Junkyard Find: 1977 Chevrolet Nova Coupe

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

The fourth-generation Chevrolet Nova sold in huge numbers, wasn’t a bad car by the standards of its time, and stayed on the street in significant quantities well into the 1990s. However, the Malaise Era Nova just never gathered much of an enthusiast following compared to its predecessors— if you want to restore a Nova these days, you’ll get a ’64 or ’70, not a ’78— so the few remaining survivors go right to the scrapper when they die. Here’s a very worn-out example that I saw in California last week.

I’m quite familiar with this generation of Nova, having owned a $50 beater as an extra car in the early 1990s.

Mine had the 250-cubic-inch L6, just like this one. It was slow and plasticky and the ride was nowhere near luxurious, but it worked every time I wanted it to.

This one had factory air conditioning. Turning on the AC on the highway probably felt similar to hitting the parking brake.

Someone grabbed the interior, perhaps for a Seville.

Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

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  • Bickel84 Bickel84 on Dec 03, 2014

    My mom's first brand new car she ever bought was a '74 Spirit of America edition Nova. I wish she would have kept it but she traded it in for Chevette before I was born. Ugh...

  • Bellerophon Bellerophon on Dec 15, 2014

    I think this had the ghastly integral cylinder head. Intake, exhaust and head all one big heavy cast piece, always full of cracks.

    • -Nate -Nate on Dec 15, 2014

      . Prolly so ~ In about 1986 I had 8 ~ 10 1/2 ton Chevy trucks just sitting around The Mayor's garage after GM ran out of replacement heads and decided to redesign it , that took about a _year_ , we're not allowed to use non stock parts nor would our Mechanics ever attempt to use an earlier head and manifolds..... So many cars & light trucks got scrapped in the late 1980's because of this awful penny pinching GM clutsterfork . -Nate

  • Doc423 Said some automakers were slow to adopt the technology of Smartphone Mirroring, too bad they aren't slower adopting the EV technology, rather than cramming it down our throats.
  • NotMyCircusNotMyMonkeys i was only here for torchinsky
  • Tane94 Workhorse probably will be added to the heap of failed EV companies.
  • Freddie Instead of taking the day off, how about an article on the connection between Black Americans and the auto industry and car culture? Having done zero research, two topics pop into my head: Chrysler designer/executive Ralph Gilles, and the famous (infamous?) "Green Book".
  • Tane94 Either Elio Motors or Aptera Motors.