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Scott's Rants and Raves 2001 Archives
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Digital Cameras and Pictures - Volume 1, Issue 6 - December, 2001

The turkey leftovers are just about gone, it's December and NovaResource.com is all decked-out on red and green colors. It must be the Christmas holiday season. I hope those of you who live in the colder climates have gotten your Novas ready for winter hibernation or are safely working on your cars.

The beginning of winter is so hectic with all the holiday events and things to do that I usually don't get much time to work on or play with my Nova. When the weather is nice enough to take the Nova out for a spin there is usually too much traffic on the streets with people going to and from the malls doing their shopping. Plus I'm busy shopping as well. Let's all remember that while gifts are nice to give and get this time of year is really about the birth of Christ and we should spent time with our family and friends. Especially after all that's happened over the last 3 months.

Two things I'd like to Rave over this month are my digital camera and the Ofoto.com website. I love photography and have been partial to 35mm Pentax cameras. Earlier this year I purchased a digital camera to use in place of my regular film Pentax cameras. I bought a Hewlett Packard PhotoSmart 618 camera. The reason for picking this camera was because it was a joint effort by HP and Pentax (Pentax sells the identical under their own name: Pentax EI-200). It's not as big or expensive at some of the professional cameras but it is a step above most point and shoot digital cameras. It has a very good Pentax lens with a 3x optical (plus 2x digital) zoom and takes pictures that in my opinion are every bit as good as film cameras. It came with a 16m CompactFlash card (most digitals came with only an 8m card), a USB port cable and photo editing software.

I used to take pictures with my regular camera and then scan them in but not anymore. The new pics of my Nova on this site were taken with the HP 618. Talk about a much easier and quicker process. However there still is the need to get actual prints of pictures. This is where the Ofoto.com website comes in. I signed up for a free membership and then I just upload the pictures to their website and order prints. They allow me to store literally hundreds of pictures on their site and if I choose to allow access to other people (like family) they can order copies of pictures they want. This comes in handy for grandparents who are always asking us for pictures of their grandkids. I can just order duplicates of the pictures they want instead of getting doubles of he whole roll and throwing away half. 4"x6" prints are only $.49 each and come in the mail in just a few days.

On top of this they also offer Christmas photo cards and other photo gifts. Another awesome thing they have is the ability to create a CD of all your pictures. Since I don't have a read/writeable CD drive this is a nice feature for me. Now I have a CD with all the pictures of my two daughters taken from 1997 thru 2000. What I plan to do now is upload all the photos for a whole year and at the end of the year create a new CD for that year. Now I will have a permanent record of my girls as they grow up and can reprint pictures of them at any time without having to keep and search through a box full of old negatives. It's also a great way to know exactly when each picture was taken since form now on each CD will be of a particular year and I keep folders for each month.

You may be wondering, "What does all this have to do with Novas?" Well, when building car (or a webpage) quality photos are a necessity. Nothing makes remembering how a car goes back together better than pictures. Like the old saying: "A picture paints a thousand words."

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and as always.....

Happy Motoring!

Old Man Winter - Volume 1, Issue 5 - November, 2001

Well it's November and winter is almost here. While my Nova is no longer my daily driver, I still drive it year round (weather permitting) even during the cold winters here in the Northeast. Unless you're fortunate to live where it's warm all year round you are probably getting ready to store your Nova for winter hibernation or planning your big winter project to get ready for next year. This means a long period of time where the vehicle is not used. Winter storage is usually done to protect the vehicle from severe weather but at the same time that storage time can do damage to the car some steps are not taken now.

If you just drive your car into a garage and lock the door behind you may have an unpleasant surprise 4 months later when you open the door. Rust can attach unfinished metal like brake rotors and drums. Condensation can build in empty gas tanks and the brake lines rusting them out from the inside. Gas can turn to goo clogging fuel lines, filters and carbs. Tires dry-rot or get flat spots from sitting so long. Rodents can attach the interior looking for places to live and stay warm.

