Fourth of July Weekend Capsule: 1974 Nova Spirit of America Hatchback – When Hatchbacks Roamed The Land Without Disdain!

6-20-2014 124

Yesterday Aaron65 favored us with some delectable ’70s U.S.-themed Curbside Classics. As mentioned, there were three Spirit of America Chevrolets available in MY 1974: Impala, Nova and Vega. However much I would have enjoyed showing you a SoA Vega (are any left?), I was unable to locate one. But, this Nova Hatchback isn’t too shabby, is it?

6-20-2014 128

In 1973, the Nova received a mild facelift incorporating the now-required “park bench” front bumper, narrower grille, and quad taillights. Also new, and highly played up in advertising, was a hatchback.

6-20-2014 121

Though losing a bit of their former sleekness due to the bulkier bumpers, the Nova was still a rather handsome compact, especially in higher-trim versions. All Novas were much the same in 1974, save for a newly-added bowtie emblem on the grille. Also new was–you guessed it!–the Spirit of America Nova. It was the flossiest compact Chevy you could specify!

6-20-2014 125

Of course, the big difference between the Nova pillared coupe and the Hatchback was out back. Open wide! Yes, in 1973-74 a hatchback was a novelty, the “next big thing,” and the bodystyle had not yet become shorthand for “unpleasant penalty box.”

1973 Buick Apollo  Cdn -03

The rear hatch (also available on Nova dΓΆppelgangers Ventura, Omega and Apollo) offered lots of extra room to stash whatever stuff you needed to carry, no matter the flavor of X-body you chose. And with the SoA’s canopy vinyl roof, white paint and snazzy red and blue striping, you could do so in ’70s style.

6-20-2014 126

Inside the Nova Custom interior was utilized, with plusher seats and more nicely-trimmed door panels. Clearly this example has had some modifications, and gave off a not-unpleasant ’80s street machine vibe.

6-20-2014 123

The red, white and blue steering wheel insert with eagle emblem was a unique piece, and it would no doubt be all but impossible to locate a replacement these days. This one was mint, though. Note the blank out on the far right of the speedometer–someone added the Spirit of America package, but was still too cheap to order the clock.

6-20-2014 122

I have always liked white vinyl interiors, so of course I had to check out this rare Nova while attending the Eastern Iowa Nova Club event at Riverside Casino in Riverside, IA–about ten minutes’ drive from Iowa City.

I will have to share some of the other finds from that event sometime, but with the Fourth of July weekend now upon us, I just had to give this one an early debut!

6-20-2014 127