My 1973 Nova Custom Hatchback


A bit about the car;

The car was originally purchased by my parents in November of 1972. At the time it was "dark green gold metallic", a 2bbl 350 cubic inch engine, backed by a turbo hydramatic 350, twisting an open 3.08 10-bolt, driving E78-14 Bias Ply tires, wrapped around Chevy rally rims, with genuine pot metal center caps, 3 of which have been stolen over the years (if your suspicous about someone, stay with your car no matter how big a hurry you are in, I was gone for 5 minutes when #3 was stolen, of course, they did not take any of the cheap plastic ones which filled the gaps left by previous visits from the midnight auto supply company). It also boasted of manual steering, and manual drum/drum brakes. Creature comforts where an AM radio, "Black Sport Cloth" seating, and dual "Sport Mirrors" (remote operated d.side), and a rear defroster fan for that hatchback window.

It was a daily driver until 1990 (best damn winter vehicle I've ever driven, perfectly balanced, and always went where you pointed it.) Thats when I decided that if I plan to keep the car at least another 20 years, I had better stop driving it on our generously salted roadways. Fortuneatly, the car has always been cared for, and the extent of body cancer was limited to the lower part of the rear quarter panels. It recieved fresh paint, "Blackwatch Green" w/clear coat. A dark, blue based green, a GM color for 1978 (and who knows what other years).

The car has also gotten its share of mods over the years. The engine is the original block, but with a Q-jet and non-egr cast iron intake (salvaged from a 1976 3/4 ton Chevy pickup w/350). It has a Crane Fireball II cam, with Heddman Hedders, delivering into a 2 1/4" dual exhaust with old design Walker Super Turbos. (old design being a lot quieter than the current versions--my truck has new ones, as does a friend of mine and the exhaust note is very different--a product of the absorbed Thrush muffler division?)

The original tranny went a number of years ago, back before any "numbers matching" nonsense came to be, it recieved a so-called built up th350 which had a great shift feel (she'd bark the 1-2 shift when you got next to the drivers door of the guy being passed). That broke 7 days after installation. And over the course of evening #7 it destroyed 4 more th350's during the test drive. Kinda good for the ego, since 'my car 'broke' your "built trannys"'. It finally ended up with a solid "truck use" th350.

The car also underwent a disc brake swap, a swap I wish I had done years earlier, "The drums are still working fine, and disc brake donors are a dime a dozen!" --which eventually translates to "*&**%^*#@ drum brakes!" and a 4 month search for a donor car. I stayed with manual brakes. Why? becuase I like manual brakes better. My parents 1976 Nova has the weird combination of power steering, and manual disc/drums.

Other tidbits include the above seen American Racing Chrome Nuggets, Denon stereo, 7 blade clutch fan, K&N air filter, bucket seats from a 1986 Trans Am, an HEI, a three spoke stainless steering wheel from a vette, and just recently I swapped in a 17:1(?) (4.25 turns lock to lock) manual steering box from a 1971 Pontiac Tempest.

Some things I've noticed about the car; There never was any form of TCC--Every wiring diagram I've seen has it included, as does most service literature. Theres no coolant overflow tank-- I've seen them on some of the '73s I've found in the wreckers. They are ugly anyway, perched on the p.side inner fender. And one item I keep seeing in most literature of the time, are "Energy Absorbing Bumpers." Not on my car, The bumper is mounted with steel brackets directly to the subframes. Perhaps a U.S. only item? 1974's on the other hand do have energy absorbing bumpers.


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"WFOT or No Throttle" -LeadFoot