There are things you can do to prevent these things from happening. You may know Steve McNabb's Chevy II/Nova Q&A Page but did you know that Steve also has a winter storage page to provide tips on storing your car? Steve knows what he's talking about because he lives up in cold Canada. Most of these tips only require small outputs of time and money but can save you lots of time and money repairing damage done from improper storage. Everyone has different storage situations and not everything may apply to you but take some time to read over what Steve has provided and put it to use in your unique situation. A little time now (and later when spring arrives) will give you more time cruising next season instead of repairing.

One last ting I want to bring up is safety. For some people, wintertime is a time for work on the car, not storage. Maybe you're planning an engine and/or transmission swap, a disc brake install, new paint or possibly major construction. Whatever you have planned remember to be safe. Keep your work area clean and be careful while welding to prevent fires. Also, keep the area well ventilated to prevent carbon-monoxide poisoning. Exhaust fumes and some space heaters can kill you and you might not know until it's too late. Fire extinguishers, smoke alarms and carbon-monoxide detectors can save your life. Get them and keep the batteries fresh.

Happy Motoring!

America Changes - Volume 1, Issue 4 - October, 2001

When I first started this page in July I said there may be the occasional non-automotive discussion here and this is one of those times. We all know what happened to America back on 9/11/01 and I won't waste your time discussing the tragedy. If you're like me you're probably upset, saddened, angry, heartbroken and feeling overloaded with all the media attention.

No matter what happens next we as Americans need to do whatever we can to help those affected. That may be the giving of monetary donations to the various organizations, donating blood or just praying. I believe that all things work for the good of God and even in this horrific attack, God will use it for His glory. Never in my lifetime have I seen the people of this country helping each other and giving of themselves in such an unselfish way. It's a shame that it takes such a tragedy to get us to behave this way but I hope it continues long after the clean-up is complete.

Another change I've noticed is how this tragedy have brought some families closer together. Seeing how quickly life can be lost has made us more aware of what really matters: life, family, and God. My church (and I'm sure many others) has experienced an immediate attendance growth in the services following the events of September 11th. People are asking why this happened and where was God in all this. You have to look no further than all the amazing stories of survival, rescue and generosity to find God. God is in the healing, not in the destruction. If you're still suffering and can find no peace around, maybe you're looking in the wrong direction. Try looking up.

Happy Motoring!

Rare vs Valuable - Volume 1, Issue 3 - September, 2001

Hello again Nova fans. In July I talked about some of the questions I get e-mails about. This month I want to talk about the 2nd most common question or e-mail I get: "How rare is my Nova?" Sometimes it's a not a question but someone telling me how rare they believe their Nova is. It seems that many people want to believe their Nova is rare and therefor more valuable.

Well folks, I'm here to tell you that rarity doesn't always equal valuable. There are some very rare options on Novas but it doesn't make them valuable. Take the 367 4-cyl 1965 Novas built. A very rare car but it's probably not going to be sought after by collectors. Then there are the 314 1974 Novas with the RPO-L90 250-L6 Low Compression Engine, the 47 1966 Novas with the RPO-Z83 Road Hazard package, the 14 1975 Novas with the RPO-GM8 2.56 Economy Rear Axle ratio or the ULTRA RARE 2 1973 Novas with the RPO-U05 Dual Horns.

See, the problem is these are rare options because not many people wanted them. Options like the L90 low compression 250 engine and the 153-L4 engines make the Novas they are in low desired models. So what if it's rare? These are just a few examples of rarity not always meaning valuable.

Sometimes it's not a single option but a long list of options. For example, some people like to make their Nova sound more rare because of some strange combination of common options. "My Nova is rare because it is the only 1970 Nova with painted red with a blue roof." I know that's exaggerated and would have never been produced but it's just an example of the strange ways people try to make their Nova sound more important, rare or valuable than it really is. Another more realistic example: "I know there were 180,300 1977 4-door Novas but how many had a TH200 trans, painted Orange metallic with a white vinyl roof and the RPO-N95 Simulated Wire Wheel Trim Covers? I believe it's a very rare Nova."

Well, sure it's a rare Nova, I doubt many Novas were made exactly like yours. The more options you add, the rarer it will be but again, who cares? Does it make it more valuable? No. Does it make it any less of a car because there were alot made? It shouldn't. Plus, there is no way to tell how many were built with every specific option.

