Monday, December 27, 2010

How to go Rust Free in one foul swoop! AKA the $2100 folly.

Given the body rot on our Nova, I started rationalizing that if I just started with a rust-free car I could take all the good stuff off the Nova (motor, trans, rims, tires, most of the interior etc.) and put it on a rust free car and we have a great Nova. It sounded so sane I started watching for "rollers" and guess what I found? A 1973 rust free California true SS Nova! It was located in Bakersfield and it could be mine for a meer $1600. The seller offered me a new SS hood and grill for $300 and offered to deliver it to me for another $200. How could I pass up such a sweet deal?

Figuring this would be a little too much of a project for me I had the roller delivered to a local hot rod shop and the day it arrived, I drove the Nova over and asked: "How much to put this stuff on there and paint it?"

Look it came with the original numbers matching SS block, crank and heads! (FYI No such thing in 1973. The SS package was just an exterior trim decoration and could be ordered with any motor including a six cylinder if you wanted.) This was an automatic, AC car, bench seat, 350ci 2Bbl L65. No one will ever be lining up a Barrett-Jackson to add this to their Nova collection.

On the plus side the roller already had mini tubs installed. This is $1000 project all on its own. I dreamed of the 11" rear wheels I would put on the car.
How do I know it was an original SS? While no one can say for sure unless you have the original build sheets, who in their right mind would put SS stripes on a non-repainted car? It was legit.
And as a bonus, it came with  a trunk full of (all be it dusty) goodies.
 I could picture the brand new cowl hood and SS grill. It was only a matter of time!
It was delivered ready to go. Just swap the motor bolt on some parts and take it to the DMV!

The owner of the shop quoted me $40K. That's right $40,000 dollars. It was his nice way to tell me to get my crappy Novas out of his shop. I took my prize(s) home and tried to not look my wife straight in the eyes for fear I would explode in flames.

1973 Nova SS Roller For Sale (Cheap!) - Third Time's a Charm
I decided to give up the SS swap dream and decided to sell the SS on E-Bay. I asked $1800 and got no bids. Just to get rid of it, I lowered the price to $600 and had a $500 non-refundable deposit required. I got one bidder. He sent his deposit and showed up a week later to pick it up.

After the buyer looked at it he said it was too big of a project. I told him to give me the $100 he owed me and to take his car and title. I suggested that just he part it out and he could double/triple his money. He declined and walked away.

So I listed it on Ebay. Again, I only had 1 bidder and it sold for $600. The guy sent me the deposit and asked if I could hold it for a few weeks. He owned a body shop and had a customer with a 73 Nova who wanted it for parts. Several weeks went by and he called and said his customer backed out and so he didn't want to spend the time/money to come get the car. It was still mine.

So it went back up on the Bay and sold again for $600. This time the buyer was in North Carolina. He sent me the $600 and sent a truck to pick it up. One morning a few weeks later, we pushed it on to a car carrier and it rolled away. My wife smiled at me that day.

I paid $1600 for it and I eventually got $1600 back. So the hood and SS grill cost me $500 which is about retail. I decided those suckers were going on our Nova.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Rust Never Sleeps

Over the years, what wasn't so kind to the Nova was the beach. As Neal Young sang "rust never sleeps" and the Nova got its share of sleepless nights. Every time it rained my son would complain that the carpet was wet.

The visible result was two big rust-through spots on the drivers door and drivers rear quarter. But as anyone will tell you if you see this much rust look out, there is a lot more under the surface. We noticed signs of other rust especially the rear tail panel (was there when we bought it) and under the rear window which was crunchy when you pressed on the glass. The Nova started looking more like a Detroit native than a So-Cal baby. (This one was built in Van Nuys, CA.)