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KHOP11’s Profile Photo
Mar 26, 2012 at 1:44 am
Thanks for the kind compliments guys.
mikeymo1167’s Profile Photo
Mar 25, 2012 at 6:34 pm
That's a great back story. It should be in a magazine!
jrdeleon1’s Profile Photo
Mar 24, 2012 at 11:10 pm
Great story. Thanks for sharing! I felt the same way about my 71 Chevelle (my first car). Unlike you, I was never reunited with her. Good to know that fortune smiled and the universe reunited you with your first car.

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1978 Chevrolet Nova SS (78 NO-GO)

Last updated Mar 24, 2012  

Photo of a 1978 Chevrolet Nova SS (78 NO-GO)


I bought this car when I was 16 years old in 1999. She had a frozen up inline six, no transmission and was destined to crusher one day. Until I bought her for $300 that I'd worked a summer job for. I then spent more hard earned dough on a 400 cu small block and a transmission. I bought all of the seals, a motor stand and began building a dream. I would often sit in it (on a cinder block) and dream of one day cruising down the highway in it. I quickly ran out of funds and began to realize that I had the rest of my life to build a project and I wanted to save up and get a 72 Nova or a 69 Oldsmobile instead. So I sold it for what I had in it to a buddy in a town 45 miles away. He sold it to another guy in a town about 20 miles away from him, and that man sold it to an old lady there in the same town. I never saw the car again.

As time passed I often missed the Nova. I had grown partial to the x-body, she was, after all, my first car. I would talk to people about the car I used to own and the big plans I had for her.
One day at college I found myself in just such a conversation. I talked about the engine I was building, the paint I wanted, and all the while remembering that the dream had sailed. But I didn't know what the Fates had in store for me.

On my way home (I commuted to college 60 miles one way), I saw in my college town a Nova like my old one for sale. I thought little of it at first, but like a splinter in my mind it began to fester and swell into a crazy idea before I made it home. Sixty miles later I could take no more, I turned around and drove all the way back to investigate the car.

I began looking her over. She had an engine, she had a transmission, she had a similar smell that I had once known. Some bafoon had disrespectfully painted her a darker blue and managed to botch overspray everywhere. I noticed a feature here, a feature there, a dent in the same place behind the fender, a crimp in the wheel, a missing trunk latch that could only be opened with a flathead screwdriver. I opened the passenger side door. I could smell 1978 and the confined vinyl that melted in the summer heat. I opened the glovebox to find O'Reilly's receipts from 1999 with my phone number on them. She was my old car. Upon this realization, the man selling her came out to see me scoping out his car and I said, "Where did you get this car." "Some old lady in Nacogdoches." It was her. I drove her for the first time, she didn't have the 400 small block I'd planned on-heck she didn't even have her passing gear engaged, the engine was a mess; a rat's nest on wheels. But it didn't matter, it was like going on a date with your first love.

I brought her home on her own power this time, not on a trailer like I watched her leave me on. She returned to me, she found a way back.

I've had her back since 2004 and I've been restoring her ever since. She's been an everyday driver too, not a show car. It is only now in 2012 that I have begun to put her in retirement to begin making her into a "show car". Her future will only get brighter, and she won't be hidden in a garage and never enjoyed. She came back to me to live, not slowly rot in the darkness.


Engine size: 5.0ltr, Edelbrock 4barrel,

Top Speed: Never topped it out, fastest I've been in it is about 110, but I estimate it will do around 130-140.

Gear Ratio: Unknown, but mid range - this car catches it's stride in 3rd

Transmission: Automatic (5 speed stick with o.d. is on my wishlist)

Factory Options

This car is a 78, Detroit stopped stamping out an official SS Nova in 76 I think. This car was a grandma's grocery was plain-jane and boring...I've upgraded everything on the car that you would find in a 75 or 76 SS trim package and therefore since Chevy was too stingy with the SS label in the last years of the Nova, I have taken it upon myself as an enthusiast to make her an SS in all but the sereal number.

Air Conditioning available (temporarily disabled for repairs and upgrades as seen in the engine pic)

Power Steering will be added this summer

Originally had a split bench, but I installed bucket seats from a 67 Camaro. The back seat is a hybrid of a Camaro and Nova backseat.



Here is an account to the best of my memory right now of what I've replaced on the Nova. This doesn't include work or repairs to existing things.

1.) rear bumper filler - ebay $100

2.) tail lights - ebay $300

3.) locks - ebay $30

4.) weather stripping - ebay $30

5.) 6 inch subwoofer - $0

6.) 2 pioneer 6x9s - $0

7.) interior plastic moldings - ebay $120

8.) dome light cover - ebay $10

9.) 74 model Nova plate for dash Bob's Transmission- $5

10.) windows tinted - Latexo $150

11.) carpet - ebay $75.00

12.) camero bucket seats and rear - guy I know's attic $175

13.) toggle switch for windshield wipers - $0

14.) window rollers- Autozone $10

15.) console - Oreilly's $10

16.) brake master booster - Oreilly's $50

17.) Yenko camero sports mirrors - ebay $100

18.) new windshield - Jacky Lewis $100

19.) new Edlebrock 4 barrell, intake, breather, valve covers, sparkplugs, spark plug wires and all the fixin's- Oreilly's $900

20.) core support, power pump and resevoir water jug - Albert's Auto $150

21.) headlight bezzels - ebay $40

22.) door handles - ebay $40

23.) multiple cans of black spray paint for interior and touch up areas - Walmart Oreilly's $100

24.) floor mats - oreilly's $35

25.) new radiator - oreilly's $100

26.) Nova SS badge - ebay $35

27.) blue paint - Jacky Lewis $500

28.) new shocks - Oreilly's $50

29.) cooper cobra white letter tires - Pattons' Exxon $250

30.) Oldsmobile 5 spoke wheels - Jacky Lewis $0

31.) oldsmobile wheel center-caps - ebay $30

32.) dual exhaust (y-ed off) - Tracy's $75

33.) dual exhaust flowmaster turbos (true dueled) - Tracy's $200

34.) misc hoses - Oreilly's $100

35.) Pioneer CD player - Walmart - $95

36.) window felts - Nova Source Magazine - $125

37.) 1978 POS Nova before TLC - Best Catch Huntsville $1500

38.) 1978 POS Nova before I sold it - Some guy in town $300

39.) originally planned 400cu in v-8 plus tranny - $100

40.) motor stand for original engine - Oreilly's $125

41.) valve cover gaskets for original engine - Oreilly's $50

42.) reupholstered split bench - Crockett Upholstry$200 (the buckets were cheaper go fig)

43.) powersteering mechanism -$0

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78 Nova SS
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