Don't value your Nova based on how rare or common it happens to be. Yes there are some truly rare Novas built that are valuable because of their rarity. Novas like the 1967 L79's, or the 1968 L34 and L78 Novas, or any L78 Nova with the L89 aluminum head option. These are rare and valuable Novas that really deserve the title 'rare'. But just because you don't own one of these doesn't mean you should think your Nova is any less special. It is special because it's a Nova and because YOU own it!

With all this said, I'd like to inform you all that my Nova is very rare. It is one if just a few 1976 Novas that was painted silver with a Firethorn bench interior, a 250 L6 engine, a TH200 trans, the 7" wide rear-view mirror, the ZJ3 Interior Convenience package, the RPO-ZJ5 Exterior Decor package built at the Tarrytown, NY plant in the 2nd week of January. And it's the only one that had a 327 added, a TH350 from a 1971 El Camino and an 8.5" 10-bolt from a 1973 Nova with Richmond 3.90 gears. I feel so much better about myself knowing my Nova is so rare. Just kidding!

Happy Motoring!

Generations - Volume 1, Issue 2 - August, 2001

Welcome back Nova fans. The response to the first issue was great and I hope I can entertain and/or inform you again. This month I want to talk about my feeling on the Nova generations. What I've found is there is some differences of opinions on the labeling of the Nova evolution. There are 5 distinct "types" of Novas. They are: 1962-65, 1966-67, 1968-72, 1973-74 and 1975-79. While no one disputes 1962-65 as the first generation or that 1968-72 is another generation or that 1975-79 is yet another generation, there is some debate if 1966-67 and 1973-74 are their own generations or are part of the generation along with the years that precede them.

Some people like to combine 1966-67 Nova in with 1962-65 Novas because the chassis of the 2 are the same. Others (like me) like to refer to the 1966-67 Novas as a generation of their own because of the totally new body and interior. Chevrolet advertised the 1966 Nova as a totally new car when in reality it was really just a new shell and interior with the same old chassis. However, I feel there was enough significant change to the 1966-67 Novas to warrant a new generation designation. While much of the suspension does interchange, not much else does. For this reason I call the 1966-67 Novas the 2nd generation and only the 1962-65 Novas the 1st generation.

In the same way, some people (including me) like to combine 1973-74 Nova in with 1968-72 Novas because the chassis of the 2 are the same as is much of the body. Others like to refer to the 1973-74 Novas as a generation of their own because of a slightly different body and interior. In the 1973 Nova brochure, Chevrolet writes "We've been building the same basic Nova for quite a while now. And every year we make a number of improvements." Unlike the 62-65/66-67 Novas that also had the same chassis and different body, I feel there was not a significant change to the 1973-74 Novas to warrant a new generation designation. Not only is the entire suspension the same but much of the body. The fenders are exactly the same as are the lower quarter panels, windshield, rear window, trunklid radiator support, inner-fenderwells and dashboard. The doors are not identical but can swap either way. The same can be said for the hood. For these reasons I call the 1973-74 Novas part of the 3rd generation along with the 1968-72 Novas.

Because of the reasons listed above, I will refer to 1962-65 as the 1st generation, 1966-67 as the 2nd generation, 1968-74 as the 3rd generation and 1975-79 as the 4th generation. I will also refer to the 1973-74 Novas as the "bastards" Novas. This is because they have as much in common with 1975-79 Novas as they do with 1968-72 Novas. Most of the body and all of the suspension is the same as 1968-72 but the floor pan, trunk pan and gas tank are the same as 1975-79. This was for 2 reasons: the government-mandated bumpers and the hatchback body style introduced in 1973.

The 1973-74 Novas was the test-mule for the upcoming 4th generation Novas. The government said all cars had to meet 5-mph crash tests with little or no damage. To accomplish this Chevrolet stuck the bumpers out away from the body in 1973 and in 1974 put them on shock absorbing braces. These shock-mounted bumpers needed to move in and back out to absorb the impact. Because the gas tank filler tube was located in the bumper before, it had to be moved to above the bumper to avoid damage. During the change, the tank was enlarged to 21 gallons, which required a change to the trunk pan. Changes to the trunk pan and passenger compartment floor pan were also for the hatchback body style with its folding rear seat and hide-away, collapsible spare tire.

