Is there a better time capsule for so many men of a certain age than a Nova coupe? It isn’t the Nova you wanted then, which had at least a 350 under the hood, and not a wheezy six. But when it comes to first cars, you make do with what you can afford.
And now that you can afford a ’69 Z-28 or a 1970s BMW, who wants to have what all the other guys at the reunion now have? They might be living their high school dreams, but that’s not the same as actually reliving high school. Isn’t their an expression about high school being the best years of one’s life?
Sadly, there’s no price. And I haven’t been back to see if it’s still there. But maybe the market for these isn’t as strong as it once was.
Yeah, a used Nova coupe was cheap back then, and the next best thing to the real thing. Hey, it really was a ’67-’69 Camaro under the skin, except for a few inches of extra wheelbase. Which wasn’t all that good a thing, as the gen1 Camaro wasn’t exactly a ballerina, to put it lightly. The ’71, with its new front end and steering was a lot better, but the Nova (and its stablemates) would have to wait until 1975 to get those goodies. This was 1968 revisited.
Unless I’m being deceived, from the lack of fender call-outs this should have a 250 six and a three speed. The wheels and tires are mighty modest as is the stance. But then maybe this is what makes it such a time capsule: plenty of young guys couldn’t afford a set of mags after they plunked down their savings from the after-school job at the Dairy Queen or gas station.
This is a hatchback, no less. Hmm; does that increase the odds of it having a six? I’d say so. In my recollection, hatchbacks were more likely to be bought new by a female driver; easier to load the shopping or baby stroller. Or am I being sexist?
There’s something about this pairing that speaks louder than words. While a Nova V8 coupe might have been the hot thing in the 60s, by the 70s things were changing fast, at least in some parts of the country. Of course the BMW was more expensive and not as fast as a 350 powered Nova, the lure of the spinning propeller was big and getting bigger by the day.
It was not a coincidence that the ’75 Nova sported a decidedly BMW-esqe flavor, most so in the roof line and the “Hoffmeister kink”, which of course had been around long before Herr Hoffmeister ever thought of it, and which was already present on the ’73-’74 Nova. But it was all just a well-done re-skin of the ’68-’74 Nova from the cowl back, with a new front end courtesy of the ’71-up Camaro, with its much improved suspension and steering. The Nova was finally worthy of being called a four door Camaro.
In 1974, no one would even dream of accusing the Nova of having BMW aspirations. But then a 350/THM 350 Nova was a whole different animal from the BMW: a world-class power train in a third-world body. But a six cylinder, three speed manual Nova? Dream on, kid…