Frank & Penny H’s 1971 Nova

Built From The Ground Up

Frank & Penny H’s 1971 Nova

The story of Frank and Penny’s 1971 Nova. In January 1971, Frank had no idea that a decision he was about to make would end up playing out the way it did. He couldn’t afford a Camaro, Chevelle, or a Corvette, or be able to pay for the insurance for one, so he started looking at 3rd gen Novas.

After looking at many, he got serious about a ’68. He took the VIN number to Braeger Chevrolet and found out that the L88 he was looking at was in fact a 396 with the heads dressed up in aluminum paint.

Turned out the salesman he was talking to had actually sold the car. He offered to put me in a new Nova, and after much negotiating, he ordered him a new 1971 Nova. He missed the deadline for a 1970, so he ended up with GM’s first low lead, lower compression motor with new peanut plugs. “Bummed at the time” turned out to be a blessing that would pay off in spades years later. His 1971 Nova runs just fine on non-ethanol premium pump gas and with no motor modifications.

In April 1972, he decided to marry his girlfriend before somebody else did. They started a family, and the Nova became a grocery getter. Their family grew up with the 1971 Nova. After about 15 yrs, he decided to put the Nova in storage and parked it for 20+ yrs. He tells everybody that he put it in storage when his daughter got her driver’s license. That’s not really accurate, but the timing is about right.

Fast forward to Father’s Day 2012; his daughter Nicole made that “the year of the Nova.” Despite and over his objections, the cover came off. The 1971 Nova rolled out of the garage and into the sunlight for the first time in 22 years. With the help of her boyfriend Garrett, it got new fluids, plugs, wires, cap, points, and tires, rebuilt the carb, new shocks, and rear springs, and now it’s back on the road.

A living testament to arguably the greatest V-8 to ever come out of Detroit; GM’s SBC.

So here he is, nearly 50 years later. He’s the original owner, and it’s in original, unrestored condition. It’s like a time capsule full of 50 years of memories. Maybe it’s more like a book; he looks forward to seeing what’s in the next chapter. He is truly blessed.

He plans to continue going to cruises and car shows which is a great way to spend time with like-minded car enthusiasts. He is always willing to answer any questions that spectators have about their Nova.

Their 1971 Nova was featured as, Nova of the month of, in April 2020 at GM Classics & Chevy LL Only. You can follow the link below to view that honor and now he’s featured here at Ground Up!

They also won an award for best in a Survivor class at an earlier car show this spring. His plans are to maintain it in its original condition by only replacing parts as needed to keep it in running condition.

"A great resource for quality restoration parts."

-Frank & Penny H

Ground Up Parts Featured In This Build

1970-1974 Nova 350 Fender Emblems

Part #: TQ-356
350 fender emblem


Best Price Available

1969-1972 Nova Fender Emblem

Part #: TGF-676
1968 Nova Quarter Panel Emblem, 1969 Nova -1972 Nova Fender Emblem


You Save: 9%

1970-1972 Nova Super Sport Grille Kit

1970-1972 nova super sport grille kit


You Save: 10%

1970-1972 Nova Grille Emblem, SS

Part #: TK-8871


You Save: 8%

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