Junkyard Find: 1968 Chevrolet Nova Sedan

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1968 chevrolet nova sedan

There was a time, from the late 1960s through the late 1980s, when the third-generation Chevrolet Nova was among the most plentiful Chevrolets found on North American roads. These cars were cheap, sturdy, and fuel efficient for their time, but discarded ones are so rare now that this is the first one I have seen in a self-service wrecking yard since this ’73 hatchback in 2011.

1968 was the first model year for this generation of Nova, which shares much of its chassis design with the 1967-1969 Camaro/Firebird. The Chevy II name was still used in 1968 (Nova was the name used for a higher trim level of the 1962-1968 Chevy II); all these cars became just plain Novas for 1969.

This one is a bench seat car with three-on-the-tree manual transmission, six-cylinder engine, and four doors. While many of these cars survive today, just about all of them are V8-powered two-doors.

Even a rusty two-door late-1960s Nova would be snapped up long before it arrived at this sort of junkyard, as old-school drag racers and muscle car fanciers worship the lightweight Nova (into which just about any GM V8 engine may be bolted or near-bolted).

Most of these cars came from the factory with the straight-six engine, as this one did, though the seldom-purchased Super-Thrift 153-cubic-inch inline-four engine was available until 1970. Production figures show 146,300 1968 Novas built with the 250-cubic-inch I6 engine and 53,400 with a V8 engine (either a boat anchor 307 or the much rarer 327).

You’d think someone would want a good old Saginaw three-speed manual transmission for $99.99, but I suppose there’s a glut of these things in garages around the country.

According to the cowl tag, this Grotto Blue Chevy II was built at the Willow Run Assembly plant in Michigan during the fifth week of January, 1968. That means this car rolled off the assembly line within a day or two of the start of the Tet Offensive in Vietnam.

An uncomplicated economical car becomes a beautiful expensive-looking car.

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2 of 38 comments
  • Ben T Spanner Ben T Spanner on Oct 09, 2017

    I got back from Nam in 1970 and my first employer had a fleet of 1968 and 1969 Chevy Biscaynes in various greys. The only options were powerglide and AM radios. I always thought that Novas would have been much better. but Novas didn't fit the corporate image of a full size car.

  • Synchromesh Synchromesh on Oct 12, 2017

    It started out Grotto Blue and finished Ghetto Blue. How very logical.

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