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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone,

My name is Josh and I'm from beautiful Arizona. Let me first point out that I do not own a vehicle worthy of discussion on this forum. However, I am looking to buy one. I want to get a 60s or 70s weekend driver with a little bit of muscle and I do have a car in mind. One serious obstacle I need to hurdle is my woeful unfamiliarity with engines/suspensions/exhausts etc. After watching countless hours of Youtube videos on the idiosyncrasies of various old engines and cars, I still feel my at a loss as to what questions to ask depending on the specific vehicle I am looking at.

This is how I ended up here. So here is my questions for you guys. I am considering buying this 68 Chevy Nova for which I am including the following description and pictures. Note that the only reason I am not including the link to the post is because I fear I will get flagged as a spammer.

1968 chevy nova restomod, motor is a 383 stroker well over 400 HP, 4 barrel carb with dual magna flow exhaust. 4l60e automatic4 spd over drive transmission. with a 10 bolt 373 geared rearend.less than a 1000 miles on drivetrain.power front disc brakes and power steering.
fantastic looking custom interior.full gauge package. 2000 watt sound system.
custom paint job burnt orange over pearl white.
complete hotchkis suspension upgrades,includes motorbay supports tubular a arms an subframe connectors ect handles great! all the glass is in great shape.


Pics:
Wheel Tire Vehicle Car Hood


Vehicle Car Speedometer Gear shift Steering part


Tire Wheel Vehicle Car Hood


Vehicle Motor vehicle Car seat cover Head restraint Armrest


Vehicle Car Motor vehicle Hood Automotive design


Hood Vehicle Motor vehicle Car Automotive design


Vehicle Hood Motor vehicle Light Car


Could you someone please advise if any inconsistencies pop up in the pics and description? Also, what questions would you recommend that I ask when I call the guy? The price of the car is about $30k. Does that sound fair?
 

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I would say that's a little high. But without seeing the car in person, and seeing the quality of the build. Things like paint, wiring, plumbing of the brake, and fuel lines take enormous amounts of man hours to do nicely.
Also who built the engine? What parts are inside?

For 30k you can surely get a nice ride. But you don't want to spend that much on a mediocre build. I wish I was closer to go check it out with you.
 

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Looking at pics better, wiring looks less than stellar under the hood where everybody can see, I wonder what it looks like under the dash?
These cars aren't cheap anymore, but 30k is a lot of money! Maybe its worth it, I would try to talk him down for sure.

How does it run, and drive?

If you can hop in and drive, it might be worth it if he already had ALL the bugs worked out. These are problems you don't want, if you have little or no auto experience.
 

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That’s not the car for you!
That’s not the car for 90% of the people.
You’ll be admiring it sitting in the garage more than driving it. That ride will take a bunch of knowledge to run consistently that you don’t have yet.
Look for a ride that’s a bit simpler but looks nice. Don’t get hung up on the big numbers game. Numbers like ‘383’, ‘400 hp’, etc.
A mild 350 automatic car is what you need.
Easy to enjoy now with possible upgrades later.
I’d buy this nova. In the popular color of ‘For sale red’.
Easy to learn on, drive, enjoy now, upgrade to more motor or trans later kinda car.
And the color makes it easy to resell if you find yourself overwhelmed from trying to maintain a hotrod.
Best of luck!


 

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That's a no-go right there.

Great that it has some appeal to you but what you might want to do is look around a bit and find out when local cruises or small car shows are happening. Understandably in the current situation, those might be a bit thin but it would give you an opportunity to look at what other people have done with and to their rides. We usually have a good sized show here but it's been cancelled the last two years, however local stuff is still happening on a smaller scale. This is the website of our local car club council ( Car Club Council of Central Virginia) - see if there is something similar in your neck of the woods.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
That’s not the car for you!
That’s not the car for 90% of the people.
You’ll be admiring it sitting in the garage more than driving it. That ride will take a bunch of knowledge to run consistently that you don’t have yet.
Look for a ride that’s a bit simpler but looks nice. Don’t get hung up on the big numbers game. Numbers like ‘383’, ‘400 hp’, etc.
A mild 350 automatic car is what you need.
Easy to enjoy now with possible upgrades later.
I’d buy this nova. In the popular color of ‘For sale red’.
Easy to learn on, drive, enjoy now, upgrade to more motor or trans later kinda car.
And the color makes it easy to resell if you find yourself overwhelmed from trying to maintain a hotrod.
Best of luck!


Thank you for the advice. I do wonder though why "That ride will take a bunch of knowledge to run consistently that you don’t have yet". I mean the idea is to get a complete, turnkey vehicle without my having to finish it in any way. I am certainly not looking for a project I will spend years bringing to the finish line. That Nova struck me as just that, but based on your comment, it's far from it. Could you please elaborate a little on it? Why would it need so much to run consistently?
 

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Just pay the man, it looks like a decent build that needs some cosmetic clean up which can be done down the road as you get more experience under your belt.

The wiring could be cleaner but function is more important, my first question would be what controller is running the 4L60E and who built it what parts are in it, brush up on the web about this there’s lots of info. The 4L60E and its earlier cousins the 4L60 and 700R4 are in stock form not up to 400 horsepower. The 4L80E would be the better choice for the build but a well built 4L60E would be OK.

