The 1971 Nova is looking a lot like last year, but under the hood a 350 cu in (5.7 L) has replaced the 396 and the four cylinder is dropped from the options list making a 230 inline six the base engine now. This is the year E.P.A. regulations are coming on strong so all the engines have lower compression ratios and are able to run on unleaded fuel. For ’71 and ’72 the Rally Nova is a trim option including a choice of black or white length wise racing strips and around the trunk area, Rally Nova logo on the grill, matching body paint drivers remote adjustment mirror, rally wheels, and multi-leaf rear springs are also included.
The complete line up has minor trim changes in ’72 and the Rally Sport option is extremely popular this year.The base Nova for ’72 is the entry level G.M. vehicle. The Strato bucket seats are now each sporting an integral head rest while you could also choose a sun roof for any two door model. More than 1/3 of the Novas sold in ’72 are equipped with a six cylinder engine.
Hatchback models are available in 1973 and are based on the two door coupe. Impact absorbing 2.5 mph impact bumpers change the cars look both front and rear. The Nova SS option is around but is only a dress up package with black grill and rally tires included but could come with any drive chain offer the company has available. The vent widows are gone in ’73 on all the two and four door models with the rear side windows reshaped, as well, all the Novas have an upgraded suspension with multi layer leaf springs in the back smoothing out the ride. More upgrades are side door guard beams, heavier sound insulation are both included, while air conditioning is an available option as well as a fold down rear seat.
Nova bumpers for 1974 are both 2” longer plus able to with stand 5 mph impacts without damage and the parking lights are bigger. The automatic transmission is replaced by a lighter version of a Turbo-Hydramatic the more substantial automatic on larger engines.
This is the year of the first energy crisis keeping the six cylinder the popular choice among most consumers. The Spirit of America trim option becomes available for ’74 in anticipation of the public looking forward to the to the U.S. bi-centennial coming up in 1976. All Novas in ’74 are fitted with a mechanism that prevents the car from being started until the seat belt is done up but this mandate was later scraped by congress and a bypass became available to ’74 model owners with later models equipped with a more conventional reel style for the belts shoulder harness.
The Yenko Super Nova’s
Race car driver turned engineer/dealer, Don Yenko, is well known for modifying G.M. power trains in the 1970’s to produce maximum performance from both the engines and the transmissions; he also did suspension tune ups putting together what are referred to as “Yenko Super Nova’s”. The frames on these cars are also beefed up and his packages come complete with pin striping, decals, and badging declaring the modifications. The Super Nova, if you can find one, is a very valuable commodity today.