel pump and filter, flushing the gas tank and lines, and possibly rebuilding the carburetor.
The plus side to this is that it’s easy and cheap.


#19

If the car was running before it sat then it should be OK. However it probably won’t just start right up. Gas sitting in a engine that long is going to cause some problems. I wouldn’t trust the carb. Either get a new one or have that one rebuilt. A simple test to see if it MAY run is to pour a little gas down the throat of the carb and get the car to turn over. If it’s going to run it should fire up (or at least attempt to). I seriously doubt it will stay running though.


#20

yes, luckily my dad used to constantly work on and clean our Wolkswagon Bettle’s carburetor