1971 Chevrolet Nova
Sold at $12,000
RM Auctions, Auburn, IN, May 29–June 1, 2019, Lot 5023
That’s what I feel like I’m looking at here. Someone built this black car in the 1970s, back when a high stance on Cragars was the ticket for a hot street machine. The slapper bars, 12-bolt, 4-speed, Pro-Trac-style tires, double-pumper Holley, M/T valve covers, tube headers, single-plane intake and lack of vacuum advance all point to one purpose: speed. It’s all dated stuff, but it’s right for a certain era — and a certain builder, too: the unattached young type.
Back in, say, 1977, none of these parts would have been cheap. But regardless of the dedication and cost involved, it appears that the fun stopped all at once. The interior? Clean, stock, not worn out from years of cheap daily duties. Underhood? About what you’d expect, with nothing newer than days three or four. Tires? Ancient. Electronic ignition? Nope.
If I had to guess, soon after this car was bought and built, a kid came along and priorities changed. This first baby then got parked — and pickled. Eventually Dad’s car came here to Auburn, where it sold for $12k.
Conjecture, all of it. But regardless of how this Nova got here, it was the spitting image of how a lot of them were in the 1970s. High-school parking lots were full of cars like this one, and most of them didn’t survive intact in such a time-warp way. As a flash back to a certain place and time, when 4-speeds and Cragars ruled the streets, I think this was a steal — some builders are paying good money today to re-create what this car has in spades.
Well bought. I hope the seller doesn’t sit around thinking about it. But he probably will.
Images courtesy of RM Auctions
Want to see more content like this? Subscribe to American Car Collector magazine here.