Frame Off Restored Nova SS 396/375 HP M 21 4 Speed 12 Bolt 3.73
- Fresh restoration
- Period-correct 375hp/396cid V8
- Muncie M21 4-speed manual
- 12-bolt Positraction differential
- Fully restored interior
- Power disc/drum brakes
The third generation of Chevrolet Nova has long been a favorite of drag racers and weekend mechanics. With great styling, a relatively short list of factory options and engine choices that went all the way up to the 375hp 396cid V8, the Nova's street-fighting potential has been tapped into from day one. While this is a good thing on most accounts, it has caused the 1968-1974 Novas to go the way of the Willys. Sure, there are plenty of them at shows but how many are original or even original spec? It's what makes seeing a car like this awesome 1970 Nova SS an increasingly rare experience. The subject of a comprehensive restoration, this Nova houses all the right checklist items such as a mighty L78 396 and Muncie 4-speed in an immaculate shell that's ready to dominate local car shows.
General Motors made authenticating 1970 SS cars a challenge but we have a two copies of the invoice from JL Cannon Chevrolet in Greenville, SC that read:
11427 8 Nova Sport Coupe: $2344.00
Destination Charge: $94.00
Positraction Axle 3.55 Ratio: $42.15
Power Disc Brakes: $64.25
375HP Turbo-Jet 396 V8: $316.00
4-spd Close Ratio Trans: $184.00
E70 14x4 Red Stripe Tires: $32.10
AM Pushbutton Radio: $61.10
Rally Wheels: $35.85
Nova SS Equipment: $317.05
Total Amount: $4490.85
If you knew then what you know now, right?
Two years prior, Chevrolet introduced an updated Nova that was It longer, lower and wider than the previous generation. It incorporated an all new roofline into an overall designed based on the popular long hood/short deck look of the day. With the exception of minor changes to the taillights and side markers, this 1970 model maintains that same attractive profile. While this one left the Willow Run assembly plant with a Green Mist exterior and a dark green interior, the restorer mercifully updated the combination to Astro Blue with a black interior. Today, the car presents incredibly well and turns heads wherever it goes. Sight the body from any angle and you'll find a smooth wave-free exterior casting nearly perfect reflections thanks to the slick base/clear paintwork. As you would expect, everything down to the panel fitment is far superior to anything found on an original GM car of the day.
Chevrolet did a particularly good job designing tasteful ornamentation for these Novas. Up front, an SS badge takes front and center on a black grille framed with round headlights in square bezels. Below, a show ready chrome bumper leaves room for square turning lights on either side of two rectangular cutouts. Above the grille, an SS hood with twin chrome louvers hints at what's under the hood, backed up by the “396” badges at the corners of the front fenders. Below the Nova script to the rear of the fender, simulated vents add an aggressive touch. Up top, clean factory class is surrounded by nearly flawless trim work with bowtie-badged rear view mirrors in front of either vent window. To the rear, a black taillight panel sits between rectangular taillights above another show quality chrome bumper. The decklid features a “Hurst-equipped” badge, giving other drivers a little insight as to what exactly just flew by them.
For Nova enthusiasts, 1970 is generally remembered as the last year GM offered these compacts with rat power. Open this SS hood and you'll find the desirable 396 cubic inch big block in full 375hp L78 trim. Though not original to the car, the block sports a correct 3969854 casting number with a March 29th, 1970 date code to further authenticity. Beneath the properly decaled chrome open element air cleaner, a 650cfm Holley Double Pumper with a GM 3969835 heat shield sends atomized fuel into a GM 3963569 low-rise intake manifold. At the sides, factory cast iron heads are dressed in showroom fresh chrome valve covers. The block itself wears a coat of Chevrolet Orange with factory style overspray extending onto the heads, intake and even a few of the reproduction hoses. At the front, only an alternator and fan spin off engine power while a factory style radiator is connected to the block by more reproduction GM hoses. The mill breathes through cast iron manifolds that bolt up to a OEM-style exhaust system with two modest chrome tips. Ignited by a reproduction distributor that sends spark through Packard TVR wires, the car starts immediately and sounds awesome. Aesthetically, period correct pieces like the Delco R59 battery and correct grease pencil markings add an authentic look to accompany that sound.
Peer underneath and you'll find a well detailed undercarriage with correct finishes and markings all the way around. At the center, a Muncie M21 four-speed manual transmission works in concert with the big block to provide an authentic driving experience. This M21 carries a 3885010 casting number on the main case and a P7C17 Muncie ID, revealing it as a 1967 build. That vintage four-speed channels power down the driveshaft to a 12-bolt GM differential packed with highway friendly 3.07 gears. Around the drivetrain, a rebuilt factory suspension consisting of double A-arms up front and parallel leafs out back presents well with chassis inspection markings recreated in their correct spots. Steering remains a manual effort but braking is handled by power assisted disc brakes on the front end and drum brakes at the rear.
Regardless of what motor made its way into the subframe, the Nova always stayed true to its economical roots. No place was that more evident than the interior. The inside of this '70 model stays true to that formula with only the bare essentials in place. Seating is provided by a nicely recovered black vinyl bench with simple black door panels featuring a wood applique strip at either side. From the driver's seat, a showroom quality dashboard places nothing more than a speedometer and fuel gauge in the cluster. The restorer chose not add an aftermarket tachometer or any other gauge to the keep the interior as authentic looking as possible. At either side of the cluster, there are controls for items like the ventilation system, push button AM radio and lights. An aluminum three-spoke sport steering wheel with a red, white and blue Chevrolet horn button tops the lockable steering column. Bright pieces such as the window cranks and door handles look brand new as does the headliner. At ground level, fresh black carpet it protected by GM rubber floor mats. To the rear of the cabin, a utilitarian trunk retains its utilitarian factory style with the correct jack and spare tire in place.
Documentation for this car includes copies of the original window sticker as well as a brief spec page that provides an overview of the car's key features.
It's rare to enough to see a stock spec Nova, let alone buy one this nice. With plenty of power and the great Muncie 4-speed to row through the gears with, this Nova offers a highly authentic driving experience without the overhanging fear of wrecking a priceless investment. If you're looking for a different kind of muscle car, this 1970 Nova SS might be the perfect option for your garage.
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