Jason purchased this 1971 Nova SS as his first car at 15 years old back in 1985. It had been sitting in a lot for months on end when a “For Sale” sign finally appeared.
The seller was asking $200 for the 1971 Nova, which Jason was able to save up half of while his father Steven footed the rest. He is still driving around his very first car to this day, 36 years later.
Over the years the Nova’s gone through a number of different revisions, but it originally came to Jason with a very poorly running 350 small block. When he was 17, his father sourced an old ’57 Fuelie 283 small block that was payment for a piano gig he played and that engine was swapped in place of the first 350. The pair were surprised when they realized that it had been internally modified for performance.
“That 283, it turns out, was punched to 301 and it screamed!”
About 15 years ago Jason finally got around to performing a frame-off restoration on his 1971 Nova. At that time, he took the opportunity to swap in a new engine, being a 1970 4-bolt small block 350 that’s nearly stock. He was looking for something a bit more reliable than his previous setup, so it was kept fairly simple.
“It’s just a Nova. LOL. Actually made a book called “The 200 worst cars ever made”. I completely disagree!”
Fortunately for Jason, he had received NOS GM fenders and quarter panels for Christmas back when he was 17 years old and had been holding onto them for the right occasion. Now that the frame-off restoration was underway, it was the perfect time to put them to use on his 1971 Nova. Unfortunately for Jason, he retains a dent in the passenger side door from an errant soccer ball during his time coaching his daughter’s soccer team. He intentionally left that dent in place for sentimental value, however.
“I recall the day it happened…someone on the team kicked the ball over the goal and it hit the door. Seemed like the loudest bang in the world. Everyone knows me and the car so all heads turned to me. I paused for a few seconds and said….”play ball!”
Ultimately, this 1971 Nova is a driver, not a car show queen. Jason drives it about half of the time, even in snow. He loved going on the local classic cruises and parking lot shows and is looking forward to getting back in the swing of things when everything normalizes again. His father recently picked up a ’56 Del Ray, so they’ll be cruising out together in the future.