Aren Cambre

Year 1974
Make Chevrolet
Model Nova
Body Style 2-door sedan
VIN 1X27H4L124980
Miles c. 218,000

Engine 350 (5.7 L) V8, .030 over
Heads both 1.80
Compression Ratio 9.5:1
Carburetor 500 CFM stock 2-bbl
Exhaust Stock manifolds and mufflers
Camshaft Street and track
Lifters Stock hydraulic lifters
Estimated peak horsepower 251 HP @ 5000 RPM
Estimated peak torque 302 lb/ft @ 3500 RPM

Transmission TurboHydramatic 350
Rear Axle Stock, non-Positrac

Wheels Stock rally wheels
Tires Cheap Western Auto-brand garbage

Paint Type Currently only urethane primer
Paint Color Will again be original aqua blue poly

Sound System Stock, original monaural AM/FM
1974 Chevrolet Nova
February 2, 1996: This car was originally purchased from the dealer's lot in Dallas by my grandfather for my mother's senior year of college at Texas Tech University. Believe it or not, that Nova was used as the family car for years. Imagine riding in the back in family vacations to Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, and New Mexico; tight fit would be an understatement! It now has 218,000 miles and burns and leaks around 1 quart of oil per gas fillup. We are currently having the car repainted to its original color at a local high school. When (or if) I ever get money, I want to buy the car from my parents and use it as my daily driver.

1974 Chevrolet Nova Crash

1974 Chevrolet Nova Crash In September 1994, I destroyed the front right fender in a minor accident on a slick road. The accident wasn't all my fault: the guy in front of me was following too closely to the car in front of him, causing a three-car chain-reaction accident. I was able to slide down to approximately 5 MPH before colliding. The "5 MPH" bumper is not attached to a 5 MPH frame at the front, so the tip of the front right frame got bent up. When the bumper went back, it caught the front right fender and crinkled the whole thing back about 2 or 3 inches. I had to go to quite a few junkyards before I found a good fender.

Aren's Nova's rear
Apparently Tom and Ray Magliozzi of Car Talk1 and their producer Doug Berman all approve of my accident. (This is the rear of the side shot accident photo above.) Fixing the wrecked fender on my Nova

Fixing the wrecked fender on my Nova One hot and steamy Friday afternoon, I decided to replace this fender. Curiosity got the best of me and I almost took apart the entire front end! I got some really weird looks when I went to my church's youth activities on Sunday afternoon with my car still torn apart. I guess that I'm a typical male because I never read one instruction manual before removing everything. I only had to get my father to help me once.

Being restored at a local high school

Being restored at a local high school March 18, 1996: The high school that is in the process of repainting the car will rebuild the TH 350 transmission this week. There's a big red stain all over the shop floor because the transmission lost all its fluids after we brought it in. Click here to see pictures from January of the car in the shop. That nerd in the orange welding suit in the background of the bottom picture is the body shop teacher.

April 11, 1996: The transmission is rebuilt and the "bomb" (as my mother lovingly refers to her former car) has been put back into the body shop.

Vacuum test on the A/C system May 17, 1996: My evaporator core is bad! Where do I find a new one? 1974 has a unique evaporator because of the stupid POA system (which incidentally requires a special VIR assembly that frequently fails). Correction: I saw a 1976 Cadillac Seville (with under 10,000 miles); its stock A/C amazingly had the exact same evaporator, evaporator housing, and VIR assembly!

May 28, 1996: I found an evaporator! It was only 15 miles away! Now back to frosty interior heaven (when the car comes out of the shop).

May 30, 1996: Got the A/C system back together. A new evaporator does wonders for the air temperature inside the car! Aren's Nova's rear Here's my Nova's rear. Abortive repainting attempt

Abortive repainting attempt

Abortive repainting attempt

Abortive repainting attempt

Abortive repainting attempt This is an abortive attempt I made in the summer of 1995 to repaint the car. I sanded the whole thing with a pneumatic DA at a friend's house. The rings on the air compressor were bad, so the DA would randomly squirt oil everywhere. The whole attempt would have been OK, except that the car would have ended up with an acrylic enamel paint job.

I had to give up the project after 2 coats of primer because the summer was ending and I was about to matriculate at Southern Methodist University. Before I left, we had to take the car into the shop to get the A/C fixed again (a hose developed a leak).

1Car Talk is a wonderful exception to National Public Radio's usual leftist lineup of shows. You can probably find it on your local public radio station.

Copyright © 1995, 1996 Aren Cambre.