Difficult Nova Decision

Over the past 24 hours I had to make a very difficult decision: whether to purchase another Nova.

I found a local Nova in Auto Trader. Here is a picture:

Overall the car was in really nice shape. It is a 66,000 mile, garaged original with no rust, disc brakes, a 350, solid front end, and A/C. The interior was almost spotless:

None of the plastic was cracking or fading except for the clip that holds the seat belt to the headrest. Even the plastic supporters for the seat belts were intact!

The owner let me drive it a little. It drove great, though it was a little wobbly due to the biased ply tires.

But here’s the rub. The 66,000 mile drive train had 31 years on it. There is no telling how much longer it will run without major failures. The paint is 31 years old. Yeah, it looks great now, but if I drove the car I know that paint would start looking bad and rusting in no time. I would have to repaint that car almost immediately. That’s not cheap. But what ultimately did me in is that I knew I would have to put a lot of time into this car immediately to make it “right”—mainly time in sanding and painting it. I’ve done that before. It takes a huge amount of time to do a “right” paint job. And after I put all this time into it, I would still be left with a 66,000 mile, 31 year old drive train.

I do have time to maintain cars and fix occasional problems. But at this time in my life—with a young kid, a job, a marriage, working on a degree, and everything else—I flat out don’t have the time for a project, even one as minor as this.

Dang, that would have been a nice car.

I would really like to get back into the Nova scene, but the only way I can see this working is if I can find a reasonably priced, completed project car. An unrestored original would be nice only if I had the time to go through it.

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