Some other interesting facts about Novas you may or may not know:
  • 1962 has some unique suspension pieces (like the idler arm). Also, the hood hinges and inner fenders are different on 1962 Novas than those on other 1st gen Novas.
  • 1967 has a unique steering column and steering box different from 1966 and earlier. The new steering column is collapsible (like 1968-later) so when involved in an accident the column doesn't impale the driver. The steering box is also unique with a shorter shaft. On 1962-66 models the steering shaft from the box goes all the way to the steering wheel.
  • 1968 coupe doors feature the door lock button at the rear of the door while 1969-up doors have the door lock moved forward for easier access to the front seat passengers.
  • 1968 headlight bezels were unique with no clearance holes for the headlight adjusters. 1970-72 headlight bezels are also different from 1968 and 1969 bezels because of a vertical rib added to the leading edge.
  • 1968-72 floor consoles are different from the similar looking 1973-74 consoles. The difference include a different mounting due to the different floor pan (see above) and the automatic gear indicators are located on the console in 1968-72 but were located in the instrument cluster for 1973-74.
  • 1973-74 coupe doors will interchange with 1968-72 doors to either eliminate the vent window on 1968-72 Novas or to add it to 1973-74 Novas. However the door panels are unique because of the vent window.
  • 1974 was the first year that the lap and shoulder belts came sewn together to the buckle, no longer able to disconnect the shoulder portion. The lap belt retracted into the floor and the shoulder belt retracted into the roof.
  • In 1978 the seat belt system was changed again to a single lap/shoulder belt with a sliding buckle. The one belt end was bolted to the floor next to the front seat and the belt only retracted into the roof.
  • 1979 Novas have a unique front spindle and brake rotor due to new, larger front wheel bearings.
I know there are more fun facts like these but this is all I could come up with at this time. I'll be sure to pass on any other ones as I think of them. I also want to take this time to say hello to the people I met at the All GM Nationals at Carlisle, PA last month. It was great to meet you all in person and put a face to the e-mails.

If you're building your Nova, good luck with the work and be safe. If you're into attending shows, enjoy the weather, use lots of sunblock and drive safe. If you drag race your Nova, good luck, don't red-light and keep the shinny side up!

Happy Motoring!

A New Page - Volume 1, Issue 1 - July, 2001

Hello Nova fans and welcome to the inside of my brain. Yes, I know there isn't much room in here but that's because I filled most of the space with Nova information. This new page is going to be writings by me of my personal opinions, thoughts and feelings about Novas, other cars and the automotive hobby in general. Occasionally some non-automotive stuff may sneak in but you have to remember, cars aren't my whole life (even if it may appear like they are).

When I first thought of creating a new page for my site I was going to do a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page. As you may imagine, I get quite a few e-mails with Nova related questions. I figured a FAQ page would help answer many of them, but then I thought that it might not get used that often and that it might not fully answer your questions. I also thought it might sound impersonal to respond back to questions with a e-mail that basically said, "You will find the answer to your question on my FAQ page." That sounded too much like, "The answer is on my webpage so don't bother me with your trivial question." That's not what NovaResource.com and I are about.

I feel it's more important to personally answer each question to the best of my knowledge. Contrary to popular belief, I don't know everything and I don't claim to. I do, however, have alot of experience with Novas and other cars. I also have collected tons of Nova-related information and written materials to use as reference material. Like I said, I don't know it all but I will try to answer you question as correctly as I can. I've been wrong before and I'll be wrong again. I'm still learning about Novas all the time.

Most of my FAQ are, "What is the biggest wheels/tires that will fit my Nova?" or "How many Novas were produced with X option?" or "Where can I get X part for my Nova?" or "Can you decode this VIN/Cowl Tag/Axle Code/Engine Code/etc?" Many of these questions can be answered on my webpage but the one question I get more often than any other can't always be answered on my site directly. The #1 most asked question I get is, "How can I tell if my Nova is a real SS?"

