With just one Malaise Nova up until now in this series, it's time to set our thermostats at 66 in winter/78 in summer, lower our expectations of future prosperity, and travel back to the Bicentennial Era... when presidents got impeached, wars got lost, and the base V8 in a new Chevy Nova was a 155-horse 350. Actually, the Nova of this era wasn't a bad car; it was cheap and every component was made by the lowest possible bidder, but it was honestly cheap.


The Nova Custom was the mid-level trim package; you could get get the '75 Custom sedan for $3,415, and for another 75 bucks you'd have one with that lo-po 350 I mentioned earlier.

Of course, since 1975 and older cars are smog-exempt in California, there's nothing stopping the owner of this car from adding, say, 300 additional horsepower using cheap off-the-shelf performance parts. I'm often tempted to go the Nova + small-block route for my next project car, though I'd probably use one of the Buick/Olds/Pontiac Nova clones.


The Chevy dog-dishes look great on this car, which has been serving as basic transportation since Gerald Ford was in the White House. The four-door mid-70s Nova doesn't have enough collector value to survive on "classic" status, so this one is still with us thanks to its usefulness as a motor vehicle.


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