The problem you will have to suffer through is your lack of technical knowledge and the fact that the wilder the custom build the more your knowledge base will be taxed. But it seems you understand this.

Bogie
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Looking at pics better, wiring looks less than stellar under the hood where everybody can see, I wonder what it looks like under the dash?
These cars aren't cheap anymore, but 30k is a lot of money! Maybe its worth it, I would try to talk him down for sure.

How does it run, and drive?

If you can hop in and drive, it might be worth it if he already had ALL the bugs worked out. These are problems you don't want, if you have little or no auto experience.
Very valuable info. Thank you. I have pondered the idea of hiring a local mechanic to come along with me to look at cars. I just don't know where to find one. For starters, it would have to be someone who works on vintage cars. They would also need to make time to accompany me, which I don't know what self-respecting mechanic would go on jobs like that. Regardless of which car I end up buying, how would suggest I go about having someone look at it before I pull the trigger? I mean I could schedule a check-up at a local classic car shop, but then you gotta line up all parties to make the timing work for everyone. It's just difficult logistically. What would you recommend?
 

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Thank you for the advice. I do wonder though why "That ride will take a bunch of knowledge to run consistently that you don’t have yet". I mean the idea is to get a complete, turnkey vehicle without my having to finish it in any way. I am certainly not looking for a project I will spend years bringing to the finish line. That Nova struck me as just that, but based on your comment, it's far from it. Could you please elaborate a little on it? Why would it need so much to run consistently?
Even turn key cars can be troublesome. Especially one built by someone else.
It’ll start and idle nice today and run like crap tommorow. Changing weather can effect running conditions. Or you might get a little trash in your carb and it’ll flood and never start. Then there it sits until you find someone to fix it.
Where is that nova located and where do you live? Important info when it comes to jetting and timing.
You need to start slow. Buy something that’s darn near stock and learn the basics on tuning. Then do upgrades. Or step right in the rabbit hole and hope you don’t loose too much money when you decide you’ve had enough and sell the whole pile.
You’re not looking for a mechanic to help you, you’re looking for a hotrodder.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Even turn key cars can be troublesome. Especially one built by someone else.
It’ll start and idle nice today and run like crap tommorow. Changing weather can effect running conditions. Or you might get a little trash in your carb and it’ll flood and never start. Then there it sits until you find someone to fix it.
Where is that nova located and where do you live? Important info when it comes to jetting and timing.
You need to start slow. Buy something that’s darn near stock and learn the basics on tuning. Then do upgrades. Or step right in the rabbit hole and hope you don’t loose too much money when you decide you’ve had enough and sell the whole pile.
You’re not looking for a mechanic to help you, you’re looking for a hotrodder.
Makes perfect sense. I do appreciate the advice and I will heed it. Thank you.
 

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Broaden your search but stay close to home.
Here’s a couple of car sites.






 

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A knowledgeable friend would come along for free but it would be customary to provide a pleasant sit down lunch.

A professional builder does this for a living, their time is money just as is your lawyer’s. It is customary to pay a pro a fee for their time. Adding a nice lunch can help cement a business deal into a friendship, which when cultivated may in a professional sense may not be free but the experience you gleen in conversation and observation can be priceless.

Bogie
 

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Just pay the man, it looks like a decent build that needs some cosmetic clean up which can be done down the road as you get more experience under your belt.
i'd do this ^^^
this car caught your eye and made you do a little research. if you like it buy it. you can always bring a friend to check for rust or damage, or drive to a body shop with old car knowledge. mechanics can be fixed, wiring can be fixed, but if the bones are bad you're sort of screwed. it wouldn't hurt to find a shop that can work on a classic carbureted car (or switch it to efi)
 

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I would ask for ALL the invoices from the build, parts and labor. A serious owner would have kept all the receipts, and would be happy to show them, to justify the selling price. It also shows the quality of the parts used, and who built the car, reputable shop, or?... No receipts, no go, as far as I am concerned, these fancy "383 stroker" valve covers do not mean anything at all!
Another thing is to make sure everything works properly, absolutely everything: obviously the car starts well cold or warm, shifts nicely..., but also that every electrical gizmo inside works (heater fan, electric windows...), check all the functions of the sound system, assembly quality (can you actually lean on that fancy center console...)... This will give you a good idea of the car as a whole, a good feel of the car: maybe you can live with a couple simple things that do not work, but maybe when you end up with a list of, say, 10 little issues, you will start feeling uncomfortable with the car.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I would ask for ALL the invoices from the build, parts and labor. A serious owner would have kept all the receipts, and would be happy to show them, to justify the selling price. It also shows the quality of the parts used, and who built the car, reputable shop, or?... No receipts, no go, as far as I am concerned, these fancy "383 stroker" valve covers do not mean anything at all!
Another thing is to make sure everything works properly, absolutely everything: obviously the car starts well cold or warm, shifts nicely..., but also that every electrical gizmo inside works (heater fan, electric windows...), check all the functions of the sound system, assembly quality (can you actually lean on that fancy center console...)... This will give you a good idea of the car as a whole, a good feel of the car: maybe you can live with a couple simple things that do not work, but maybe when you end up with a list of, say, 10 little issues, you will start feeling uncomfortable with the car.
This is really helpful stuff. Appreciate it.
 
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