Many things go through my head when this question is asked. "What makes you think it's a real SS?" or "Who cares if it's a real SS or not?" That sounds cruel and mean but hear me out. Many people think having a real SS is important. Many people think it's worth more just because it's a real SS. Many people trying to get more money for a car or a part they are selling by saying it's an SS or the part is from an SS. While a real SS is more valuable (usually only about 10% more) the main thing is what their plans are for it. If you plan on restoring the car to 100% original for a showpiece, then having a real SS is important. If your plans are to modify the car for racing or to customize it, then who cares if it's a real SS or not to begin with. When you're done you have a car that's nowhere near stock and is nothing more than a customized Nova. Just because it started out as an SS at one time makes it no more valuable now because it's been so modified. Plus, I would rather you modify a Plain-Jane Nova instead of rarer true SS.

I'm not here to tell you what to do with YOUR car. It's yours and you should do with it what you want. Do what makes you happy, not what other people think. All I'm saying is if you're going to do major modifications to a Nova, you'll find it's cheaper to buy a non-SS and make it a clone. There are only so many real Super Sports so let the restorers have them and preserve them for history.

My Nova is not a real SS and if it was I probably would have as much fun with it. I would have felt guilty replacing the original engine, trans, rear, interior, hood, bumpers, etc. that I did to my Nova. But since it was just a lowly Plain-Jane Nova with an 6-cylinder I feel no remorse in modifying it. It's faster and (in my opinion) better looking that if it were a real, stock SS.

Now, getting back to the original question. Some years it's easy to tell an SS while other years it's not. Early on the Super Sport was just an option on the Nova. In the mid 60's it became a separate model. It reverted back to an optional package in the late 60's and 70's.Because it was just an optional package you can't always tell by the VIN or cowl tag. Here's the rundown on the Nova Super Sport:
  • 1963 = optional package: look for a Z (or an X for Novas built at the Oakland, CA plant) on the last line of the cowl tag in the ACC codes. One note: some real 1963 Super Sports did not get this code. They are rare but a few have been found.
  • 1964 = body style: look for 47 in the 4th and 5th digits of the VIN.
  • 1965 thru 1967 = separate model: look for 17 or 18 in the 2nd and 3rd digits of the VIN. 17 is an SS with a 6-cylinder. 18 is an SS with a V8.
  • 1968 thru 1971 = optional package: there is no way to verify an SS these years without some original paperwork. In-dash tachs, floor consoles/shifters, console gauges, bucket seats and even 12-bolt rears are NOT indications of a real SS. There were real Super Sport Novas built with the standard dash, column shifters, bench seats and 10-bolt rears. However, you can guess at it's originality. First, all 1968 Super Sports have finned front drum brakes (standard Novas have non-finned drums), and all 1969-71 Super Sports have power front disc brakes. The next thing to check is the engine code. If the engine is original (the last 6 digits of the VIN are stamped on the engine block) and it has a application code (also stamped on the block) that decodes to an SS only engine, then you have a real SS. Without the original engine or some original paperwork, you're basically out of luck.
  • 1972 = optional package: because 1972 is the first year the original engine is coded in the VIN, you can tell a real SS by the engine code. All 1972 Novas came with the L48 350 4-bbl engine. The L48 was only available in the SS so if the 5th digit of the VIN is a K, the original engine is a L48 and it must be a real SS. BTW, like 1969-71 Novas, all 1972 Super Sports had power front disc brakes.
  • 1973 thru 1976 = optional package: these are the hardest years to verify. Original paperwork is really the only way. In 1973, any engine could be ordered in the Super Sport including the 250 L6. Because there was no "SS-only" engine, there is no way to verify it as real by the engine codes. Also, disc brakes were NOT part of the Super Sport package in 1973-74. All 1975-later had front discs standard but power assist was still optional
I hope the above has helped someone determine a real SS or not. I also hope you will find this new page interesting, funny, helpful or whatever. My plan it to write-up something new every month and post it on the first of the month like I do with updates to the Nova gallery.

Happy Motoring!

Main Page Copyright 2001-2002 Scott Windle Created on: 07/01/01 Updated on: 01/01/02